A few years ago my wife's '97 2.0L Escort fired a P0303 (engine - cyl
#3 misfire) code and after replacing the plugs, wires and coil pack it
still ran like crap. FWIW, those parts (except for the coil pack) were
due for replacement anyways. Ended up bringing the car into the shop
and turns out the #3 fuel injector was clogged and needed replacement.
The car ran like a champ until recently.
So... a few weeks ago I get another check engine light. This time the
code translated to P0301. Aha, I know what the problem is, right?
After replacing the #1 injector myself this time... the car still ran a
bit rough occassionally at idle. It was only now that I checked the
plugs and found the #1 plug pretty black. The rest were a good light
tan. It's been a few years and many thousands of miles later so I
replaced them all.
What I've noticed now is that if I put the car into reverse... it feels
like it's running on 2 or 3 cylinders. If the car is in park or
neutral it recovers. Upon acceleration the car runs very strong.
I just checked the new plugs a few hours ago and they all look good
except the #3 plug looks a bit darker than the rest. Not sure why this
would be the case.
I'd hate to have to take the car into the shop again if this type of
problem can be easily fixed. What would be unique about the reverse
gear position causing the car to really run terrible? Any ideas?
Thanks for any help!