WTH? 92 Taurus Wagon Check Engine Light

I was coming home from work tonight... about a 15 mile commute down the interstate. As I was rolling down the off ramp the car suddenly bucked for a
second and the check engine light came on. It immediately smoothed out but the light stayed on. As I continued the last 3 miles or so to the house it became worse again, bucking for a few seconds and then smoothing out. The idle at stop lights seemed normal but then it would start bucking again. The check engine light would come on and stay on for a little bit, then turn off.
When I got to the house I left the engine on and looked under the hood but didn't see anything. There was no smoke at any time; nor did I smell any raw fuel.
After a couple of hours, I decided to take another look. Just on the off chance it was caused by the fuel cap, I loosened it and retightened it. There was no suction sound when I opened it... which I generally get when I open it at gas stations.
I went ahead and started it again and it ran smoothly. No check engine light this time. Anybody got any ideas?
BTW, does anybody know where the OBD connector can be found on this wagon?
PS - it's been one damned thing after another with this car. If I hadn't have gotten it for free I'd really be upset. <G>
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:

By the AC accumulator on the passenger side under the hood. Check ALL your vacuum hoses for cracks and replace any that look bad. If you have not replaced the plug wires lately, do it.
Hopefully, you don't have a 3.8 with a head gasket that's letting go....
Bob

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Bob Urz wrote:

Thanks, Bob. The plugs and wires were changed about 8-9k ago. I'll look at the vacuum lines again now that the sun's up. And thankfully, the wagon has the relatively bulletproof 3.0 liter engine in it.
FWIW, I'll post what the solution is when I find the source of the problem.
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Other things to look for?
TFI module on dist. (takes a special shallow socket tool to remove) Coil (had one fail on my wagon) Fuel filter (change for good measure.) Negative battery cable. (has one go south on me)
I seem to have on on going issue with water in the headlights. I keep getting savage units, they work for awhile then they leak. I punched three wholes in a otherwise good one over the weekend because it had a 1/2 inch of water in it (did not pop the lamp)
I also had a donor once that when i tore it apart, found some chaffed wires shorting out on the drivers side going over the engine.
I need to change the rack on mine. Still figuring out the best was to approach that deal.
Bob
"Mortimer Schnerd, RN" wrote:

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BOB Urz" <"sound wrote:

The fuel filter has been changed since I got the car last year. I doubt very seriously that the battery cable has a problem as the headlights weren't affected. I will look at the others you suggested.

Now that you mention it, I've had the same problems. I've taken the housings out of the car and drained them, then used a heat gun to encourage them to dry out. I then carefully applied scotch tape to the upper seam where the clear meets the gray plastic. So far, one of them has stayed dry (6 months now) and the other has water vapor in it again... though much less than before.

Good luck... I just looked through the CD manual for the 92 and didn't see it even covered. My steering rack creaks big time in the winter but is silent in the summer. Everybody has advised me not to worry about it. I've decided to take their advice.
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:

I think I found your problem. Your engine is missing! ;-)

How do you think a loss fuel cap would affect your engine?
A loose cap could cause the check engine light to come on, but I don't see how it would affect engine operation.

There might be a code stored in OBD computer (the code will eventually be cleared). You should be able to go to Autozone and get the thing read.
You can also go to wikipedia and read about the OBD for that era. It is different from what is in new cars.
If the engine is now running fine, I would check the oil (you want to make sure a lot of gas isn't spilling into it), the OBD and forget about it for now if the OBD doesn't show anything serious.

What other problems?
Jeff
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Jeff wrote:

No, I'm pretty sure it's still there. Now the miss is missing... not to be confused with the missus.

It's called: "grasping for straws".

This morning I got into the car and it's running completely normally. No check engine light; no miss. I ended up visiting the ford dealer today and got it read there. No codes stored. And luckily for me, the mechanic did it for free since he couldn't find anything. He drove it and said it seemed completely normal to him. He further suggested that I continue to drive it around and if it did it again to drive over immediately without shutting down and getting a mechanic to read it before it got shut down there at the garage.

Since I got this "free" car, I've replaced the radiator, plugs, wires, distributor cap, power steering pump, entire brake system including booster, master cylinder, etc., converted the R-12 AC to R-134... new condensor, compressor, lines, etc. But what the hell... I did get the car free of charge from my dad. He was going to donate it to some organization or other when I reminded him that charity began at home. Then I found out about his policy of "deferred maintenance". But I look at it this way: even as much as I've paid in repairs, it's still cheaper than making payments on a new pickup. And what pickup gets 30 mpg? Even though it's a little smaller than a pickup, the wagon so far has met my needs for a utility vehicle. I would very much like to keep it running.
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"Mortimer Schnerd, RN" <mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com> wrote:

Strange... if the check engine light was on, there should be codes stored as long as the battery wasn't disconnected.
There are two methods of retrieving codes on a 92 Ford; 1) On demand codes 2) continuous memory codes
My guess is he only checked on demand codes and either skipped checking continuous codes or had his equipment set to erase codes automatically.
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:
<...>

Sounds like $3 to $4k. Not really bad. Plus, the insurance is a lot cheaper too.
Why kind of legs did you put on it? I haven't seen a car run before, but I remember things in Stars that the Empire used. Pretty cool.
Jeff
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Jeff wrote:

I consider it sort of crime preventing also. I live in an area that seems to have a lot of carjackings. You'd think they'd go after the BMWs and Lexus type cars but no... they grab plain old middle of the road cars too. But I've never heard of a carjacker who didn't have enough personal pride to walk on by a Taurus wagon. It is the ultimate in uncool wheels.
Of course, I have my standards too. They're just low. <G>
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