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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So recently my car refuses to start. I was thinking it was probably crankshaft position sensor, and given my very limited time to work on anything figured I'd have a shop look at it.

Well, they believe it is actually the mass air flow sensor and connector. The readings are off from where they should be and they say when messing with connector it starts jumping all over.

They are telling me the cost for a new MAF sensor is over $400 (just the part). A remanufactured Motorcraft unit from Rockauto runs aboute $140 with core charge. So, I ask....does this sound right?

Additionally, I asked for quote to have a transmission/torque converter/and flexplate (which I am supplying) installed. He said it would take about 7 hours and run around $900 just in labor. Does that sound like a fair quote?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Charging $400+ for a part that you can source yourself for $140 seems like extremely high (but not entirely unheard-of) mark-up. I've heard of shops charging 20%-100% more so this markup seems crazy high but within the realm of possibility. I still wouldn't pay it.

MAF replacement is very easy; you could probably buy the part at your local autoparts store, swap it out in 15 min, and if it works you can either a) keep the part and pay the local markup (nowhere near this 2x though) or b) return the part to the local shop and buy it online for $140+core (a much more shady action but I'm not here to judge).

The crank position sensor seems more involved but cmon, it's 4 bolts:
http://forums.tccoa.com/7-engine-4-6l-5-4l/116610-crankshaft-position-sensor.html

The 7 hr quote also seems like full retail pricing. I'm not a professional mechanic but I've done a man trans swap (manual for manual) without a lift at a racetrack in <3 hrs. I'd say that coupled with the MAF quote, this guy is definitely making a profit here.
-g
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info.

Running to NAPA this morning to pick up MAF and connector for $140 combined. We'll see how this unit fares and if it flakes out I'll return it and pop for Motorcraft.

Most frustrating thing about this car so far is every time I think of putting money toward performance stuff, etc. something goes wrong first and sucks up all the time and money :(
 

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Most frustrating thing about this car so far is every time I think of putting money toward performance stuff, etc. something goes wrong first and sucks up all the time and money :(
It's a 20 yr old car. The march of technology has long passed the tbird by. If you want a more fuel efficient, reliable, more luxurious, faster car, there are quite a few newer makes/models that will fit most/all of these characteristics for <$10K.

If you want to keep your tbird, be prepared to dump cash. :)

-g
 

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If the connector pigtail is failing the wiggle test that would tell me the readings are off due to the break/short/corrosion in that section of wire causing it, not the MAF itself. It sounds to me like they're throwing parts at it.

It's a 20 yr old car. The march of technology has long passed the tbird by. If you want a more fuel efficient, reliable, more luxurious, faster car, there are quite a few newer makes/models that will fit most/all of these characteristics for <$10K.

If you want to keep your tbird, be prepared to dump cash. :)

-g
In that price range they're all going to be bland sedan appliances, the march of technology hasn't been accomidating to folk who want 2 doors and V8s and the only modern sub 10k cars that fit that criteria are 3V Mustangs, which bleh...

If you want to keep your tbird keep it away from shops, nobody knows how to work on them.
 

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I think if the problem is your MAF sensor the engine should run with it disconnected from power. There's lots of reading here on MAF issues. I'd clean the MAF and clean the connections first, test, then replace the connector and test, and finally try a different MAF sensor.

I would also think there would be error codes possibly leading you to the MAF sensor if it won't start because of it. You'll get an error code if you start it with the MAF disconnected and might need to clear all codes before changing stuff. I would read all codes and then clear and continue reading the codes as you make changes if I was thinking about paying for a new sensor. Mines from 1992 and still going.
 

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True - usually if the MAF is going bad, disconnecting it will cause the engine to run better due to the PCM relying on failed MAF tables which more accurately represent incoming air mass than a badly skewed sensor reading.

Also - if you are interested - I've still got the MAF from the 97 parts car I can sell.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ya, I meant to ask how they ended up getting car started in the first place.

I picked up a MAF from NAPA but the shop said they basically suck and said they use Delphi. So going to return it and already ordered the Delphi from Rockauto. It's just the probe, not the entire housing since there should really be no need to replace entire housing anyway.

I'll follow up on this post with what eventually ends up fixing starting problem. Hopefully it's just the MAF :)
 

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I bought one from Advance a few years ago, it was $110. It was the best MAF my 95 ever had on it, gas mileage picked up a little.

I agree on working on the T-Birds yourself, any used car actually. If you have to pay shop prices for all car maintenance, then having an older used car is cost prohibitive. Of course, there are some big jobs you can't do yourself no matter what.

I would ask around to find a mechanic that can handle the older models. I don't mind driving an hour for someone good.

Back on point, I don't see how a bad MAF could keep the car from starting. They always throw a code too.

Al
 

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It's a 20 yr old car. The march of technology has long passed the tbird by. If you want a more fuel efficient, reliable, more luxurious, faster car, there are quite a few newer makes/models that will fit most/all of these characteristics for <$10K.

If you want to keep your tbird, be prepared to dump cash. :)

-g
I got lucky that most of my stuff was done before my mechanic left the area while i was on the road. He went to another town without leaving a business card. He was cheap, and for good reasons, he's the kind of mechanic i'd trust suspension and brake stuff to since that is simple, easy to do with the right tools, and not complex in any way. I wouldn't have let him do, for example, a headgasket. He probably could do it well, just wouldn't be my first choice of places to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I trust the work they do at the shop my car is now. They did a ton of work on it last Summer and did it right.

I'm getting feeling they're like "this guys willing to pay so let's bend him over" now though, so they're pricing is concerning. But given I have zero spare time paying to have things done is the only way to go short of letting the car sit forever....but then why bother having it.
 

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There is a shop where I live that I trust to work on my cars if I can't do the work myself.
The shop charges $100.00 per hour for labor and he marks up the parts about 30% from what I would pay if I bought the part myself.

He does provide a warranty on the work he does which is for 2 years or 24,000 miles which I really like. I have NEVER had to take the car back to the shop because something he did failed.

His shop has the best reviews of any shop in my area.

Also, the shop will drive you home while they are working on your car. When the car is finished they will come and pick you up and take you back to the shop

I feel that the price he charges is well worth it because I know the car is going to be fixed right the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So had new MAF put in today including new connector. The car starts now however the shop says idle is slower that it should be and once they put it in gear it wants to stall.

They say the fuel trim levels look right now with new MAF. I asked if maybe it's a vacuum line causing problem, they doubt it but will work on figuring out what's going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for pointing that out.

Going to wait an see what shop finds but I'm thinking of replacing all of the following sensors it not to fix current problem but also might as well in order to avoid problems down the road given all of these are probably original on the car right now:

Throttle Position Sensor
Crankshaft Position Sensor
Idle Air Control Valve & connector
Intake Air Temperature Sensor
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So fingers crossed, getting the bird back tomorrow.

Here's what they've done to it:

- new MAF
- new idle air control valve
- new purge valve solenoid & connector
- new purge valve sensor & connector

They had car started with just new MAF, but it would want to stall when put in gear but it magically corrected itself. They said maybe it was stuck IAC and it corrected itself, or the computer relearned where it should be. Either way, I asked them to replace IAC on the side of caution and give car a once over. They found the purge valve sensor/solenoid readings were way off (basically it wasn't doing anything) and the hoses to/from it were cracked.

They've had the car for 3 weeks now mainly because I insisted on ordering parts myself to avoid the outrageous mark-up. I'd do the work myself but honestly I don't have the time.

On the bright side, the Art Carr transmission & Dirty Dog torque converter are going to get installed, and I've ordered 2.5 true dual piping so the "fun" stuff will finally get done :)
 
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