car-buffs, beloved car "skipping"

my beloved mustang started “skipping”(engine cuts-out for a fraction of a second) facts:its an 88 5.0 w/150,000 mi on the ticker…now its an older model w/high miles,but its my older car with high miles and i really like her and just want her better…thanks…

Do the electrics (lights, radio, etc.) ‘skip’? That’s what happened to my Peugeot and it turned out to be a dodgy connection in a small box near the battery. I just took all the wires out, gave them a good clean, got all the rust off and put them back in, not had a problem since.

Ford’s have two known problems that could be responsible, fortunately, both are relatively inexpensive fixes. I don’t know if either one is applicable to your model, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find out. One is that Ford sold a lot of cars with really crappy ignition switches (they were recalled in Canada, but not in the US). It could be what’s causing your problem as that’s one of the symptoms. You should get this checked out pronto because if it gets worse, your car could catch fire and burn! The other is that there’s a computer chip under the distributor and if the seal’s started to go bad, your car will conk out on you and you won’t be able to start it until you replace it. This one isn’t quite so bad as when it goes, it won’t cause your car to burst into flames. It’ll just quit running. There’s a forum one the net for Ford owners and frequented by mechanics (don’t remember the url or I’d post it, its something like and you can find a more definate answer there.

If I understand your description of the symptom, it’s what is normally called “missing” or “cutting out.” There are dozens of potential causes. My first thought is the secondary ignition system–spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, and coil. Next thought is the primary ignition system, notably the electronic ignition module and the PIP (profile ignition pickup) sensor. Unless you want to diagnose by parts replacement, which can be an extremely expensive way to do it (unless you guess right the first time), I would suggest having a competent auto repair shop check it out.

Yeah, have them hook it up to their diagnosis machine for a look see.

It could also be a fuel delivery problem. Try replacing the fuel filter. If it’s clogged, it could be blocking the fuel flow out of the tank to the engine and starving it intermittently.

The 5.0L engine has its fuel filter in the fuel line just past the tank IIRC, so you’d need to have somebody bleed the pressure in the fuel injection system and then get under the car to replace it. I had it done on a Crown Victoria of the same vintage for about $100.

That’s my first thought. However, if the car is just hesitating the problem is more likely ignition related. Try new plugs, fresh wires and a new distributor first.

“a new distributor first”
How about just the cap?