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Car Trouble - Need Advice

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by RunninRaven, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    I apologize in advance for the long post. Just wanted to provide any relevant info I can think of. If you think you can help me feel free to ask any questions and I will try to answer.

    I drive a 2001 Ford Escort. The thing has 120k miles on it. It has been a great car for me and I've driven it for almost 100k of those miles now. Never any real fixing needed (replaced the alternator, the battery and had to fix the stick shift which was almost entirely my own fault). Here lately, the thing has been having fits where it would suddenly start shaking very badly while driving it. Sometimes gunning the engine would help alleviate this problem, sometimes in the course of driving it the shaking would stop. One time it did this to me while sitting at a light and it quit before I could even pull away. One time it died while sitting at a light. That's the only time it has died. Sometimes it does this when I start the car up. There doesn't seem to be a real pattern except that typically it happens when driving at lower speeds. Yesterday it started shaking on me while accelerating onto Hwy 225, though. When it did it yesterday, the check engine light came on.

    I've had the thing in and out of my mechanic for the last 3-4 weeks getting them to check why it is doing this. Part of the problem is they can't seem to get the car to act up on them like it has on me. I can't fathom why because it does it to me almost every single time I drive it here lately. But it won't screw up on them. The only thing they have been able to confirm is that the diagnostics in the car have apparently logged a #4 cylinder miss. They can't figure out why that particular cylinder is missing. They've checked all kinds of stuff for me and haven't charged me a dime for it. To give a run down they have checked the fuel pressure of the car and the fuel pressure regulator. They checked the mass air flow meter (which he said was a little dirty but probably not the problem). One thing they noticed last week was on the fuel injector for the #4 cylinder it was apparently not seated, or attached well. He described it to me but I wasn't able to fully follow him. The long and short was he tie-wrapped the thing off to keep it in place but the car is still screwing up.

    I don't know dick about cars. I asked him if the injector being loose might have damaged the thing over time and he sounded on the phone like he thought I was crazy, so maybe that was a dumb question. When I drive it I hear a clicking sound coming from the engine off and on. I just got finished talking to my mechanic this morning and the guy has basically thrown his hands up. He says he doesn't know what else to check that wouldn't include major labor. One theory he posited was that the exhaust valve for the #4 cylinder perhaps had some carbon buildup and was sticking open, but he said to check that would be almost the equivalent of replacing a head gasket and he didn't know if it was worth it. Does anyone else have any theories on this? Is it something I should just give up on? I really, really really want to avoid getting a loan for another car if I can avoid it, but if it sounds like this thing will cost upwards of $1000 to fix then I might as well because that's more than the damn thing is worth.

    Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give me.
     
  2. SwoLy-D

    SwoLy-D Contributing Member

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    Back in the days of distributors and carburetors, the stallin' and shakin' and bumpin' and grindin' problems were almost surely that the sparks weren't hitting the proper amount of power or sparking enough combustion to burn the gas evenly. It was even attributed to the cables connected to the plugs, or the cap on the distributor. Nowadays, I can't figure out crap and it's better to take it to someone who knows. What the heck, now even your mechanics DON'T KNOW.

    One thing you can rule out is that if you take in to them at night or in the morning, or when it's cold instead of when it's hot (high noon vs. early in the morning vs. four o'clock in the afternoon), the car may behave differently and now I'm just rambling about trying to explain something that I have no experience with and gosh when will I ever shut up... :eek:

    By the way, señor Lunático, this here statement sounds contradictory to me: "Never any real fixing needed (replaced the alternator, the battery and had to fix the stick shift which was almost entirely my own fault)." ;)
     
  3. BrieflySpeaking

    BrieflySpeaking Contributing Member

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    Get a second opinion.
     
  4. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    OK this is easy.

    thats an injector.

    You can swap this yourself and buy it yourself. Find out wht size it is (it will be in pound/hour) like 19 or 24 or 36 etc. Probably 19#/hr

    Buy a new on then swap it. When you are swapping it get a BETTER FREAKING WAY TO ATTACH YOUR FUEL RAIL THAN A ZIP TIE!

    It is bolted to the engine, so if the bolt is gone get a new one. Whoever used the ziptie is a moron so get it out of there ASAP.
     
  5. Falcons Talon

    Falcons Talon Contributing Member

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    Probably a 19 ln injector. For a stock escort, there is no way it could be anything bigger.

    I agree on the the injector.
     
  6. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    Thanks, fmullegan. Is replacing a fuel injector a very difficult task? I mean, I'm not a complete idiot, but I don't even change my own oil. If I looked for some help online and maybe got someone that knew a little bit about cars, this shouldn't be too difficult, right?
     
  7. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    my friend had a 2.3L with red 30's. You never know on those cars.
     
  8. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    The actual injector is like a two ended cork. One end presses into the fuel rail and the other into the intake.

    You just pull up the fuel rail, and push in the new injector, then plug it in (it has an electrical plug).

    It will be really really easy.
     
  9. Falcons Talon

    Falcons Talon Contributing Member

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    Boosted? Then I can understand, but on an Escort?
     
  10. Falcons Talon

    Falcons Talon Contributing Member

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    Be careful not to pinch or tear the o-rings.
     
  11. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    no just from the factory. Sometimes they have to get a lot of HP's from those little 4 bangers. Or they have massive compression and need more injector.
     
  12. Falcons Talon

    Falcons Talon Contributing Member

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    I can understand on the high performance 4 bangers. Nothing but respect, but we're talking an escort here.
     
  13. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    The car that had the red 30's was not an escort. It was a 2.3L something else. Some other kinda ford. Do not remember the model.
     
  14. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    Doing a quick search online for replacing fuel injectors, they all recommend depressurizing the fuel system before doing this. Is this necessary?
     
  15. Falcons Talon

    Falcons Talon Contributing Member

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    Ford Hi Perf 2.3?

    SVT Focus
    SVO Mustang (Turbocharged)
    Tbird S/C
     
  16. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    There is high pressure but not high volume. If you are really worried about a little fuel then pull the fuse for the fuel pump and crank the car over a few times.

    After the first few times I pulled injectors, I never did this. Just get a rag and it will not be a real issue.
     
  17. Falcons Talon

    Falcons Talon Contributing Member

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    Yes, unless you want to squirt everything with a little fuel. There is a valve on the fuel line. Get a bucket and towel. The valve is like a tire valve, but smaller. depress the plunger and release the pressure.
     
  18. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    Or do not do this.
     
  19. fmullegun

    fmullegun Contributing Member

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    I will say that if you can find the schrader valve he is talking about you have just found the fuel rail, which is the thing the idiot used a zip tie on. So look for that then you will see the injectors and possibly a zip tie.
     
  20. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    I also read something that said to never replace only one fuel injector because it will operate much more efficiently than the others since it is new. Will this really be an issue or is that more of a fine-tuning thing?

    Also, would this problem potentially be cleared up by putting some of that fuel injector cleaner stuff in my gas tank?
     

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