1985 Ford Tempo



March, 24, 2010 AT 3:34 PM

Engine Performance problem
1985 Ford Tempo 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 59000 miles

ok, I bought the car on saturday. It has a new alternator, plugs, wires, caps, brakes, fuel filter and fuel lines.
it had just over half a tank of gas when I got it and it ran great for the 40 mile drive back home.
later that day we went to the store 5 miles away and on the way back it started trying to stall on the freeway at 50 - 60 mph.(Feeling like the brakes were being tapped almost)
once I got off the freeway, it stalled but started right back up.
then when I would start it, it starts just fine but when I put it in drive the rpm's would drop and it would stall as soon as I touch
the gas unless I pressed the brake and almost floored it.
i did some research and saw that filling the tank might help it, so I did and it ran fine again for 2 days with no stalling at all. (Short trips each time)
now its back to screwing off, and the tank is still about full(only driven 30 miles on the tank)

i drove to go job hunting today and it was fine on the way there(only 5 miles or so), we made 3 stops and by the 3rd one it was dying everytime I came to a light and would have to start it 3 or 4 times to get it to go. Then it was trying to stall all the way home on the freeway and on the streets, then it died 100 feet away from home and had to start it 3 or 4 times times just to go the rest of the way.

i waited an hour and took it to the store half a block away, it stalled 5 times on that short distance and wouldn't stay running unless the gas was pressed

now I'm pretty sure it has to be a fuel pressure/delivery problem but I don't have the money to just buy parts and hope its the problem. I've been told it could be the fuel pump, or the fuel pickup tube, or the EGR valve, or the idle control, or the O2 sensor, or the cat converter. There's a couple others i've been told too.

from my research I see that Tempo's are infamous for stalling and bogging, but does that include trying to stall at highway speeds?
i bought this car just to get to and from work 5 to 10 miles away and it seems like it won't do that

i'd really appreciate if you guys can give me a definate answer of a few components it could be instead of a list

thanks in advance

P.S. I just went to test it and it will still start up and rev in park but as soon as I put it in drive AND touch the gas it sputters and dies, BUT it will drive and stay on in idle.


25 Answers



March, 24, 2010 AT 10:09 PM

What color are the plug tips! If whitish you are running to lean. You didn't specify what the temp of engine is when these problems occur. I assume it is at full running temp. What does the gauge say? What do you have for fuel delivery? Throttle body? Or multiport. Check all your vacuum lines. Sonds like someone else gave up and handed it over to you?



March, 24, 2010 AT 11:10 PM

It's a 2.3 liter 4 cylinder and I have no clue about the fuel delivery. I know its fuel injected. And yes, the problems happen once it's up to full running temp.

It gets more interesting now. After cooling for several hours it started up like nothing was wrong and ran just fine again, which got me thinking. Each time it started acting up it was after being driven at full running temp for about 20 minutes or so with no big rests in between. Its just today was the 1st time that it wouldn't accelerate in drive at all without stalling. Thank goodness I made it home.

My uncle says that he had a very similar problem and that it was his ignition control module. I can do basic repairs but not much beyond that and dont understand how the ICM could cause this as it fires up just fine. Have you heard of that causing these problems? I dont have the money to just guess at parts or to have it diagnosed at a shop.

P.S. I trust the guy I bought it from, he told me everything that was wrong(no ac, power steering leak) I called him tonight and he is just as baffled as I am.

P.S.S. I went out this morning and it fired right up and took right off. Drove it 10 minutes and it's just fine.
What else can cause it to sputter and die only once its been at normal operating temp for a while?
I'm thinking about trying the ICM but I don't want to be throwing money away.



March, 25, 2010 AT 10:50 PM

It is multiport and my cousin said the plugs looks normal.

It's still running great if I keep the running time under 15 minutes at full operating temp.

The service shops around here want to do a fuel pressure/delivery diagnostic before an electrical one and I'm pretty damn sure its not fuel related. Standard procedure or not, its a bunch of crap.

Can it be fuel related and only act up under these conditions especially since the fuel filter and lines are new, the fuel pump hums like a champ and the vacuum lines are fine.

Most of the stuff I read point to a electrical component (ICM, Ignition Coil, Cat Converter.)

anyways, I'm starting to get annoyed that I have only 1 reply in 36 hours



March, 27, 2010 AT 8:26 AM

So can I get my donation back now?



March, 27, 2010 AT 7:54 PM

By the way, i'm not paid help! I do this for free! So it's a running warm problem. I didn't know multiport injection came on 85s. I had an 87 that was throttle body! And 84s had carburetors! Anyway, what about the check engine light? Does it work? Is it lit up with key-on? ICM is not a cheap part! Takes a special 1/4 inch drive socket to remove it! That's if you have the module style on the side of distributor housing. Did you try disconnecting the vacuum line to the EGR valve so it dont open? Plug hose with small screw or something. Sorta sounds like an EGR issue? Also the fuel pressure reg is vacuum operated I beleive. But I also knew of a cavalier that had similar symptoms and it was the fuel pump. But that 1 eventualy sounded funny when/after it stalled. Took 2 weeks to diagnose because parts were so expensive to just replace. If you can locate a test port push in the center pin and see if you get a pressurized squirt. If it dribbles out there's your problem. Pressure reg or pump. But theoretically if you had low pressure and you stomp on it it should backfire from being to lean. Which is why I asked if check engine light worked cuz the codes could clue us in! Computer could be going into safe/limp mode from a bad sensor input. But keep looking listening closer and we'll get it from the symptoms. Funny thing, I got icms just layin around from tempos. What I usually do is go to scrap yard and get whole distributor with all spark wires. Try the EGR trick first.



March, 27, 2010 AT 8:51 PM

I wasn't really directing getting my money back at you, but the fact that you are the only one that's answered me in 4 days and you aren't one of the ones that get paid makes it more annoying.

Anyways, its not multi-port. As I said I don't know too much about cars but I can swap stuff out. A friend told me it was but he was wrong.

No, there is no check engine light and I wasted $30 buying a eec4 scanner and I don't get any codes.

I'll try the EGR thing tomorrow

i keep getting spun in circles. Fuel pump, pressure regulator, pump relay, ICM, ignition coil and today the guys at autozone are telling me its most likely the cat converter. I'm also trying to figure that out tomorrow by disconnecting the o2 sensor.

I'll let you know



March, 27, 2010 AT 10:17 PM

How can the catverter change from working to not and back to working again? It's either plugged or it's not? So we can assume you have a throttle body single port injection! This is good news as in you can watch the fuel functionng or not!Just remove air bonnet off top and watch the injector spray cone! Do it when cold and compare when it's warm/failing.



March, 28, 2010 AT 12:46 AM

Well they told me that " the cat converter doesn't start working until it gets heated" and that does make sense with my symptoms, IF they are right



March, 28, 2010 AT 1:20 AM

The only work the cat does is chemical conversion. It does not do any mechanical function. And as far as I know, there is no sensor detection to tell the computer it is " working" or not. Not on that old a car. I think the newer cars have an extra ox sensor at the cat to do that though. Remember 1 thing. Parts stores exist to SELL PARTS! They depend on your ignorance to do so. You want to believe, you want your problem gone. We live in a world of ignorants passing on heresay and BS. Some happy, some not. The 1's pocketing the cash tend to be the happy bunch.


2CarPros Mike

March, 28, 2010 AT 1:50 AM

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