'88 Ford Thunderbird 5.0

Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
  • MEMBER
  • 1988 FORD TEMPO
My '88 Thunderbird is plucking my last nerve. Here's the story: When I bought the car the exhaust behind the converter was not connected, and I drove the car like that for about a month, and it drove good. Then one day it stalled on me, but started right back up as long as I had my foot on the gas. So I parked it. In the past few weeks I have replaced the Y-pipe and both mufflers, fuel filter, fuel lines, trans filter, air filter, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, brake master cylinder, new brake lines, and put the super expensive gas in with a fuel injector cleaner. Oh, the fuel line patch I did temporarily ruptured, so I replaced the whole line. Now the car starts right up and idles, but the idle is a little rough and makes the car shake. The more gas I give it, the harder it shakes. It seems to be ok at higher rpm's on the highway, but as soon as it downshifts the faster I am going the worse the shaking gets. I'm stumped. Also, at the same time the car started acting funny, when I put it in reverse or nuetral it locks up like I am in park. The drive gears all function properly, and shifting is smooth, but I have lost reverse and nuetral. Any help you could give would be much appreciated. I really like this car, and would hate to have to sell it because of something stupid. Thanks guys. J
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Friday, June 8th, 2007 AT 4:14 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
  • MEMBER
Hey, thanks for the quick response. I actually pulled all the plugs out earlier today and replaced the wires just for fun. The plug on the driver side closest to the firewall was wet and smelled of gas, and the plug on the passenger side closest to the firewall seemed wet with oil, so I gapped all the plugs and put them back in with new wires, new cap, and new rotor. The plugs are only about a week old, so I did'nt replace them. And after all of that, there seems to be no change. It still idles rough and shakes. I was thinking PCV valve, but I don't know where it is, and everyone says it is a real pain to get to, like by the firewall halfway down the engine mixed in with the rats nest of wires and hoses. Could the PCV valve cause it, or an oxygen sensor since I ran it so long without an exhaust. Thanks again, I really appreciate it. J
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Friday, June 8th, 2007 AT 6:23 PM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
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Thanks for writing back so soon. The engine has approx 118,000 miles, and it is completely stock. There are no mods at all on the car. Except maybe the Walker Super Turbo mufflers, but they are close to stock. When I smelled the oil dipstick it just smelled like oil, but I'm gonna change it next week because it is a little dirty. I took it to the store tonight and it almost seems like an exhaust or vacuum leake, but would that affect the poor acceleration and performance? I will try 2 new plugs tomorrow, but the ones close to the firewall really did'nt look too bad and I wiped them off before I put them back in. But I will try some new ones anyway. Anything else I can try in the meantime? Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it. J
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Friday, June 8th, 2007 AT 9:56 PM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
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Ok, I'll see what it does and let you know. Thanks for all your help. J
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Saturday, June 9th, 2007 AT 6:48 AM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
  • MEMBER
Ok, so I replaced the 2 fouled plugs and sprayed some air intake/throttle body cleaner since I had the air cleaner assembly off, and there is not even a little change. Could it be a blown intake or exhaust gasket? That is my next steo unless you can think of anything else. Thanks again for all your help. J
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Saturday, June 9th, 2007 AT 7:19 PM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
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OK, I will try. And in the meantime I am going to replace the rocker arm gaskets, intake manifold and exhaust manifold gaskets. I was thinking that since I drove the car for so long with no exhaust maybe carbon has built up, so when I did put 2 new mufflers on and restored backpressure I may have blown a gasket. I really don't like driving the car in this condition, because the shaking is pretty bad. I did drive it for about 40 miles yesterday and when I got back and let the engine cool, I pulled the plugs and they looked just like the old ones did. So I wiped them down and put them back in because I can't keep buying plugs every day. It seems the ignition and fuel are fine because it starts up immediatly and idles fine with a tiny amount of shaking, just on acceleration it gets bad. Thanks again for your help. You are a lifesaver! J
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Sunday, June 10th, 2007 AT 8:04 AM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
  • MEMBER
Thanks, I will try it your way. I did what you said, ran the engine for a few minutes, pulled the oily plug out, licked it, and ewwww. Tasted bitter, like burnt oil. And yes, unfortunatly, I do know what burnt oil tastes like. So what would you suggest next? This car is my daily driver, so I need to get this resolved as quick as possible before the car shakes itself apart, but as I am a single father, my funds are kinda limited so taking it to a shop is only a last resort. I have most tools needed for most jobs, and can probably get what I don't have from a friend. I'm familiar with cars, and have a good understanding of whatever you tell me to do. I actually sold auto parts for 8 years, but gave it up due to lack of advancement in 8 years. Again, thanks for all your help, and when this is all over I will send you a 6-pack of your favorite beer. :) J
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Sunday, June 10th, 2007 AT 7:27 PM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
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Ok, I tried that. I took the wires off of 6 and 8, and it ran a little more poorly, so I swapped the wires at the cap, started it, and it ran worse, so I switched them back. It almost seems as though the air flow is constricted, because it starts up with like 1 crank and idles fine, so I would rule out ignition and fuel, but you are the expert and I will try whatever you say. Thanks again. J
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Monday, June 11th, 2007 AT 6:03 AM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
  • MEMBER
I'm sorry, I meant to write 4 and 8, the two closest to the firewall. I'm using ther firing order of 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8, just like it says in the Haynes Manual.
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Monday, June 11th, 2007 AT 6:50 AM
Tiny
JSNPRESSLEY
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Sorry, I meant to say 4 and 8, the two closest to the firewall. I'm using firing order 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8, and 4 has the oil and 8 has the gas. I forgot to mention that whenever I drive the car and I get out I can smell gas for a while. What could be causing that plug to not fire if it is a new plug, new wires, and new cap and rotor? I'm stumped. Thanks again for all your help. This car is driving me CRAZY! :D
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Monday, June 11th, 2007 AT 10:23 PM

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