- Car Care & Maintenance
Troubleshooting Sudden Engine Problems in a 1991-94 Mercury Capri
The 1991-94 Mercury Capri will be a rare car by 2020, when it becomes 30 yrs old since they stopped making it. Having made only 66,000 worldwide, fewer than 40,000 still exist. Many owners simply start junking and parting a perfectly good car because they cannot find the part (since the engine is a 1.6L Mazda DOHC which is still found in recent cars, parts are not hard to locate) or something occurs and they are unable to resolve it because they do not have the service manual.
The Capri, like any car, does have its idiosyncrasies. For instance, the automatic fuel pump will shut down if the car is lightly bumped by another car or a bad pothole. It was a safety issue. However, many buyers now buying it have no clue about this and suddenly, their car will not run or start. Naturally, the worse is thought and could lead to a decision to simply junk it. The fix for this is simply opening the rear trunk and on the left side where the spare is, press the red button to activate the fuel pump again.
Another sudden stop is the electronic ignition. If the interior suddenly fails, the car will not start. It is not a common failure, but if the engine is getting gas and everything seems to OK, consider simply opening the distributor, remove the dust cover, rotor, to check the condition. The part is expensive, over $200, but a simply install for most DIY types.
The XR2 model is the turbo with 132 hp. Many junk the car after the turbo fails because a new turbo runs around $600. The car will not function without it because you will not be able to accelerate. Many XR2s have turbos with well over 140,000K, that is because, the turbo is not intrusive. Whenever you are not accelerating rapidly, the turbo is really not active. At steady speeds or slight accelerations, there is no indication a turbo is there. The turbo is active when accelerating fast from a stop or passing cars.
Some think that having a timing belt break while driving equals a blown engine. In some cars it is, the Capri simply loses all power and you glide to a stop. The engine will suffer no damage. Put a new belt on and you're good to go!
With the turbo, you will suddenly lose power and it will be hard to start if your hoses become disconnected while driving. Most common is the hose that comes of the exhaust near the oxygen sensor. The sound will be like a "whoosh" and you might think you have a blown tire, or maybe a belt broke. You will lose power and starting is hard. One could easily think the worse, like the Turbo failed. If the hose becomes disconnected, there is a huge vacuum leak in the engine, that "whoosh" sound is what it was. Simply reconnect the hose. Car will start right up. This hose goes to the intercooler area.
Many Capri's now need their radiators replaced because the plastic tops are cracked and leaking. Before you spend $250 for a new from a Capri specialist store, go online and search. I found an OEM metal radiator that is a perfect fit for only $130. Metal is a better material for any radiator.