Ford Escape wont start

A while back the check engine light came on. Following instructions in the book we checked the gas cap, ect. Then ran that tank empty and filled up with a full tank of high octane. On 1/4 tank the light went out, however
before we were getting about 320 miles to a tank of gas. Now we are lucky to receive 180 miles from a tank and you have to hold the gas pedle to get it to start most of the time. Not particulrly in the morning or evening. Once it even quit while going down the road. After 4 trips to a dealership they say that the computer says the vechicle is fine. Any suggestions????
Also there is a "clanking" noise under the vechicle about in the center. At first it started out as a noise in the passenger front tire then it progressed to the state it is now. It honestly sounds like something is about to fall out from under the vechicle. It has also been to the dealership several times for this also, with no luck. Thye say they have no clue that it could be anything and to bring it back when it gets worse.
In need of assistance
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On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 02:44:03 GMT, "Mark Wright"

It sounds like there may be several things going on here. First, you should NEVER allow an EFI vehicle with a cat converter to run out of or, even very low on gas. This will cause a lean mixture and fry the converter. Also, you should never need premium fuel in that vehicle - it is designed for and will perform best on RUG. The problem you describe sounds like either a damaged converter restricting the exhaust or a plugged fuel filter. Either of these should be detectable by a qualified tech. A fried converter can rattle as you describe when it's insides melt down into a wad of scrap metal. Your vehicle should be equipped with OBD-II which is very sophisticated in it's diagnostic capabilities. This, along with a dealer scanner or a good aftermarket scanner, should be enough for a good tech to figure it out and ID the problem.
Lastly, are you aware that many auto parts stores like Autozone will check your vehicle for fault codes free of charge? Those codes may be helpful to anyone here who may have some idea of what the problem may be.
Good luck
Lugnut
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If possible, bring it to another dealership. Your guys sound like they are even denser than my guys, and I didn't think that was possible. Sounds like the converter is fried, big time, if that's what is making the rattling sound. If the car is still under warranty, I might be asking to speak with a Ford rep before the warranty runs out and they want to charge for the "miraculous" fix. Tom F.

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Problem is that the warrenty has run oiut but it has been doing this since before the warrenty run out and they have yet to fix it. Now they are wanting me to pay for it, they must think I'm crazy.
The noise however does not sound like the converter. Sounds like it is in the wheels and the tranny.
thanks so far

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