I have a 2001 Ford Taurus with 68,000 miles on it's 3.0 DOHC motor and about a month ago it started to get hard to start. Since then it has begun to rev to about 2,000 rpm when first started then idles badly between 500 and 800 rpm. It sputters and lurches when in drive with the brake pushed to the floor. It only does this when it is cold outside or if the motor it cold.
I just checked for an intake manifold leak using soapy water and the center intake runner on the front side of the motor sucked up all the soap and as soon as it did the car began to act like it was going to die and when revved it sounded like a lawn mower and once I let it idle for about 10 minutes it idled fine and did not sound bad when given gas.
Does this mean I need new gaskets. Is installing new gaskets something I can do?
You're in luck. Changing the gaskets in both the upper and lower intake manifold is much easier than any other engine I've worked on.
It will help to get a manual (Haynes is good).
Step 1: Remove the throttle body.
Step 2: Remove the upper plenum. It's held by 8 long thin bolts with 8mm head. The bottom of the upper plenum contains 6 rubber oblong gaskets. The whole set should cost about $20 at an auto parts store, more at the Ford dealer.
Step 3: This part is a bit tricky. There are 16 bolts holding down both the fuel rail and the lower intake manifold. 8 of the screws are long, and 8 are short. Remove ONLY the 8 long screws. That way, the fuel rail and intake manifold can still be one assembly, and you won't have to remove the fuel injectors. Otherwise, you will have the extra step of removing the fuel injectors and replacing the O-rings when you're done. The intake manifold gaskets look like rubber kidneys.
Step 4: Replace gaskets.
Step 5: Reverse the previous steps to reinstall. Torque the manifold bolts to about 90 inch pounds.