1988 Ford Crown Victoria help needed asap

Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
  • 1988 FORD CROWN VICTORIA
  • 5.0L
  • V8
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 66,500 MILES
When driving, it kind of sputters like its not getting fuel, I can drive it like this but it jerks back and forth.
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have the same problem?
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 3:43 PM

28 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That isn't much to go on. You didn't even say which fuel system you have. Some cars still had a carburetor, and some had multi-point fuel injection. About the only thing you can do for this symptom, if you have fuel injection, is to check the fresh air tube between the mass air flow sensor and throttle body for cracks or leaks. If any air sneaks in that doesn't go through the mass air flow sensor, the Engine Computer won't command enough fuel to go with it. That will cause a hesitation or stumble on acceleration.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 3:58 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
Yeah my fault in new to this, 5.0 efi, 302, and it jerks back n forth, usually after about 50 mph, now its acting like this, no matter the mph, I'm a beginner to working on cars, but I want to know everything. All info is very appreciative, thank you
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+2
Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 5:55 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
What is the throttle body?
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 6:55 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If you think you'd like to get into working on cars, (you sorry sucker :) ), it will make life easier for both of us if you're ready to invest in a scanner. You can find used ones that will work on your car that are very inexpensive, as in less than 50 bucks. I have a Monitor 4000 that does GM, Ford, and Chrysler up to '95 models. It cost over $600.00 new but it's obsolete now. Today I use Chrysler's DRB3 scanner because with an extra plug-in card it will do emissions-related stuff on any car brand sold in the U.S. After 1995. With that card it also works on older Chrysler products so I never use my older scanners anymore. A lot of independent shops also use the DRB3 or other aftermarket products that do even more, so they are selling off their older equipment. That's why you can find them so cheap on places like eBay.

You don't want just a simple code reader. You don't need those for GMs and Chryslers. With Fords, before around '91 or '92, getting fault codes out is a miserable ordeal. It can be done with a test light or voltmeter with a pointer, but it's easier with a code reader. However, the full scanner lets you view live data too. That means you can see current sensor data and see what outputs the computer is turning on and off. Some of the tests are "bidirectional" meaning not only can you see what the computer is seeing and doing, you can talk back to it and command it to do things like turn on radiator fans or the fuel pump for testing those circuits. One of the problems with the early scanners is they only access Engine Computers. My Monitor came with an extra cartridge to access Chrysler's electronically-controlled transmissions, and now I have a cartridge for anti-lock brakes, but the newer scanners can access all the computers on the cars without switching to different cartridges.

By '92 or '93 Ford had made huge leaps with their self-diagnostics, but things really improved with all the '96 models and brands. With those, there's well over a thousand potential fault codes just for the Engine Computer. In '88 all cars were pretty primitive. There may be only two or three dozen codes and they weren't very descriptive. Often they only told you the circuit that needed diagnosis, but not what the unacceptable condition was. You had to figure that out with voltage readings.

The first thing I would do on your car is start with the basics. New spark plugs and wires, and a distributor cap and rotor. Eliminate the easy and common stuff, then if the problem is still there, we'll have to look into fuel pressure and ignition timing. Ignition timing can be erratic if there's wear in the bushing in the distributor or if the timing chain is stretched.

Also check for vacuum leaks. Don't forget that fresh air tube between the mass air flow sensor and the throttle body. Leaks there are a real common cause of hesitations and stumbles during acceleration, and surging at steady speeds.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 7:00 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
Yes I will check for one of them monitors, and I wish I already knew the basics, to auto care, hey thanks, maybe this info could help with my info to you, sometimes it sounds like almost a back fire, its not the original motor its a motor out of a 96 mustang, and wat causes the motor to not stay on when I start it, I turn it over and it will turn off
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 7:22 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You mean the starter cranks the engine okay, the engine starts and runs after you release the ignition switch, then it stalls a few seconds later? If that is right, the first thing to look at is if you get the nice "idle flare-up" to 1500 rpm when the engine starts. If you do not, ... In fact, if you have to hold the accelerator pedal down 1/4" to get the engine to start and stay running, that is a problem with the idle air control (IAC) valve. The valve itself doesn't seem to cause a lot of trouble. A better suspect is a loose or corroded terminal in its electrical connector. By the way, the clue is the engine WILL stay running as long as you keep your foot on the gas pedal. If it stalls anyway, that is a fuel supply issue.

The throttle body takes the place of the carburetor used on older cars. It just has the throttle blade and controls only the air flow, not the fuel metering. A throttle position sensor sits on the side of it but it has rather little to do with fuel metering. If you don't know what to look for, you can follow the fresh air tube from the air filter to the throttle body where that tube attaches. You can also look for the throttle cable. It's attached to a quarter-round cable guide that sits on the side of the throttle body.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 7:52 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your info, and that sounds like that's the problem, I do have to hold the pedal down. Crazy, so now that's what is wrong, how can I change the idle air control valve.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 8:45 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The IAC valve is held on with two bolts, but it doesn't fail very often. Corroded terminals in the connector are more common. Before you spend money on a new valve, measure the resistance between the two terminals for continuity. You can also use a pair of small jumper wires to apply voltage with a flashlight battery. With the engine running, the 1.5 volts should cause a noticeable speed increase. If it does, the valve is okay. If it doesn't, first remove the valve and check that the passages aren't plugged with carbon.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 9:35 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
The connectors need to be changed if they're corroded. How would I do this myself, and have you heard of the big banana scanner.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 9:46 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Easiest is to cut off a clean connector in a salvage yard. You can buy most connectors at auto parts stores too. Splice the wires, then seal the connections with heat-shrink tubing. Never use electrical tape because that will unravel into a gooey mess on a hot day. Most of the time the terminals can be cleaned with contact cleaner and a small wire brush. If you can pull the terminals out, you can often use sandpaper too to shine them up.

I haven't heard of that scanner. Look for one from a company that is still in business so you can get updated cartridges or operating information. The Monitor 4000 was made by OTC which made the Chrysler DRB2 that looked almost the same. Snapon is another popular brand but they are very proud of their products and charge accordingly for them. Genysis is another popular brand that is a lot less expensive than Snapon stuff, but I don't know how far back they go.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 AT 10:41 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
Now it won't even start, maybe its outta gas
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Sunday, February 9th, 2014 AT 5:55 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Check the fuel pressure or see if it runs on starting fluid.
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Sunday, February 9th, 2014 AT 8:54 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
Ok I will, how do I check the fuel pressure, and where would I spray the starter fluid.
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Sunday, February 9th, 2014 AT 8:58 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There should be a test port on the fuel rail on top of the injectors. You can open the fresh air tube anywhere and spray starting fluid in.
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Sunday, February 9th, 2014 AT 9:32 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
What if there's no m a f on my car
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 AT 1:04 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
No maf in air intake
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 AT 4:08 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Gotta have one if you have fuel injection. Only Chrysler has never used a mass air flow sensor.

I can't find any listing for a mass air flow sensor for your car. There are listings for the throttle body, so now I'm confused. At any rate, you should be able to open the fresh air tube someplace to spray in starting fluid.
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 AT 4:16 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
So lol there's not a mass air flow sensor on my car?
And do I have to drain the oil to put a oil sendinding unit on
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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 AT 5:32 PM
Tiny
CHUCKYB10
  • MEMBER
And what else can I do to increase a lil horsepower and get my motor lean
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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 AT 5:35 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If you're changing the oil pressure sending unit for the dash gauge or light, you don't have to drain the oil. A little will dribble out. You just don't want the engine running while you do that or you'll have a dandy surprise.

You're the third Ford owner today to ask about more power. What do you mean by "more lean"? The Engine Computer monitors the fuel mixture in the exhaust and it fine tunes that mixture for the lowest emissions. There are some things you can do to trick the computer into commanding more fuel, but you'll be lacking the additional air needed to get any power from that gas. You're limited by the volume of the cylinders.

One thing we used to do on racing engines was to change the camshaft timing. Two degrees makes a huge difference in the personality of an engine. Your camshaft sprocket is positioned by a dowel pin in the camshaft. You used to be able to buy a new sprocket with multiple dowel holes. You selected the hole that provided the amount of change you wanted. They were really meant for "blueprinting" an engine which just means building it exactly to very tight original specifications, but they were available to build the engine for specific purposes too. You also used to be able to buy offset dowel pins to accomplish the same thing.

If you remember "T" for "tight, "T" for "top end", and "T" for, ... Uhm, ... "Advanced", if you would tighten the pulling side of the timing chain that would advance the camshaft making the valves open sooner. That would increase torque at the high end of the rpm range.

If you remember "L" for "loose", "L" for "low end", and "L" for "late", a loose timing chain will make the valves open late and that will increase low-end torque while sacrificing high-end torque. This is typically done in motor home engines that need the torque on the low end to get going at stop signs. You won't pass anyone at highway speeds with those engines without a mile head start.

I have a 440 c.I. Out of a highway police car. Everyone knows those are major powerhouses, but mine goes from 0 to 60 mph like any old 318 c.I. From 60 to 90 it comes alive and just about tears the seats off the hinges! It was made for highway pursuit and the cam timing was tailored for that.

I also have a 318 c.I. That I totally rebuilt, and used a gas mileage camshaft. Come to find out it was the exact same part used in motor home engines. I could squeal the tires all over the place with the additional low-end torque, and it did increase the fuel mileage on that big old station wagon.

A lot of people notice their tired old engines seem to have lots of power when taking off but they have a hard time passing other cars on the highway. That is due to a worn timing chain that makes the valve timing late. Simply replacing the worn chain and sprockets will restore the high-end power.

Thanks to the politicians and tree-huggers, there isn't much else you can do. The exhaust system is already plenty free-flowing even with the catalytic converters. Anything else you can modify to get more power is going to increase emissions, and that's where the rub comes in. We used to install camshafts with different valve overlap and duration but those just moved the power band around to the desired range for a specific purpose. You have to increase the compression ratio or the volume of the cylinders to get more power. Short of adding a turbocharger to stuff in more air, there's no practical way to get more power.
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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 AT 7:11 PM

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