'93 Ford Taurus, Need some help here folks :)

Boy, where can we start?
Ok, I have a 1993 ford Taurus (no sho - what ever that is, I suspect a higher performance engine?) and I have a few problems. I shall list
them and explain the best I can. Sorry if some of it's jittered... I am not much of an auto guy, but love to (and financially have to) do things myself as much as possible.
here goes.
what's new on the car +spark plugs (gaped to spec .. or the higher gap of the spec, it said .4 - .6 ? Maybe .04 - .06. anyway, it was a range, and I did the higher of the range. - is that bad?) +radiator - boy, that was fun * flushed / rinsed well before installing. +thermostat +starter +trans filer +air filter +O2 sensor +Exhaust (pipe and muffler- not the C-Converter) +Windshield wipers (though my spay doesn't work)
What's still needed - but I don't know if it's worth it.... Struts- need these pretty bad, little wobbly when going 60ish. Trans. ?
1. There is a VERY loud rattle coming from under my car. This is MUCH more noticeable when the car is cold and/ or put in gear with the break on - and even when accelerating. I would say it is at it's worse when cold and in gear with the break on. Now, by rattle... lets see.... I mean it sounds like there is a huge rock in the exhaust or something. Yeah, I checked lol. When I was under the car I tried to listen the best I could. It seemed to be coming from around my trans. pan. Not so much by the oil pan. This has done this since a week after I bought it (which was a year + ago). About 3 months ago I replace the trans. oil and filter and the oil is at proper level. Didn't change the rattle sound though. I have a new exhaust as well- muffler rusted out. I asked them (Midas) about the sound... they just said (yup... hmmmm) and shrugged. I thought that meant "don't worry about it". Maybe it meant "I don't want to deal with that".
These two might go together... 2. Another noticeable thing is my MPG. I get roughly 19MPG. ick! 3. When I start my car for the first time, it revs up and down. There is some smoke throughout driving it (but it's also getting cold now her Sterling IL) but more exhaust smoke than I should see, I think. The smell of the smoke is nothing suspicious- hope the gasket isn't hurt *(it used to smell like gas- but that is no longer the case since I have replaced the O2 sensor about a week ago). Then, it seems that the idle is much higher than it should be when it warms up and stops it's revving. I have no rpm gauge but it's definitely higher than 1000rpm. I cleaned out the air intake and put some injector cleaner in the gas tank (supposed to be the good stuff- don't remember the name but it was a white aluminum can). I also cleaned the Idle Air Control Valve as I was told to - but slowly putting cleaner into the vacuum line hooked to it. *** I did this BEFORE changing my O2 sensor, didn't want it to damage it. After the cleaning, the revving up and down is much more stable, but the gas mileage is horrible, and the rattling is bad to.
4. This is new this week - When I stop, the engine idle mostly fine, smooth at least( it used to stay at the high idle until I replaced the O2 sensor. After about 1-2 mins it "shifts" or feels like it does, and that rattling is much louder again... then after about 1-2 min of that, it goes back were it was- quieter and smoother. If I let of the break when it's louder (after it feels like it shifted) I will actually be accelerating up to 15 were it will then shift and go to about 20!!! This is all without the use of the gas pedal! Now, if I let off the break during the quieter idle at a stop, it seems normal, just goes along at around 5-7mph. I was thinking maybe it's adjusting to the O2 sensor or something... but maybe not. Other shifting things to note- 1. It has always "slipped" a bit between 1 and 2 gear, but only if I am accelerating a bit fast 2. Lately, if I accelerate up to 15 and let off the gas, it shifts to 2nd quite hard on it's own. It does the same when downshifting after a cold start between 1st and 2nd gear. - I'm suspecting my transmission is going to be short lived from this point... but maybe it's something else... like a sensor?
5. Perhaps this is much of the problem as well... I can hear a whistle form the engine compartment while the car is running. It's been getting a little bit louder in the past 6 months and I am almost positive that means a vacuum leak, I know that can have dire effects on the cars running- but not sure how much. I looked everywhere without taking all the hoses of one at a time. Perhaps that's what I should do? If there's any tips on that process or how to detect a leak, please pass that on as well.
So there I we it... It does start like a champ every time, it goes, but there are those things that either need tweaking, cleaning, fixing, or just drive it until they die away lol. Mainly, I would like the MPG to be much better and I feel that it being that bad is a sign of something needing fixed or cleaned. I also don't like the shifting, but perhaps it does that due to the high idle? And the noise.... Who knows- I have heard some say a fuel line can do that... but I just don't think so, not that loud. But is has been limited (up to recently) to cold weather. It is definitely many times worse in the cold, though it does it all the time now.
Any help would be a god-send. I really appreciate ANYONE who takes the time to read and or reply to this post. It's a lot- but I wanted to be as accurate as possible and mention as much as I could. Time I can make happen, but money is tight as I am finishing my college this year. That is why I'm trying to hold on to the car. I hope the tips I get push it for another year or more :)
THANKS AGAIN FOR READING / HELPING :)
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You need to know if its a 3.0 or a 3.8. Look on the valve covers. That vintage usually suffers from cracked or leaking small vacuum lines. Find them, track them down, inspect and replace as needed. Some are in and out of split loom so it can be a challenge. some like the canister vent goes down to the lower radiator area.
If your having shifting problems, change the VSS on the trannie and see if it helps.
A million things can cause noise in a taurus. Bad subframe mounts. bad bushings. Bad motor mounts (see if the goo filled mounts are leaking) bad struts and strut bearings. Loose exhaust pipes. Cat convertor bad and stuff shaking around. be sure the half shafts are not leaking and boot broke too.
Good luck.
Bob
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BOB URZ wrote:

He said he smelled gas in the exhaust before changing an O2 sensor. In which case isn't it better than likely that he's got melty bits floating around in his cat?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

connect to the exhaust manifolds. If those bolts have been rusted on for 15 years the chance of them breaking scares me. On my 93, the cats are probably weak but the car still runs ok. So i have avoided the issue.
My 93 has a rattle now that i think is the strut bearings. At some point in time, you have to decide if the car is driving just how far do you go into repairs with a car that's only worth $1000 or so at best. mine has over 200K on it and still alive. But like a WW2 bomber coming back to base it has some bullet holes in it...... ;)
Bob
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Bob Urz wrote:

heat and those nuts come right off. The ones at the y-pipe outlet are another story. The manifold studs usually don't seem to seize or rust too bad.
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Thanks for your help! It's the 3.0 version. (I knew I would forget something lol).
I will make it a detailed job on the vacum line. I will also look up the VSS thing and see what that might be.
Yeah, the deciding of what is worth how much is a VERY dificult thing to do. It has a good 185K on it. Thing is... I would hate to buy something for 4 grand and end up changing what I have already changed. But I will do what I have to.
On the noise thing, it's not coming from the exhaust, it sounds like a wrinch pouding a water pipe but if that's not effecting my shifting or MPG - then I will consider it a car that is just musicaly advanced :)
So, what's the goal of MPG for a car like this? Is the vacuum leak a suspect for 19MPG?
I really appreciate the help- I will keep pluggin' away :)
LP
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

One possibility here. On the 3.0's, the water pump bearing wears eccentric and the water pump impeller starts to rub inside the housing. It will do this for a good while before it leaks or fails. Listen closely in that area. If your patient, its not hard to change but you might bang your knuckles a bit. Change the hoses while your at it.
Bob
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Here's another thing I thought I would mention and get some info for. ...
Since the new radiator, my car cannot stay in normal (the temp guage inside). It gets just to the edge then falls back to the Blue Cold erea. I imagine it falls when the thermostat opens up but with all my reading lately it seems important for readings and sensors to be in such a range or it tries to compensate. Maybe it reading cold all the time keeps the idle up, maybe the high idle would effect the shifting at times? Just throwing ideas out. Tomorrow evening I will fully inspect the vacuum line, and some have sugested replaceing the following parts
1. PCV valve 2. MAP sensor 3. TP sensor 4. Fuel filter (maybe for the heck of it?) 5. Idle Air Control vlave 6. VSS... which was here
I can get all *except the map sensor (have't found that yet)* for around 60 bucks for my make/model. I guess that's not much really, and I would learn more- that's always good. Are any of those rediculous?
I will put in any amount of time- I can look at the time as a hobby :) but as for money, I would like the whole project to stay within $100 - $150.
Oh and I forgot another thing, the water pump and hoses were also replaced alog with the idler pully last fall. Come to think of it, perhaps I will go to that guy for the noise as after I had the jpump changed there was a similar rattling- and that is when he charged me for the idler pully, said the bearings were bad. - thanks for mentioning that part! :)
Thanks again... and again...

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