Repairing the Taurus, A Multipart Series: Overview

I’ve just fin­ished a long car repair adven­ture span­ning 4 days. There were times that I feared that we would fail (even though fail­ure was not a viable option) and the whole prob­lem spanned sev­er­al months from start to fin­ish. This is the first post in a mul­ti­part series cov­er­ing the prob­lem, the diag­no­sis and the repair.

Unless there’s a good rea­son not to, I do my own repairs and those of oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers. We use Haynes man­u­als and the inter­net for the most part. We (fix­ing cars is a fam­i­ly affair) also use our inge­nu­ity and the help­ful advice of parts store peo­ple (sev­er­al of which can iden­ti­fy me by my voice on the phone now).

Fix­ing cars has gen­er­al­ly turned out to be eas­i­er than expect­ed. There are tricks to be sure, and there are dif­fer­ences between cars, but over­all, they’re more the same than dif­fer­ent and they’re engi­neered with some degree of sense. Cer­tain­ly I believe that more design engi­neers should have to work on their own cre­ations, but that’s usu­al­ly the exception.

The first hint of prob­lems pre­sent­ed itself dur­ing a trip to Owen Sound.  About three hours into the four hour trip, the car devel­oped some rough run­ning and com­plete lack of pow­er.  It was hav­ing prob­lems climb­ing mod­er­ate hills and was com­plete­ly unable to pull out and pass.  At the time, we decid­ed to change the spark plugs when the oppor­tu­ni­ty pre­sent­ed itself, but in hind­sight, some of the intake gas­ket prob­lems could have also been present.

Chang­ing the spark plugs was an adven­ture in itself and required the removal of the upper intake man­i­fold (or plenum as some lit­er­a­ture would have it).  I had pre­emp­tive­ly bought gas­kets for this job, but they turned out to be a problem.

After chang­ing the spark plugs, the engine devel­oped a rough idle that indi­cat­ed a vac­u­um leak of some sort.  Many posts on the inter­net point­ed to the low­er intake man­i­fold gas­kets.  Indeed… while we may have “dis­turbed” them in our ear­li­er repair, they need­ed replac­ing.  But replac­ing the low­er intake man­i­fold gas­kets required remov­ing the fuel rail and injectors.

Well… remov­ing the fuel rail and injec­tors is quite the task — and it’s not at all obvi­ous how things should be put back togeth­er.  But final­ly… with all of these repairs done, the car is run­ning well. Sigh.

There will be an arti­cle to come in this series con­cern­ing each of these repairs to our 2002 Tau­rus… with pic­tures and descrip­tions that should help oth­er peo­ple fix their Durat­e­ch engines…

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