99 Cougar problem...HELP!

cougar99

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Hi, I am having issues with my 99 Cougar, V-6. . . I am a girl, so use simple language when replying :) My check engine light has been on for a couple years now. . I've been told it was my exhaust senser and also that it was my airbag senser. Had my exhaust checked and everything was fine. Had my airbags disabled, light is still on. . . Just recently though, my car will rev really funny like it's about to die and kinda jerks back and forth like it's trying really hard to keep running. While this happens, my check engine light, which is always on, starts to flash at me. There will be a rotten egg smell or it'll smell like something is burning. I looked in my owner's manual and it said something about my catalytic converter. I just had all that checked yesterday and he said it's running clear and it's not clogging. He referred me to this website. If there is anyone out there that has any suggestions, please let me know!!

Thanks a bunch!
 

kev2

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A couple of years??? Why would you ignore the warning lights? Disable the airbags, and not repair the problems? You have gotten some of the worst advice I am aware of.. female male no differance in reply.

First I suggest you talk to friends, relatives, co workers, neighbors and find a repair shop that can help you correct the problems...DO NOT follow the advice you have gotten so far...

The lights are the vehicle computers way of alerting you to a problem.. you will need to access the computer and get the codes that refer to the problem system. Then you could post the numbers Pxxxx etc and someone could help explain or suggest corrective action...DOING NOTHING is the worst thing you could do.
step 1 scan modules/computers ECM and SRS post codes...
 

Transman

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Agreed and FWIW, a blinking service engine light is a very bad thing and you WILL be doing damage to your catalytic converters. You can post the codes here when you find out what they are and we can help further. Transman
 

autodr

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A flashing check engine light means that the engine is misfiring (Skipping, no fire in the hole!, no bang for yer buck) bad enough that is can damage a catalytic converter. This can be one or more cylinders, or even a random sequence of different cylinders doing this depending on the cause. You need to take the vehicle into a shop that is capable of finding the problem.... quickly... there are a couple thousand dollars in cats under that car... trust me, I've broken some people's hearts with those prices before.

Those are known for plug wire and coil pack issues. Its a choice of fix it now for a few hundred, or fix it very soon for a few thousand.

BTW, this has nothing to do with the air bags, and also that "exhaust sensor code" you mentioned would be the Oxygen sensors. However, most of the time, Oxygen sensor related codes are NOT caused from the oxygen sensors, but rather something else causing the O2 sensors to read incorrectly. On that car, usually a vacuum leak... and usually on the PVC hoses. Again, something to have a quality repair shop around check out.

Your rotten egg odor comes from the sulfur content in the gasoline. Normally, you don't smell it because the fuel is properly burned in the cylinders. However, in the case of a misfire.... particularly an ignition misfire (such as bad plug wires and/or coil pack) the gasoline enters the cylinder, but is not burned off like it should (no bang), then it is pumped into the exhaust. That raw unburned fuel then enters the catalytic converter.... where there is another fire burning... and is burned there. Burning the extra fuel in the cat produces odor. That also makes the cat(s) work waaaay harder than it (they) have to normally and gets them so hot they can melt down in a matter of minutes.
 

cougar99

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Ok. . . I took my car in yesterday and they told me what is going on. . . it IS my catalytic converter(S) I guess I have 3. . . ? Anyway, I'm just going to type exactly what they typed on my invoice.

"Note to Customer - Has codes 402 EGR flow problem/sensor, 420 bank one cat. efficientcy, needs DPFE sensor, EGR ports cleaned and both front cat. converters replaced. "

What's that all mean? They explained it to me and I understand it for the most part, but it would be good to hear how others explain it that know what they're talking about :)

Thanks so much!!
 

Transman

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Note to customer, You need a different repair facility. The code generated and the parts they wish to replace is like hitting your vehicle with a machine gun when a pop gun might be enough. Cat efficiency codes can come from bad cats but usually come from a bad o2 sensor (the front one) AND this will not cause a blinking check engine light. They don't seem to be addressing the misfire(s).
You may need the DPFE sensor as they are high failure items AND you may need the EGR ports cleaned out as this is very common also. You only coded one cat anyway so I think you are being taken advantage of. Most shops will fix the small problems and SEE if the cats start performing properly, they CAN"T perform properly if the EGR and O2 systems aren't working properly. Do your homework, Find a decent, honest and capable repair shop by asking around, friends, relatives, deli counter person, parts counter person, mailman, etc.
Post back, Transman
 

autodr

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Depends on what is wrong with the cats exactly. If the cats are restricted, then yes it WILL cause a misfire and blinking check engine. However, you should also have some misfire fault codes in here. You are sure you saw the check engine light "flash" or "blink"? If so, there was a misfire detected. There should be misfire codes... they are... p0300 (Random/multiple cyl misfire detected), P0301 (cyl number 1), P0302 (cyl numer 2) and ect. with the last digit changing for each cyl up to #6. Then there is P0316 (misfire detected at start up/first 1000 revolutions). These specific codes make the light flash... if the light flashed were is that in there write up?

That part bugs me. Why no misfire codes? Is there a bad plug wire or ignition coil that damaged the cat?

For the p0420 and 30, you likely do need cats. (Sorry Transman)... there are a lot of calculations a PCM goes through to make this decision. A weak upstream O2 alone will not set this. However, a weak/marginal upstream O2 can make a weak/marginal cat show bad enough to fail.

Here is a couple of articles. In the first one, about half way down around where you see "figure 2" list helps explain when a bad o2 might make a marginal cat push to fail limit... both were needed really, but doing onely one or the other would have likely kept the light out for a low efficiency cat code. I didn't get to fix that one at all, customer didn't have the money either way.

http://www.babcox.com/editorial/us/us60718.htm

Here is your EGR. About 80% down the page at figure 8,9, 10 and 11 is your EGR passages that stop up and DPFE. The DPFEs are junk and the EGR ports stop up. As you can see, I had to replace the DPFE and clean the ports to fix. This was a contour 2.5L, but same thing as your Cougar.

http://www.babcox.com/editorial/us/us50610.htm

Also, if only bank 1 is coding (P0420 is the right hand or rear manifold)... why do they want to replace bank 2? And why the under body cat (center), it's not monitored and can't code.... unless it is stopped up, then it would be a misfire situation from the excessive exhaust back pressure. Bank 2 cat (left or front manifold) will set a P0430. There is no mention of a 430 there.... so why bank 2....Is it stopped up? They are probably right on the EGR issue, but sounds like they are throwing parts at it for the P0420... all 3? No, should only be bank one upstream. Unless.... bank 2 is a marginal pass (like the first article touches on... predicting failures using Mode $6 data).. or they are restricted and haven't coded due to misfire codes setting and stopping the cat monitors from running (flashing check engine light)... but where is the mention of the misfire codes?

Before Ok'ing anything, I'd want more info. Like, "why" all 3 cats if only one is coding.

BTW... depending on your warranty start date (not production date... but rather the day that the vehicle was first purchased new from the dealer whether that was you or not).... and if the miles are less that 80k miles.. the dealer will replace the cats for free if they are bad. If you have less than 80k miles, and don't know the warranty start date, give me the complete VIN number to your car and I can tell you the warranty start date. To see if the cats are still under 8/80 federal emissions warranty. A '99 model might still be under warranty if it happened to sit in the lot for a few months before it got sold.
 

cougar99

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Okay, all this info is great, it's just gonna take some time for me to read through it and do some more investigating for myself. . . I really, really appreciate all the advice and I will get back with you guys soon!

Thanks again!!
 

Transman

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All I was saying, and it pretty much looks like you are agreeing autodr, was the info does not correspond to recommended repairs from this repair shop. Although the calculations involved may be extensive, I was of the belief that basically the pcm compares the front o2 to the rear o2 and does the math to verify the cat is working correctly. I have seen a number of times that when you scope the front o2, even though it is working high & low, that it does not make the sweep quickly enough or doesn't vary a wide enough sweep which makes the cat look like it is not working. In those cases, I have simply replaced the weak o2 sensors and the cat eff. codes don't re-appear. I am not saying that misfires don't hurt cats or they all survive but I don't believe, at least from the info we have been given, that ALL cats should be replaced AND why has nothing been recommended for the misfires which if anything caused the cat failure in the first place. Transman
 
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