97 Ford Taurus engine light

Home  \  Repairs & Maintenance  \  97 Ford Taurus engine light

We are looking to upgrade our daughters car. We found a 97 Ford Taurus, it has a problem. The engine light stays on. The seller said he has had it checked, and claims it is a sensor for the light, and the car has no engine problems. The part and labor to correct it is $150.00. We are scheduled to test drive it Wednesday evening. My gut tells me to run away, run away fast. They are asking $2995.00. What do you think?

posted by  lilsisannie

Nothing to run away from, basing that on what you have said. What he told you about the sensor causing the light to come on is true. However, I wouldn't trust the figure of $150.00 that he gave you to fix the problem. Since he gave you this price for parts and labor, he knows what needs to be replaced. When the check engine light illuminates, the ECU is getting a reading from a sensor that is out of range. You have a code(s) that can be pulled. The code(s) will tell you what sensor is throwing the out of range signal. If I were you, I'd pull that code(s) for myself. Then you will know what the problem is, can call a shop and get a quote to fix it.

posted by  DodgeRida67

Better yet, if he has "had it checked" he should have gotten a printout with the code and part name along with his receipt. If he can show you that, you can be sure of the trouble. Call a shop, give them the code, and the name of the part, get an estimate from them. Check back here and I'll check it out for you...

posted by  DodgeRida67

Tell the seller he is full of poopy... Horse, dog or bull, your choice. There is no such animal as a sensor that simply turns the light on. The light (Maintenance Indicator Lamp or MIL) is turned on by the PCM (engine computer) when something on the powertrain management system senses something isn't as it should be. This may be a minor or major mechanical issue, a faulty sensor, the PCM or even system wiring. At any rate there IS some type of problem that needs to be addressed.

As for getting the codes and calling a shop to see how much it costs to repair, that is still more poopy. Just because you have a specific code doesn't mean that the code isolates the defective part(s), it only leads you in a direction for further diagnosis. For instance I can tell you how much I would charge to replace an oxygen sensor but not what may be the real cause of a code... without seeing the car and performing a proper diagnosis.

At any rate he is lying to you, or he has been lied to and is passing it along. I vote for the former. Have this checked out by someone who you trust, it might be a very small thing or something very major. Only then can you make a rational decision.

posted by  vwhobo

Here is an update, I am not affraid of buying tools, see my bio.. I went out and bought an auto code reader, the expensive one. We drove the car, pluged it in and we got "PO340, cam shaft position sensor, A- bank 1 curcuit malfunction." We did not buy it yet, now we will find out what it will cost to have it fixed, or if we can do it our selves. That was the only code that came up, and The code reader ask me if I wanted to clear the code, of course I pressed the "no" button. I don't really think the seller exepected us to have our own code reader.. Imagine that!!!

posted by  lilsisannie

Here is an update, I am not affraid of buying tools, see my bio.. I went out and bought an auto code reader, the expensive one. We drove the car, pluged it in and we got "PO340, cam shaft position sensor, A- bank 1 curcuit malfunction." We did not buy it yet, now we will find out what it will cost to have it fixed, or if we can do it our selves. That was the only code that came up, and The code reader ask me if I wanted to clear the code, of course I pressed the "no" button. I don't really think the seller exepected us to have our own code reader.. Imagine that!!!

posted by  lilsisannie

The P0340 code is actually pretty common on those engines -- they seem to eat up camshaft position sensors. Here's an interesting insight...

First off, sometimes it's not as simple as just replacing the sensor. Usually, when these sensors fail, they fail through a physical separation of the Hall-effect core and coil from the sensor body. The core and coil assembly is by design magnetized, and as such, when it breaks free from the sensor body, it fall onto and clings to the (steel) sensor actuator rotor.

The actuator is a cup-shaped protrusion on the top of a rotating shaft. The cup has a section of its periphery removed so as to provide the "window" for triggering the sensor's Hall-effect switch. The actuator itself is mounted where the distributor used to go, is gear-driven off the camshaft, and in turn drives the oil puimp, just as the distributor used to do.

Often, when the sensor fails, its pieces fall into the center of the actuator's cup and stay there. The system throws a P0340 code and the MIL is turned on. The fix then is simple -- remove the old sensor, clean out the chunks of the old sensor, mount the new one, button it up, and clear the code.

However, it's not so simple when the pieces fall into the window in the cup. When that happens, the cup will be (at best) bent inward or (at worst) broken off the actuator shaft. This happens because the pieces then are wedged between the cup and the actuator body as the shaft turns, and something has to give. Either situation requires replacement of the actuator assembly. This job is not all that difficult, but it does require an alignment tool for proper placement of the new actuator.

The actuator is called a "camshaft position sensor drive" and is available from the Ford dealer for about $125.00. (To show how common this really is, my local Ford dealer has a stock level of 3 units on this drive.) The sensor is available in the aftermarket for about $30.00. The alignment tool is available through OTC/SPX for around $20.00. The entire procedure is spelled out in the various service manuals available -- Ford, Haynes and Chilton all cover it.

When buying the alignment tool, be sure to order the correct one for the engine size -- there are several different cam sensor alignment tools used on Fords. When buying the sensor at a NAPA dealer, have the counterman look it up in the paper catalog -- their computer (software) catalog lists the wrong sensor... :(

posted by  cpprioli

Checker Auto has an after market replacement made by Dorman. Look the part up online first to get the best price at the Store. It was 58.99 Feb. 2008....

posted by  millman

I wonder how much it cost 3 years ago, when he needed it...:banghead:

posted by  dvdrose18

woI hope the car got fixed almost 4 yrs ago.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Scrap metal now. Scrap metal....:laughing:

posted by  Cliffy

c'mon, cliffy. a torn-ass is scrap even when it's new...:laughing:

posted by  dodger65

Your Message