96 Taurus smoking

And I don't mean going fast. It recently started knocking really bad and smoking like crazy. It happens mostly as I start off, at a certain point it
will suddenly happen. Then it might run ok for a while, then go back to this knocking-smoking thing. Sometimes I can hardly get going at all before the knocking and smoking starts. I have to really ease off the gas until I get some momentum going. Seems like whatever handles the timing just hangs up. I don't know. Any ideas? Thanks.
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Bill opined in

Yeah...my idea is, if it's that bad, the Check Engine lite should be on.
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Bill wrote:

White smoke? Gray smoke? Black smoke? Smokes on acceleration? During cruise? On deceleration?
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cruise? On deceleration?<<
Thanks for your response. Gray smoke, and thick. On Acceleration only. Especially from a standstill, but can happen after I am moving and give it more gas. Sometimes I barely have to depress the gas pedal and it starts. If I let up on the pedal it stops. Then it may happen again when I give it gas or it may suddenly run fine for a bit. And when I say giving it gas, I mean slowly and lightly. Seems to start happening after it warms up.
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it
before
I
hangs
=========Check under the hood for a loose vacuum hose or wires. Let it idle and carefully start wiggling stuff. MAP sensor vacuum hose comes to mind..................Does the check engine light ever come on?
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Is it possible your oil is overfilled by a significant amount (at least 1.5 qts)?
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Thanks to all who responded. More news. Yes, the check engine light is on (it's been on for years). Finally checked it today and the reader unit said there was a problem with the cam position sensor. This seems to make sense since terrible misfiring seems to be the problem.
Thing is, looking at symptoms for faulty cam position sensor don't seem to cover my problem. The things I have read seem to indicate there may be problems starting and some lost power, but my problem goes way beyond that.
My question is would an intermittently bad cam position sensor cause the engine to lose almost all power, knock badly and smoke like a steam locomotive when it goes bad? Thanks.
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Bill wrote:

You probably have more than one problem, and my guess is that the cam sensor is not the biggest problem. Whatever caused the check engine light to go on years ago was not right way back when it started, and it's still not right. What is causing the CEL to be lit *might* be a defective cam sensor.
I have to ask: why did you ignore the check engine light for years? I am not claiming this is necessarily true in your case, but a condition that can cause the CEL to be lit may not seem to impact driveability, but it might well cause damage to the engine over time. Unless you read back the codes and know the exact cause of a CEL coming on, you are running a risk by continuing to drive the car.
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Thanks for the response, Mark. Yes, when I (finally) had the cause of the CEL to be on checked, the reader device said the Cam Position Sensor was faulty and the Catalytic converter was not up to "proper" efficiency. That's it, just those two problems. I suspect the reason it was on from way back is the catalytic converter problem. Although not good, I don't believe such a condition will have caused long term engine problems by continuing to drive with that particular "fault," just more pollution. Of course I have no idea how long the cam sensor problem has been logged into the computer's fault memory, but of the two problems reported, I considered that to be the fault causing, or contributing to my current knocking and smoking problem, thus my question. From what I've read it seems a faulty cam position sensor would not likely cause the knocking and smoking to the degree I am seeing, faulty though it may be. I just wanted to get some sort of confirmation on that before I spent the money on a new one and all the trouble to replace it. Thanks again.
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