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Old 01-07-08, 02:38 PM   #1
Michigander
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Yet another please help me with me beat up car thread.

My Crown Victoria has been running rough lately. It doesn't like starting, it rattles when starting, (which I've heard is a timing chain symptom) and it starts running rough at lower rpms. It hasn't stalled yet, but it's running like it's misfiring at lower rpms. I have to slam on the gas to keep it smoothed out at times, then at other times, it runs perfectly. It's strange and inconsistent. It's also now making a squealing noise in the vicinity of the belt, which doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me since I changed it about 15,000 miles ago. Would a bad timing chain, or a mis timed timing chain make a squeaking noise about like a bad serpentine belt? I've changed timing belts, but not chains, so I don't know.

I'm already going to put in a new belt, new plugs, clean the filter, and put in new wires, this car has to run properly since I'm about to start working pretty far away. But I'm trying to figure out if I should put a new chain in it too. I suppose it could use one, the car does have a buck thirty on it, but it's a bigger job than I care to do right now if I don't have to.

Any opinions on if it's my timing, or maybe something else?
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Old 01-07-08, 02:50 PM   #2
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Do the timing chain at 100k. I was going to do it on my truck that had 110k on it and every mechanic and my dad said there's plenty of warning before it goes. Coming home the truck died. I was told the gears have nylon teeth to quiet the sound - they stripped. Ran perfectly up to that, no warning but I did need a new engine. Oh and I bought the truck (used) and just had it on the road for less than a month. Doh!

Besides that I'd almost think the new plugs and making sure the injection is clean may solve it; or the fuel pump.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:50 PM   #3
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It could be just about anything from the symptoms you describe from a clogged fuel filter to a vacuum leak.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:59 PM   #4
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As I said, fuel pressure is good. I don't have a gauge, but it's strong enough to really make a mess if you press on the schrader. And plus, I changed the fuel filter within the past year.

Injection can't be the problem either, I've run on octane boosted premium for the past 10 grand or so, and I've never heard of this engine having injector problems at any mileage, even when using cheap gas which of course doesn't have the cleaning chemicals added.

*sighs deeply* Guess I better get a new chain and get to it.
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Old 01-07-08, 03:18 PM   #5
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How can a chain cause an intermittent running problem at low rpms? I'm not feeling that at all. I say fuel or ignition, likely ignition. Age of wires, plugs, and whatever replaceables the car has (cap?). I don't know Crown Vics particularly, nor what year yours is.

I would start with plugs, wires, and check all your vacuum hoses.
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Old 01-07-08, 03:18 PM   #6
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I've never heard of this engine having injector problems at any mileage, even when using cheap gas which of course doesn't have the cleaning chemicals added.
Please explain. The "cheap gas" simply has less octane in it.
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Old 01-07-08, 03:37 PM   #7
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Please explain. The "cheap gas" simply has less octane in it.
No, not the case, at least around here, according to my former teacher who has been working on cars, and at times helping design them, for the past 51 years. Detergent type chemicals are added to higher octane gas by most fuel companies to keep the fuel injectors clean, according to him. If you have evidence of otherwise, I'd like to hear it.

Spreggy, even if it isn't the timing, I suppose I should change the belt. I'm going to make a cross country move this spring, and it sure would suck to have the car take a **** on me halfway. I don't see any vacuum leaks, but I guess I'll check again.

By the way, it's a 96 with a 4.6. And I don't know why it could make a difference, but in case it does, the EGR valve has been deactivated for at least 10,000 miles.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:06 PM   #8
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The evidence is right on the pump, the less you pay the lower the octane.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:07 PM   #9
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By the way, it's a 96 with a 4.6. And I don't know why it could make a difference, but in case it does, the EGR valve has been deactivated for at least 10,000 miles.

Now see...there's your issue right there....you went and got a FORD.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:13 PM   #10
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"Regular" gasoline also has detergent additives. I know one company, Shell, which specifically advertises that their "premium" gasoline contains extra detergent additives. Maybe they do, and maybe others do as well, but if they did I would suspect that they'd advertise it as well.

Most car experts, notably Tom & Ray from Car Talk, will advise you to never put "premium" fuel in your car unless it is recommended or required in the owner's manual, because it's a waste of money otherwise. You would likely get the same or similar supposed extra detergent chemicals by using a specific fuel additive periodically, such as ones offered by STP or Gumout.

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Old 01-07-08, 04:25 PM   #11
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Most car experts, notably Tom & Ray from Car Talk, will advise you to never put "premium" fuel in your car unless it is recommended or required in the owner's manual, because it's a waste of money otherwise. You would likely get the same or similar supposed extra detergent chemicals by using a specific fuel additive periodically, such as ones offered by STP or Gumout.
Several people have told me I'm wasting my money by using premium. What I suggest, is that those who are in doubt plug up their EGR valves, run on 86 or 89 octane, then tell me how it works.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:27 PM   #12
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Now see...there's your issue right there....you went and got a FORD.
If it was something like a Tornass or a Tempo I would share your views, but Crown Victoria's are extremely reliable cars which aren't very difficult to work on. Ford just so happens to make good trucks, and CV's are built like F150's.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:28 PM   #13
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Meh, maybe it's time to say "goodbye" and get a tax deduction for '08, and then adopt another such vehicle which can be driven and enjoyed for a year or so, before you send it, too, to a good community college program where it can act as the analogy of a car vs person in the sense of anatomical gift.... Jes' sayin'....
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Old 01-07-08, 04:31 PM   #14
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Eh, not much wrong with it is the thing. It needs a paint job and 2 new quarter panels, and evidently a new vacuum line or maybe, but it looks like probably not a timing chain adjustment or replacement. Nothin too major. Besides, if I remember right, the Governor slashed tax credit for donated cars.

They say a gear head should never get rid of his first good car. If I'm alive in 40 years I plan to have it on the road with me.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:33 PM   #15
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Timing chain & belts? Usually it's one or the other. Squealing could be cam bearings or the bearing on the idler pulley.

Intermittent rough running... Electrical.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:38 PM   #16
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The squealing went on and off while I was working on it a while ago, and that leads me to believe the serpentine belt is not making any unusual noises.

About the possibility of electrical problems, which components do you thing could be causing that? Distributors, plugs or wires? Something in the intake perhaps?
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Old 01-07-08, 05:07 PM   #17
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Taking a stab at it I'd say cap & rotor... Or some connection has an intermittent high resistance. If it was a sensor or computer problem it would usually either work or not... no intermittent.
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Old 01-07-08, 05:40 PM   #18
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To test for that, I need to pull the plugs one by one, and have somebody to watch while I turn it over to see if it's sparking properly. Right now it's dark and rainy, so I'm done for the evening. But tomorrow I'll look into that, and if that fails, try a highly scientific 3' length of hose test to see if I can isolate a problem cylinder.

Could also still be a blown hose.
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Old 01-07-08, 06:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
The squealing went on and off while I was working on it a while ago, and that leads me to believe the serpentine belt is not making any unusual noises.

About the possibility of electrical problems, which components do you thing could be causing that? Distributors, plugs or wires? Something in the intake perhaps?
A bearing in an accessory? (ps pump, alternator, ac compressor, etc). A serpentine belt will also have an idler pulley. This could also have a worn bearing.
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Old 01-07-08, 07:12 PM   #20
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Now see...there's your issue right there....you went and got a FORD.
you know what FORD stands for:
Fix
Or
Repair
Daily

OR
F-ed
On
Race
Day
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Old 01-07-08, 07:15 PM   #21
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The 4.6's are actually good motors. I know a guy who has run around 600+ on a stock block, in a 96 Mustang. It's tuned to ~400 now.
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Old 01-07-08, 07:31 PM   #22
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Couple of suggestions:

1. bad/cracked spark-plug wires. To inspect, run your car at night and lift the hood. Look closely at all the spark-plug wires and see if there's any arcing from any of them. Old wires tend to develop cracks which leaks out the spark to a nearby ground. This may cause misfires in that cylinder and sporadic performance.

2. is it cold in your area now? Check the engine-temp and air-temp sensors. The computer uses these for cold-start enrichment as well as to compensate for air-density. Either of these sensors being off will cause your mixtures to be off far enough to cause rough running.

3. O2-sensor? Does the engine run better with it on or off?

4. crank-sensors? Do you have a 'scope you can hook up to the crank-sensors to see if they're putting out a signal that's within spec?


Is your car OBD-I or OBD-II? A scan-tool can typically identify the above problems pretty quickly.
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Old 01-07-08, 07:47 PM   #23
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since it's a 96, it has to be OBD-II.

doesn't that car have a distributorless ignition system? i seem to remember that both the coil packs and ignition computers are notorious for failing on 4.6 Fords... an intermittent spark or timing issue would cause everything you've described (even the belt squeal, actually).

but yeah, anything that's OBD-II or later, the scanner is your friend. particularly if it's got a datastream setting so you can watch what's going on with the engine running...
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Old 01-07-08, 07:53 PM   #24
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You can throw a timing light on it to see if your timing chain has stretched to the point it's too advanced. It does sound like a timing issue like the one I had with my little Infiniti. At 178K miles, it was starting to hesitate at low rpm and smoothing out higher. Replaced chain cured it but a timing light diagnosed it. I actually got away with clocking the distributor slightly ******** for a while but knew that wouldn't last long.
Of course that old Crown Vic might just be done. You could pick up another for dirt cheap.
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Old 01-07-08, 08:27 PM   #25
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Jhota, you're thinking of a really nice OBD II scanner, like the snap on kind. 2 grand was about 10 times more then I cared to spend, so mine basically just reads emissions. And no, it's not distributorless.



JF1, a timing light is a good idea, but I don't have one. I'll have to arrange to borrow one. And by the way, if the engine ever dies, I'll just get another engine. Even cheaper than getting a new car, and not the hardest thing in the world to swap out. And plus, if I was going to get another beater, I would probably get an Escort instead of another CV. Not that they're the best cars, but I tore one apart and put it back together, so I have a pretty good idea of how they work. Plus the mileage is pretty good for an American car.
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