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Unread 11-25-2011, 01:49 AM   #1
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Default Thunderbird Catalytic Converter Meltdown

Just got my converters replaced and exhaust done to find out that the old converters werent just clogged, they had encountered a full thermal meltdown. I was told that this was caused by a rich burning situation where too much unburned fuel was making its way into my cats. What would be causing this situation and what can I do to remedy it so I don't melt my new cats in the future?

I am replacing my spark plugs (with Iridiums), wires, cap and rotor tomorrow, and my thermostat soon to ensure proper operating temperature. When I start the car the fan comes on instantly and I dont think it ever reaches operating temperature. The highest the gauge ever comes upto is halfway between C and normal, usually its just above C. The coolant temperature sensor is functioning properly. Could a cold running situation cause the car to run rich?

There is also a plug that comes off my wiring harness near my coolant temperature sensor that doesnt appear to be plugged into anything, but I dont see anywhere to plug it in. Any ideas on where it goes?

Thanks guys.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 04:01 PM   #2
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What year is the car?
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Unread 11-25-2011, 04:09 PM   #3
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A coolant temp sensor that is wrongly indicating a cold engine will cause a rich condition. Leaking injectors can cause a rich condition too.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 04:19 PM   #4
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It's a 89 a Ford so it will have multiple coolant temp sensors. One feeds the gauge another the CPU. The CPU one is the one you need to find. Alot of Fords there located under the intake. Not sure on yours. First thing really is determine if it's really running rich. Your going to need a scanner to monitor fuel trims and coolant temp. See if the trims are running negative if they are then it's pulling fuel. This mainly on Ford is caused from vacuum leaks so a vac gauge is a good idea. Honestly I'm from the school of thought that Rich doesn't ruin cats lean does. Not a argument I want to get into right now so I'll just say verify a rich condition first. And replace the coolant temp sensor they are usually pretty dried out after 20 years. Now finding the right one is hard I usually watch the ecu input while disconnnecting them till it goes away. Next hard part is finding a parts for counter guy who can actually find it on his computer. They almost all give you the gauge sensor. Tell them it will be the one listed under fuel injection not coolant.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 08:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lautinjr View Post
It's a 89 a Ford so it will have multiple coolant temp sensors. One feeds the gauge another the CPU. The CPU one is the one you need to find. Alot of Fords there located under the intake. Not sure on yours. First thing really is determine if it's really running rich. Your going to need a scanner to monitor fuel trims and coolant temp. See if the trims are running negative if they are then it's pulling fuel. This mainly on Ford is caused from vacuum leaks so a vac gauge is a good idea. Honestly I'm from the school of thought that Rich doesn't ruin cats lean does. Not a argument I want to get into right now so I'll just say verify a rich condition first. And replace the coolant temp sensor they are usually pretty dried out after 20 years. Now finding the right one is hard I usually watch the ecu input while disconnnecting them till it goes away. Next hard part is finding a parts for counter guy who can actually find it on his computer. They almost all give you the gauge sensor. Tell them it will be the one listed under fuel injection not coolant.
Apparently I need both sensors because the stock 89 gauge sensor is faulty, common problem. Heres a diagram I found of my underhood sensors:



I should probably pull OBD1 codes and see what they tell me. Can Ford OBD1 monitor a rich condition?
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Unread 11-25-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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If it has O2 sensors it can read rich/lean. Matter of fact it has to or the engine won't run right.

My F150 can read rich/lean too...well it could if I ever replaced the O2 sensor.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 11:25 PM   #7
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Worth it to do a good visual on all vacuum lines also and track them back to there sorce
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Unread 11-26-2011, 12:21 AM   #8
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Where are the O2 sensors located on my car? The exhaust manifolds?
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Unread 11-26-2011, 12:26 AM   #9
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Probably. Definetly before the cats
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Unread 11-26-2011, 12:52 AM   #10
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I think I will replace the coolant temperature sensors and look into replacing the O2 sensors tomorrow.

I'll pull OBD1 codes too.
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