My buddy was having some engine idling problems and took his Tempo to a shop
that he likes because they are
quick. First they replaced the MAF which did not help.
Then they worked on it for a week and at the end of that
the automatic transmission wasn't shifting right!! Then they said they put
in a "new" computer/eec from a junkyard and now the car won't start. At some
claim to have taken the car to a Ford dealership
where they were told it needed a brand new computer
and a wiring harness at a cost of $1800.I think they
murdered the damned thing.
They claim that the automatic transmission is not shifting because of the
bad computer! Could this actually be possible? I think my friend should
raise some hell about
this. How could he end up with a trashed transmission?
Yes, the "computer" controls the transmission and the
engine. Sounds like you went to a rather incompetent shop
in the first place and the dealer is doing what any
reputable business would do in not wanting to fix someone
else's F***up without being well paid. It sounds like time
for another $2000 set of fair condition wheels is in order.
You do not spend that kind of money on a car that is not
worth that much in the first place.
For starters the computer does not have any control over the shifting of
this transmission. But if the engine doesn't run right the transmission
won't shift right either. I think your advice of just getting a different
car is a little premature as well. There is not much doubt that the computer
and wiring harness do not need to be replaced. Ford computers of that era
rarely fail and wiring harnesses may need repairs from time to time, but all
they are is a bunch of wires taped together. Find the broken or shorted
wires and repair as needed. No need to replace the whole harness. This car
needs to go to a tech who knows Fords......
I had a Tempo from Hell. For what the car is worth, I
wouldn't spend much time or money on it at all when I can
buy a perfectly good used car for that kind of money. I
suspect his problems are related to the harness socket that
connects to the ECT, FWIW. Had a couple of those break
internally causing similar problems to the OP. Repaired
them by splicing in a pigtail from salvage cars. Most Fords
of the era use the same socket there. The Tempo tends to
break them because the harness just hangs off the back of
the engine after a while. You are also correct that a
knowledgeable Ford tech could save the OP some money and
aggravation in this case.
Going ONLY on the information you have provided in this post, your
friend just got hosed big time - they almost certainly want a lot of
money for time already spent and parts already installed, and not only
did they not fix the problem it sounds like it's even worse.
Frankly, if it was my car I'd tell the Clowns at the first shop to
put the car back together the way they found it and I'm coming to pick
it up - the original problem you brought the car in with has not been
properly diagnosed and competently repaired, so it's free. And if
they don't like eating those expenses, you call the State Bureau of
Automotive Repair and they can come review his licensing status as a
Then you find a shop with a competent diagnostician on staff. Even
if you have to pay for an hour or two of flat-rate labor to do a
proper diagnosis, you have him find out what is really wrong and the
true cost to fix it before you dump any more money into the car.
Sometimes it makes more sense to scrap it than spend $3000 to fix a
$500 car. Especially if it already has bad rust or collision damage.
Clue: Car computers very rarely go bad - they're built too well.
It can be a sensor issue, or a wiring problem, or a loose connector,
or a blown fuse or bad power relay - but 99.9% of the time it's not
the computer. When they start suggesting a new computer without
eliminating everything else first, *Something**Is**Wrong*.
Clue: Same thing with wiring harnesses - unless it has had an
electrical fire the main body harness is probably not the problem -
and if it is, and you are paying someone to do the work, scrap the car
NOW. Main harnesses are darned expensive by themselves ($1K - $2K
even used) and require 20 to 40 hours of solid work to replace. And
the fault is more than likely in on of the other components and you
have to track that down and fix it first, or you'll just burn up the
replacement harness the exact same way.
Clue: Some Fords have a flaky cable linkage between the throttle
body and the transmission for shift control - the cable breaks, and
trying to drive the car any distance will quickly toast the
If the shop even suspects something like this they should insist on
having the car towed in, don't even try limping it to the shop. Or
worse, they don't try taking it on a test drive with a fault like that
- they could well be responsible for much of the damage.
--<< Bruce >>--
Thanks for your input. My friend is definitely not going to
spend $1800 on anything but another car. I just wanted
some confirmation about the shops bogus claims about the transmission. Oh,
by the way, the shop kindly towed the car to his house for free. I test
drove the car
around the block a few times and it sometimes does not
want to shift up but eventually does. I wish he would go back and tell them
they owe him a transmission. The
check engine light is always on and my pal says the
engine "runs poorly". Is there any chance the ccrm
is screwed up and not starting up the eec?
Time for your friend to consider taking a "Bold Move". Where're you
located? I have a slightly used 1990 Ford Escort GT for sale (163k
miles), all new engine gaskets and r134a conversion, valid NJ
inspection, new tires and much more. With a bulletproof MTX5 manual
transmission, he'll never have to worry about auto shift response
again. Will cost less than a new computer and harness, for sure.
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