Changed oil, filter and replaced valve cover gasket...simple!
Upon starting noticed an engine miss, read DTC of P0303, which is #3 cylinder misfire. Ended up checking timing, replacing spark plugs and wires, coils checked out fine, codes got worse (from 2 to 5 codes, cleared and then ended up with original 2 codes.) Replaced O2 sensor which was one of the known bad ones. Original misfire led to engine not wanting to start at all....replaced cam position sensor as it was one code that showed up early on. Finally towed the car to a mechanic-owner of Japanese car repair shop (well known to me and other vehicles of mine) where he and a co-mechanic worked on the Lancer for about 12 hours of labor, replacing crankshaft position sensor and for the first time in his 20+ years in the business, had to have me tow the car away from the shop as the car would not respond! (Charged just an hour labor which is unheard of in this area after expending so much effort.) Engine seems to get fuel, spark, timing right on as far as cam/crankshaft and timing belt, may fire and attempt to chug along for 3-5 seconds at best. Help!
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IF THE PLUGS ARE GETTING WET WITH OIL AND FOULING THEN YOU NEED TO DO A VALVE COVER GASKET WITH THE SPARK PLUG O-RING GASKETS. MAKE SURE TO GET A CAN OF BRAKE CLEAN AND CLEAN THE VALVE COVER AFTER YOU PULL THE OLD GASKETS OUT
Check that your plug leads are pushed all the way onto the plugs. Check that your plug leads are connected to the correct plugs. Check that your plugs aren't contaminated with oil after removal of the rocker cover gasket.
Did you remove the cam shaft sensor wire? Check that for it's connection. If you removed any connectors at all, then check them all again.
When you changed spark plugs did you notice any oil on the insulator or wire plug? Or any oil in the hole that the spark plugs are in? This model of LS were built with gaskets that seem to always fail. Lincoln came out with new gaskets in 2002 or 2003. If there was any oil in the above mentioned places your coils (COP Coil on plug) could be shorting out due to the oil degrading the insulator on the cops.The fix for this is to replace the valve cover gasket set with the upgraded set. Also it's almost impossible to find which coil is bad, and I recommend replacing all eight of the COPS. You can find them online pretty reasonable. I have used these and they seem to perform as good as the Dealer parts, but at a fraction of the cost. This solved the problem on my 2001 LS V8. Also these cars are known to have problems with the timing chains, which could also cause your problem. The adjuster shoes that keep the timing chain tight are plastic and wear out and come loose. Some times causing the engine to jump time and in the worst case could allow the pistons and the valves to come in contact. That will destroy the engine.
I would guess one of the valves are sticking or the lifters, but to me it sounds like the oil pump is either clogged or not working. Which would explain the engine light and the tapping sound. I hope this helps Tim
Do you notice a puddle under the car? Or smoking when you shut it off? The rocker cover gaskets are the culprit. If you have the spark plugs in a well inside the rocker cover, the will fill up with oil and also leak out the back. You can replace the gaskets, a fairly easy job, you have to pull everything off the top of the engine to get the covers off. And they give you the new seals for the spark plug well with the gasket kit. They only go about 10 years, I replaced mine and they are starting to leak again. Hope this helps.
could be the oil pump, but before you get to that, whens the last time you had you oil changed? is it the right type? was the filter changed to? if the oil is to thick for your engine, the pump could be having a problem pushing it. If its dirty, same thing applies. Next time you change your oil, be sure to use a full synthetic. its a superior oil all around.