Here is an update and closure to the problem. I felt it important to follow up with a final post since finding the cause of problems as well as solutions to problems is what this forum is for.
The heart of the problem was the right side catalytic converters. The upstream converter failed and took out the downstream, as always.
How did we find this?
Well, after changing the fuel pump the pressures were better, but the car still had a power issue under load and at higher RPM's. I originally said the pressure still dropped off after the pump change. However, I have since confirmed that the fuel pressure drop was fixed after the fuel pump change.
Back to how we found the issue. We took the car for a good hard drive with a fancy Ford scanner connected. We saw some interesting results so we recorded the scanner readings while driving the car hard and experiencing the problem. We had to record the information on the scanner because the info changes so quickly on the scanner readout it was hard to see what was going on.
While reviewing the data on the scanner, we saw that cylinders 1,2,3 and 4 were shutting down and just plain having problems. What is common with all cylinders on one side the engine? Exhaust! We felt confident fuel and air supply were good and with new plugs we felt spark was good too.
We then disconnected the exhaust on the right side and went for a very loud and quick drive. The car ran like a champ!
Installed new converters and all better now.
The mechanic I worked with is quite good. He worked for Ford for 15 years. Originally everything pointed to the fuel pump and I completely understand how he came to that conclusion. However, the fuel pump didn't fix the problem. These pumps are expensive and not returnable once installed. So we made a deal. He only charged me his cost for the catalytic converter change as well as the cost of the new fuel pump. No labor at all!
I felt this was fair so I paid the bill. The fuel pump didn't need to be changed. However, the car now starts perfectly/instantly while before it took a couple seconds of cranking to start.
Thank you for the replies and info.
Happy New Year !!!
Last edited by tbyle; 01-15-2009 at 08:20 PM.