help! intermittent misfire, car undrivable! bad sensor? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

help! intermittent misfire, car undrivable! bad sensor?

Discussion in 'Tech & Repair' started by fordfamily, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. fordfamily

    fordfamily New Member

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    hi! first time posting on a forum, really hoping yall can help me figure out what's going on!

    i have a 95 escort wagon (1.9 engine) and its running like shit. theres a sporadic hesitation that seems like a misfire, both when idling and driving, the problem seems cyclical although irregular, and now it's at the point that it's more or less undriveable. it more or less cycles through periods of running "OK" for a minute or two, and then hesitating/misfiring a bunch, then returning to running okay again, though this cycle can vary and can appear quite random. when it's not running okay it doesnt die, but almost feels like it is going to then will rev really high a second after the hesitation/misfire. when it is misfiring the check engine light flashes and relays under the hood click loudly. when i checked the spark plugs (which i replaced) they were black/ "carbon fouled".

    tried but wasnt able to pull codes. nothing came up for "key on engine off" except for "unable to retrieve", and when i tried pulling the "continuous memory" codes the hesitation/misfire makes the check engine light flash erratically making it impossible to read the codes. ive been doing some reading and think the symptoms might indicate something in the emissions system. thinking maybe o2 (HEGO) sensor, or another sensor but i'm not sure and was wondering if people have other ideas or things to try.

    not a real car guy but i'm trying to learn and figure this one out myself, so your patience is appreciated haha

    thanks !
  2. Krankie

    Krankie FEOA Member

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    Three things known to go bad often on these cars are the MAP (manifold absolute pressure) sensor, throttle position sensor, and ignition module. You may want to research how to test them. I'm not sure what equipment you have available.
  3. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    I'd be looking at the spark plug wires.
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  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I dont have any solid ideas yet.
    Is it possible on a 2nd gen to unplug the connector going to the coil pack - so the engine wont run, turn the ignition on, and check for codes, based on the blinking?
    A blinking Check Engine Light is when the emissions system knows there is a serious problem, which the misifring/high revving is also telling you. And plugs that are black indicate either running way too rich, or a lot of misfiring, which is also self-evident.

    Have you tried checking the fuel pressure at the Schrader valve on the fuel rail? This require connecting a pressure gauge to the Schrader valve fitting, after unscrewing the Schrader valve stem itself.
    Since it runs smoothly in between 'spasms' I suppose we can rule out a slipped timing belt?
    When its misiring and almost stalling, does it help to tape the Idle Air Control Valve with a small hammer? This might help if that IACV was sticking.
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  5. Swift

    Swift FEOA Donator

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    Take note of what ZZXZZY said, first step sparkplugs and wires.
  6. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    The first thing that you should do is make sure that all the spark plug wires are plugged in properly.
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  7. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    The relays clicking seems to me to be an important clue - perhaps there is a connector somewhere (even in the ignition switch) that is loose, corroded or otherwise making intermittent contact.
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  8. fordfamily

    fordfamily New Member

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    I replaced the plugs and wires first thing so it’s definitely not that. I really appreciate the ideas, I’m going to get into it tomorrow on my day off tomorrow and I’ll let you all know what I find!
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  9. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    Check the electrical connector at the coil pack for loose, frayed or broken wires. Codes can be pulled on the 2nd generation using the CEL just like on the 1st generation. This thread will tell you how to do it. https://www.feoa.net/threads/how-to-pull-codes-without-a-code-reader.61758/ I know first generation and I think part of the 2nd generation used 2 digit codes but some 2nd generation used 3 digit codes. I'm not sure when the change took effect but a web search would probably turn up that information then you could check the manufacture date on your car before testing for codes so you'd know whether to be looking for 2 or 3 digit codes.
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  10. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    What brand plug wires and are you absolutely sure that they are seated correctly?
    That and does the coil pack pass a visual inspection? You need to check resistance and look for cracks (even small ones).
  11. Missile99

    Missile99 FEOA Member

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    I'd go through all your ground connections and make sure they're tight and clean, plus check that your battery connections are tight. When the car is running good, wiggle some wires and see if it causes the misfiring/ relays going off and on.
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