I have a 96 Mercury Tracer that ran flawlessly, with
not a hint of any problems. Last night I was sitting at a light and
proceeded to go when it turned green. The instant I put my foot on the
gas, the engine suddenly began knocking like I have never heard before
and died on the spot. I tried to start the car, with no success. I
checked all fluids and all looks good, no water, metal shards or
nothing out of the ordinary in any of the standard checks. I pulled the
timing belt cover to see if that was the problem and timing belt is
intact but a bit loose it seems. I was told that the timing belt would
not cause knocking like that even if it broke or slipped. Is that true?
If it's not the timing belt that would cause that, what else would it
be that would cause the engine to just suddenly start knocking crazy
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Are all the valve follower making noise? If so you may have a plugged oil passage. Try pouring in a can of "BERRYMAN'S CHEMTOOL" (get it at the auto parts store), it may dissolve the sludge and gunk and quiet the noise, if not it will need to have the valve cover removed and an inspection performed.
Sudden no starts are usually gas or spark (ignition) related. If you spray some starting fluid into the intake and it fires up briefly, then you know it is a fuel problem- a bad fuel pump, or less often a fault in the fuel injection circuit.
If the engine doesn't respond to the starting fluid, check for spark on a spark plug wire with the engine cranking. Purchase a cheap spark tester at a parts store. It's easy to check for spark this way, and no chance of getting a shock. Another way is to pull off a wire from a plug, take out the spark plug and reattach to the plug wire. Lay the spark plug on a metal piece of engine, where the plug threads are touching metal. That grounds the plug. Now have your helper be cranking the engine over while you watch for a strong blue spark at the spark plug tip. If you have a blue spark consistently, you can assume the ignition is working properly.
Post back with what you find or for more help.
I am probably the last person that should be offering to answer a question on this forum (I'm no expert!), and this question is so old that my answer won't help the person who asked it. But - in case anyone else has the same question... I'd suggest you check your fuses. That's the first thing I check any time something electrical suddenly stops working, especially if other electrical things still work OK.
I have a 1999 Mercury tracer. I was driving down the highway two weeks ago and my check engine light came on. i went to autozone and he said something about misfire on bank and vacuum leak. He said it bascially was a tune up. i got in my car the next day and the light went off. it didnt come back on. Last sunday i got a tune up and a oil change. i was driving to work today when my service engine soon light came back on. could it be because its been warm here in st louis and all of a sudden its cold. or do i just need to get it reset. i hope its nothing major because im broke right now and cant afford to get it fixed