1997 Ford Thunderbird V-6

Tiny
BFFBPETE
  • 1997 FORD THUNDERBIRD
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 47,000 MILES

I have a 1997 Ford T-Bird with 47,000 miles and V-6 motor. While driving at approx. 45mph it missed once, then again, then a couple of times then just quit. While turning the motor over, it didn't fire AT ALL, initially. It has a completely full fuel tank, I even added a bottle of HEET to rule out crappy fuel. While checking for a spark at the plug, alone, looking through the windshield and hood hinge gap, it appeared there was no spark but, I couldn't see well. While turning it over with the plug wire disconnected the engine started up. I re-installed the plug and wire and it started and ran fine then shut off. It will start, after many tries, then run fine and shut off. It shuts off just like you turned the key off. No sputtering or anything like that. It goes from running just fine to off, just like someone shut off the spark. The DTC says it was running lean at 43mph. I cleared the code by disconnecting the battery, ran it several times and could not get any other codes to pop up. The check engine light has been on for several weeks. I cleared it and it comes back on after driving the vehicle two or three times. I just assumed an O2 sensor was failing. I am thinking the PCM, the MAF or the Cam Position Sensor. Am I on the right track? And if so, how do I troubleshoot it to the correct component?

Thanks,
Pete

Also. I have been running 89 octane due to pinging during acceleration, (leads me to the MAF)the night before the car quit I filled up with 87 octane. The car has been running perfect prior to this problem.

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 1:02 AM

24 Replies

Tiny
FIXITMR
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Quit while driving is usually cam/crank sensor.

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 2:09 AM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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Thanks! That's what I bought, I'll install it and get back with ya if it doesn't fix it. Appreciate the response.

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 2:19 AM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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Ok, where is it? Hahaha, I looked all around, parts place said it was on the lower right side, nothing there as far as I can tell. I found one thing on-line, this must be a well kept Ford secret. A guy said it was under the coil pack, under what you would think is the distributor. Something about disconnecting a water line and setting it to 26deg ATC. Can ya clear this up for me? Where's it at? And, is there anything I have to do besides R&R the part? Thanks, Pete

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 8:25 AM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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Which one, crank or cam sensor?

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 7:00 PM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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Thought they were the same thing, hell, might as well tell me where both are. Knowing me it will be the crank sensor since I bought the cam sensor. Also, is it just an R&R or is there anything I have to do so the sensor knows where it is?

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!
Pete

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 9:02 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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I was gonna say CKP more likely than CMP? But it's just a guess since no relative codes thrown. The wiring plugs are known issues.

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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 AT 7:33 AM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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Yea, I changed the Cam Sensor, made my finger bleed but, that was about it. I don't know what I was thinking, of course the crank and cam are different. So I guess I'll try the crank sensor next. I'll check those web pages ya sent too. I don't know why it won't spit out a code kinda irritating! Thanks!

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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 AT 10:40 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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Hows it going?

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Monday, June 6th, 2011 AT 10:39 PM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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I picked up a crank sensor. Actually, the guy sold me the crank sensor first I guess and now I have a cam sensor. I think. Ya think the people at the car parts place would know SOMETHING. So, I have one sensor that is straight with about a 45 degree angle and a magnet in it and one that is round or circular with a depression in it like a very small distributor cap. No wires on top, I mean it looks like it fits on top of something if that makes any sense. I haven't had a chance to try and find where the heck this one is located yet though, very busy at work. Thanks for following up with me, I appreciate that! Do ya know where this sensor is located?

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 AT 9:04 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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The round thingy is the cam sensor. Should be under the coil thingy where your plug wires come from front top left of engine?

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Thursday, June 9th, 2011 AT 9:55 PM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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Ok, right on, glad I waited, that's what I thought but, the boneheads at the parts place say it's on the right lower side of the engine. Yea, he had me believing I had already replaced the cam sensor. So under the coil pack which is under the distributer looking deal. THANKS!

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Thursday, June 9th, 2011 AT 11:45 PM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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Ok. I replaced the cam sensor, didn't do a thing. However, I was able to see that I have a totally intermittent spark. While turning the key, the spark goes from absolutly nothing, to nice and strong whenever the hell it wants. Of course, when the strong spark appears, it immediatly fires right up, then goes right back off. Sometimes it will run for a few minutes, sometimes just a few seconds. Sometimes it turns and turns with no spark, sometimes it will fire right up several times in a row. Hahahaha. So, what do ya think? Thanks again! Pete

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Friday, June 10th, 2011 AT 5:24 AM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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Only 47,000? Do you store the car? Owned it since new?

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Friday, June 10th, 2011 AT 6:00 AM
Tiny
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I bought it in December for $3,000. Had 42,000 miles. Evidently it was stored for awhile, good call! It was kind of an estate sale but, I know the people. Mom died and it was in the garage for some time but, I don't know exactly how long. I drove it several times a week at least, never had any problem except the check engine light came on while I was driving home from work the day I bought it so, I figure they just cleared the light even though they say they know nothing about it. So I put just about 5,000 trouble free miles before it just quit with no warning other than the light which I just figured was an O2 sensor. This car is brand new, inside and out. However, I have noticed a couple of things, like there is no trunk or hood lights, no housing, no wiring, nothing there which leads me to believe it may have been in an accident or at least re-painted. Very smooth running, shifting, everything works. Thanks.

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Friday, June 10th, 2011 AT 8:40 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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You could try a used PCM? Although I suspect wiring/connector issue. I bought a used car stored (ford) and it drove fine for awhile also but then wouldnt turn over ended up being a neutral safety switch connector corrosion. I wiggled it to find it. Also had a coil connector intermittant for same reason.

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Saturday, June 11th, 2011 AT 8:43 PM
Tiny
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I did have a one time odd problem with my emergency flashers, they wouldn't work and then the directionals wouldn't work, then they worked fine. Only happened once. Is there any way that could be connected to the problem I'm having? Man I hate to take it in and get raked over the coals! It's weird how it was fine and then suddenly wasn't. I was figuring that it was gonna be something simple. Probably is once I figure it out. Thanks again!

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Saturday, June 11th, 2011 AT 8:59 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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Oops. Forgot the coils. You could pick up a used 1 of those and try it?

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Saturday, June 11th, 2011 AT 11:19 PM
Tiny
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I was thinking that but, I thought the coil would either work or not work. I'll check it out.

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Sunday, June 12th, 2011 AT 12:08 AM
Tiny
FIXITMR
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Thats usually the case but there are no absolutes with car parts! Any luck?

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Saturday, June 25th, 2011 AT 5:55 AM
Tiny
BFFBPETE
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No, haven't got back to it yet, been nice out so I've been riding my motorcycle. I do need to get back to it though. I appreciate you following up!

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Monday, June 27th, 2011 AT 11:17 PM

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