Wow, that's one major sentence! Without punctuation it can be read three or four different ways, but I was able to determine there is some misinformation there. It sounds like the car was repaired at a Ford dealership. They replaced the harmonic balancer but I don't know why or what the symptom was. When you picked up the car, the Check Engine light was on. The proper thing to do at that point is stop immediately and go back in and tell your service adviser about it. The mechanic deserves the chance to check his work and correct any mistakes. If you wait a day or two, (or even an hour), to go back, the service manager can rightfully assume this is a new problem that just started and has nothing to do with the work you were charged for. You'll be expected to pay for the new diagnosis and repair.
Your comment about the Check Engine light turning on because the battery was disconnected is one I've never heard before. That is exactly backward. If that were true, every car on the road would have its Check Engine light on. There are well over 2,000 potential diagnostic fault codes that can be set related to all the things the Engine Computer monitors. Only about half of them refer to things that could adversely affect emissions. THOSE are the codes that must turn on the Check Engine light. The other half of the codes can be set and you may never know it by the way the engine runs. A lot of people incorrectly assume there are no codes just because the Check Engine light is not on.
One way to ERASE those codes is by disconnecting the battery. That erases all the other things all the computers had learned previously and can make for some minor driveability issues for a few minutes until the conditions are met for those things to be relearned. Those usually occur without you even knowing it.
"everything will be OK then all of a sudden the engine seems to lose power..."
You didn't say what kind of store you went to, but if that was an auto parts store, those people are there to sell parts. Many of them never were a mechanic. You started out with, "everything will be okay", and they told you to check for spark. Logic dictates if the engine is running okay, there has to be spark to every spark plug. Testing for spark won't prove anything. "All of a sudden the engine seems to lose power". THAT is the time testing has to be done because that's when there's a defect occurring that needs to be located.
It probably is not practical to run alongside the car with the hood up while the problem acts up, so we have to try something else. In this case you're fortunate to have fault codes that specify which cylinders are misfiring. We have to consider spark, fuel, compression, and proper timing of all the events. If we are to assume only these two cylinders have problems, we can rule out timing because a problem there would affect all the cylinders and wouldn't be intermittent. While there are some rare exceptions, we can probably rule out compression because problems with that are rarely intermittent.
That leaves spark and fuel. Your engine uses an ignition coil pack with three individual coils. If one of them fires cylinders one and five, that is a good suspect. Also consider the Engine Computer tells those coils when to fire so it is also a suspect. If cylinders one and five are fired by different ignition coils, we can rule those two things out. Ignition coils can be intermittent, but the causes of those failures usually lead to a permanent failure, and therefore one that's easy to diagnose. When a coil-related problem continues to be intermittent, a better suspect is a stretched or corroded pair of terminals in a connector.
At the mileage you listed the spark plugs should have been replaced at least twice already. If they are due for replacement again, start with that. The next thing would be to switch number one and five spark plugs with two from the other cylinders, erase the fault codes, then see if codes set for misfires on cylinders one and five again or for the two cylinders you moved those spark plugs to. If two different cylinders set fault codes, suspect the spark plugs.
The same is true for the injectors. Whoever suggested feeling them to determine if they were clicking doesn't understand much about injectors. They're going to click whether they're passing fuel or not, unless one is shorted. A shorted injector will be detected and a totally different fault code will set. I'm confident that is not what happened here because first of all, that's pretty rare, and second, what's the chance it's going to happen to two at the same time? An injector can become plugged with varnish or debris, but that happens gradually over a long time. That blockage won't magically clear up intermittently either. What IS more likely to occur is a pair of terminals can become corroded in a connector, and those could cause one or multiple injectors to stop firing. Again, that would be detected as an open circuit to an injector and a much different fault code would set. You can identify a bad injector by switching the suspect one with one from a different cylinder, just like we did with the spark plugs. If a misfire code sets for the different cylinder, suspect the injector.
Be aware too that you can get an idea of the severity of the diagnostic fault code by how the Check Engine light acts. With codes related to things that don't affect emissions, the Check Engine light won't be on. With minor problems that are intermittent, the light will go off while you're driving when the problem stops occurring. With more serious problems, if it clears up, the light will stay on until you turn the ignition switch off and restart the engine. For more serious problems, even if it stops acting up, the light will always be on.
By far the most serious problems are when the Check Engine light is flashing. That means too much unburned fuel is going into the exhaust system and is going to overheat and damage the expensive catalytic converter. You're supposed to stop the engine right away.
Saturday, March 14th, 2015 AT 8:18 PM