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Old 02-24-2009, 08:45 PM
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Default rough idle in drive but not park

My 97 quest recently had a head gasket replaced. Now, when it is in drive or reverse, and at a full stop, the engine starts to "stumble." By that I mean it becomes rough and feels like it randomly misses. The longer I stay stopped, the more frequently the misses occur, until the car is shaking and feels like it's about to die. If I shift to park or neutral though, it smooths out. It is also smooth while in motion.

The idle is set around 7-800. I tried setting it higher (around 1000) to see if that affected the condition. It did not. The CEL (MIL) is not on.

Any suggestions?
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:53 PM
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One more thing - the rough idle does not occur when the engine is cold.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:17 AM
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maybe check for engine mounts.
I have a 97 Mercury Villager it also behave the same, there is a modest (not severe) vibration at idle in Drive. Once i put it in "N", the problem is not that prominant. But when i shift from "N" to "D", there is slight clinking noise. I think it's coming from the engine mounts.

Btw why did you replace head gasket? you losing coolant or something?
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:41 AM
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If it were motor mounts, wouldn't I be able to feel it while driving? And wouldn't it still happen with a cold engine?

This isn't just vibration, the engine speed definitely drops with each "miss".

The head gasket was replaced because after an overheating incident, oil was found in the coolant, but no cracks or warping were found in the block or heads.
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Old 02-28-2009, 05:47 PM
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if it over heated i would first check to see if the plug wires are arching out under load....if thts not it i would suspect a bad distributor
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:31 PM
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thanks, I'll check those items out and see what I find
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:33 AM
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You were right. The spark plug wires are arcing. I waited until after dark and had a friend hold down the brake while I looked under the hood, and I could see and hear little sparks occurring whenever the rpms dropped.
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