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Troubleshooting Sudden Engine Problems in a 1991-94 Mercury Capri


Perrya shares his experience working on his own Mercury Capri.

The 1991-94 Mercury Capri will be a rare car by 2020, 30 years after it was first made. Only 66,000 were made worldwide, and fewer than 40,000 still exist.

When they encounter engine trouble, many Capri owners simply junk a perfectly good car because they are afraid they won't be able to find parts, or because they don't have the service manual. Actually, since the engine is a 1.6L Mazda DOHC which is still found in recent cars, parts are not hard to locate. With some effort you can often keep your Capri going.

The Capri, like any car, does have its idiosyncrasies.

Fuel pump. 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. People buying the Capri nowadays may have no clue about this issue. When suddenly their car will not run or start, they believe the worst, and sometimes decide to simply junk it. The fix for this issue is simply opening the rear trunk and, on the left side where the spare is, pressing the red button to activate the fuel pump again.

Ignition. Another cause for a sudden stop is the electronic ignition. If the ignition 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 and rotor to check the condition. The part is expensive, over $200, but a simple install for most DIY types.

Turbo. Some owners get rid of the XR2 model, the turbo with 132 hp, 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. Nevertheless, many XR2s have functioning turbos with well over 140,000K on them, 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.

Timing belt. Some think that having a timing belt break while driving equals a blown engine. In some cars it does, but 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!

Loose hose. In the turbo model, should your hoses become disconnected while driving, you will suddenly lose power with a "whoosh" sound, and the car will be hard to start. Most common is the hose that comes off the exhaust near the oxygen sensor, that goes to the inter-cooler area. You might think you have a blown tire, or maybe a belt broke. 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's what causes the "whoosh" sound is what it was. Simply reconnect the hose. The car will start right up.

Radiator. Many Capris now need their radiators replaced because the plastic tops are cracked and leaking. Before you spend $250 for a new radiator 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.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


perrya (author) on July 12, 2020:

You have moisture in the system, water was coming out of the tailpipe, try new ignition wires, high octane gas, lots of gas now has water in it, check the coil. If you car misfires a bit upon starting after rain, that is a clue. Mine did that all the time but after driving for 5-10 minutes it ran fine. Also, buy a gas additive to remove water from the tank.

Kim McDonald on July 12, 2020:

Our 91 Capri, misfires. Had gas coming out of muffler, replaced an injector, and spark plugs and it still misfires, and no gas is coming out of tailpipe.

perrya (author) on June 10, 2020:

A clicking noise? Any other symptoms or brake metallic sounds like a scraping? if not, have no idea.

Chris on June 10, 2020:

I have a 1993 ford capri when i put my foot on the break i get a clicking noise under the dash do u no of the problem an what could it be

perrya (author) on September 23, 2019:

Change the spark plug wires and see if it is more stable

larrywaltke@comcast.net on September 22, 2019:

starts and idles ok..but then when you rev it up it starts to die and then it starts to rev up again....rpms ..go up then down then up again then down

perrya (author) on September 05, 2019:

Fuel pump? Fuel related is my guess.

Angelietta on September 05, 2019:

My 93 manual 93 capri is great now however my 94 automatic capri has lost its power , it goes but very little , no water in oil , motor sounds good just will not go , it seams when you first take off it moves than your power dies down to nothing ?

perrya (author) on June 26, 2019:

Could be something regarding the actual gears or bands that actually change gears.

Jerry Sparling on June 26, 2019:

Capri wont go into gear. Clutch is free and goes to floor. Any ideas?

perrya (author) on March 31, 2019:

if it was blue smoke, the rings around the pistons need replacing, if white, water is getting into the oil. Both are serious issues if not fixed.

Angelietta Harris on March 30, 2019:

I have a 1993 mercury Capri xr2 turbo hand and soft top, after I had oil changed it decided to Smoke A lot out of tail pipe. What could have happened and how to fix .

perrya (author) on March 25, 2019:

You might try adjusting the air\fuel mixture screw.

hap perry on March 23, 2019:

i purchased a 1993 mercury capri auto transmission 1.6 engine and was told it need a fuel pump because it set for a year or so. i replaced pump it runs but at idle for few seconds drops rpms and sometimes dies. when hit gas dies . i see in a article 4 years ago some one also had these problem. any help with this problem and your time i am very thankful hap

George K on December 02, 2018:

I have a 1993 Ford Capri Bruschetta 1.6 Ltr -Appears the fuel pump has no power- I have checked reset in trunk all good - Replaced the fuel pump but still no go - Fuses are fine. Is there a crank angle sensor on this model that may cause the issue? If so could you please advise the location?

Randall Moreland on October 18, 2018:

1993 capri showing engine code 3 cid. Any suggestions for a fix?

gary gilbertson on June 02, 2018:

My mileage went from 30 miles per gallon to 15....I suspect the heat sensor...but I can not find its location...any help?

c noe on December 04, 2016:

4 other people are saying the ignition control module but its to much I was just hoping to hear something else thank you thou

perrya (author) on December 04, 2016:

Maybe engine damage?

c noe on December 04, 2016:

your fuels pump don't come on until you crank the car

chris noe on December 04, 2016:

My 91 mercury capri stalled at a stop sign it was my timing belt I fixed it and it still wont start. Its getting fuel and spark

ernest on March 27, 2016:

what causes a 91 mercury capri not to get fire

Simon from Christchurch on February 22, 2016:

Okay thanks. So I understand there is a relay - is there a fuse somewhere?

perrya (author) on February 22, 2016:

Fuel pump

Simon from Christchurch on February 22, 2016:

Hi perrya

Yes I checked that button thanks. What's an FP?

perrya (author) on February 22, 2016:

There is an emergency shutoff for the fuel pump when the car is bumped. A safety feature. The restart button is in the rear trunk cargo area, maybe that was triggered or the FP is bad?

Simon from Christchurch on February 21, 2016:

I have a 91 Capri convertible. Originally Turbo but now refitted with 2nd hand non turbo Mazda 323 engine.

It was running then stalled and won't start. There's spark but no fuel coming through. It would still be an electric fuel system right? So it should pump fuel out the loosened pipe with the ignition on, right?

Seems weird the fuel pump would suddenly stop. Anything else I can check before getting under the seat?

sonja on May 10, 2015:

No because it is jerking so hard. Thanks for the response.

perrya (author) on May 10, 2015:

Are you able to get into 3rd and 4th? Maybe something with the turbo. Not sure.

sonja on May 09, 2015:

I got in my car yesterday (5 speed). I started to accelerate out of first and it started losing power and jerking. Regain power and start jerking again. I shifted into 2nd and it continued to do the same thing. Any ideas?

perrya (author) on February 18, 2015:

Have you changed the spark plugs and wires? is idle steady when running? Check the alternator?

Jima on February 17, 2015:

My 94 capri will turn over but not start. It did this a few days ago and we replaced the solenoid. I drove it back and forth to work one day and today I dropped my daughter off at school and it died.

perrya (author) on December 08, 2014:

Maybe electrical related to the ignition switch in the column. They are known to have gone bad. You might have caused this when it died and turning it off and on. Starter went bad? Solenoid switch?

alden on December 08, 2014:

I have a 1994 Capri that would run fine for 30 min or so but then die when trying to accelerate. While coasting, I could turn off the ignition and then back on again and the car would run again. Often, I'd have to repeat turning the car on then off again to finally clear the problem. Now it has died completely and will not even start.

Tim on December 07, 2014:

How do i check engine coads

perrya (author) on December 06, 2014:

This is hard to diagnose but seems to be fuel related-fuel pump, fuel line, idle setting.

Tim on December 06, 2014:

Car starts runs good for few seconds then eather dies or Drops real low at idal and chugs . As soon as i hit gas pedal it dies

larry on July 23, 2014:

I have a 1991 Capri. When starting off in 1st gear, car jerks as though misfiring. However after reaching 4th gear, car starts to run smoothly. No problems at high speeds, just starting off.

stanley on June 03, 2014:

i believe there is one in one of the cars in a salvage yard i go to if you still haven't found one i will be glad to ck if you wish.

john on March 01, 2014:

need a head for 91 xr2 turbo

perrya (author) on December 19, 2013:

I am also positive you can but an after market turbo for it for around $600, remember, the engine is a Mazda when searching.

Earl in Pa on December 19, 2013:

I bought my 1991 Mercury Capri XR2 new.. The part I am in need of it the turbo charger. I have a spare car I use parts off of, but the turbo in it is also in need of non-repairable body parts. Was wonder if anyone has converted to one that is available on the market and if they would be willing to share that info?

Not ready to give up,



perrya (author) on November 17, 2013:

Maybe the fuel injector regulator. My thinking is that if it is hot the regulator may close and not allow the fuel to reach the injectors.

Nocky on November 17, 2013:

I have an Australian version Capri by ford, 1989 Turbo, it starts fine until hot, when I have driven it and turn it off it won't start until next morning when it fire first time, I have changed the coil and still the same, has plenty of fuel coming through also, any idea's



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