Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

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Thread: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

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    Firebird Concept (the turbine one) Uzzy's Avatar
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    Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Hello all,

    My g/f's 2004 Ford Escape (3.0L V6 AWD 112,000mi) is acting up. After a full day of sitting, with the second half of it raining steadily, she was driving her Escape and it was acting funny (miss-firing, she said). The engine light came on and soon began blinking. She got to my house shortly after it started this. We left it and I drove for the day. Later that night, I drove it and it seemed fine. The engine light was on, but not flashing anymore.

    The next day I took it my friend that was a Saturn mechanic and now working at a KIA dealership (same owner as the former Saturn and current Buick/GMC and Chevy Dealer). It ran fine for me. So he tries to scan it, his Mac Tools scanner won't read it. The KIA scanner wouldn't read it. I drove it the Ford dealer up the road. They said they couldn't get to it until after lunch and it would cost $110. I told them, I just want the codes read. They re-iterated, and I told them to pound salt and went to an independent shop where I know a guy. They read it right away for me. "Mis-fire on start-up" & "Cylinder 4 Mis-fire." were the two codes stored. He cleared them.

    She got the tune up basics (plugs, wires, air filter, etc) and did the complete tune-up herself yesterday. (I was impressed). She put 94 in the tank and some fuel system cleaner in it as well. She said there's been no change and today I finally saw what it was doing. Sometimes during idling at a stop light, the RPMs will drop to almost zero, the lights dim but so far it has not stalled. It'll do this for several seconds, then correct itself and idle normally. Currently, the engine light has not come back on. She's thinking coil pack (each cylinder has a coil on these engines) on #4. She wants to switch it out with #1 and see if the problem follows. I think that might uncover the cause, or it could be the battery. It's the original, never been replaced and has a lot of miles on it, but it survived this past winter, without trouble. In my experience, most batteries crap out due to age in the fall when the cold snaps start.

    Anyone have any insight on this. Something we're missing? Thanks, in advance for any help.
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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    I'm no expert, but 94? As in 94 octane? Doesn't the Escape take 87?

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    Firebird Concept (the turbine one) Uzzy's Avatar
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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Quote Originally Posted by CheetahDC View Post
    I'm no expert, but 94? As in 94 octane? Doesn't the Escape take 87?
    Yes. She was under the impression that it would help clean anything out. I schooled her on the effect of octane, though.
    Last edited by Uzzy; 04-28-2010 at 09:27 AM.
    Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus
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    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Uzzy.
    'Ich bin ein Detroiter'

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Buckley, president of CAW Local 222
    General Motors is the enemy, brothers and sisters

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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Uzzy View Post
    She got the tune up basics (plugs, wires, air filter, etc) and did the complete tune-up herself yesterday. (I was impressed). She put 94 in the tank and some fuel system cleaner in it as well. She said there's been no change and today I finally saw what it was doing. Sometimes during idling at a stop light, the RPMs will drop to almost zero, the lights dim but so far it has not stalled. It'll do this for several seconds, then correct itself and idle normally. Currently, the engine light has not come back on. She's thinking coil pack (each cylinder has a coil on these engines) on #4. She wants to switch it out with #1 and see if the problem follows. I think that might uncover the cause, or it could be the battery. It's the original, never been replaced and has a lot of miles on it, but it survived this past winter, without trouble. In my experience, most batteries crap out due to age in the fall when the cold snaps start.

    Anyone have any insight on this. Something we're missing? Thanks, in advance for any help.
    Dayum that "Motor City" proximity must infuse women with uncannily large automotive knowledge!

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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr View Post
    Dayum that "Motor City" proximity must infuse women with uncannily large automotive knowledge!
    No, she's just not afraid to get her hands dirty. I did have to hear about how much they hurt and they were bleeding for a bit, though. She's a tough cookie, though.

    As for the car, I was thinking intake leak initially, but she said it was OK. But she just visually inspected it. I'm going to have her spray some carb cleaner, or brake-clean on it later and see if that changes the idle.
    Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus
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    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Uzzy.
    'Ich bin ein Detroiter'

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Buckley, president of CAW Local 222
    General Motors is the enemy, brothers and sisters

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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Quote Originally Posted by Uzzy View Post
    Hello all,

    My g/f's 2004 Ford Escape (3.0L V6 AWD 112,000mi) is acting up. After a full day of sitting, with the second half of it raining steadily, she was driving her Escape and it was acting funny (miss-firing, she said). The engine light came on and soon began blinking. She got to my house shortly after it started this. We left it and I drove for the day. Later that night, I drove it and it seemed fine. The engine light was on, but not flashing anymore.

    The next day I took it my friend that was a Saturn mechanic and now working at a KIA dealership (same owner as the former Saturn and current Buick/GMC and Chevy Dealer). It ran fine for me. So he tries to scan it, his Mac Tools scanner won't read it. The KIA scanner wouldn't read it. I drove it the Ford dealer up the road. They said they couldn't get to it until after lunch and it would cost $110. I told them, I just want the codes read. They re-iterated, and I told them to pound salt and went to an independent shop where I know a guy. They read it right away for me. "Mis-fire on start-up" & "Cylinder 4 Mis-fire." were the two codes stored. He cleared them.

    She got the tune up basics (plugs, wires, air filter, etc) and did the complete tune-up herself yesterday. (I was impressed). She put 94 in the tank and some fuel system cleaner in it as well. She said there's been no change and today I finally saw what it was doing. Sometimes during idling at a stop light, the RPMs will drop to almost zero, the lights dim but so far it has not stalled. It'll do this for several seconds, then correct itself and idle normally. Currently, the engine light has not come back on. She's thinking coil pack (each cylinder has a coil on these engines) on #4. She wants to switch it out with #1 and see if the problem follows. I think that might uncover the cause, or it could be the battery. It's the original, never been replaced and has a lot of miles on it, but it survived this past winter, without trouble. In my experience, most batteries crap out due to age in the fall when the cold snaps start.

    Anyone have any insight on this. Something we're missing? Thanks, in advance for any help.
    I can't say for sure what is going on, but I have an '05 Mazda3 and has what is basically a Ford corporate 2.3L I4. I had something very similar happen to it last fall right after putting in a new battery. The car would nearly stall at a traffic light, sometimes would stall, and in the "almost" stall conditions it would never light the MIL and would fire back to life. Idle was unsteady sometimes, sometimes not.

    Turns out it was gunked up throttle body. Mazda put out a TSB for it you can find here:

    http://www.finishlineperformance.com...07-09-2069.pdf

    Check if the throttle body could be the culprit. In my case the mechanic told me what had happened: the throttle plate is always kept a bit open in these cars, but when I pulled the battery the throttle plate snapped shut since there was no more bias on it. When I reconnected the battery, some of the build-up was now shifted and binding the throttle plate. It took removing the t/body and cleaning it to correct it; that set me back about $90 at the dealership. Car idled perfectly after the fix and still is working just fine.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by tnmats; 04-28-2010 at 01:50 PM.

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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    UPDATE:

    It's still acting up. It's fine under load, no problems at all. It's only while idling it will have issues. After idling fine for a moment, the idle drops and the engine begins hesitating. It gets to the point where the lights are dimming. So far it has not gotten to the point where it stalls. Then it corrects itself and idles fine for a while.

    Since the last time I posted, she cleaned the throttle body and it had no effect.

    I tried spraying brake parts cleaner around the intake gaskets to see if there is a vacuum leak. I don't think there is anything wrong there either. The idle did change, but only in the way described above and it does that with, or without anything sprayed. The change didn't seem to be caused by the brake clean.

    The engine light came on and gave us these codes:
    P0113 - Intake Air Temperature Circuit High Input
    P0102 - Mass Air Flow (MAF) Circuit Low Input
    P2195 - Oxygen (A/F) Sensor Signal Stuck Lean (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
    P2197 - Oxygen (A/F) Sensor Signal Stuck Lean (Bank 2 Sensor 1)

    No more mis-fire codes. She thinks the O2 sensors are the culprit and we tried changing them, but so far changed only one. And it seems there is 4 on this vehicle. After changing one, we realized that the one was changed was Bank 1 Sensor 2. We located Bank 2 Sensor 1, but still can't find Bank 1 Sensor 1. Does anyone know if these are possible to get at by DIY tinkerers? The B2S1 sensor looks hard to get at, but not impossible.

    The two Air sensor codes are a mystery to me. I would guess that maybe she didn't hook them up properly when she put the engine back together after the tune-up, but we plugged in a scanner with Live Data and they were sending signals. The IAT even changed when we opened the hood, so it appears to be working. Maybe there's something blocking the intake air? Like I said, it does run fine under load while it's moving. She did replace the air filter. I'll look at that again. But it was doing this before and didn't throw those codes.

    Right now, we're just at a loss and not sure what to do next. I don't think throwing parts at it is going to help at this point.
    Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus
    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Uzzy.
    'Ich bin ein Detroiter'

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Buckley, president of CAW Local 222
    General Motors is the enemy, brothers and sisters

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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    What is "pound salt"?

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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Quote Originally Posted by johnstarnes View Post
    What is "pound salt"?
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/defin...m=Pound%20Salt



    You should really Bookmark Urban Dictionary.
    Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus
    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Uzzy.
    'Ich bin ein Detroiter'

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Buckley, president of CAW Local 222
    General Motors is the enemy, brothers and sisters

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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Could it be the IAC valve (Idle air control). I think I've heard of other Fords do the same thing when these go bad. Though I'm not sure if Escape have these, I just have knowledge from the Taurus.

    Edit: Found from a quick google search for a 2000 Sable with a Duratec 3.0:

    IAC could be the cause, it's the valve on top if the intake toward the right of the engine looking from the front.

    If it's a vacuum leak, check the large PCV hose that comes off under the intake, almost directly under the IAC. It has a large rubber elbow, that fits to a 1/2" hard plastic line, then back to a 1/2" rubber hose to the pcv valve. The elbow is pretty notorious for degraging due to the hot oil vapor that gets pulled in from the PCV, and it begins to leak, causing a major vacuum leak. Might be tough to take off without removing the upper intake, but it's not hard at all to remove the intake. 8 6mm studs, a couple vacuum lines, and two 6mm bolts on the throtle body. Also two 8mm bolts on the EGR.

    Get it idling, then spray some starting fluid or carb cleaner on the elbow. If your idle changes you have a vacuum leak there. If not there, spray around other vacuum hoses and around the intake mounting area, anywhere spraying the cleaner or starting fluid causes an idle change, you have a leak.

    Hope this helps, I've just gone thru a similar problem with my duratec sable.
    Last edited by RoGuE; 04-30-2010 at 02:31 PM.
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    Re: Intermittant Rough/Low Idle

    Quote Originally Posted by RoGuE View Post
    Could it be the IAC valve (Idle air control). I think I've heard of other Fords do the same thing when these go bad. Though I'm not sure if Escape have these, I just have knowledge from the Taurus.

    Edit: Found from a quick google search for a 2000 Sable with a Duratec 3.0:
    That was my thought, I meant to put that in the update. I located it, removed it and...well it looked fine. There was no IAC code when we scanned it. If there was, I'd just replace it.
    Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus
    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Uzzy.
    'Ich bin ein Detroiter'

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Buckley, president of CAW Local 222
    General Motors is the enemy, brothers and sisters

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