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Old 06-07-2009, 12:06 AM   #1
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Please Help!....Coil Pack Problem? Runs very rough! UPDATE

I have searched and searched through old threads to try and find an answer... but I can't find what I'm looking for, and I'm frankly tired of searching without finding out an answer to the same problem from other people...... they just don't post what the solution was once it's fixed for them... or they gave up.

To start things off, my '98 cobra was running pretty good last week.... or so I thought. I was driving down the road a few days ago, and check engine light came on and the car started running rough.
Could not accelerate normally, feels like its hesitating and does not want to accelerate for anything. Rough idle as well. The exhaust definitely smelled of gas before (and now) but I thought that was normal since I just purchased this car and had no idea that it's a sign of the fuel not completely burning due to most likely misfiring or not enough spark?.... I'm an avid sport atv rider, so smelling gas from exhaust is fairly normal for me. Also noticed that it looked like my a/f ratio gauge was reading pretty rich. Had my buddy hook up a scanner which stated a misfire.

Well, I replaced all the spark plugs..... still ran rough.
Replaced all the plug wires with new NAPA wires.... starts up quicker than before, but still runs rough.

I really thought that after the plugs and wires, I was going to be good to go. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I was thinking my problem may lie with the coil packs, but I want to test them before I spend more money just to find out that it wasn't the problem.

Do you guys think that it is the coil packs?
If so, how do I test them with a voltmeter? I have never used a voltmeter but I have a family member coming over with one.... however, he doesn't know how to test the coil packs with it. Can someone elaborate on how to test them? Also, will testing them give me an answer, or is it something that needs to be tested under load?

I really want to get this thing running smooth again... I really appreciate any and all help! Thank you.
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Last edited by laser red venom; 06-09-2009 at 01:12 PM. Reason: UPDATE
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:52 AM   #2
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It's really easy to check your coils.

You can do it empirically or with a multimeter.

The empirical approach requires a friend. You get to pull 1 spark plug and reconnect it to the spark plug wire. Your engine is grounded so hold the spark plug's threads against any exposed metal bits like a bolt. Be careful how you hold it so you don't get electrocuted, if you're really nervous just grab some rubber gripped pliers. While holding that wired plug against some conductive part of the engine have your friend start the car. Watch the spark plug and see what the spark looks like. Do this for each one of the plugs and if any sparks look weak then you've found your problem. You don't want to flood your engine so if you're going to crank it a lot with the plugs out you might to pull the wires off the fuel injectors.

The other option is to grab a multimeter and check the resistance of the coil packs. The process is really easy and described here. What resistance should they be? I'd look it up for you but my repair manual is locked up in the shop with my half-disassembled stang so you'll either have to call Ford, ask someone around here or spend $20 on a copy of the Chilton or Haynes repair manuals which any do-it-yourselfer really ought to own. I'm partial to Chilton but they're both well worth the paltry cost.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:17 AM   #3
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Probably not the same issue but I'll state it for completeness. Make sure your TPS is working correctly.

Mine got chewed on and was shorting out or not depending on bumps and such. Car was reeking of fuel and it was flooding so much fuel that it got into my oil and nearly killed the motor.

Car smelt of fuel, then burnt oil when shut off, dipstick reeked of fuel too.

Check it out in case. Mine acted just like yours is except my CEL indicated TPS when it was shorted out long enough to notice.

Good luck.
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:35 AM   #4
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Thanks, I will check into that as well just to make sure.
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwint Sommer View Post
It's really easy to check your coils.

You can do it empirically or with a multimeter.

The empirical approach requires a friend. You get to pull 1 spark plug and reconnect it to the spark plug wire. Your engine is grounded so hold the spark plug's threads against any exposed metal bits like a bolt. Be careful how you hold it so you don't get electrocuted, if you're really nervous just grab some rubber gripped pliers. While holding that wired plug against some conductive part of the engine have your friend start the car. Watch the spark plug and see what the spark looks like. Do this for each one of the plugs and if any sparks look weak then you've found your problem. You don't want to flood your engine so if you're going to crank it a lot with the plugs out you might to pull the wires off the fuel injectors.

The other option is to grab a multimeter and check the resistance of the coil packs. The process is really easy and described here. What resistance should they be? I'd look it up for you but my repair manual is locked up in the shop with my half-disassembled stang so you'll either have to call Ford, ask someone around here or spend $20 on a copy of the Chilton or Haynes repair manuals which any do-it-yourselfer really ought to own. I'm partial to Chilton but they're both well worth the paltry cost.
Awesome, thank you! I will try these today to see what I can find. One question though...... if I do find a plug that looks weak, since I have already replaced the plugs and wires, does this mean that the problem is in fact a coil?
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:47 AM   #6
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I also just read this in another thread.....

"Per the Hayes manual the resistance should read...
Primary .3-1.0 ohms
Secondary 6.5 - 11.5 ohms"


Is this true? or are the numbers a little off?
Someone had stated in the thread that these numbers may be on the low end, and actual ohms could be higher.
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:59 AM   #7
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I forgot to mention this. Here are the codes that came up when my buddy scanned it.....

"P1152 HO2S21 - SNSR Indicates Rich"

Memory Codes
"P0300 - Random Misfire Detected"
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:13 PM   #8
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If you have a bad coil your going to have at least two dead cylinders and rough idle would be an understatement. With the rich code and only a random misfire you might want to look at the MAF but then you would have a rich code on both banks. Another note is the coils are paired on different banks and your only reading rich on one bank. You could have a bad injector but the ecm can usually pinpoint a misfire like that. Hopefully I've given you some ideas, good luck. You might want to do a complete compression check too.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stalkan View Post
If you have a bad coil your going to have at least two dead cylinders and rough idle would be an understatement. With the rich code and only a random misfire you might want to look at the MAF but then you would have a rich code on both banks. Another note is the coils are paired on different banks and your only reading rich on one bank. You could have a bad injector but the ecm can usually pinpoint a misfire like that. Hopefully I've given you some ideas, good luck. You might want to do a complete compression check too.
Thank you for the reply! Another thing I forgot to mention earlier is that after I replaced the plugs, I took it out for a test drive to see how it would run. Right away, it was missing and wouldn't accelerate for sh*t. Then when I turned it around to come back home, all of a sudden it was running smooth again and acceleration was great. I drove it around for about 5-10 minutes, came back home, parked it in the driveway and turned it off. Just out of curiosity, I started it back up and the idle was extremely rough this time and sounded like it was about to die right away. As soon as it started to die, the check engine light came on and it never did completely die.
Does this point to one symptom more than another by chance?
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:09 PM   #10
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You need to find if and what cylinder is missing. Pull one plug off at a time while the car is running and find out which one or two are missing. Once you find out, swap coil packs and see if the missing cylinder changes. Could possibly be an injector or even that O2 sensor sending the wrong info to the PCM. You need to start isolating first.
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyg View Post
You need to find if and what cylinder is missing. Pull one plug off at a time while the car is running and find out which one or two are missing. Once you find out, swap coil packs and see if the missing cylinder changes. Could possibly be an injector or even that O2 sensor sending the wrong info to the PCM. You need to start isolating first.
Good tip. Try this and see what you get but the intermittent nature of the problem it might be a coil.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:05 AM   #12
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Thanks for starting this thread James. I experienced the same problem with my car yesterday. Within the first few miles of a sunday cruise the engine sound changed and began to vibrate and backfire a little. We limped home and I parked it in the driveway. A few minutes later it started fine and sounded and felt fine pulling into the garage. I checked the plugs last night and so far so good. Tonight I'll do a compression check the measure resistance across coils and wires. Goodluck.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hart View Post
Thanks for starting this thread James. I experienced the same problem with my car yesterday. Within the first few miles of a sunday cruise the engine sound changed and began to vibrate and backfire a little. We limped home and I parked it in the driveway. A few minutes later it started fine and sounded and felt fine pulling into the garage. I checked the plugs last night and so far so good. Tonight I'll do a compression check the measure resistance across coils and wires. Goodluck.
It's looking like my first chance to even start testing some of these ideas given in this thread won't be until tomorrow or Wednesday. I'm really hoping that I can find whats wrong rather quickly.... and easily.
Let me know how your tests go and what you find. Hopefully you locate your problem easily as well.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyg View Post
You need to find if and what cylinder is missing. Pull one plug off at a time while the car is running and find out which one or two are missing. Once you find out, swap coil packs and see if the missing cylinder changes. Could possibly be an injector or even that O2 sensor sending the wrong info to the PCM. You need to start isolating first.
Randy, you mean to actually pull the plug wire boots off the plugs one at a time correct? Not actually remove the spark plug itself.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:33 AM   #15
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Randy, you mean to actually pull the plug wire boots off the plugs one at a time correct? Not actually remove the spark plug itself.
Exactly, with the car running if there is a noticeable change in the idle than that is pulling it's weight. The nice thing is with the long boots your less likely to shock yourself.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
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The nice thing is with the long boots your less likely to shock yourself.
LOL.... that's good to know
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:08 PM   #17
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UPDATE:

Last night I had a chance to pull the wire boots off the plugs one at a time while the vehicle was running..... and the verdict is that it does not seem to be the coil's.

In the meantime, I've had two guys tell me a couple things that might be causing it to misfire.
1. Told me that since I have an off-road H-pipe, whatever the previous owner did to eliminate the rear O2 sensors may have gone bad, and now the computer has changed the timing to try and compensate for a false O2 sensor signal.

2. Other guy told me that it may be a bad ignition module. I'm not sure where they are located at.

Do these opinions make sense.... if not...... what do you guys feel is causing my problem?

I'm going to clean the MAF sensor tonight to see if that helps at all.... I probably should have done this in the beginning just for sh*tzengiggles.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:19 PM   #18
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Rear O2's are there for emission monitoring purposes only, they should not have any affect on how the engine runs.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Rear O2's are there for emission monitoring purposes only, they should not have any affect on how the engine runs.
Good, that eliminates that guy's opinion..... what about the ignition module guess?
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:28 PM   #20
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If there is an ignition module thats is news to me. I just checked the wiring diagram and there are only wires between the ECM and the coils.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stalkan View Post
If there is an ignition module thats is news to me. I just checked the wiring diagram and there are only wires between the ECM and the coils.
hmmmm, I'm stuck man, I don't know where to go from here other than cleaning the MAF and seeing what happens.

Also, I checked my oil for a gas smell (per earlier post response) and the oil does not reek of gas at all.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:43 PM   #22
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Since you are rich and getting an 1152 DTC, I would check the fuel pressure. If it is high, your regulator may have failed. If it is not high, and the pressure leaks down fast after you turn off the engine, then you may have a leaky injector.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
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Since you are rich and getting an 1152 DTC, I would check the fuel pressure. If it is high, your regulator may have failed. If it is not high, and the pressure leaks down fast after you turn off the engine, then you may have a leaky injector.
Thank you for the input, I will have to check this out.
I'm sortof a newb when it comes to more than semi-basic engine tech (but always try to do things myself first). How can I test the fuel pressure? I'm sure I will need some type of a meter/gauge.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Thank you for the input, I will have to check this out.
I'm sortof a newb when it comes to more than semi-basic engine tech (but always try to do things myself first). How can I test the fuel pressure? I'm sure I will need some type of a meter/gauge.
You can buy a fuel pressure gauge from your local car parts store for not too much money. It will have a fitting that will go on the schrader valve on the fuel rail. Put it on that valve and you can test the fuel pressure. With the key on, engine off, it should be at 39 PSI. With the car running, assuming you are at about 20 inches of mercury for vacuum, you should see about 29 PSI. If you pull the vacuum line off the fuel pressure regulator and plug the vacuum leak that creates on the engine side of that vacuum line (make sure the regulator sees open air). It should pop back up to 39 PSI. Hook the cavuum line back up to the regulator, shut off the engine and see how long it takes for the fuel pressure to bleed off. If it goes down fast, you can suspect your injectors.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:57 AM   #25
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Update:
My compression test looked good. I have found a single bad spark plug wire. It will be a couple of days before I can get new ones installed. With any luck that will solve my problem.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:05 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markolson View Post
You can buy a fuel pressure gauge from your local car parts store for not too much money. It will have a fitting that will go on the schrader valve on the fuel rail. Put it on that valve and you can test the fuel pressure. With the key on, engine off, it should be at 39 PSI. With the car running, assuming you are at about 20 inches of mercury for vacuum, you should see about 29 PSI. If you pull the vacuum line off the fuel pressure regulator and plug the vacuum leak that creates on the engine side of that vacuum line (make sure the regulator sees open air). It should pop back up to 39 PSI. Hook the cavuum line back up to the regulator, shut off the engine and see how long it takes for the fuel pressure to bleed off. If it goes down fast, you can suspect your injectors.
Thanks Mark, I appreciate the help.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hart View Post
Update:
My compression test looked good. I have found a single bad spark plug wire. It will be a couple of days before I can get new ones installed. With any luck that will solve my problem.
Good luck with that. I hope your fix is as simple as a plug wire. Man do I wish that mine would have been that easy. Oh well, I'm learning new things so I can't complain.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:38 PM   #27
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Quote:
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You can buy a fuel pressure gauge from your local car parts store for not too much money. It will have a fitting that will go on the schrader valve on the fuel rail. Put it on that valve and you can test the fuel pressure. With the key on, engine off, it should be at 39 PSI. With the car running, assuming you are at about 20 inches of mercury for vacuum, you should see about 29 PSI. If you pull the vacuum line off the fuel pressure regulator and plug the vacuum leak that creates on the engine side of that vacuum line (make sure the regulator sees open air). It should pop back up to 39 PSI. Hook the cavuum line back up to the regulator, shut off the engine and see how long it takes for the fuel pressure to bleed off. If it goes down fast, you can suspect your injectors.
just to add, sometimes if you pull the vacuum line off the f/p reg. if the diaphram is blown, fuel will come out of the vacuum port on the reg.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:28 PM   #28
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Well, the verdict is in.

Wednesday night I finally got fed up not finding the solution yet and not having any time to spend on it while working full time and trying to run a business on the side, so I took the car to a shop that I've trusted for years.
Well, when I went back Thurs. to pick it up, the answer to the problem made me feel like an idiot..... something so simple that it was near impossible for me to find .

Mechanic told me that they found nothing wrong with the car. All they had to do was unplug the battery for 15 min. or so to clear the memory. He told me that I had fixed the misfire when I replaced the plugs and wires, but even though the codes were cleared, I still had to clear the memory because the computer was still trying to compensate for what it knew was wrong from the last time. That is the basics of his explanation to me.

So now it runs fine...... lets hope it stays that way.....
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:06 AM   #29
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9-10-09 Update:
My car started missing badly again. I have spent the last two nights identifying and hopefully fixing my ignition problems.

Cylinders 2 and 8 were dead. I identified #2 by touching (quickly) the header pipe near the head. Once I started to look at #2, I found that #8 was dead also. These cylinders share the same coil. I replaced the coil pack but the problem continued. I started looking at the MSD. I unhooked the tach adapters and put in the bypass plug and the car ran perfect. I tested the ignition using MSD's test procedure and it tested good. I reconnected the ignition with different tach adapters and the car ran fine. I tried to identify the bad tach adapter by reconnecting them one at a time. I couldn't recreate my original problem. So, I cannot pinpoint my exact cause. It will be on the road a lot this weekend, so I'll see how it runs. Just in case, I made it easy to bypass the MSD.

BTW, a new MSD ignition + MSD tach adapters + MSD sparkplug wires = $900+. NO WAY MSD. I'll see what my options are first before I go spending that kind of money to replace parts that have only seen 20K miles. Maybe COP conversion with Jacobs Ignition...
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:57 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by laser red venom View Post
Well, the verdict is in.

Wednesday night I finally got fed up not finding the solution yet and not having any time to spend on it while working full time and trying to run a business on the side, so I took the car to a shop that I've trusted for years.
Well, when I went back Thurs. to pick it up, the answer to the problem made me feel like an idiot..... something so simple that it was near impossible for me to find .

Mechanic told me that they found nothing wrong with the car. All they had to do was unplug the battery for 15 min. or so to clear the memory. He told me that I had fixed the misfire when I replaced the plugs and wires, but even though the codes were cleared, I still had to clear the memory because the computer was still trying to compensate for what it knew was wrong from the last time. That is the basics of his explanation to me.

So now it runs fine...... lets hope it stays that way.....
Holly dead thread batman!

I'm encountering the same problem, just P1152, nothing else.

The guys down at JBA have had it for a few days and have no idea how to fix it!

So, if I understand your posts: it was just bad spark plug wires and(coil on plugs for me) and the ECU simply not being reset properly?

My fuel pressure was real high, up around 50 at one point, it could be the fuel pump, but would it only be on one bank?
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:51 PM   #31
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I just lost a fuel pump. 5psi pressure and the car wouldn't idle.
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