Question about 1996 Mercury Tracer

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1996 Mercury Tracer with sudden loud engine knock

After driving on interstate for approx. 20 minutes, car cut off. When I restarted it, there was a loud engine knock. The vehicle hesitated for the mile and 1/2 home, cutting off twice. There are no signs of running hot, unless guage is inaccurate.

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Was the engine overheated when it shut down on the highway? If so, it probably seized due to a stuck bearing, when you restarted the engine, the bearing spun and now you likely hear a connecting rod knocking around in the engine without bearings. This will mean you need a new engine.
If the engine didn't overheat, then it's possible that a valve seat in the cylinder head fell out of place and is now banging around inside a combustion chamber destroying the engine and you will likely need a new one. This was a very common problem on one of the Ford based 4 cylinder engines, it depends which one you have. The major offender was a 2.0 litre.
Another possibility, the timing belt has jumped and the pistons are now hitting the valves, causing the engine to run rough. This will either require a major repair or a new engine.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009

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