Engine Performance problem
2001 Ford Explorer 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 142500 miles
I really could use some sincere opinions about how to approach this situation. I'd appreciate some good advice.
I have a 2001 Ford Sportrac, 4WD, v6, 142,500 miles. The vehicle is currently at a dealers shop and I am trying to figure out whether the added repairs being suggested are valid or are merely hogwash.
Leading up to last Tuesday evening, I had two episodes were the engine had difficulty starting but I ultimately did get the truck started. Other than that, the vehicle displayed no other symptoms. No rough running, no loss of engine acceleration. Nothing other than the two prior starting instances. Then last Tuesday evening I came out of the grocery store and the vehicle simply would not start. Even when pumping the gas pedal, I notice I never picked up any fuel smell. I checked to make sure all the plug wire boots were tight - they were. Due to the location, my only option was to have it towed the next day to the Ford Dealer straight up the road.
The dealer service department called the next day and said I had a bad fuel pump. Made perfect sense to me so I authorized them to replace both the fuel pump and the fuel filter at a cost of $853. However, they called back the next day when I was scheduled to pick it up and said there is an additional problem and that the truck starts perfectly but now it is " running rough". They also said we noticed you had Autolite plugs in the motor, that's not a Ford recommended part. When did you install those and neither are the plug wires?&Quot; I told them those plugs were installed at 105,000 miles and the wires are Motorcraft wires. I told him that as I understood it, Autolite plugs were at one time OEM for Ford models, he replied " that was eons ago". He then told me their mechanic was checking on the roughness of the engine after installing the new fuel pump and filter and one of the wires " disintegrated" in his hand. I asked how much for the 6 new plugs and 6 new wires installed. He quoted me an additional $355.00. I was almost fit to be tied. I told them that the only symptom my vehicle had before it was brought to their shop was that the engine wouldn't turn over at starting, there definitely was no prior rough running. No dash lights indicator. Nothing.
I told them I would pay them for the fuel pump and filter work but they should replace but not charge me for the wire they said " disintegrated" in their hands. With some resistance, they finally agreed. They called back when they said my truck was ready, and said " we replaced the wire but it does run a little rough now". Unfortunately a doctor appt prevented me from getting there before the service desk closed so I went last night to pick up my truck and paid at the cashier counter, unfortunately by that time the service dept was closed. Until Monday.
When I went to fire up my truck, it fired up just like a charm, no rough idling. Nothing. However I immediately noticed my O/D on/off dashboard light was constantly lit. No matter whether I pushed in on the overdrive button on my shift arm, the light remained on. I put the car into drive and it immediately had trouble maintaining power. I " babied" the gas pedal and I could not get the truck to move more than a few inches at best. It felt as though when it was in drive gear, it wanted to die, yet when I placed it back in park, it sat there idling perfectly smooth.
This leaves me wondering as to whether I am being taken advantage of. When I complained that the truck was not " just running a little rough" but that it would not move at all, I was told at the payment desk that it could possibly be that there was some much debris or gunk in your old fuel filter that that gunk may have sifted throughout the engine. And maybe the engine needed to be flushed out now. My question to that was, then why was that never mentioned as a possible resolution until now? All I heard about was the plug and plug wires.
So for now, it has to sit at the dealer until the shop re-opens on Monday. So my questions:
1.) This new inability for the vehicle to move in drive gear, could that be a result of built up gunk from the earlier fuel filter? If so then I don't know why flushing the system was never mentioned and they only talked about the spark plugs and wires at that point.
2.) Does it sound like these guys are being legitimate or maybe taking me for a ride? No pun intended.
I'm retired and like many today, I don't have a lot of money to get by with. This vehicle is my only means of getting around and I just want an objective opinion on whether it sounds like these guys are trying to gouge me or not.
Thanks in advance for any opinions and helpful info.
Honestly, it sounds like they are up to the bull, I am assuming that you are a senior citizen, correct? Unfortunately these people try to get over on seniors and women, and senior women, I dont know what it is but I suggest, you start throwing your fists around and demanding that they put your vehicle the way it was before you brought it in, or start threatening them, you can go to the attorney general for your state to put a needle in their a@#. Or the bbb. In the mean time when you get a chance, take a good look down by the transmission and see if they unplugged anything, they might be trying to set you up for the taking, This is one of the reasons why I never ever recommend the dealer for anything accept, making keys, they are for the most part, scheming, overcharging, and all together no good in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with taking your vehicle to a reputable shop in the neighborhood. Let me know what happens
joe, oh and a dirty fuel system will not cause the car not to move, that is associated with the transmission.
September, 22, 2009 AT 11:07 AM
Legit: I want to extend my thanks for your info - as it really helped me in approaching this situation and achieving pushing toward a resolution. I now have my vehicle back and it is running smooth. No complaints.
After reading your response, I had my nephew take me to the dealer bright and early Monday morning. I was there when the unlocked the doors. I had noticed that despite the fact that I had paid my bill for the fuel pump work on Friday evening, they subsequently moved my Sportrac inside the shop sometime between Friday night and Monday morning. When I confronted both the general manager, service manager and the service scheduler about how poorly my Sportrac ran Friday evening, they acted as if they had no idea what I was talking about. Armed with the advice and input you gave me, I informed them that there is no valid reason why the truck should not have been able to move in drive gear Friday night whehn I came to pick it up. They had one of their mechanics connect a diagnostic laptop to my vehicle and we're showing me computer graphs and error codes (which I did not even understand). They ultimately said they suspected I had a bad piston as well.
I told them they had three hours to make all their diagnostics and provide me with results and then I would make my decision as to whether to have it towed to another shop for a second opinion or leave it there. By 9: )) AM my nephew had taken mr back home and I called Ford Motor Company Customer relations. Ford took notes as I recanted the entire experience with this dealer shop. And I mentioned to Ford that I was on the verge of contacting both the State Attorney General's office and the BBB about this situation. Ford indicated that my complaint in its' entirety would be electronically forwarded to the customer service dept at the dealership at the conclusion of my call. That call ended at approximately 9: 20 AM. At 10: 45 AM I recieved a call from the dealer that my truck was running fine now. The issue? They claimed it was a fuse that was only partially inserted in the fuse box. Sure, I believe them!
At any rate, I picked my truck up Monday afternoon and it is running fine without any further cost to me.
So thank you so much again, my friend. Your knowledge and advice helped me to sniff out these skunks before they had a chance to get the better of me and my truck.
Good luck to you and take care!
September, 22, 2009 AT 2:37 PM
Hey, that is awesome, you see, sometimes these people will try to take advantage, if you let them, it is ok to threaten people when you need them to get off of their butts, and IM sure that wasnt a threat, it was a promise, thanx very much for coming to see us and wish you luck with future encounters in the vehicle repair realm. Keep in touch