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Lincoln Continental Idles Low

Q. I have a question on my 1996 Lincoln Continental with the 4.6 litre V-8 engine with about 78,000 miles on it. It is fully loaded, re-built automatic transmission. The engine idles rough and sometimes down to as low as 400 RPMs, but it never dies. When it warms up, it runs perfectly. always responsive when it is cold or warm. This problem I am having started last winter and only happens when it is cold outside and the engine is cold.

Lincoln Continental Idles Low

There are no check engine lights that appear. I have replaced the spark plugs, and all filters last august. I used to get about 26 - 27 MPG on the highway, and this summer I only received 22, 23 if I was lucky. I have always filled up with 91 octane gas because that is the minimum recommended fuel. I think that it may be the oxygen sensors, but I don't really want to replace all four of them, unless if I have to.

Thanks for your help Vincent,
Matthew

A. I think the most likely possibility is the Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor. If it is reporting the wrong temperature to the PCM, then it will use more fuel and give you that abnormally low idle. The O2 and ECT sensors can be checked for proper operation with a scan tool.

But the first thing I would suggest is giving the throttle body a good cleaning. Many idle problems clear up after a good cleaning.

Cleaning Throttle Bodies

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