If I read your entry correctly, you saw fuel spitting out from the exhaust where the manifold meets the downpipe to the cat. Hmph. I'm not doubting you, but I am trying to envision this.
I'll answer your 3 questions to the best of my ability in the order you presented them.
1.) If you have an exhaust leak of the magnitude to have raw fuel spitting out, you'd definitely hear the exhaust rumble from that area. Otherwise, if the exhaust is quiet, the exhaust gasket is intact, and fuel could not be coming out.
2.) A stuck open injector: (And I am presuming the bank of cylinders you are talking about are nearest the radiator which makes the job easier). Try the following to confirm a stuck open injector. Remove the three spark plugs (cyl #'s 4-5-6). DISABLE THE IGNITION COIL PACK, and have an assistant crank the engine while you monitor the amount of fuel vapor emitted from the spark plug holes. If you have a stuck open injector, it will be constantly spraying fuel into the combustion chamber, and the piston will force the vapor out during its travel to TDC on the compression stroke. One of the spark plug holes will be emitting fuel vapor at a notable greater amount than the other two cylinders.
3.) You can go to any online car parts site such as partsamerica. Com or rockauto. Com or autozone. Com to compare part numbers per vehicle application. According to partsamerica, the part number for '95 Windstar fuel injector (Mfg. = BWD) is 49207. Compare that to the '98 Windstar fuel injector (Mfg. = BWD) is 57816. So I would say the answer is no. I suppose they have different physical or electrical characteristics.
Therefore, I present my commentary based on the conditions at hand:
Your poor fuel economy may be contributed to a bad fuel injector which was intermittently acting up during the past few months. It's just now that the fuel inj. Has called it quits and is failing completely. Good news for you because "ghosts" are difficult to track down and you can replace the part which has failed.
I doubt the single failed fuel inj was the main culprit to your low fuel pressure gauge readings. The low fuel pressure is still an open-ended question, but I feel the failed injector needs attention before trying to figure out the fuel pressure issue again. Fix first what you know for sure is wrong. Then the other stuff will iron itself out.
If you definitely do have a failed fuel injector, be sure to check your engine oil and/or change it. Fuel likely drained past the piston wall into the crank case and mixed in with the oil. Bad Bad. Change the oil immediately.
Check your catalytic converter(s) to make sure they are not burned out due to possible excessive fuel being dumped into the exhaust stream. Easiest way to do this is to hook up a scanner and monitor the O2 sensors voltage output.
When you get all your repairs done, I strongly suggest you have the vehicle hooked up to a scanner and monitor vitals such as Long Term Fuel Trim and the O2 sensors. Getting this data is very valuable to confirming the integrity of your repairs.
Finally, I can imagine all this is quite frustrating. Don't feel bad. We've all had engine symptoms which need lots of tinkering before we get it all right. I've surely had my share of experiences.
Thursday, February 19th, 2009 AT 7:12 PM