93 Ford Taurus stalling

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I have a 93 Ford Taurus with 124,000 miles... 3.0 engine. A few minutes after it gets warm it stalls, both when idle and when driving. Although it's done it to me once on the highway, the car's least favorite speed seems to be anything below 45mph. It stalls easily during city driving and at a stop light... and sometimes it hesitates like it wants to stall, but then catches and continues on. There's no overheating or strange smells.

After it stalls, I can't start it right back up, I have to wait about 3 to 5 minutes, then it'll start... if I try too soon it just cranks like it would were I out of gas (but I'm not). p.s. The other drivers on the road LOVE me!

I called the mechanic and he said he needs to do diagnostic and wants to test drive it to experience it himself. I know this is gonna cost me a fortune. I'd like to go there on Wednesday with some idea of what I'm talking about and make sure I don't get robbed. Does anyone have any helpful advice?

Thanks, Annmarie

posted by  Annmarie

Sooooo, I took it to the mechanic today. The car was there ALL day. He determined it was the fuel pump. He changed that and the fuel filter because "might as well"... he said he'd been changing fuel pumps like crazy lately because they are all being destroyed by the "new gas" that's out there now that has alcohol in it. Uh-huh.... knowing diddly about cars I was of course at his mercy. Welp, $289 later and.... maybe I'm just paranoid... but it still feels funny. Like a slight hesitation and then it catches and lurches forward slightly.

So I call him and I ask if the fuel pump he removed looked "broken". To which he said to me that you can't tell if it's broken, you can only go by fuel pressure gauge reading and apparently it had been low. So he told me to relax and allow myself to trust the car and be comfortable. Easy for him to say.... I've had the car 2 months and have had nothing but problems. Did I mention HE sold me the car?

I wish humans could fly. 'Course then we'd prolly need wing repair people who would rob us. Sorry, I'm rambling. Do you guys think I'm being bamboozled or am I just paranoid?


posted by  Annmarie

Let's forget about the actual driveability problem with your car for now and let's see how you answer these questions. You bought a car that has apparently been problematic since purchase. Why do you have the person who sold it to you work on it? Why do you take his advice? Do you see any conflict of interest on his part?

At any rate only you can decide if you're being "bamboozled". You are also the only one who can allow it to happen to yourself. I suggest you find yourself a competent shop to work on your car. The price may seem initially higher but in the long run you'll find you're more satisfied with the end result.

posted by  vwhobo

You're both right. I guess I was just not wanting to take this car somewhere else and start from scratch so I keep forking more and more money over to this mechanic who already probably made a huge profit from selling me a car he got from an auction for probably not much and I paid him $1200 for it.

I've always worked with dealership mechanics and felt that they were so expensive and tryed to sell me more than I really needed. So this new mechanic has a small but busy shop that he works out of with his son. I was thinking the smaller family owned business was the way to go. But I think I was wrong.

What should I look for in a mechanic? I know I need to find someone else, but how do I find a trustworthy one? Are there certain questions I should ask or signs I should look for to detect whether or not the person is thinking about my best interests as a customer?

posted by  Annmarie

Good questions. Let me try to answer them in no particular order. In my not so humble and very biased opinion, first and foremost look for a shop that employs ASE certified technicians and is possibly an ASE Blue Seal shop. Look for a shop that is clean and well equipped with modern equipment. Look for a shop whose employees take pride in their appearance, the appearance of their toolboxes and work areas. Look at the parking lot out front to see if other customers cars are about the same age and/or condition as your car. Look out back at the employee parking area at what kind of cars they drive (age is less important than condition). While you're out there see if they have an area with dead and dying customer cars. If there are alot that's not a good sign.

Talk to the service writer about diagnostic charges and general pricing schedules. Communication with this person isn't a one way street. Be ready to describe your problem or concern as clearly as possible. But don't tell them "I think I need struts", that would be like going to the doctor and telling him "Doc, I have an infection, prescribe me these pills". Simply tell them "I have a squeaky noise from the front of the car when I go over bumps or turn". Be prepared to tell them how fast you're going, what the weather is like, anything that may be a contibuting factor or even take them for a drive to play show and tell. The good ones are expert problem solvers. Even the most basic of jobs can have hidden problems that can require more work and/or parts. Be aware that when you take your car in for repair that the tech doesn't always know what he'll find until he's torn he car down so it's very hard to give an exact price on a job before starting. For example at my shops customers are aware that a basic brake job will cost $XX.XX but could be more expensive if the rotors are damaged or a caliper is frozen (just two of a million examples). Also be aware that using the cheapest available parts is seldom the most economical in the long run. Just as quality costs money when it comes to parts, it also costs money to have the best facility, equipment, technicians and technician's training.

Which of course brings up another point then I'll quit. This is not 1964 (or even '94) when cars were simpler machines and the systems were more or less all the same. In the US alone there are over 200 models of cars sold every year who's technology is rapidly growing and changing. Odds are if someone is working under a shadetree in his front yard he's not keeping up with the changes. My top techs (including myself) get in excess of 200 hours per year formal training, paid for by me which means paid for by you. And that is just to stay current and even then I send them to different classes so they can train each other in the shop.

Whew,at any rate I hope I gave you something to think about and maybe answered your questions. Here are some links that might help too.




posted by  vwhobo

Thank you SO much for taking the time to give me your response. I'm printing it out. I would never even think to look at those things to judge if a shop is good or not. It's funny because the guy I bought the car from and just recently took it to for the fuel pump problem has certifications hanging on the wall where the most recent ones are mid-90's, the place is a complete mess, it takes him 10 minutes of rifling through papers and shuffling through garbage to find anything (I've watched him do it) and there's about a million dead-looking cars parked out back. His hourly labor charges aren't that bad... but I guess you get what you pay for.

I wish I lived close to your shop. Anyway, I greatily appreciate your response and I feel like maybe I'll be less foolish in choosing a future mechanic.


posted by  Annmarie

You are most assuredly welcome. If I can be of further assistance don't hesitate to rattle my cage.

posted by  vwhobo

I have a 93' ford taurus gl recently torn apart and rebuilt myself, before i did so, it had 150,000 miles and it the tempture gague would jump around after driving it for alittle while and if it sat idle for too long, it would stall. After toying with it i found out that it was the trany overheating. What worked for me. Put in a syth. oil next time you change it, replace the trany fluid replaceing out the hoses when you do so and if that doesnt work , simply increase the idle throttle . Hope this helps :2cents:

posted by  Sern

Well, as I mentioned in my last post on 9/29 I spent almost $300 having the fuel pump replaced as well as a new fuel filter. That definately helped, because now it doesn't brake down 3 or 4 times in one driving trip.

However, it does still stall if it sits idle too long. But I'm able to start it right back up, unlike before the fuel pump replacement where I'd have to let the car sit for 5 minutes before it would start up.

So today, 10/16, a little over 2 weeks later I took it to the Ford Dealer, knowing I'd pay more, but taking the advice that you get what you pay for. Of course, they test drove it and it didn't stall. I figured it wouldn't. It hasn't done it to me in almost 2 weeks. But they couldn't feel the hesitation that I feel when it switches gears at about 35 mph... they said that what they felt was normal for a 6 cylinder car (I've always driven 4 cyl).

Anyway, they ran a diagnostic on the car in the garage and then they hooked it up and took it for a test drive and nothing came up. They said they diagnosed the transmission too and all the system levels (don't really understand that) checked out ok. So they just charged me for the diagnostic and sent me on my merry way.

But now that I'm reading the responses to my post, something stood out... the temp. gauge jumping around slightly. Mine does that! And I totally forgot to mention that to Ford today. I wonder if that would have made a difference. But sometimes it definately goes 3/4 they way toward the hot side and then after a couple minutes drops back down to slightly under the midpoint and then starts to crawl it's way back up to the hot side again and then drops back, etc.

I'll have the oil changed as soon as I can and have them put the oil in for cars with alot of miles, I guess that's a place to start, since Ford thinks I'm OCD and I really don't trust the guy who sold me the car.

If anyone has any additional thoughts, please chime in. Thanks!!


posted by  Annmarie

I own a '92 3.0 Taurus. I had the same weird stalling not start right away problem, especially during long periods idling on a hot day with AC on. The fix was 2 part. First, change to a new turbine style fuel pump (think you've done that). Second, and this does a LOT more than fix this problem, locate the big wiring harness plug connection between the intake manifold and the firewall. It slides on a bracket mounted just below the back side of the intake manifold. It's just about exactly centered on the engine horizontally. Get some contact cleaner, Radio Shack has some if you can't find it, and spray the male and female connectors. Put them back together 4 or 5 times to clean them. This will stop the strange heat guage problem, erratic shifting and slipping transmission, make the idle really hearty and who knows what else. While you're at it, clean the big connector on the right side fender well under the hood. It's held together with a metric #10 through bolt. If you are a do-it yourselfer, clean EVERY plug connection under the hood. My Taurus now runs teriffic! I mean the difference is incredible. Try it!

posted by  raylynn0374

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