When I let off the gas pedal, it's the worse at 30-40 mph, the car takes a long time to start slowing down. I have no cruise control on this 1998 Taurus. I heard it was made to do this and that you would have to have the computer reprogrammed to have it work like other vehicles.
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Without knowing the loads you carry and how you drive (do you accelerate like an egg is under the gas pedal, make slow stops and keep speeds below 65 MPH) I can't render a verdict on whether this is poor fuel economy or not. As far as the long start time have this test run, it is called a fuel pump pressure leak down test. Also have the Engine coolant sensor checked with a scan tool to make sure it is reading the correct engine temperature, this grossly affects fuel economy.
the catalytic converter most likely is no the sorurce of the problem, older design bead type Cat converters used to plug, but it is very rare on the newer ceramic honeycomb cats, u need to have the electronic engine control tested, are u getting a check engije light? if not has the fuel filter been replaced every 30,000 miles? also a part called the Mass Airflow sensor can cause these symptoms as well as igntion system problems.
I had a similar problem with a K5 Blazer, where the gas pedal had a plastic pivot point in the linkage. After about 60K miles, the pivot developed a burr that locked the gas pedal open and kept the vehicle about 60 MPH. If I kicked the pedal to knock it off the burr, it would then slow down. Try it...
Sounds like youi may have a few serious problems going on to have that kind of back lash occuring at higher speeds. I have experiance with low spped clunks on Bronkos and your type of vech being a car dealer. One you might try for low speed clunk on take off and braking at stop likts just completeing a stop? Pull the drive shaft and lubricate the splin - two check your leaf springs for weakness and wore bushings - take a look at your shocks - three u bolts holding springs to rear axle housing may be letting the axle housing actually dip or tweak or all those thing in combination - now you may have some serious slop in the pig - transfer case may be causing that clunk - as far as high spped clunk and activity you have a serous problem and you just might drop the transferr case have an accident fliping over..............Mike South Bend Indiana don't just keep driving and making problem worst...........