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1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights


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trevor2012
New User

Jan 4, 2013, 8:20 AM

Post #1 of 7 (1128 views)
1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights Sign In

Hello, thank you for your time. I have had my 1992 Ford Tempo, automatic 2.3L, 155,000 miles, for several months, commuting to my job about 5 miles away. Recently I moved from NM to CO, and please keep in mind-I'm not an experienced driver yet, nor do I know much about cars. I had heard that you could downshift to 2nd gear to slow down on a steep hill, but I wasn't aware that the car had be driving slower than 40. I was at 50mph when I downshifted, and immediately heard the engine make a loud, grating sound, at which point I instantly shifted back into drive.

The car has run exceptionally well considering its age and mileage. It ran well the rest of my trip until I hit the side streets and drove at 35 - 40 mph. The car starts well, and for the first few minutes at low speeds drives and sounds well. But after sitting a few minutes, and then resuming parking lot/stoplight speeds, the engine begins to shake and make a rubarubaruba sound, shaking with the sound. It lurches and seriously tries to quit at stoplights, then has limited speed when I get going again. The service engine light also comes on, but that's been the case nearly since I got the car.

I have very little money, and spent very little on this car, but would truly like to figure out a way to repair it. If you could help, I would appreciate it. Again, thank you for your time and Happy Holidays!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jan 4, 2013, 5:07 PM

Post #2 of 7 (1091 views)
Re: 1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights Sign In

#1 - don't downshift to slow car down. Use the brakes. Last full year of college was in Denver so have a clue how long the roads can be steep and brakes don't like it either.

Just a maybe as to what happened is you might have broken a motor mount. They are like rubber hockey pucks in a way and just kind of glued to the metal used to hold them together. They will not let engine/trans fall out but engine could tilt more than it should and who knows what moving item touched something that it wouldn't otherwise be possible.

Downshifting an automatic is especially not the thing to do. Let the truckers do that in the big rigs and they do. Not cars even this old.

Money is tight all over the place but you need to find out what you check engine light is saying. Free basic check at places like AutoZone or others like them. Just get readings and the numbers not what they might try to sell you.

I won't bother to tell you how to check motor mounts as you said this isn't your thing. No problem. Any tech could do that right while you wait. The reason it doesn't run right needs to be found and fixed. It is ruining your catalytic converter now if not destroyed already and they are costly.

It needs to be looked at. You need to find the $$ at least for the diagnosis and go from there,

T


trevor2012
New User

Jan 5, 2013, 11:03 AM

Post #3 of 7 (1074 views)
Re: 1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights Sign In

Thanks for the reply and suggestions. I spent yesterday calling shop after shop. I've tried AutoZone and Napa and their code readers can't do codes before '95.

Yesterday I noticed that my car ran ok in the parking lot until I put it into reverse and drive. Then the engine started fluctuating again. So it might be transmission related. I will take it to get diagnosed monday.

And no, I never will downshift again. I learned my lesson well. Someone had mentioned that you could downshift to slow yourself down, but I didn't understand that it had to be at low speeds if at all. Thanks again.


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
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Jan 5, 2013, 3:43 PM

Post #4 of 7 (1059 views)
Re: 1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights Sign In

Without putting it in gear, can you get it to run poorly by hitting the brake pedal?


trevor2012
New User

Jan 5, 2013, 6:08 PM

Post #5 of 7 (1051 views)
Re: 1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights Sign In

I haven't tried that. Good question, let me do that tomorrow before church and I'll let you know. Thanks.


trevor2012
New User

Jan 5, 2013, 6:21 PM

Post #6 of 7 (1049 views)
Re: 1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights Sign In

And just wondering...why do think i should try that? Could it be something with the brakes? They were just replaced several months ago.


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Jan 5, 2013, 6:50 PM

Post #7 of 7 (1047 views)
Re: 1992 Ford Tempo 2.3L idles badly, nearly quits at low speeds or at stoplights Sign In

If you have a bad brake booster it will create a big vacuum leak when you hit the brakes and make the car run like crap. Has nothing to do with the condition of your brakes, just something that uses engine vacuum and can easily have failed after 21 years on the road.






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