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Discussion Starter #21
Okay, when it rains, it definitely pours!

So, the car definitely starts up better and I do believe the idle will relearn and steady itself out if I leave it run long enough to, but I keep turning it off because NOW I'm hearing a loud whining/struggling noise and there is definitely smoke coming from the engine, specifically the freaking alternator ::banghead::

I'm guessing the alternator got ruined from all the atf from the ps pump leaking and being flung on it from the belt....

So I guess a trip to the junkyard is happening in the morning. Hopefully I can find a decent one, as they're only $15 at my local yard. Think I should replace the belt as well? It doesn't look too bad aside from a slightly glossy appearance but I figure I could clean it off real good?
 

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So....a couple things here.

Plugs should be double platinum. There is a scientific reason for it that's buried somewhere here in the forms, but in order to burn all the fuel properly they should be OEM replacement double platinum plugs. Along with that we've always learned that OEM coil packs and plug wires work the best on these cars. If you have ignition problems in the future maybe look toward those first if you didn't replace them with OEM Ford parts.

But...along with that....stop loading up the parts cannon and throwing parts at it. If there were no issues like this prior to the elbow fix then most likely something got bumped or not plugged back in correctly. Slow down, take the time to diagnose and be confident about what's wrong before installing new (used) parts and bringing potential other problems into the equation.

The rough idle could be a vacuum leak. Make sure that all the vacuum hoses are plugged in correctly and there are no breaks in any of them. If the battery was unplugged for a certain amount of time the car may just need to relearn the idle. Disconnect the battery for 10 minutes, then reconnect and start the car. Don't touch the throttle...just let it idle for 10-15 minutes.

You're probably right about the alternator or belt getting soaked in PS fluid and causing the noise and smoke, but if it's still charging and the battery light isn't on I'm not sure I'd replace it yet. The alternators one these cars are in a horrible place where they catch lots of fluids and road debris. They are also in a terrible place to change and you aren't going to have a fun time doing it. I'm not sure I'd go through that much work to put in a $15.00 junkyard alternator knowing I might have to take it back out again. Are you near a car wash? I'd try cleaning things before I did the alternator job. Use some Gunk engine degreaser and rinse it off with water.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
So....a couple things here.

Plugs should be double platinum. There is a scientific reason for it that's buried somewhere here in the forms, but in order to burn all the fuel properly they should be OEM replacement double platinum plugs. Along with that we've always learned that OEM coil packs and plug wires work the best on these cars. If you have ignition problems in the future maybe look toward those first if you didn't replace them with OEM Ford parts.

But...along with that....stop loading up the parts cannon and throwing parts at it. If there were no issues like this prior to the elbow fix then most likely something got bumped or not plugged back in correctly. Slow down, take the time to diagnose and be confident about what's wrong before installing new (used) parts and bringing potential other problems into the equation.

The rough idle could be a vacuum leak. Make sure that all the vacuum hoses are plugged in correctly and there are no breaks in any of them. If the battery was unplugged for a certain amount of time the car may just need to relearn the idle. Disconnect the battery for 10 minutes, then reconnect and start the car. Don't touch the throttle...just let it idle for 10-15 minutes.

You're probably right about the alternator or belt getting soaked in PS fluid and causing the noise and smoke, but if it's still charging and the battery light isn't on I'm not sure I'd replace it yet. The alternators one these cars are in a horrible place where they catch lots of fluids and road debris. They are also in a terrible place to change and you aren't going to have a fun time doing it. I'm not sure I'd go through that much work to put in a $15.00 junkyard alternator knowing I might have to take it back out again. Are you near a car wash? I'd try cleaning things before I did the alternator job. Use some Gunk engine degreaser and rinse it off with water.
I know, it seems like parts are just being thrown at it, but prior to my ownership of the car, there wasn't any regular maintenance done to it whatsoever.

The coil pack and wires are oem, the plugs obviously are not but I will pick up some of the correct ones and replace.
I've had ignition issues before that ended up simply being a spliced wire that was rewired poorly by the previous owner that I miraculously was able to find and repair on my own.

The rough idle I figured was because of the battery being unplugged for a length of time but the strong fuel smell and the soaked plugs were why I was concerned and it wasn't merely a rough idle, it seemed like the car was choking. IACV is fairly new, and I would have allowed more time for the engine to relearn idle had smoke had not started to spew from the engine bay and that's when I discovered the alternator was the cause.

I changed the alternator over the summer actually, so it is a fairly new (remanufactured) one.... I am near a car wash but I'd rather clean it in the garage... Any tips on cleaning it? Just be careful of the electrical connections for the most part? I figure I can jack it up, remove the wheel and splash guards, and get at it good from there. What about the belt?

Thanks in advance!
 

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You may have stumbled into the real problem. If the belt is slipping and the alternator is either oil soaked or shorted because the oil lubed up the connector enough to short itself to the casing, than the car is probably running on low (and lowering) voltage so it will run like crap.

Inspect the alternator, belt, and the alternator connector closely before doing anything else at all.
If it looks okay, check the battery voltage with the car running to see if its charging or not. (14v)

I had a similar situation where a PS leak dripped all over my alternator and the main connector slipped a little bit, shorting to the casing, draining my battery and eventully nearly starting a fire.
 

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Plugs should be double platinum. There is a scientific reason for it that's buried somewhere here in the forms, but in order to burn all the fuel properly they should be OEM replacement double platinum plugs. Along with that we've always learned that OEM coil packs and plug wires work the best on these cars. If you have ignition problems in the future maybe look toward those first if you didn't replace them with OEM Ford parts.
This is precisely why I asked. This might help a bit: Autolite REBATE Combining that with RockAuto would get you double platinum for $1.57 each, or Iridium for $1.11 if you're adventurous. Anything colder gets to be disagreeable. I'm pretty sure a lot of Motorcraft SKUs and Autolite still come of the same line with a different stamp even though Ford no longer owns them. At least my Duratec and InTech engines have never complained...
 

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Discussion Starter #26
UPDATE

So..... I basically did what @wadespencer99 suggested and I degreased the alternator real good, careful of any electrical connectors, and rinsed it off well. I let it dry for a few hours, cleaned up the pulleys and the belt, and......

It started.

It started right up. It smoked for a little bit, but it wasn't whining or struggling anymore. After the idle corrected itself, it also ran quite lovely, despite copper plugs (which I've changed since then) but, I'm so glad I cleaned everything up before replacing that alternator. Thanks again @wadespencer99 !

Oh guys, and for the record.....
My PS doesn't leak anymore either!

Next project is my flex pipe
 

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Good to hear!

I’ve been researching exhaust setups recently while reworking the exhaust on my car. If yours has a flex pipe then it must be a 3 bolt flange between the y pipe and that flex pipe. You can buy a new flex pipe at Trubendz.com for $65.00. They may be out there cheaper - I only looked there.

 

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I bought a flex pipe at autozone a few years ago
 

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I’ve been researching exhaust setups recently while reworking the exhaust on my car. If yours has a flex pipe then it must be a 3 bolt flange between the y pipe and that flex pipe. You can buy a new flex pipe at Trubendz.com for $65.00. They may be out there cheaper - I only looked there.
Can't speak for other vendors, but the one I purchased from Trubends was slightly larger diameter pipe than my original, and the flanges are slightly thicker. Nothing wrong with the original, so it is still floating around here somewhere... The only place I found that matched their price was RockAuto and that was for a Walker which have never fit properly any time I've tried to use their pipe.
 

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Im a bit late for the party, but i purchased an elbow from autozone and got the first bend close in a vice bending from the end with a socket, then i hooked the line up with the brackets and took a wrench and bent the end to point the correct direction. But it was definitly not a direct fit.
 
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