4th Gear Poster
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
95 4.6 emission inspection woes
95 LX with 244K miles
I welcome comments and advice on this, Iím mostly reporting my experience and plan forward for anyone that is in a similar situation.
Dyno was down last week at the Ford dealership where Iíve gotten my T-bird inspected over the last ten years, so I brought it to the one where Iíve gotten the Fusion I bought there serviced for the last two years. Tried to butter them up by saying that Iíve gotten such good service on my Fusion that I am entrusting them with my T-bird. Well, they failed it for smoke out of the exhaust. Shazbatt! Had just changed the oil and I should have put in the bottle of Bardahls no-smoke I have on the shelf before the test. Desk technician also said the inspector found a cracked something or other in the intake. They offered to do a diagnostic on it, so I scheduled it for a week later. I figured at a minimum Iím interested in their quote to change valve seals. They gave me the test results, I looked at them when I got home.
They marked thermostatic air cleaner system Ė fail. 95 4.6 doesnít have one. Last seven Virginia emission inspections done marked it n/a as appropriate. So now Iím wondering if they know what they are doing. Figure if there was a crack in the air intake the fuel trims would be all over the place. Checked them and they were. Hissing coming from the back of the engine. The emission T was loose. Cracked at two ends. Never saw a vacuum line blow out like that. Put that one on new when I cleaned the EGR system two years ago. So I swapped it out with the used one I had on hand.
After I few test drives watching for smoke, I check the fuel trims. All four are 0.0. What?! How can this be? Little later I see the LTFTs are pegged at 25.0. So either the scanner, the PCM or something else is bad. Cleaned the MAF sensor with no change, so swapped the MAF sensor out with one I had on the shelf. Now the fuel trims are more like I expect and under several driving conditions nothing into the twenties. Today Iím not seeing any of the tell-tale smoke upon take-off from extended idling at a traffic light.
Car needs an emission test to renew the registration expiring 2/28/19. Virginia doesnít exempt for emissions until 25 years old. I can apply in person at the RMV/DMV for a one month extension ($10) during the last month due if longer time for repairs is needed. State allows a one-year exemption after spending over $800 on repairs, but not for smoke.
So I cancelled the diagnostic test, Iíll just bring it in for the free re-test. I canít see spending money that wonít qualify towards exemption especially where I donít have confidence in the shop. If it still fails for smoke maybe Iíll replace the original valve seals next month before trying it again. Contingent on good compression check numbers. Before I brought it in I checked the spark plugs and they looked good. Not going to worry about it now. If worse comes to worst maybe Iíll just keep it parked in the driveway until registering it 1/2/20 as a vintage auto with no emission or safety inspection needed. Got plenty of other vehicles I can use in the meantime.
Am I missing something?