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…