1999 Ford Contour

1999 Ford Contour 4 cyl 182, 00 miles

Ok this car is making me crazy and has managed to baffle every single one of my mechanic friends. My car drives fine, it doesn't seem to have any problems when I'm giving it gas. However as soon as I take my food off the accelerator and try to idle, the car sputters, shakes, wheezes, and most of the time it stalls. I took the car to a local auto parts store and they ran a quick diagnostic which turned out to be no help, and everyone that has looked at the car agrees its an air problem. But no one can locate where the problem is. Ive heard everything from a bad Mass Air flow sensor, a bad Idle Air control valve, a blown air intake valve, a busted O2 sensor, and even having a pack rat stuck in the hoses. No two people can agree. We have ruled out a vacuum leak however and thats about it. It would be nice to be able to pick just one part to replace and would hopefully fix my idling problem.
Do you
have the same problem?
Monday, June 21st, 2010 AT 3:43 AM

1 Reply

Hi Debski88. Welcome to the forum. I had the exact same symtoms a few years ago with my '88 Grand Caravan. The faster I drove, the better it ran. Stalled as soon as I let off the gas. Two days later it started running fine for the next 6 months, then started acting up again. A former student found the problem which made sense AFTER analyzing it. Suspect a plugged pickup sock inside the gas tank. I suppose a fuel filter would cause the same symptoms, but at least on Chrysler products, they last the life of the car.

The reason the stalling occurs at low speeds is that's when the largest volume of fuel flows through that sock. That's not the same volume that gets siphoned off to go into the engine. Had I known at the time what the problem was, I think I would have found proof by disconnecting and plugging the vacuum hose where it connects to the fuel pressure regulator. That would make the engine run poorly, but it would run. Fuel pressure would increase making it harder for fuel to get through the regulator and go back into the tank. That means less volume must get past that plugged screen in the tank.

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Monday, June 21st, 2010 AT 10:20 AM

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