Does this seem like a warped intake manifold?

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Asked by Nov 23, 2015 at 08:31 PM about the 2003 Mercury Sable LS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

One day after getting on the highway, my car began repeatedly
misfiring and slowly losing power. After about 10 miles, it was
running like total shit. Ended up changing the coil pack. Noticed one
of the bolts from the plenum was snapped off in the lower manifold
and the car still ran like shit  after the new coil pack. My buddy told
me that the bolt may have broken while driving (if that makes any
sense). And he said that would have caused the gradually loss of
power (sucking in air and moisture). He also thinks driving it like
that may have warped my intake manifold. He suggested getting a
used upper and lower manifold and just replacing the whole thing.
Does that sound like it makes sense? And also, would the manifold
and gaskets definetly be visibly damaged? Or could they look fine,
but still be defective?

59 Answers

52,625

A major vacuum leak will make your car run like poop but it would probably cause a check engine light to come on. If the intake manifold is warped it can be machined flat again by any good machine shop.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
17,840

Try spraying some carb cleaner around were the bolt is broken off with vehicle running if vehicle start the run better that is your problem sucking in air.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
100

Thanks for the reply guys. My check engine light IS on. Its been on since i got the car 6 months ago. Sometimes its not on, but most of the time it has been. And i did spray some starting fluid on the manifold and it kinda revved when i would spray it on the side where the bolt was broke.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
3,125

So, the starting fluid (wrong one by the way, at least use carb cleaner it is a bit less flammable) def tells you that you are sucking in air. If the gaskets look ok, then there probably is a good amount of warp-age, so I would just buy the used parts, because it is cheaper, at least around here, than a machine shop. Now, I have to go off a bit here: So the light has been going on and off for 6 months and you haven't checked the codes to see what is causing it, and keep on driving it? What the hell is wrong with all the people who post here and then afterwards decide to fess up that the light is on or comes on and off? They are called idiot lights because they alert you to something being wrong with the engine control system and let you know that you either have a problem or that a problem is pending. Check the cars trouble codes with a reader and start following the correction procedures one at a time starting with the first one, then clear the codes and see if the light comes back. If it does, read the codes again then fix the first one and keep following that sequence until no more codes return.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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I have read the codes. Its always the same thing (misfire in cylinder 2 and misfire in first 1000 rpms)ive had the plugs and wires changed, a new coil pack, a new crankshaft position sensor done already. Work is slow and im broke, i have a kid coming in 1.5 months. I dont have money to keep sticking into it at the moment if i dont know exactly what is wrong. Until the day it really got messed up, symptoms were minor (misfires in idle only and check engine light on. Otherwise ran great). So i was waiting until my xmas bonus to get anything else done. I guess i dont have that luxury now. Gonna replace the intake manifold and see what happens i guess

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
17,840

Here is a suggestion that may help and hold you over until you get a chance to do the repair correctly. Put some JB weld or something equally to it onto the broken bolt head and around the edges were intake sets on engine close to the broken bolt. May seal vacuum leak long enough until you have a chance to work on it.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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Ive actually got a lower manifold for it and a upper manifold on the way. Both are used, but hopefully they do the trick. The lower manifold already had gaskets on it. They look just fine, but i dont know how old they are and im wondering if i should just get new ones while its taken apart. Or if they look good, they are good?

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ajc87, I understand your situation, have been there myself and struggled for years. Congratulations on your pending new arrival! I would suggest that if the gaskets are reasonably priced, go ahead and replace them since the old ones have already been compressed. A couple of other thoughts, one is, have you checked the KNOCK SENSOR? Not sure of the exact location of it, but if it's near the number 2 cylinder, that could possibly be a cause of a misfire detection if the piston is getting sloppy in the bore. The other one is, I understand that you have changed plugs wires and coil, but it is much more common then most people realize, that parts do come brand new but defective some times, so for the heck of it, try swapping out that plug and wire with another one and see if it eliminates the misfire or chases it to another cylinder. With all the electronic sensors in the modern cars it gets very troublesome to trace certain problems, especially since not every problem always sets off the trouble light. Sorry I can't be more specific with the help, but stick with it and keep us all posted and we should be able to figure it out. Good luck.

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Another thought as I keep re-reading all your posts and the replies here, that chronic misfire in #2 could also be caused by a defective or dirty partly clogged fuel injector. With a bit more work and going very slow and careful, you could try swapping the #2 fuel injector to one from another cylinder and see if that chases or eliminates the misfire. I am guessing that the manifold change out will get rid of the bad running and that the #2 fuel injector may be your misfire problem. If you can get that snapped bolt out when you do the manifold swap that should button up your leak and just leave you with chasing the cause of the misfire. How many miles on this engine by the way?

Best Answer
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It has about 125,000 miles on it. After im done with the manifold, i will check into that fuel injector. I literally just started learning to work on my own cars in the past couple months. So if i ask dumb questions, thats why lol. I appreciate the help from everyone. Thanks a lot

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
3,125

There is no such thing as a dumb question when you are learning, so don't worry about it. Just always try to include as much info as you can when you post, for example if you already check for or read the trouble codes, and if you have done that before you post, make sure to include them. It really helps. I have been repairing cars for 45 years now, mainly self taught. You can save yourself a lot of $$ over the years ahead if little by little you add to your tools, like an inexpensive code reader and certain tools that you know yo will use repeatedly, then you do the work and only pay for parts. There is a world of knowledge out there now that wasn't available to me when I started. I will always be glad to help if I can. So, with 125,000 on it I believe that your swap out will help as long as you can get that broken bolt out. Also, as to the injector, I would swap the #2 one with one that is easier to get at if possible, before you put the manifolds back on. I say this for 2 reasons. 1 is that the manifolds may have to come off anyway to swap any of the injectors, so if you move that one before you button it up and the misfire changes to the cylinder you put it in, then you know for sure that was your problem and 2 if that was the problem, you can probably live with it until you have the $$ to replace the injector(s), then just pull the manifolds and do the job then. As before, keep us posted & good luck & thanks for the reply!

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Anyone know how to depressurize the fuel lines? There is no schrader valve on this year sable. I unplugged the fuel pump, but the car wont start so i cant run it out. There has to be another way, right?

3,125

You can't spin the engine by key if you unplug the ignition coils? If not, you should be ok by wrapping rags around one of the injectors and slowly and carefully working it loose from the rail. Just watch your eyes just in case. The pressure is not really huge, so go slow by rocking it loose and the pressure should bleed fairly quickly.

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I ended up getting it all done, but... When i started it, it sounded healthy but was revving like crazy. I shut it off and popped the hood and there was a lot of gas all over the inner parts of the manifold. I told my friend to see what he thought, and he thinks i didnt get one or more of the fuel injectors all the way in and it was spraying fuel out. I thought i got them all the way down, but i could be wrong. What he said makes sense to me. What do you think?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
17,840

It could be a loose injector but the best way to pinpoint were it is leaking is to have someone start the vehicle while you are looking under the hood to see exactly were the leak is coming from.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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Good thinking. Ill do that tomorrow. Thanks

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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Had my girlfriend start it while i watched. Gas was pouring out of the far side of the fuel rail onto the manifold. I do remember that i had a hard time getting it down on all the injectors properly. But i thought i did end up getting it on them good in the end. I also had all the bolts tightened all the way down. Would it make more sense that a fuel injector wasnt all the way in, or that i didnt have the fuel rail over the injectors properly? Also, would the gas pouring onto the manifold explain the hard revving without me puahing the gas? Or would that have something to do with the throttle cable?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
17,840

First fix the gas leak then if it is still revving up post back.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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Fixed the gas leak. Car is no longer revving like crazy. A hose wasnt hooked up. But.. When i start it, you can hear a clicking when its idleing. I drove it and the power wasnt all there. It felt like it was hesitating a bit. When i revved it in neutral, once it got around 4000 rpms it felt like something slipped or something. Its hard to explain, but it just didnt feel right.

17,840

Where does the clicking sound like it's coming from ?

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Somewhere in the area of the manifold

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
3,125

The clicking could be a failing injector. They do normally click, but you should not be able to hear them over the running engine, only with a mechanics stethoscope. Did the check engine light stay off or come back on? The misfiring cylinder?

17,840

Retighten all of the manifold bolts to make sure they are nice and tight.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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The check engine light stayed off. And after letting it run in idle for a couple minutes, there was no misfires. Before after about 15 sec of idle it would misfire every time. I will try tightening bolts better. And the clicking is def louder than the engine. Its constant and sort if goes with the rhythm of the runnjng engine if that makes any sense.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
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I actually did have one lose manifold bolt. It was the only lower manifold bolt i could get to. Im wondering if i should take everything back apart again to double check all lower manifold bolts are tight. Also after revving hard for a while i had a desent amount of liquid dripping from around the muffler. It dripped enough for me to let a small pool collect in my hand. It was a dark grayish color and definetly had a scent, but i cant identify what it smells like

3,125

I would pull the upper and start with re-tightening all the lower manifold bolts, then reinstall and double check all the upper bolts. It sounds like you eliminated the misfire, so did you swap the #2 fuel injector or wire or plug with another cylinder? I honestly don't know what type of valve lifters are in this engine because I never had occasion to go that far into the engine, but if they are hydraulic type, that means they have a small hole in them and as the oil pressure builds up, they quiet down. Depending on how long the car sits without being run, they can drain down over time and actually sound like rocks bouncing around inside the engine when you first start it, until it warms up enough for the oil to build up enough pressure to get into all the lifters and any other tiny openings in the engine, so that could possibly be what you heard or hear. Also, when fuel injectors get partially clogged or start to fail, they can make an audible clicking sound every time they get the signal to fire fuel and the ticking lasts as long as the injector is firing. My 01 Santa Fe has a couple of bad injectors that DO tick and one of them even whistles on occasion, but it runs well and gets decent mileage so for now I am living with it. As to the vapor build up and drain from the exhaust, don't worry about that just yet, again it can vary in amount and color and odor depending on all the variables like how long since last run, how far driven, like short trips or long, and it can be clear or can be grey or even black, depending on amount of carbon build up in the system or any chemical residue from any cleaners used on the engine while repairing or possibly even from a heavy fuel dump.

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Im going to take it back apart tomorrow morning and double check everything. I didnt swap out the fuel injectors or plugs or wires. Just put the new lower and upper manifold in. Seems to have fixed the misfire problem. But now with these other problems im losing my patience with this damn car. Hopefully its just something dumb i did like not tightening everything properly. I guess i should try new fuel injectors if i cant figure it out. Is it possible that i could have caused major damage when i drove it home after it crapped out on me that one day?

3,125

I suppose it is possible that you could have cause some major damage driving it home, but I really doubt it. I think it is just one of those coincidental pain in the ass problems that you just have to be patient with in tracking it down. I have had similar problems with the 01 Santa Fe I mentioned to you. I tend to live by 2 things, Murphy's Law "Anything that can go wrong, WILL" & "If it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any at all". It makes us tough survivors! I am 3rd generation auto mechanic, but no professional schooling like the first 2 generations. I am all self taught and used to read reference manuals like most people read a good book. Hang in there you will get it figured out, & I will keep helping as much as I can.

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Thanks. I appreciate the help a lot. I have the manifold back off of it right now.. Yea, i left 2 of the lower manifold bolts loose enough to take off by hand...whoops. Would that cause the same problems as the symptkms i described? (loss of power, engine sort of ticking, and a slight hiss). I dont really wanna put it back togther this time if there is something i can do to fix it while its still apart (ive taken the uim off 4 times now). I dont know if it matters, but there is a "L" shaped tube that runs out from under the LIM and connects to the bottom of the UIM. It was very loose from whatever hose it hooks up to underneath the lower. It was hooked up, but i pulled it out with almost no effort at all. Im wondering if i should replace that while im down here. Btw its also a tad collapsed at the bend. It definitely can still get air through it, but it may be restricted. Any thoughts?

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O yea... And i should probably say that i didnt replace my upper OR lower intake manifold gaskets. Because they both appeared to be fairly "puffy" as in they didnt look awfully compressed. Im sure thats a no no, but woukd that explain the crappy running engine?

3,125

Power loss and a slight hiss could certainly be the result of loose bolts because they allow air in where there shouldn't be any. Not sure about the ticking tho. For about 5 or 10 bucks you can pick up a cheap but effective mechanic's stethoscope which can really help you to pin point leaks, whines and squeals by sound, you can even place the ends agaist injectors and hear them operating and find worn bearings and all kinds of problems. I would definitely replace that tube if you can find a replacement for it because if it is that loose it can also create a vacuum leak. As far as the gaskets go, If they had been compressed to their limits at any time, they more than likely could cause enough of a leak to cause it to run crappy.

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Im beginning to think that you may be onto something when you brought up the valve lifters. Ive beening reading about people that have been having problems with those and the sound there cars make seem to match up with the sound my car is making. Also ive heard that running the car low on oil can cause problems with the valve lifters or rods. When i checked my oil a couple days ago, it was 1-1.5 quarts low. Which suprised me because i checked it a couple weeks before i had the initial problem on the highway and it was MAYBE .5 low. So im thinking i may have damaged the lifters driving low on oil? I dont even knkw how to go about seeing if they are any good. Im gonna look online and see if i can figure anything out

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Also, should i start with changing the oil and filter and also use a oil treatment

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I was actually thinking about trying auto rx. Ive heard good things. Any thoughts on it?

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I don't know anything about autoRX, but I have used Sea Foam my self many times, so here is what you can try, get a couple cans of SeaFoam Cleaner, link to site: https://seafoamsales.com/auto/. It can be used in the fuel tank to clean the injectors(usually about 1 can per full tank) and fuel lines and it can also be sprayed directly into the top end at the throttle body to clean out the plenum/manifold while the car is running. As far as I know, it does not come in a spray can, but you will need a spray type bottle and will have to play with the throttle by hand to keep the car from dying while spraying it inside the intake. Take the second can and put some in the crankcase before topping it off with the missing oil. Run the car a bit, maybe about 100 or 200 miles then do a drain, filter change and refill. I use Lucas Engine Oil additives on my older cars with the higher mileage and it seems to make a big difference. If you have any of the Sea Foam left from the 2 cans add that back into the fuel tank. I use the Sea foam when doing repairs and want a good cleaning, but otherwise I usually just run some Lucas Injector cleaner in the fuel tank on random fill-ups. I find the Lucas products cost a bit, but in my case they have seemed to make a world of difference.

3,125

The Sea Foam link was just for info purposes for you, you can buy it at just about any auto parts store and even at some Walmarts. Lucas products usually only at auto parts stores, at least here in CT anyway. You should never run any engine on LOW oil, and I tell my kids that if you can't remember to check the oil level at regular intervals, then check it at the gas pump every other fill up. Most of the parts in the engines are designed to operate most efficiently at set temperatures and pressures so it is important.

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Yea, im probably gonna go the seafoam route. Ive heard recommendations from friends for seafoam. And i do keep up on my oil level . Thats why i thought it was weird that it was so low when i checked a couple days ago. I checked a couple weeks before it crapped out on me because it was close to being time for a change. It was only about .5 quarts low. Im wondering if whatever problems its been having burnt it up in the little time its been drivin in the past month or if the oil is leaking. I put a piece of cardboard under the motor sunday and i found a small amount of oil (3 drops or so) under it today. I dont know if it dripped out throughout the nights or when i ran it today while checking it out. Im not sure how significant 3 drops in 2 days is, but im assuming it means something at least

3,125

3 drops isn't very bad, but it could be leaking out under higher pressure when driving. Is the engine frame or undercarriage wet looking or oily?

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Ill have to look when i get off work. I still havent been driving it to work cause im worried about doing more damage to it if something isnt right. My buddy at work is telling me i need to get it out and drive it, but i wanna at least wait til after thursday when i do the oil change and the seafoam

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Took it for a test drive. When taking off, and up through around 10-15 mph, it runs very rough and sorta shakes. But when it got to higher speed especially when i nailed it, it felt smooth as could be. Like a normal car. Then i got down to lower mph and it was rough again when accelerating. There is also still the tick sound with a bit of blub blub blub in the exhaust. Also when i got back, i popped the hood and i could smell burning oil, but not an overwhelming smell, just obvious. That mean anything to you?

3,125

Did you do the clean out with the sea foam before you drove it?

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Yea. I put half a can in the oil and drove it to the gas station and put a full can in the tank before i filled up. Didnt put any through the vacuum lines yet tho. I ordered the uim and lim gaskets. Also that tube that i said slipped right out with almost no effort, was to the pcv valve, which i read should be replaced at 100,000 miles in this engine. Im guessing by the appearance that it wasnt, so i ordered new pcv, tube, and hoses. It was cheap and is right under the lim, so i figured id replace it while im down there doing the gaskets. My friend really seems to think its just a vacuum leak thats causing the power loss. So hopefully this takes care of it. We will see...

3,125

Sounds about right, so change it all when you get it, then warm it up good and take it out and put it thru it's paces and let us know. good luck.

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Im totally confused... My new intake gaskets came today. The lim gaskets came as a whole intake length plactic piece with rubber gaskets built in. Uppers were just the 6 individual rubber gaskets. I havent taken my intake manifolds back off the sable yet, but i have the old intakes that i replaced in my house. So i got the new gaskets out and the old intakes just to sorta make sure they matched up.... Not even close. The lower intake doesn't take a plastic piece with gaskets built in. It takes individual gaskets. So i check the uppers gaskets.. They are waaayy to big and dont fit at all in the intake. So i think "maybe its possibly rockauto.com has the wrong year listed for my gaskets.." nope. I double checked autozone and they too have the big plastic piece with gaskets built in. And it shows 2003 is the only year that didnt have indivual gaskets. So my next thought is "maybe the lim and uim themselves were replaced before and the previous owners used the wrong year manifold and it still fit the car" but that makes no sense cause my new intakes i bought came from 2 different places and were both listed as 2003. Whats the chances they both had it wrong and so did the previous owner who hypothetically would have changed manifolds with the wrong year. So then i think "is it possible that my car is actually a 2002 or 2004. And the guy that sold it to me was wrong?" nope... Cause i got the car legal and surely the insurance company or secretary of state would have known the vin# didnt exist for a 2003 sable. So fuck... I am soo fucking confused. What the hell is going on? Seems like theres a big fucking joke being played on me. There is not a single plausible scenario that makes any sense in this situation. Unless theres something im missing that one of you know. But i am lost...

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I know that last post is hard to follow, but its even more confusing than it sounds

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Have you run the VIN of your car through a Ford Vin Decoder? If not, run it, and even try a few different decoders and compare the lists of what each one says about your car. Possibly there are more than one engine listed for yours. I googled your yr make and model and found that one is listed as a Merc LS Premium, so it is quite possible there are more than 1 engine for the car & you have the less common one. I know with my 96 there are 2 V6 engines for it and depending on certain parts and jobs that need to be done on my model the prices and times for labor are different because of the additional amount of work needed on my engine model. Try these for starters: www.vindecoderz.com/EN/Mercury www.mercurystuff.com/ www.decodethis.com myvindecoder.com/mercury-vin-decoder/ www.61thriftpower.com/vindecode.shtml www.vin-decoder.org/mercury-vin-decoder I will be in and out today, but let me know what you find. Also, have you picked up a Haynes Service Manual for your car yet? They are about 17$4 at most Autozones and well worth it, I do not recommend Chilton Manuals at all.

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I will run them in just a minute here. But my sable is a LS premium. Sounds like you were saying that IS the less common motor. But i will look into it myself too. I was so damn thrown by this, because all ive seen on most websites is that there are 2 motors, the OVH and DOHC. Mine being the DOHC. But things would make more sense if there was another version of the DOHC. Thanks for the suggestion. Im about to look into all this. Thanks

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Ok. Replaced the both sets of gaskets and pcv valve and hoses. It ran a lot better. Still shook a bit when i take off, but once i got up around 20 mph and up ran way smoother. So i drove it around all day to do the things i has to do. Then the problems started.... I had been driving for a while and stopped at my parents house. When i left, the dome light wouldnt go off and it said the doors were open. I checked and none of them were open. Then my headlights stopped working. The fog lights, blinkers, and i THINK the brights still worked, but no normal headlights. Over time the car progressively got worse. It started losing power and just generally didnt feel as good. By the time i was on my way home, i started hearing a weird sort of popping randomly when i was slowed down. Also heard it when i woukd take off. It wasnt real loud, almost like electricity popping. When i got home it was dark out. So i had my girlfriend rev it in neutral while i looked at the engine for sparks or arcing. I didnt see anything, but i also didnt hear the popping at that time either. I dont know what the hell is going on with this car. I never had electrical issues til now. Im not sure if it matters, but the electrical connection to the coil pack wouldnt "snap" down. It went all the way on, but just wouldnt click in. But there was no misfiring and the check engine light never came on. Any thoughts on this pile of shit car?

3,125

Holy crap! Gotta say, NO I haven't ever heard of anything like this. Was this car being used daily when you got it or had it been sitting unused for awhile? With all the electrical problems, none of the idiot lights on the dash board came on or stayed on? Try checking it for any codes again.Did the car go without battery power to it for any length of time while you were working on it?

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I dont know if it was being driven daily before i bought it, but it drove good when i got it. I started having some trouble like 2 months after i bought it, but plugs, wires, and a coil pack took care of that. I drove it for about 3 or 4 months before all these other problems started. But i never had any electrical issues before saturday night. I dont get it. Ill try to have the codes read, but my buddy already told me to drop it off at his house. Hes gonna look at it. But after i told him what was going on with it, his reaction didnt leave me with much hope

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I understand his reaction, because the sudden electrical issues are very bizarre! That is why I asked if the car ever sat for a long time. My bro in laws 84 Maxima used to do some very strange things, and I ended up tracing wires and found under the front passenger side carpet, a bunch of wire splices from the factory which grew green and white fuzz on the connectors over time. I had to cut and splice in new connectors on all of the splices and that took care of all his problems.

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It only sat around 4 days with the battery unhooked. And it didnt show any signs of electrical problems until about 20-30 min of driving. Im just hoping my friend can figure it out. I think this job is a little too much for me. Thanks for the help, ill let you know if i end up getting anywhere with it

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My friend thinks i dropped a valve or something like that... Hes sure its something really bad. I dont know to do next, but hes gonna check it out better today. Ive drove it quite a bit like that, so im gonna go ahead and assume i fucked some other things up too. Great..

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Going to have the car checked out better in the next few days. But in the case that it needs a new engine, you know of any reputable used engine sellers? I found one on lkq for my car, but i wanna make sure i dont get a crap engine

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Buying a used engine is pretty much a dice roll anywhere, but there are several things you can do to try to guard yourself a bit. You can try ebay motors and make sure anyone you deal with offers a money back guarantee, try local junkyards and make sure they will refund in case the engine is shot (get it in writing), or just buy a factory rebuilt from someplace like Jasper, or do like I did with one of my other cars, try craig's list and find a car that has been wrecked but not in the front end and has decently low mileage on it and pull the engine for the swap out, or use a car & car parts type news paper like BuyLines and buy privately or from one of the businesses that advertise there, but again ask about a money back guarantee.

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I havent bought a new engine or anything yet. My car has been at my friends house for the past week or 2. He wanted to figure out if a valve had dropped and done damage to the head or anything like that. He did a compression test and all cylinders were good. He was expecting one to be bad, so now hes a little stumped. He thinks it might be an electrical problem, but he doesnt have any way to check that. Any ideas?

3,125

Sorry, I really don't. I had an 87 Taurus that was driving me crazy with a very erratic idle and surging up and down. My neighbor was in electronic parts sales at the time and Ford was one of his customers. He contacted a guy there he knew and told him my problem and he admitted that Ford has a problem and they refuse to acknowledge it publicly because there are so many computers and sensors in the cars that they cannot trace the source of the problems. I got rid of that car after that. I then had a 94 Taurus which was great and it blew the head gaskets, which was very common on them. I replaced the gaskets and was on vacation and in NJ on the highway the oil pump shit the bed and blew the engine. Now, my son has a 96 Sable w the 24 valve dual overhead cam. We bought it with 45,000 miles on it in 2012. It now has 90,000. When we got it, it started throwing a misfire code, and I ended up replacing the coil pack, and did new plugs and wires, cleaned out the upper manifold and replaced the gaskets as long as I had to take all that apart to get to the coil & plugs by the firewall. It has been running great, but I just started to replace the struts & coils on it last week, and it is a nightmare at my age, working on a cold garage floor with jack-stands under the car. I found the underside of the engine, exhaust and transmission covered in oil and cleaned it. It looked like it could be a valve cover leak, so I got those and also new manifold gaskets since I was pulling that apart again too. Intake needed a good cleaning again, and after all that, it doesn't appear that it was the covers leaking. I did find the oil sending switch above the filter soaked in oil, so was able to tighten that, now have to put it all back together and see what happens, but I think the actual leak may be up under the front head in a place I can see looking into it from the passenger side fender, but cannot get to without doing a complete tear down, so screw that! The car was a Florida car, so it had a lot of dry-rotted rubber parts in the front end, so, new lower ball joints, new sway bar end links and a new tie rod end on the pass side along with the new coil/struts. Just have to finish getting it all back together, and he can drive it to it's death after this. Back to your's, it could very well be some kind of electrical problem but don't know if you will ever find it it because FORD HAS A BETTER IDEA. I would suggest that you try cleaning and re-tightening every single ground wire you can find in and around the engine compartment, including those woven steel straps they like to use to connect all the body and engine parts. The fall off or loosen up a lot and I have read about how temperamental these cars can be when a ground wire starts acting up. I went to ebaymotors and just got a CD which has the actual Ford Factory Service Manual on it for 96 to 99 Taurus/Sable. It was very cheap (about $20.00) and got here in 3 days. If you are really in a tight spot and need to keep this car and get it going, I would suggest you try to get the CD for yours. They are well worth the $ and in fact with every car I ever owned, the first thing I did was buy a service manual (factory paper version or CD, found on ebay or amazon or a Haynes manual) for them. You can also go to all data - DIY and get a years subscription for your year, make and model which is good too. It is what a lot of garages use.

100

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the input. Im not sure if im gonna stick more $ into it or get something else. I dont have much $ right now and i still owe $2000 on it. But my brother has a 88 merc grand marquis he'll sell me for $900. Its actually in good shape, and ive drove it for the last 2 weeks. It may be the better option. Possibly just hold onto the sable until its paid off and just trade it in. Ill decide over the holidays, but thanks for the suggestions, i will consider them too

3,125

No problem, I just feel really terrible that I couldn't fix your problem for you. I have found and fixed more problems over the years that the Dealer Mechanics could not find or "Cannot Duplicate Condition" so I am very frustrated over this. Merry Christmas to you.

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