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Old 11-08-2003, 02:55 PM
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My wife's car is screwed up!! Can anyone help me?

I know that you all are use to hot rods, but my wifes escort is having a problem that I thought I could diagnose and fix...but so far I was wrong.

The Problem
The car seems to surge and sputter as you accelerate. It jerks forward and then nothing as it accelerates, mainly between 2 -3500 rpms. Once you have hit cruising speed, if you hit the gas it does the same thing.

I thought first off that perhaps the fuel filter and air filter could be the problems. I changed both of these and drove it. The problems continued and as I was turning around, the idle dropped to about 400 rpms (normal is 1000). I got it home and decided that that sounded like a fuel pump so I went to the store, asked the guy there and he said it sounded like a fuel pump to him too. I installed it and it is still having the same problems. Any ideas what I can check next?

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Old 11-08-2003, 03:27 PM
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Sounds like the classic spark plug wire/lead failure symptoms. Ignition faults mostly show up during low rpm acceleration - just like your car - with plenty of misfiring. Check the ignition wire connections for damage or corrosion - replace any suspect leads or at least clean up the corroded connections and spray them with some WD spray.. If all seems okay visually, then one or more could have failed internally. The best way to check them is to measure their resistance - end to end - with an OHM meter. The resistance readings should generally be below 10,000ohms (or 10k Ohms) 5k to 7k is a nice number - usually a failed lead wire would have no continuity at all what so ever. As a mechanic, my experience has always led me first to that area. Spark plugs today are a lot more robust and are less likely to fail in that manner - they usually work or not at all. If it's due for a tune anyway, then do your wife a favor and just replace the plugs and wires. While you're there, replace the air filter too if it has'nt been replaced for a while. - keeping your engine's oil, air and fuel clean goes a long way in keeping your engine in good condition. Use genuine parts too - specially with filters. Rob
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Old 11-08-2003, 04:01 PM
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Thanks man. I was leaning towards spark plugs/wires but I wanted another opinion before I spent more money on something that wasn't broken.

Jon
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Old 11-09-2003, 12:05 AM
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Most drivability problems on those are electrical in nature. Like 327 said, start with the plugs and wires. Possible dist problems or coil. You can use a small spray bottle of water, and spray water on the ign system with the engine running and see if it shorts out and develops a miss at idle. That is an easy way to find bad wires or ign components. What year, what engine?
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