It's a long story.
But hey, if you clicked this link, you obviously got time!
The Lightning has not been running well lately and I was sinking all my spare cash into the basement. So I let it go for a few months until I had the time/money to address it.
It was basically stumbling at high loads. It wasn't clear what was going on but it felt like a severe misfire. That and it was dumping boost like a runway model dumps her lunch. So there was a problem.
First step...spark plugs.
Came stock with Motorcraft fine-wire double platinums. Not a performance plug but given the boosted engine, platinums or iridiums are the only thing that survives. Copper plugs would be gone in 20-30K miles. Well, looked like the DP's were the originals. I never changed them and I looked through services records and they were never replaced unless they were when it blew one of the plugs out of the head but that was at like 40K miles. So they either had 80K+ miles on them or the full 125K miles. Either way, they have a service life of 100K miles so they were spent. For an idea of how spent, they were gapped stock at .052-.056. I measured the gap on the spent plugs and they ranged from .078 to .089. That's huge and they were running way hot too which is probably why it was dumping boost so much.
But now I know why they were so old.
It took about 10 hours, a contortionist level of flexibility and two Saturdays to change the damn things.
I have pictures but it'll have to wait until I get home to post them.
So, plugs are changed. Take it for a spin, not stumbling as bad but it's still there.
Step two...fuel system treatment
Dump a whole bottle in. Run it for like 50 miles. Still stumbling.
Step three...clean the air filter
Holy moly was it dirty! Well, not so much dirty as clogged with tree seeds. I didn't even drive it all that much so I'm not sure how they all go in there. Anyway, cleaned it out, running better, idles better but still stumbling.
Crud crud crud crud...I was hoping it wasn't going to be a dying injector but...the problem is...it's hard to figure out which one is bad. Same with the coils. But they are so hard to get to that if I'm going to be changing one out, might as well change them all since I'll have to remove them to test them. Problem...new ignition coils $375 for the set of 8. New injectors $49 each so about $425 with taxes. So $800 in parts. D:
Crud crud crud crud
Step four...waitaminute! How old is that fuel filter? The dealer changed it last time I had it in for a scheduled service interval!
Check records...changed at 87,877 miles. (<-- that is what was actually on the service receipt)
Replace fuel filter.
ZOMG! still stumbling slightly but it woke back up! Finally! Reset the computer and started driving it around.
So, been driving it around places burning through the tank of gas with the fuel system treatment in it. Making sure I get on it from time to time so it gets nice and hot too. This means some full throttle blasts on on-ramps and 50-70 MPH runs on the highway. It's been getting progressively better and the misfire seems to have gone. The stumbling is so minimal now that I think it's just one of the new plugs got fouled by the lack of fuel pressure and it's just burning off.
But there has been this odd behavior at the 2-3 shift. I think it could be a transmission problem but it may have been what got me pulled over.
I took the truck out for a run 'cause I had to go get milk anyway. So I went to a far away convenience store so I could hit a stretch of interstate that is about 5 miles long between exits and not be too far out from my house.
So I get on the on-ramp to said interstate, come around the bend and as I hit the straight acceleration lane, I stuck my foot through the floor boards. It downshifted into 2nd and started screaming up the on-ramp. And by up I mean, the ramp is uphill. I was watching the tach, not the speedometer and saw the needle climbing all the way to redline while the blower was wailing like a banshee. It shifted from 2nd to 3rd and I felt this shimmy or shudder and then it shot forward. I let off and by now I'm in the right lane.
Then I see the flashing lights. I look in the mirror and there seems to be a small cloud of smoke waaaaay back there. I wondered if it was me. So by now the State Pooper is on my butt and I figure he wants me. So I pull over.
He comes to the window and asks me what I thought I was doing back there. I looked at him quizzically and said "Merging?" He looks at me like he's going to blow his top and says "Don't get smart with me sir!" I asked him what he was talking about, all I did was get on the highway.
Then he tells me how he watched me rocket up the on-ramp and light the tires up at the end of the acceleration lane like I was "some kind of top fuel driver".
I really didn't help my situation any because the next thing I said, with a big stupid grin on my face, "It lit the tires up? Really?"
By now the Pooper is thoroughly confused and didn't know what to say. So I said "Look, officer, I'm sorry. I had no idea it did that. Honestly, it's been running poorly and I just went through 3 weeks of fiddling with it and a few hunnert in parts to get it running right again. It was running so poorly that I knew when I got to the 2-3 shift, I was at around 65-70 MPH and I let off. If it blew away the tires on that 2-3 shift, I really have no idea how fast I was going and I had no intention of doing that, especially not at that speed."
He looked at me and I said "Really, I'm sorry, I was just trying to get some miles on it to get the ODB II diags back in range to see what other problems pop up. I wasn't racing or anything."
So he gave me a quick lecture about the dangers of speed and so on and so forth. Then he jabbered my ear off for 20 minutes about the truck and the problems I was having.
Hey, if it takes 20 minutes of listening to a cop prattle on about cars, superchargers and drag racing on the side of the interstate to avoid a ticket...time well spent! He didn't ask for my paperwork either.
So, long story short, truck is running well again, there's lotsa dead dinosaurs everywhere and I narrowly avoided a "speeding" or "exhibition of speed" ticket.
I wonder how many electric car owners have stories like that?
BTW, if the truck was running as well as it seems, I was probably a bit over 90 when I let off shortly after the 2-3 shift going by the gear ratios in 1st, 2nd and 3rd alone.