My '99 Ford Taurus runs what seems to be fine. However, once when i started it after a cold night it sounded like it had been piped. After driving it for a while it cleared up and ran fine, but I have noticed that whenever i am in neutral or park and rev the engine to 4000 rpm it starts sputtering. it doesn't happen when i am driving because my car shifts before it reaches 4000 rpm, but I would like to get the problem fixed. I have changed the fuel filter and the spark plugs already trying to fix it. I see no smoke which indicates to me it isn't running rich. Any suggestions?
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Being that this vehicle is a 1988 it is most likely still using an electric choke. When your vehicle is cold (even just not warm enough) it needs a richer fuel/air mixture to start which is what the choke is there for. When you turn the key the choke will automatically shut so the suction from the engine will pull fuel from all circuits of the carb. Anyways.. long story short for some reason it would seem your choke isnt closing as it should. This is generally just a hot wire thats connected to your carb.... maybe a short maybe its stuck open for some reason.. idk but that is where you should focus your attention. Hope this helps.
Some of these models have 2 temperature sensors. One makes the dash gauge or light work and the other works the engine controls.
The one that makes the engine controls work acts like a choke. It speeds up the rpm and enriches the fuel mix for cold starts. This is why you are having more problems in cold weather. You can see which one operates the dash gauge and then change the other one. Hopefully once you get the temperature sensor reporting to the engine management module, everything will work again.
Check the ECT (Engine Coolant Temperature) sensor. This sensor sends signals to the ECM to increase or lean out the air/fuel mixture and also acts as the old-time choke. If it is defective, you will have a hard starting the vehicle when it is cold.
a faulty coolant temperature sensor could be at fault. if its telling the computer the engine is hot when its actually cold, it can cause performance problems. when the sensor tells the computer its cold, it richens the fuel mixture. once the car warms up, it leans the mixture out. if the mixture is too lean at startup, it will run poorly
How old is your battery? If it is the original 2006 battery now is the time to replace it. A battery needs to be replaced after about 4 winters. Cold weather reduces the battery capacity and makes it harder to start. If you wait the car may not start at all.