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[:(][sadpanda]

I changed the rear pcv hose and the pcv valve and ---- no difference at all to my problem.

I know that stuff needed to be changed out because it was not in good shape - but it was a pain to get those hoses off - they are really hard to get to - and the man at the ford parts desk was idiotic - and it was a holiday weekend and took days to get the parts - and I smashed my thumb - and and and!!!!! and then it did not work.

So frustrating.

recap: when I start car engine idles very very rough. chugging like crazy - engine shaking around... sometimes dies. if I keep foot on the gas it evens out. if I can get it to stay running and shift into gear (any) it does not smooth out. It was only intermittent problem but a week ago it got worse all of the sudden and now has not gone away. turning a/c on and off does not seem to make a difference. no check engine light.

So I have two competing opinions here in real life. One is - I need to check and change my timing belt. Don't worry I am not going to try and change that myself LOL but I will take the cover off tomorrow and look at it. I have about 140,000 mi on car and to my knowledge it has never been changed so I know that is overdue.

Reason my friend thinks we should check that is - engine seems too hot - like after just a few minutes of running it is very hot - the temp gauge is fine but after just a minute or two running - chugging as it were - the heat is just radiating off the engine. Not like it feels normally. he says also maybe there is a sensor not right - like o2 sensor or throttle sensor - says it is too lean - too much air not enough gas making engine too hot.

(also and prob unrelated is that car gets too hot on our hottest summertime days - and it is HOT here - when driving in stop and go traffic in the afternoon - I was planning to drain and clean radiator and see it that worked or get new radiator - not sure if that is related - I have already had new hoses and thermostat on this radiator last summer)

OK other opinion is that computer is bad. My moms hubby is saying this on the basis of another car he had (not ford focus) having similar problem and lots of things tried never fixed it but changing out computer did. supposedly. problem here is that computer for my car would have to be programmed - not a cheap and easy thing to try.

I have changed out MAF sensor a few months ago. This bad idle has been bothering me for a couple of years at least. But it was only happening intermittently. Every time I have car in the shop I ask them to look at it - but they say it didn't recur when they had it so nothing they can do - which sounds like crap to me since they could have found that bad hose easier than I could but whatever. So anyway on one trip they said the mass air flow sensor needed cleaning and they did it and it was a lot better - only a few seconds of chugging instead of a couple of minutes before it evened out. after a while it started getting bad again so I cleaned it myself. with the special cleaner. it didnt really help and poking around is when I found the oil in spark plugs - thats when I changed out the valve cover gasket and all the plugs and coil and wires. and a friend helpfully cleaned my mass air flow sensor again with carb cleaner - which it says NOT to do but he said would be fine - and that thing never worked again. had to buy a new one. about $100. Thanks a lot!!!!

What would you folks do next?

thanks for all your patient help!

Georgiaberry
 

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maybe I did not get hoses on right? it seemed ok - I pushed them on as well as I could and in the one place there was a clamp I did replace with hose clamp...
 

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Made this a new thread. After 2 pages on the PCV, you'll get more looks & better advice starting with the current problem separately.

I'm "old school" in liking to start with a plug check & compression test to see how it's running & check the mechanical condition of the engine.

You've done plugs, found a leaking valve cover & oiled plugs that would hurt operation, but any plug evidence is gone.

At 140,000, checking that timing belt is certainly on the list - and even if OK now it's past time for replacement. Timing could have been checked when replacing that valve cover gasket, an opportunity lost there & it WILL have to come off again to replace the belt eventually.

A lot of scattered guessing going on without much reasoning behind it, such as 'replace the computer - it isn't running right".
 

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thanks for making new thread for me -

about a year and a half ago I had what I thought was a catastrophic engine failure with this vehicle - check engine light was blinking, engine not running right.

mechanic discovered coolant under spark plugs. so diagnosed cracked head or something like that. so we towed the car home to figure out what to do and my BIL who is mechanic did all kinds of tests on it - compression check, checked coolant system was not losing pressure etc all came out ok. we decided coolant had got into engine from a situation where car overheated a couple of months prior. also he said my plugs were so bad that could be why car wasnt running. so we changed all that out - cleaned out coolant in engine - put it all back together and it ran ok

we looked at the timing belt at that time and it looked fine. no worn notches. not sure why we did not replace valve cover gasket then. I did not know how easy it would be or I would have done it then. now I know.

so anyway that compression check showed engine had good compression

also last time I had car in the shop - they hooked it up to their "fancy" diagnostic machine and it did not show any codes. that is when they cleaned MAF sensor.

OK today I will take plugs out and look at each of them. and look down in the holes and see if anything looks wrong in there...

when i changed valve cover gasket I did not take timing belt cover off so did not check timing belt again at that time but today I will take it off and look at it
 

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Have you tried looking at the emission lines? Follow the small black hoses around the intake or firewall. A lot of "sputtering" can be from dry rotted hoses and or boots. This can be a easy fix versus throwing parts at something to see if works out. Also check your plug wires to see if they are arcing and your coil pack. Best of Luck[driving]
 

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look under the hood when it's dark, primarily at the spark wires. if u see a spark leaking out replace. I found that's better then feeling it up with ur hand, that hurts. also take the dist cap off were the wires go to. make sure there's no corrosion under there.
 

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No dist. cap on these, just a 4 post coil.

Checking for vacuum leaks/bad hoses is always a good idea, as is the spark check mentioned.

Checks from a year and a half ago are meaningless now, to be honest - it's like saying it was fine when it was new.

Prev. coolant leak at the plug area needs more info.. There ARE screw in plugs between the spark plugs that sometimes leak, that would put coolant in the plug wells but NOT in the cylinders, similar to when the cover gasket leaked oil there.

Taking a look to see what's going on NOW is a good step at this point (plugs/belt/etc.). Start with basics then keep checking one item at a time.
 

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With a bad idle that has caused trouble for 'years' you cannot assume ANYTHING done there is right, time to start doing some real work there.

'A lot of scattered guessing going on without much reasoning behind it, such as 'replace the computer - it isn't running right".'

I so second that thought. Several things totally out to lunch there. You absolutely cannot simply determine engine is overheating by how hot you 'think' it is. You cannot look inside spark plug holes to really tell anything either. And again, no way can you tell a timing belt is bad by simply looking at it, you can if it's broken or torn, but many jump 5 minutes after you say 'it looks good', they ALWAYS do until they jump.

AND, the hose must not have been 'bad' because no difference in the running at all. Maybe the mechanics know a bit more than you eh? Looking bad and being bad are two different things, like the 'engine seems too hot' issue.

FYI, I use carb cleaner, not dedicated MAF cleaner on my MAFs and have for years, the only difference is the amount of VOC in the spray. That and of course about a 60% increase in price. I'm cheap and willing to wait five minutes longer for the carb cleaner to dry, it's slower.
 

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DO NOT use carb cleaner on your MAF , if you do you could remove a coating thats on the MAF wires ( the heated wires ) and why MAF and electrical contact cleaners are very close to the same

Can you find or know anyone local that has a xcal2 , 3 , 4 that you can barrow I will be more then glad to look over some datalogs and tell you what I see

Tom
 

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To me, sounds like a bad Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor.
It can go bad, leaking fuel into the intake manifold, and you'd never know unless you checked it. You can datalog fuel pressure or throw a gauge on it and it'll look pretty normal, depending on how bad the leak is ... when mine went bad my logs were in the 80psi range. Dead giveaway it was leaking.
 

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Tom I do not agree, mechanics used carb cleaner on MAFs for years before they ever came out with MAF specific cleaners. The only coating on the wire will be glass if any at all, most have none. Bare wire conducts temp change fastest.

Look at the MSDS, contact cleaner comes nowhere near the same ingredients as MAF cleaner which is mostly naptha. Naptha contains xylene and toluene and other ethers and aromatics just like carb cleaner. What makes it dry fast, they also leave behind small amounts of residue. Many contact cleaners are simply R134A refrigerant, put that on a MAF and watch the glass crack. Carb cleaner has acetone, toluene, and xylene.

I have read all the disclaimers of carb cleaner, they simply are not true, calculated to make you pay the exorbitant price of MAF cleaner which is hugely overpriced considering the base high percentage product is dirt cheap. Just another scam like so many others. Been using carb cleaner on MAFs for years....................driving 3 cars around now after using it and more than once. Naptha will remove any possible delicate coating the acetone or xylene will, only slower, they are all solvents and being petroleum distillates they pretty much leave behind a residue too. You won't see it but it's there, but try to stick epoxy glue to it, it doesn't hold and comes loose. The net is full of tales saying no residue there, as usual most are kooky, as we used to say in the '60s.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Resolved! I finally gave up fiddling with it and towed the car to the mechanics shop.

Their ticket said: Checked performance, diagnosed and replaced faulty egr regulator solenoid, test drove and monitored - operating properly.

So - it works :) and I am happy.

Thanks so much for all your good advice. I have learned so much about how my car works (and it is very interesting) and I have a lot more confidence to attempt keeping her running better.

If I knew how I would change to post title to add "Resolved - faulty EGR regulator solenoid replaced" so others could perhaps find this solution - could an admin help me with that if it is appropriate?
 

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and re: the carb cleaner on the MAF sensor - all I know is - I cleaned it with the special cleaner and it did not get better or worse. Made no difference. Friend cleaned it with carb cleaner and it never worked again. I bought new MAF sensor and tested by starting the car with the new one and the old one and the old one def did not work - so if it wasn't the carb cleaner that ruined it that was a pretty big coincidence. but maybe?
 

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Friend cleaned it with carb cleaner and it never worked again. I bought new MAF sensor and tested by starting the car with the new one and the old one and the old one def did not work - so if it wasn't the carb cleaner that ruined it that was a pretty big coincidence. but maybe?
MAF sensors are often destroyed by the cleaner (person) and not so much by the cleaner (chemical). They must be cleaned delicately. But in this case, I guess we won't know which.

Glad your issues are resolved.
 

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Key word 'delicately', I so second that one..................
 
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