“It’s a good thing you took it to me, I’m probably the only person in the world who’s seen this problem before and knows how to fix it” - Dan from Alltech.
So I took Phoebe to a professional mechanic to see if they could figure out why she was stalling in right turns and generally running poorly. After most of the mechanics at the shop couldn’t figure it out, Dan determined that it was the starter solenoid of all things. He told me he was only able to figure it out because he saw a similar problem with an old Ford truck once. That truck stalled when accelerating, and when he saw the orientation of the starter solenoid he figured out that there was something loose in it that was sliding during acceleration and losing electrical contact. Turns out, my car had the same problem but the solenoid was oriented differently so my car was stalling when turning right rather than when accelerating. We’ve been praying that we would send the car to the right person who would know how to fix it, and it looks like we did!
Unfortunately, the solenoid he replaced the old one with ended up being deffective and caused the starter motor to keep going once the engine started, and then the engine started revving uncontrollably and wouldn’t shut off when I removed the key... Eventually, with a combination of turning the key like mad, revving, and hitting the brakes, I was able to kill the engine. So that was terrifying. But Dan said that’s most likely just a problem with the new solenoid, so it’s fixable (man, Ford, what is it with you and solenoids?). He also explained that it was running poorly because the choke is stuck open and the fluid leak is coming from the thermostat housing and told me where I can get those things fixed.
So Phoebe was almost roadworthy today, but at least I know what needs to be done now. She’s almost ready!