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Old 12-08-2007, 06:43 PM   #1
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Car shuts off at random, and while going over bumps.

Ok, this is a really odd problem...

The car is a 89 GT. 205,000 miles, stock engine, Lentech AOD, and a few small bolt ons.

I recently did a basic tuneup (wires, plugs, dist cap, button, 180* thermo).

The problem is that the car shuts off while driving, and while idling at redlights and stop signs. If the car is moving (say at 45 mph), and I hit a bump in the road, the car will die, and then immediately come back on.

If im idling and it shuts off, it wont crank back up. The starter is turning the engine, and it fires up, then immediately shuts off. I have to hold the gas pedal in while cranking to get it to stay on, and that doesnt even work all the time.

While out in town today, it died on me about 10 times. And after sitting for a while, it still has problems staying cranked. I replaced the solenoid not long ago, but I dont see how this could be related to that.

Anyone have any clues as to why it just dies suddenly? No sputtering, or lugging. Just shuts off.

Thanks
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:54 PM   #2
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Loose wire.I'd shake & rattle every wire & loom in the ignition system..If it doesn't obviate it's self, I'd B looking at the distributor, poss TFI.However, sounds like a loose connection. Don't forget the starter wire also....
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:54 PM   #3
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Have you replaced the ignition switch under the recall? Ford will do it for free.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:21 PM   #4
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I took the car to Ford back in the late 90's when I recieved a ignition recall. Dont know if thats what they replaced though. I cannot remember.

I'll check later in the morning to see if there are any loose connections.

I also forgot to mention that I smelled gas coming through the vents today, so I pulled over (after it died on me) and there was a very strong gas smell coming from under the hood. I checked around, and the base of one of the injectors was wet. All the others were dry. I didnt see any dripping, or running, but I sure could smell it.

The car also has a MSD TFI coil, and 6A box. The distributor is stock. I havent had time today to look at it, but im also going to check for vaccum leaks.... even though I checked all of this stuff a week ago when I did the tuneup.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:34 PM   #5
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I had a similar thing happen in my 94GT. One day the car just shut off and I had to nurse it back home with my foot on the throttle the whole time to keep it on. As soon as I let go of the throttle, it would die.

It never happened since that day (about a month ago), so I have not pursued it too hard.

People suggested the stator in the distributor or possibly a vacuum leak. I hooked up the vacuum gauge and it was 18inches steady.

Usually, if the problem is the TFI ignition module, the car will just die. It won't stay on by just feathering the throttle like we are seeing, thus it doesn't look like a TFI.

I would also wiggle all the wires coming off the distributor and the ignition.

Let me know if you ever figure it out since I am sure this problem will come back in the future...
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:56 PM   #6
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Yeah, the TFI went out on my brothers 90 LX. He said once it died, it never started back up.... however I was able to crank mine back up (after laying into the throttle when cranking it) and drive 30 miles on the highway without it shutting off, so like you said, its highly unlikely that the TFI is bad.

I was thinking that maybe my TFI coil or MSD 6A box is bad, so I might just swap in the old motorcraft coil and bypass the box and see what happens.

Tomorrow morning ill be heading out there to take a better look at it. When I find the problem, ill be sure to let you know. I just dont have the funds to throw at it (trail and error) until I find the problem.
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:32 PM   #7
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i wanna say loose battery but as far as something major i doubt it or it wouldnt do it over bumps.....its something as simple as a loose wire the problem is finding that wire

if its your battery the volt meter would bounce around when the car shuts off
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:56 PM   #8
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Usually I'd say TFI module, but since it happens over bumps, you need to check your battery cables and so on, but I bet it's the ignition switch.
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:23 PM   #9
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Any by "ignition switch", do you mean the actual switch the key goes in? Or the plug thats under the steering column?
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Old 12-08-2007, 10:15 PM   #10
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plug thats under steering column
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blk89GT View Post
Or the plug thats under the steering column?
Ignition Switch
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:42 AM   #12
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Ok, I know what you're talking about. Is there a way to test it before going and buying a new one?

So this morning and go out to start looking for problems and I find that several spark plugs are loose. And by loose, I mean I was able to turn them by just rotating the end connector on the wire.... so I went through them all and tightened them all up. However, I know that is not the problem, because the car was shutting off with me before I did the tuneup.

I checked the vacuum lines, and made sure everything was connected, (sensors etc). Everything checked out ok. I checked the battery and it was snug in the holder, and both neg. and pos. connections were clean and tight.

The next thing on the list for me to check is the ignition switch, and if that doesnt fix the problem, then I guess ill start looking at the stator as mentioned before.... however I have no experience with distributors, so ill have to search the boards and see if there is a walk-through.

Also, all the connections with the coil and MSD box were tight. I didnt see anything wrong with them.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:59 AM   #13
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Check the EEC ground that attaches to the negative battery cable. It is a 14-16 gauge wire I believe.

I have also seen one of the wires into the dist pickup break and give all kinds of intermittent troubles.

The fuel leak is strange. I have seen Ford fuel pressure regulators that would intermittently stick shut and peg the pressure to well over a hundred pounds, mostly on f series with sixes. If you could check the fuel press while this is happening you could eliminate that.

What ever you do eliminate one thing at a time. Your right that throwing parts at problems is often more expensive than diagnosing it.

Good luck.
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
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The fuel leak is strange.
I am thinking the gas smell was from the loose spark plugs.
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:46 PM   #15
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I had a car that did this once and the problem was the ignition coil wire was loose and not making good connection when I made turns and hit bumps. I'd also check the battery cables, and the engine ground as well.
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:50 PM   #16
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MSD 6al's are know for having problems with vibrations and bumps. Have you tried disconnecting the msd box to see if it helps.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:58 AM   #17
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I havent tried disconnecting the MSD box yet. I was thinking about that, but wasnt sure if they would show signs of going out, or just simply go bad and quit working altogether.

How many engine grounds are there? That was something I didnt check. The only grounds I checked were the battery cable and a ground thats attached to the firewall on the drivers side.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:26 AM   #18
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"U need a pecker check" CHECK/Shake/peck the hell out of EVERY wire/sensor in the engine bay while the car is running & see if U can make it stumble or quit. If it is quitting when going over a bump(s) I say it HAS to B a loose connection!!! Shake the wires coming up the steering column which feeds the ignition!!!!Also as some one stated"Disconnect the MSD" while trying these things...
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:01 PM   #19
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Im getting ready to go out there and check again... although yesterday I checked everything I could see.

I drove it some today and it ran good while driving at 45 and 60 mph. No hesitating, no misses, no sputtering. I pulled up to a bank drive through, put it in park, and it died on me. Then on the way home, I slowed down while in D (dropped from 55 mph to about 5 mph to make a turn) and it died again. It took several tried to get it to stay on. The engine fires once, as if its started, then immediately dies.

Im going to unhook the MSD box and see what happens. I'll reply back once I figure out if thats the cause. (Although the ignition switch and distributor is still on the list of things to do)
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:01 PM   #20
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Ok, here is what ive done.... and discovered. Perhaps some of you know more about this than me...

I unhooked the MSD box and took it for drive, but it still shut off with me. But heres the part that got my attention.... I stopped in the driveway and shut it down to see if it would crank back up, but when I grabbed the key to turn it off, it shut off with me before I even turned the key back. I tried this several times, and discovered that turning the key back slightly resulted in the car shutting off. So im assuming the key ignition switch is bad. This would explain why going over bumps and holes in the road would cause it to die.

Just to be sure, I tried it several times, and when it was running, I could turn the key back a few millimeters and it would die.

Anyone else have this problem, cause I sure dont ever remember being able to shut the car off by just messing with the key.

At least now I can rule out the MSD box.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:02 AM   #21
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It may be your ignition switch or it may just be out of adjustment. There are two screws that hold it to the column. The holes in the ignition switch are slotted so it can be slid up and down the column about 1/2~3/4" if memory serves. I have seen the screws get loose and allow the switch to move around. Usually it makes it so it wont crank. Take a peek under the dash and find the switch on the top of the column. I think the screws are 8mm/5/15". It probably only needs to be adjusted a little.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:34 AM   #22
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Quote:
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Anyone else have this problem
Yes, which was cured by replacing the ignition switch.
The body of the switch has split. The contacts are not contacting all of the time.
The arcing of electricity and the heat generated from the higher resistance is what causes the fires.

That will be $15. I take Paypal.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:12 PM   #23
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Yes, which was cured by replacing the ignition switch.
The body of the switch has split. The contacts are not contacting all of the time.
The arcing of electricity and the heat generated from the higher resistance is what causes the fires.

That will be $15. I take Paypal.
Very common and the reason for the recall. Feel your column around the switch to see if it's hot. If so, disconnect battery until you replace the switch. If it's not hot, that doesn't mean it isn't bad. Remove the steering column cover and inspect for switch body separating, signs of excessive heat, anything fishy.

Lots of cars have burned because of this defect.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:19 PM   #24
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$15?? What ever happened to free internet advice?

Ford replaced that switch back when I got the recall notice in the mail. I'll be going out there shortly to take the panels off the steering column and check it out.

It still doesnt explain the gas I smell. Even after tightening the plugs back up, I still smell it, but I cant find any leaks. I rechecked the injectors, and they were all dry.

Could the gas smell just simply be the cylinders filling up with gas since the ignition is failing?
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:41 PM   #25
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Ok, so here is what ive done.

I took the panels off and got to the ignition switch. The key cylinder was snug and all the connections and pigtail wiring looked good. Here is where im going to need someone's technical expertise on this, because I am not sure whats good or bad....

There is a black female connecter with wires that plugs into the white ignition switch. The white ignition switch fits up into a metal rectangular looking socket with a spring loaded black peice with a roller ball bearing above it.

With all of that together and connected, I can wiggle that whole connection by grabbing it, and you can see the ignition switch moving as if its going to pop out of the metal socket its in. When I wiggle it, the car shuts off.

I pulled the female connecter off, pulled the ignition switch out, and then the small black plastic peice with the bearing fell out. Nothing looked "broke", but the brass or copper terminals inside did look fairly worn.

Here are some pic I took to show what im talking about.





This is the first time ive had the ignition apart, so im assuming if there is play in the switch, and if wiggling it shuts the car off, then it must be bad.
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:14 PM   #26
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Quote:
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$15?? What ever happened to free internet advice?
The first time I said ignition switch (second reply) it is free.
Subsequent times I start to charge.
$30. I accept Paypal.


The white portion and the metal portion are not supposed to move. See in my previous post where I mention the body has split. Where you say "connection" in your picture, it is not a connection.

The switch is bad.
$45. I accept Paypal.
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:52 PM   #27
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$45?? I was going to use that to buy the switch.... I wonder if Ford will "re-replace" parts after a recall replacement part fails 9 years later.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:00 PM   #28
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Hey now, I said it may be the ignition switch too!! Here's what I'll do, Puter helped me with my A/C so give my share to him and we will all be even. Hows that sound? LOL

Glad you figured it out.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:47 AM   #29
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go and check the 10 pin connectors behind the intake. those some times get loose and can cause your engine to cut.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:22 AM   #30
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So would a autozone replacement be ok? Im assuming the GP Sorenson (or whatever name they might have) will be ok.

And im also assuming this is a "plug and play" type install. I ony saw 2 bolts holding it in at the top, but what else is involved? It almost looks like its a part of the ignition cylinder.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:15 AM   #31
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*grins to 90GTDan*
I smell a new business here.

Yes, I have used the one that I linked to. It worked fine. It is simple plug and play. The only issue is that those two screws are special that hold it on. They take a star driver that has a hole in the middle. I can pull it out of my toolbox and show you, I just cannot describe it well. Besides the two screws, you have already disconnected the electrical connection. The tumbler uses a rod that move the contact bed back and forth.

You have a thought, though. I would wonder if Ford would either give you another new switch, or at least reimburse you your receipt amount for a new one plus labor. *shrugs* Don't know.
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:25 AM   #32
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Any Ford dealer should give you one for free if your vehicle is included in the recall, and yours is. Look here http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/pr...callsearch.cfm
and give the dealer the recall number. I doubt they will install it for you after this amount of time though. Are you sure it was replaced years ago? If it was replaced once under the recall, I doubt they will replace it a second time but there is only one way to find out.
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:51 AM   #33
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Quote:
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The only issue is that those two screws are special that hold it on. They take a star driver that has a hole in the middle. I can pull it out of my toolbox and show you, I just cannot describe it well. Besides .
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:21 PM   #34
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Quote:
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Any Ford dealer should give you one for free if your vehicle is included in the recall, and yours is.
But, the point here is that he already has had it replaced under the recall (see the 4th post in this thread). So, do they replace more than once? What will Ford do if it has already been replaced once (the VIN is checked), yet the ignition switch has again come apart? Do they replace again, or tell you "Have A Nice Day"?

MFE - thanks!
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:38 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Puter View Post
But, the point here is that he already has had it replaced under the recall (see the 4th post in this thread). So, do they replace more than once? What will Ford do if it has already been replaced once (the VIN is checked), yet the ignition switch has again come apart? Do they replace again, or tell you "Have A Nice Day"?

MFE - thanks!
It depends on the recall, some can be performed over and over throughout the life of the vehicle (unusally means they haven't figured out how to actually fix the problem) but most are a one time deal.

As for the age of the car, it makes no difference. A recall is a compulsory repair, performed free of charge on ANY affected vehicle, regardless of age or mileage.
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