98 Ford Contour no cold idle HELP!

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  #1  
Old 01-15-09, 01:46 PM
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98 Ford Contour no cold idle HELP!

Hi All,
It is between 10 and minus 10 degrees today. My 1998 Ford Contour 2.5 V6 won't idle at all. It starts, but immediately goes to a very high RPM, then slows down, stumbles & quits. It is almost impossible to drive it this way. I was able to keep it running by revving the engine constantly (with some occasional backfiring from the exhaust), but obviously this is not the solution.
The engine runs fine when the temperature is warmer.
Any ideas on what's going on & what I can do to fix this?
Thanks Much!
Andy
 
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Old 01-15-09, 02:08 PM
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You may have a bad IAC (idle air control) motor. The silver thing about the size of a D cell battery located close to the throttle body. When the temp is extremly low they can and do get stuck or start acting erratically. Tap on it a few times with a wrench, if the idle clears up it will need to be replaced,
 
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Old 01-22-09, 08:53 PM
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Just a follow up--
Tried the idle air control tap idea--no change.
Took car to local Ford dealer. They put it on their computer, and it said I needed upper and lower head gaskets, a new EGR valve, new spark plugs, new plug wires, and a tune-up. All to the tune of $1,200.
I said no way, as this car is 11 years old, has 136,000 miles. I drove it (with difficulty) to an independent garage that I've used before. They checked it out, and said the throttle body needed cleaning. They did it, and it runs great once again. All for $94! They did mention that if it acts up again, then the IAC should be replaced, as suggested by wire twister.
It pays to shop around.
Andy
 
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Old 01-23-09, 08:20 AM
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Andrew, I've got the same car myself. How long ago did you change the spark plugs? Although the owners manual says every 100,000 miles, realistically around 75,000 is all you can expect from double platinum plugs, less with single plats. They suggested I replace my wires when I had 210,000 miles on it. I had the same idling problem you did, so the IAC was replaced, and that cured my problem. Later they diagnosed the intake manifold gaskets were leaking. I had those replaced in 2005 (to the tune of $500), and then last year, they said they needed to be replaced....again. Basically they arrived at that diagnosis from the fact the scanner says the engine is running too lean. I'm leaving my four year old "bad" intake manifold gaskets alone for now, as I'm not having any cold weather issues. By the way, these are good engines; I've got 271,000 miles on mine and fully expecting to easily get to 300,000 miles.
 
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Old 01-23-09, 03:28 PM
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Thanks, Beach!
I have not changed the spark plugs or cables. I checked them around 100,000 miles and they still looked good. I will probably check them again, just to be sure.
Have you had any mysterious "Service Engine Soon" lights?
Mine had been on for about a year, and the dealer was unable or unwilling to give me a concrete reason as to why. Upgrading to mid-grade gasoline turned the light out for a while, but now it is back on. And of course, the engine runs great again
Andy
 
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Old 01-26-09, 07:34 AM
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Andrew, the check engine light (CEL) is almost a fact of life with this car. Mine has been on for the last 180,000 miles! These 2.5 L V-6 engines have two sets of catalytic converters -- there is one "pre cat" in each exhaust manifold, and then there is the main catalytic converter in the exhaust pipe. The pre-converters seem to last only about 80,000 miles, then you'll get a computer code 0420 and 0430 telling you " pre-cat converter efficiency below threshold level". I was quoted $1200 to replace the pre-cats in the manifolds. The mechanic told me that as long as the engine ran fine and gas mileage was about the same (I consistently get 30 MPG on the highway), then not to worry about it. If you're engine is running fine otherwise, I'd wager that your pre-cats have gotten a bit weaker over the years. The dealer can scan the computer codes, but it will set you back around $80 just for them to tell you what's wrong. At least where I live (Kansas) there is no emissions testing, so I'm leaving things alone for now.
 
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