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Old 10-17-2015, 01:54 PM   #1
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2004 ZX3 Duratec Engine Light and Power Loss

I have a 2004 2.3 Duratec with 108Kmi. 6 months ago, while driving on the freeway, I felt a loss of power and the CEL (Check Engine Light) was flashing. Within 10 seconds, the CEL turned off and the engine power was recovered.

Fast forward 6 months and something similar happened again, but this time the CEL remained solid after the engine power was recovered. This flashing CEL and loss of power happened every several miles over the course of my 15 mile commute.

I brought the car to a shop and the mechanic said that there was a loose ground wire which hopefully fixed the problem and that the #3 cyclinder was misfiring, based on his OBD reader. I drove away from the shop with the CEL light off that day. On the way home, the the flashing CEL and loss of engine power sequence repeated every few miles over the course of 15 miles. So, the shop did not fix the problem and in fact, caused the problem to happen more often by just "tightening up" the wiring.

I changed the spark plugs and coils for all cylinders and the problem remained. Then, I bought a an Android-based Bluetooth OBD2 device and captured the fault codes. I drove the car until I triggered the flashing CEL and loss of power (1 mile) and was able to display the logged faults.

Descriptions are from OBD2-OBDII Engine Light Trouble Codes Definitions, Description and Repair Information | Engine-Codes.com
P0403- Exhaust Gas Recirculation Circuit Malfunction
P0003- Fuel Volume Regulator Control Circuit Low
P0203- Injector Circuit Malfunction Cyclinder 3
P0303- Cyclinder 3 Misfire Detected
P1600- Loss of KAM Power; Open Circuit
*****************************
a) I used a multimeter and found that the resistance of all 4 fuel injectors were 14 Ohms
b) I used a multimeter and found that the fuel injector harnesses pin 1's were all connected (no open circuit on that wire for any cylinders)

Any ideas what to check or replace next? I have an oscilloscope available to use as well.


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Old 10-17-2015, 02:39 PM   #2
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I suspect your mechanic was on the right track. P1600 would indicate your PCM is receiving intermittent power and that problem could possibly be the root of all others.
As a simple first step, check battery voltage, remove and thoroughly clean the battery terminals and check all the connectors at the battery posts are tight and free of corrosion.
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply BC_ZX3.

As advised, I used a small file and made sure all contact surfaces were properly conducting to the greatest degree possible. This made a HUGE difference. I took a test drive/errand run and the CEL remained off until 15 miles. At 15 Miles, I looked down at the CEL and it was ON, solid. I never saw it flashing and never felt a power loss. I used the OBD2 reading device and saw these codes:

P0302- Cylinder 2 misfire
P0316- Engine misfire detected on startup

I still may have a conduction issue, but somewhere else in the chain. Huge improvement though.
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Old 10-17-2015, 06:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FocusZX3_TSK View Post
...
I still may have a conduction issue, but somewhere else in the chain...
Clean terminal lugs <- to-> car frame connections located on the drivers side wheel well (inside the engine bay - close to the battery).
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:03 PM   #5
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Thanks Marde. Yes, all kinds of corrosion involved around those 8mm bolts. I cleaned both ring terminal sets and will drive the car tomorrow to test with the OBD reader ready.
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FocusZX3_TSK View Post
...Yes, all kinds of corrosion involved around those 8mm bolts...
Also note that: corrosion on the surface of those & any other lug will often bleed into the wire strands inside the insulation. Sometimes requires the lug be cut off, wire insulation stripped-back to find clean wire, and lug replaced with new.

Trouble spot shown in pic, inside red circle. Clean in pic, but that spot gets damaged in large and small terminal lugs.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:27 PM   #7
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Gotta wonder now a little about the plugs/coils as the misfire code changed cylinders.

2&3 are related, swapping a coil to one or four to see if the problem follows might be useful as a diagnostic. (one pair at a time to keep track)
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:59 PM   #8
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Off topic question for my own benefit: Do coil-on-plug ignitions fire using the "wasted spark" system? I would have thought not.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:10 PM   #9
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AFAIK the duratecs up to '10 use that system from what I've seen on it (never traced it entirely to prove that myself).

The data for which cylinder is misfiring comes from crank & cam sensor information. Crank alone for the variation in rotation and the cam to orient it to which cylinder of the possible pair.
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:28 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of the responses.

Today, I drove my normal 16 mile commute with no Check Engine Light. I appears that the problem may be solved. I'll be completely relieved when I can drive for more trouble free miles.
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