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oramman87 10-26-2012 09:20 PM

I have the focus blues.
Hey every one first time posting on here. I bought a 2000 zx3 for the girlfriend and I think the car just hates me. It only has 92,000 miles, So far I have replaced the DPFE sensor, IAC, Crank sensor, Spark plugs, Coil, fuel pump and filter, egr hose that goes into the back of the intake. Even went to the lengths of setting the timing with the cam bar and TDC bolt. Yes we left the cam gears loose till we got the belt on.

Now my problem is, it starts but the idle is choppy, when i put the car in gear to move it as soon as i let off the break she stalls on me. I am at the end of my rope here iam trying to find a obd 2 reader that i can look at live data so i can narrow this down some. As I have no check engine light.

I have used enough carb cleaner looking for a vac leak that i am suprised that the car hasent caught on fire. When I removed the cat to do the timing and every thing looked great inside cat was still in one peice and didnt look dirty at all.

I have also replaced all the engine mounts and the dog bone tranny mount.
i know this is getting long but i would like to get as much info for yall as I can.

TerryB 10-27-2012 02:45 AM

Have you cleaned the MAF yet. It seems to be the only thing left.

coldbear 10-27-2012 05:58 AM

My thoughts also, mebye IAC needs cleaned also.
Great advise Terry B. Well documented too!

wannabe_svt 10-27-2012 06:12 AM

Also check the plug that goes into the coil pack sometimes they get brittle and break. When mines broke I couldn't tell until I touched it. I hope the car it's fine after this

coldbear 10-27-2012 06:39 AM

Seriously, my pig tale going to the coil pac broke running through a car wash. Beleive me, you'll notice it when a wire breaks. Shakes badly. Coil pac pig tales are now avalible at part stores.

wannabe_svt 10-27-2012 07:47 AM


Originally Posted by coldbear (Post 4425939)
Seriously, my pig tale going to the coil pac broke running through a car wash. Beleive me, you'll notice it when a wire breaks. Shakes badly. Coil pac pig tales are now avalible at part stores.

I couldn't tell meaning I couldn't tell the wire was broken until I touched it. It had a slight hesitation before that then when I touched the wire my car turned into a 2 stroke engine [slap]

whynotthinkwhynot 10-27-2012 08:50 AM

Have you had the battery disconnected recently? If so that might explain it. When the ECU is reset because of the battery being disconnected, the computer will go through a test to find the optimal A/F ratio after being started again. The test will continue for 5 minutes of idle after dropping out of cold start (high idle) mode. During the test idle will fluctuate, and hang out around 1k rpm. To get past the test, start the engine, after the rpm drops to 1k or so, check the time, and allow the engine to idle for 5 mins. At the end of the test the idle will drop to 700 or so.

Now if the uneven idle is really noticeable, then the problem might be elsewhere. These cars are known for having problems with coil pack plug-in wiring and connectors. Go to the coil pack plug-in, pull on the individual wires there, and see if any pull out. If they do, then purchase a pig-tail connector from Ford and install. You might also want to inspect that wiring loom back as far as you can- especially around the EGR tube- to see if it has been damaged. You must inspect the entire loom because typically the problem is not easily visible from above.

Have you checked the PCV tube? It is well known for causing idle issues. It should be removed and inspected for leaks after inspecting it under idle. The vacuum line will collapse under idle, or be split. Stop spraying carb cleaner around. Really, there are not that many vacuum lines- simply remove and inspect. Look at the VECI label under the hood and that gives you a vacuum schematic to follow. It's not like you're diagnosing problems on a feedback carburetor with up to 44 vacuum lines.

oramman87 10-27-2012 10:35 AM

I replaced the pigtail yesterday sorry forgot to mention that. I have cleaned the maf, and inspected the pcv hose. After I replaced the IAC record time by the way 35 min even with it being a PITA, it will idle at 700-800 steady but the engine seems choppy even after letting it run for 15 min. When I went to pull the car all the way into the garage last night as soon as I let off the brake it stalled. So I thought ok let's stress the system. Turned the car on put on the ac, rear defrost and headlights it surged then stalled.

I do wanna thank everyone on this fourm massive amounts of information, it has really helped me a lot. I have done a ton of searching before I did this post. But I am kinda lost right now.

If I had a check engine light I would jump for joy, but she isint giving up anything. I am determined to fix the thing though!

oramman87 10-27-2012 10:38 AM

One other thing while the car was running I took off the ground behind the coil and no change. So I took off that weird looking ground and cleaned the metal area where the small bolt went through still nothing.

sailor 10-27-2012 01:21 PM

FWIW, from the "Old Fart" here, sometimes when you're pulling your hair out you need to back track to the "basics" JUST to make sure they are sound...

To whit - first step on a "new" acquisition, or an engine that isn't working right, is a compression check. I didn't notice that listed in your description of work done already, and it's a good first step to make SURE the mechanical condition of the engine is OK.

Decent screw-in type compression gauges can be borrowed/rented from most parts stores if you don't have one available otherwise.

When using it, you need to remove ALL the plugs (good time to check plug deposits/condition) then test each cyl. individually, cranking the engine with the throttle full open until the pressure stops increasing to get a good reading.

I always put the plugs back into the wires and lay them on a ground (or connect them to ground with a jumper) so sparks don't fly randomly & cause issues.

If necessary, you MAY have to charge the battery to get good consistent cranking before completing the test on all cylinders.

Results SHOULD be within 10% variation between cylinders - gauges precision can vary in absolute numbers, but the results SHOULD fall somewhere between 125 & 175 psi in general.

Anything ODD, get back to us with results & we'll try to give more info on what the results may mean & additional tests that can be done.

(this will also give the battery a good workout to make sure there is no issue there)


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