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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

The wife told me yesterday her car was jerking a bit while she was driving, but I didn't get the chance to check on it yet. She just went to a friend's house a few blocks away, and it died when she got there. I went over to check it out...

1.) I turned her engine over for 1-2 seconds at a time about ten times before it started. There was a jerking, squealing thud on most attempts.

2.) It started, but was stumbling and stuttering badly with a belt-squeal sounding chirp. It wasn't constant. I revved the engine gently a few times, and the stutter and squeal continued, but it kept running.

3.) I crossed my fingers and revved it up to ~3k for a few seconds. The stutter stopped, the belt(?) made one last higher-pitched chirp, and it smoothed out completely and ran like normal.

Extra infos: it's very cold here right now, I recently replaced her exhaust manifold gasket, she needs a new valve cover gasket (my next project for when it warms up a bit; it's leaking), no DTC was thrown or stored that I could see through this debacle.

Any thoughts?
 

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Have you washed the engine recently? I had a similar issue with my zetec. What happens is that water gets into the spark plug wells and shorts out the signal between wires causing a misfire.

Pull out a plug wire from the engine while the car is OFF and see if there's any water down there. If there is then you have get it all out. It won't evaporate by itself because the wire boot seals it in. I used a nozzle from a spray bottle to dry out mine.

Also check your ignition coil pack. I had to replace mine recently because it stopped sending a spark to cylinder 4.
 

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HairyFocus, there's no coil pack on an '07...it has coil-on plugs.

I'd guess you have a pulley that's starting to seize, hence the jerking and squealing on the belt.
The best way to diagnose that is to slide the belt off the tensioner, and turn each pulley manually, feeling for looseness and listening for grinding or other unhappiness.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
HairyFocus, there's no coil pack on an '07...it has coil-on plugs.

I'd guess you have a pulley that's starting to seize, hence the jerking and squealing on the belt.
The best way to diagnose that is to slide the belt off the tensioner, and turn each pulley manually, feeling for looseness and listening for grinding or other unhappiness.
This would make sense, except for the stumbling engine, and the fact that the thread title specifies my wife's 2003 and not my 2007. Thanks for the input though; that squealing is probably a second issue that needs to be addressed and I will take care of it while I replace the valve cover gasket. =)

Have you washed the engine recently? I had a similar issue with my zetec. What happens is that water gets into the spark plug wells and shorts out the signal between wires causing a misfire.

Pull out a plug wire from the engine while the car is OFF and see if there's any water down there. If there is then you have get it all out. It won't evaporate by itself because the wire boot seals it in. I used a nozzle from a spray bottle to dry out mine.

Also check your ignition coil pack. I had to replace mine recently because it stopped sending a spark to cylinder 4.
Why, yes I actually did! In attempting to diagnose the source of a burning oil smell (turns out it's the aforementioned valve cover gasket leaking onto the exhaust manifold) we gave it a very thorough bath, because the engine compartment was absolutely filthy. I was even looking with mistrust at the little pool of water in the center channel of the cover, worrying about exactly that, but contented myself that my car (the 07) didn't have a problem with the same kind of hosedown.

I'll check this out, thanks!
 

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My bad. Read the title and your info and just figured you'd hit the wrong number when you were typing it in.

If clearing out the water doesn't help, check the coil harness then. I've had two first-gen Foci develop small cracks right at the plug that ended up causing misfires...one did it for weeks before ever throwing a code.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Okay guys, so I think this is bad. I pulled the spark plugs, and found this:



So I wicked as much out with paper towels as I could, then finished drying it out with this...


(that's set to "blow" btw XD)

After it was dry, I fired up the car, and it started like a champ. It ran like one too, until I tried to drive anywhere. The engine sputtered and stuttered for the whole 0.2 miles down my drive until it just quit, and absolutely refused to start again. I checked for codes...

P103 - MAF Circuit High Input
P200 - Fuel Injector Circuit Malfunction
P300 - Random Misfire
P400 - Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Malfunction

FML, guys. I'm not even sure where to start here.
 

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Well, like I said the same happened to me after I dried the spark plugs. It ran for a little bit then started bucking and missfiring again.

Make sure that's completely dry in there and test your ignition coil. I don't know the best way to test it but here's how I did it.

Start pulling spark plug wires one by one until it's just off the plug. You're gonna hear it arching inside as soon as you pull it away from the plug. Keep doing that until you find the one that's arching the weakest or not at all. Then trace that wire to the tignition coil and do the same test. But be careful the ignition coil archs pretty strong. If you're getting no arch between the wire and the coil here are a couple of things to check. Make sure the plug on the front of the coil pack is on properly and one wire on the back is good also. If everything looks good and is secure you have a bad coil pack.

Don't buy a valucraft coil pack it's crap. Get motorcraft if you can.
 
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