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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long time no post. (Had some various life upheavals happen, but I'm back now.)

I figured I'd run this by the group -- I've read down some of the threads here and found similar problems, but I'm not really sure if they apply to me yet, since I'm not a mechanic at all and can't tell a header from a coil from a catalytic spark plug differential upper reverse flange.

Not long after the rainy season here in Japan fired up with a vengeance, dumping buckets of rain on us for a solid month and causing flash floods and mudslides around the country, Ol' 303 started idling roughly. There is never any problem starting her up, but (and mostly when the engine is relatively cold) it will often "miss", as if a cylinder is intermittently misfiring. Purrrrrrrrrrrguntrrrrrrrrrrrrrrguntguntrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrguntrrrrrrrrrrrr.

If I give the accelerator a good pump while at idle, and rev the engine, sometimes I can hear a cylinder knock.

There seems to be no problem when accelerating. The only times I experience problems are during idle, and when driving up slight inclines and the transmission wants to drop out of overdrive -- in that case, the engine will miss a few times, and then GGRRONK drop down to a lower gear, rather hard.

This weekend the wife and I drove up into the mountains for a day trip, and this happened often until I realized that if I turned the O/D switch OFF while driving uphill, the problem all but went away.

I'm likely going to take her (the rig, but maybe my wife also) to the local Ford dealer in a week or so and have them take a look. I don't want this problem to grow until it starts causing real damage somewhere.

Any thoughts on this? Am I about to have a serious difficulty?
 

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Clogged injectors, dirty throttle body air filter, or bad gas?
 

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Inlet manifold gaskets possibly? Sounds very much like the symptoms mine started out with. Do a search on this forum for related articles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
oskerb said:
Clogged injectors, dirty throttle body air filter, or bad gas?
I can rule out bad gas, because a) I always get fuel from the same station (Esso) and b) the problem has persisted through several fill-ups. It seems to calm down after the engine has been running for a while, although it never fully goes away.

She's overdue for a 6-month checkup in any case -- I bought her in January -- so I suppose a trip to the dealer will flush out this problem. There's no way I'm going to open the hood and start screwing around with anything in there. I've been a computer tech for 18 years but have no clue about vehicles. :bag:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
christophera said:
Inlet manifold gaskets possibly? Sounds very much like the symptoms mine started out with. Do a search on this forum for related articles.
Yes, it does read very much like that. Idles very roughly when cold, less so when warm.

The only other thing I can't figure out is why dropping to a lower gear from overdrive is as rough as it is.
 

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the2belo said:
christophera said:
Inlet manifold gaskets possibly? Sounds very much like the symptoms mine started out with. Do a search on this forum for related articles.
Yes, it does read very much like that. Idles very roughly when cold, less so when warm.

The only other thing I can't figure out is why dropping to a lower gear from overdrive is as rough as it is.
The two could be totally unrelated. It does happen. My car is a case in point...with a few days of replacing the inlet manifold gaskets and completely curing the rough idle problem, we went on a 2 week vacation and on the way home the auto trans pretty much gave up the ghost. I'm not saying that your's has the same problems mine did but I'd keep in mind that one problem may be engine related and the other transmission related.

Good luck with it.
 

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The poor idling could be a clogged IAC (idle air control valve). It's a fairly common problem.
You could clean it w a spray solvent to see if the idle improves; if so & you don't replace it, you'll probably have to clean it periodically.
On the V6 it's an easy thing to do, since it's in clear view kinda on top of the engine, left side (USA - driver's side).
If you do it yourself, buy a new gasket beforehand.

The transmission problem is probably something else unrelated to the IAC.

Edit: here's a topic w photos - click!
 

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The fact it started idling roughly right after heavy rains makes me suspect you have one or more ignition coils that need to be replaced. The ignition coils are those black plastic pucks atop the sparkplugs. They have a bad habit of developing cracks in the plastic casing from heat and vibration. Then water seeps into the coil causing misfires and rough idling. The good news is that it's usually the front ones and they are easy to get at. They're very easy to change yourself, but if you don't feel comfortable doing it then a mechanic can switch out all six of them in an hour. Motorcraft ignition coils are a little pricey, however. If you decide to do that, change all six sparkplugs while you're in there if you haven't had that done in a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions! Since many people have posted about the intake gaskets, IAC, and ignition coils being suspects, I can try investigating those first.

I mean, once it gets down below 100F around here. Arrrrrrgh, I'm not working under the hood of an automobile in this weather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update: I took her to the local Ford guys yesterday afternoon and had her hooked up to an EEG. It was indeed an ignition coil, in cylinder 5, that was intermittently failing. Changing that out fixed 'er right up!

Now the only thing that remains, a minor annoyance, is the blasted keyless entry...
 
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