I have had the same thing with a 1999 Mountaineer "facing forward with low fuel".
What you are describing with the slooww starting and gasping for fuel is very odd. It could be the fuel filter but I doubt it.
Hopefully this will take care of it for you, it will cost about $10.00 but it is worth it.
The solution is called "SeaFoam" you can find it in any automotive store.
While your engine is running SeaFoam will enter your combustion chamber to do a thorough cleaning. It will put up a pretty good smoke show like this:
You might want to find a low populated place to let it burn off.
*SeaFoam burn off Smoke picture credit to JLSparky7's (Serious Explorations).
There are a few different procedures of how SeaFoam is used.
The link below is for a video to get the best results using SeaFoam. Performed on a 1996 explorer 5.0L "all years" are compatible.***Tip>>> You do not have to put SeaFoam in your oil if you do not want to, I don't...I use (1/2 vacuum line intake) (1/2 fuel) <<<***
Here is the link *(credit to JLSparky7's)* :
Length (3 min. 19 seconds).
I hope that works for you.
Thursday, December 10th, 2009 AT 9:45 PM