Question about 1996 Ford Thunderbird LX

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3.8 liter idles rough and stalls. No codes are stored. OBDCII reader indicates "not ready" when checking sensors. Plugs are black and exhaust smells rich. 1996 Thunderbird 3.8 l v-6

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Ralph Koozer

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With any ford product with a 3.8 liter engine the rough running check list is check the foundation first. Establish it isn't a blown head gasket causing loss of compression. Easiest way it to check the coolant tank for bubbles after the engine is hot. If there are bubbles in the coolant overflow tank have them tested for combustion products. In my experience with ford 3.8 liter engine, blown head gasket is a very common cause of rough running. If the compression is good then flow check the injectors. Have the injectors shop cleaned. This is the next most common cause of rough running. It usually presents first as missing on climbing a hill in overdrive. After doing these and it still runs rough check:

1. Fuel filter

2. spark plugs

3. spark plug wires.

Or take it to a good local shop and have them put it on an engine analyzing computer.
Good Luck

Posted on Aug 14, 2015

  • Ralph Koozer Aug 14, 2015

    Another cause of over fueling with these is excess fuel pressure due to the vacuum line disconnected from the fuel pressure regulator causing it to be at maximum fuel pressure all the time instead of constant differential pressure above the manifold pressure.

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James T.

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I have a 97. I have already changed the maf, what else can I do?

Posted on Aug 14, 2015

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David Oswalt

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Air filter box cover lose and sucking to much air, check to see if cover installed correct. Also could be mass air flow sensor.

Posted on Jan 15, 2011

  • Ralph Koozer Jul 24, 2014

    The pressure to the injectors are regulated at a constant pressure above manifold pressure. We suspect the fuel pressure regulator for the injectors reference vacuum line might be broken or not connected properly to its varrum port. could be stalling due to over rich mix.

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