Car died and now it won't start - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Car died and now it won't start

I started the car as usual and drove 2.5 miles to work. Just as I was pulling into the parking lot, the car died. It would not restart.

The engine tries to turn over, then wont. It has had a weird idle fluctuation off and on lately and an occassional "pop" maybe from the throttle body or exhaust. Hard to say but not lways at the same time. I can feel it when driving as well. Not like a miss, but hesitation. It has been starting fine until it died this morning.

I have fuel pressure, battery power is strong.

I swapped the following

Fuel pump (just in case)
Distributor
MAP sensor (because I had one)
Ignition switch
Spark plugs
Timing set at 12 degrees.

Added a Screamin Demon coil, DUI plug wires and distributor. Have had no issues from them.

New battery installed a month aho. Tried jump starting in case it was weak, no change.

The car is at work. Having it hauled home in the morning.

Im at a point that Im wondering if it may be the ECM.

Mine is a Cobra X3Z. I have had it for about 3 or 4 years.


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post #2 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Any ideas what else it could possibly be?


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post #3 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 12:19 AM
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TFI's are notorious for just dying. Especially if it wasn't bought directly from a Dealer. Counterfeits and junk TFIs are out there. Regardless, I keep a spare TFI, that I got from a Dealer, just in case.

Does the fuel pump turn on? The ECC turns on the fuel pump when it detects a PIP signal from the TFI.
Do you have spark at the plugs?
Do the injectors pulse?

Fwiw: "The engine tries to turn over, then wont.", sounds like a starting circuit issue.
Maybe battery, wire, wire connection, relay, starter, etc.

Good Luck.

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post #4 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 12:23 AM
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BTW, the ECC doesn't have anything to do with the starter motor turning over.

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post #5 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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I am going to check the plugs and spark when I get the car towed home tomorrow.

I tried two TFI's and two distributors. No change

The fuel pump is coming on.

'88 Tbird..Z-Spec T-5,Track Heat intake,BBK CAI,Ed Curtis cam,Twisted Wedge heads,1.6 Scorpions,3G,Mass Air with 24's,75mm t-body,BBK CAI,140 mph speedo,8.8 with 3.73's,BBK shorties,mini starter,O/R H-Pipe, Flowmaster Super 44's, Saleen SC wheels,Taurus fan,CHE control arms
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post #6 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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I'm meeting the tow truck (flatbed) at 9 am, then bringing the car home. I'll check spark first.

The car tried to fire off yesterday after a few spins of the starter, but just can't bring itself to do it.

Hard to explain, sounded like some kind of internal....."popping" if you will. similar to a VERY weak firecracker ina tin can kinf sound. Very hard to explain.

The starter does it's best and after the noise in the engine (or exhaust or both), the starter really drags, then I turn it off, try again, and the starter turns well, then the "no start" issue continues.

I heard some random popping throughout the week. I checked timing. Right on at 12 degrees as it always is. It didn't make sense to me.

More news once the car is home in a couple of hours.

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post #7 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 08:48 AM
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in crank you must have

spark
fuel pressure
injector pulse

very easy

gauge for pressure
test light to battery pos and probe the easiest inj plug non red wire
spark tester at the end of a wire

and a good strong battery

why are you calling the ecm, at the first problem, without testing?

also a hesitation is a result of a misfire, verified by the popping through intake, which is usually from lack of fuel

why were you driving it, when it was popping?

are you sure, you dont have a shorted plug wire, correct firing order?

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post #8 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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The ECM was a guess at this point. I have a friend who is working on his a car a few weeks ago, had some idle issues and a popping, swapped ECM's and it cleared up, so, a random guess to be honest.

The fuel pressure went to nearly 40 on the gauge under the hood. It's set at 40 without the vacuum

I will test the injector plug as you stated., and the spark plug wires. I will also re-recheck the plug wire firing order again. I'll get the balancer to zero and recheck the wires and the distributor position.

The popping was very random and not often at all. I never knew when it would happen, I swapped plugs and no change. The spark plugs were VERY clean, only a black ring around the base of the plug. The ceramic was white, the electrode was pretty darned clean as well. All of them looked identical. No cylinder had a different look to the spark plug. I have the vacuum on the FPR as well.

Yesterday, the car started fine, ran fine all the way to work, and only gave me an issue as I turned into the parking lot. Then just died and wouldn't start as I stated.

I replaced the ignition switch last night in the parking lot as a "let's just see'. No change.

I had swapped the Trick Flow R intake a few weeks ago to a Trick Flow Track heat. Could a bad lower intake gasket be a possibility.Just something I'm tossing out there.

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post #9 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 09:36 AM
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you are going to need to test, when it acts up

intermittent issues are difficult to diagnose

you could have a plug wire that is a problem

to see the problem you need a scope and look at secondary wave form

any reasonable shop has one, and wouldn't hurt to have a look at

you get a good idea of what is happening in the combustion chamber looking at this wave form

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post #10 of 41 Old 05-11-2019, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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I will do all I can, and hopefully get it running and will run it to a shop and have it checked out.

Waiting on the truck to get here.

Updates coming soon.

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post #11 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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I am getting fuel, the spark plugs are wet. Not seeming to get spark. I swapped the coil, no change. Still diagnosing. It doesn't look like power is coming from the coil. I hate electrical crap.

I swapped the PIP, no change.

The wiring going to the coil all looks great.

I soldered all of the ten pin connectors together a week ago. had no issues. Each wire is sealed with heat shrink. Car didn't change at all after that was done.


I also think my OBD1 plug under the hood is wired wrong. Any have a pic of the wire placement in the plug?

I got the car from a salvage yard some years ago, no telling what has been done. I still find surprises from time to time.

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post #12 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 11:36 AM
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why did you swap parts before diagnosing?

you just wrecked things for diagnosing

electrical is the easiest thing to diagnose, all you need is to understand is circuit design, how it is supposed to work

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post #13 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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I did return the original pieces after the others made no difference. The spark plugs are wet with fuel. I need to pull a plug wire and put a plug in it and see if there is spark there.

Edit....No spark at the spark plug.

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post #14 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 11:57 AM
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what we know

Spark, ICM, does NOT require ECM input

Fuel delivery requires ICM input

We can conclude the ECM is receiving PIP

If there is NO spark, we need to check primary

disconnect the coil plug connector, with a test light to Battery POS, probe coil neg, then crank

what does the test light do?

test the test light before doing the test, touch batt neg to make sure the light comes on

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post #15 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Taking a small break to charge the battery.

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post #16 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indy2000 View Post
what we know

Spark, ICM, does NOT require ECM input

Fuel delivery requires ICM input

We can conclude the ECM is receiving PIP

If there is NO spark, we need to check primary

disconnect the coil plug connector, with a test light to Battery POS, probe coil neg, then crank

what does the test light do?

test the test light before doing the test, touch batt neg to make sure the light comes on
OK....I got the test light out, and connected it to hot on the battery, touched the ground post, light works. I pulled the plug from the coil, and touched the contact in the coil, no light when cranking.

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post #17 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 04:41 PM
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coil or the connector?
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post #18 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indy2000 View Post
coil or the connector?
Indy.... I deserve ridicule. I checked the frickin coil. Lol. No power to it unplugged. Lol.

I went and checked at the PLUG (as I should have). Yes. Power to the plug.

Im draining the oil now. Lots of fuel in it. I have to check the injector plug as you said. My tester wire is too short to reach. I am looking for my other tester or I will lengthen this wire.

If Im getting fuel, Fuel is apparently getting through the injectors. Could they be hanging open and drowning the plugs? Just an uneducated guess?

My starter sounded like crap. That was a first as well.

I appreciate your time and knowledge.

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post #19 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Indy, I'm amazing myself with all that I thought I knew and ALL that I have no clue about. Tomorrow I am RE-checking spark in my plugs. I didn't ground the plug in the wire when I checked, I simply held the wire with a pair of long channel locks. Stupid mistakes.

I think I may buy a new starter to. It sounded BAD. Never heard it like that before.

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post #20 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 08:51 PM
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did the test light flash?

buy a cheap spark tester that can measure KV, you need at least 20-30KV to simulate the combustion chamber

no prob with the error testing, at least you are aware, my helping over the web relies on the person on the other end is do the test properly

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post #21 of 41 Old 05-12-2019, 09:36 PM
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Dig the info givin here! Just a thought to add but I had a very similar condition with a popping, no start and a slight odd smell. Well I spent a weekend as you are. After a lot of cranking I noticed fuel coming from the air box. I was suggested to drain the oil as it sounds you have, and it was FULL of fuel. I found the FPR had failed and fuel was entering through the vacuum line on the intake. The symptoms I experienced were almost exactly what you’ve described. Just a thought. Good luck!
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post #22 of 41 Old 05-13-2019, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saleen 88-656 View Post
Dig the info givin here! Just a thought to add but I had a very similar condition with a popping, no start and a slight odd smell. Well I spent a weekend as you are. After a lot of cranking I noticed fuel coming from the air box. I was suggested to drain the oil as it sounds you have, and it was FULL of fuel. I found the FPR had failed and fuel was entering through the vacuum line on the intake. The symptoms I experienced were almost exactly what you’ve described. Just a thought. Good luck!
I will check the FPR out today and see what I can see. I have a Kirban FPR on there. It's about 7 or 8 years old. Maybe it crapped out. I did have a lot of fuel in my oil pan.

I pulled the spark plugs and they are still out of the engine. They were pretty wet with fuel.

Is it possible that the engine was getting too much fuel and did? It wasn't popping when it died, it just died as I drove in to work. And could it have been slow to turn over due to to much fuel in the cylinders and pan? The last time I tried to turn the engine over when checking the coil, it was slow to turn and sounded bad at the starter.

I did order a new starter from PA Performance as mine sounded really bad the last time I tried to crank it when checking the power to the coil as Indy stated to do. I still need to check the injector pulses as Indy said as well.

No oil in the engine at this time. I need to grab some cheap oil and a cheap filter til this is solved, then back to Royal Purple.

I had a gentleman send me pics of the OBD plug under the hood so I can make sure the wires are where they need to be so I can run codes. I tried to run codes yesterday morning with no luck, that's when I noticed that the wires looked to be in the wrong places. I could be wrong, which is why I wanted the picture to be certain.

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post #23 of 41 Old 05-13-2019, 08:30 AM
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if you do not want to crank the engine, take the distrib out jumper a ground wire from the dist housing to the block, and spin it by hand with the key in run

this will confirm spark in run, but not crank

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Ignition control module? I was driving home on the Florida Turnpike and the Mustang just died in the middle of traffic. Towed to a shop and after several ignition related tests they threw in a new module and she fired right up.

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post #25 of 41 Old 05-13-2019, 11:23 AM
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there has been no tests done yet.

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post #26 of 41 Old 05-13-2019, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indy2000 View Post
if you do not want to crank the engine, take the distrib out jumper a ground wire from the dist housing to the block, and spin it by hand with the key in run

this will confirm spark in run, but not crank
I will try this. I am learning new things. Hard to believe I built this car yet never tested a spark plug for spark before. Never had to. Same with checking if there's power to the coil and injector pulses........which is next on my list as well

Can I assume that Im checking one plug in one wire at a time and the plug needs to be grounded when checking? Is that correct?

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post #27 of 41 Old 05-13-2019, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnietbird View Post
I will try this. I am learning new things. Hard to believe I built this car yet never tested a spark plug for spark before. Never had to. Same with checking if there's power to the coil and injector pulses........which is next on my list as well

Can I assume that Im checking one plug in one wire at a time and the plug needs to be grounded when checking? Is that correct?
Depends on the tester.
Yes, if you use an inline tester.


No, if you use a spark tester like I use - the OTC 6589. The tester gets clipped to a ground.
I use the following:
https://www.amazon.com/OTC-6589-Elec.../dp/B0050SFVO2
OTC 6589 Electronic Ignition Spark Tester
Price: $14.81



Testing Spark In Your Engine OTC TOOLS
OTC TOOLS



Good Luck!

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post #28 of 41 Old 05-14-2019, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnietbird View Post
I will try this. I am learning new things. Hard to believe I built this car yet never tested a spark plug for spark before. Never had to. Same with checking if there's power to the coil and injector pulses........which is next on my list as well

Can I assume that Im checking one plug in one wire at a time and the plug needs to be grounded when checking? Is that correct?
you can use the plug wire that feeds the dist, just put a plug on the end that would go to the dist

then when you crank the engine you can check each plug

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post #29 of 41 Old 05-14-2019, 07:06 AM
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I once had very similar scenario, I had something get lodged in the oil pump causing the distributor drive shaft to twist and throw the timing off.
Went through a lot of the same tests only to eventually pull the dist. and look down the hole.
Seems like Indy has you on the correct path with testing, just thought I'd throw my experience out there, it was very frustrating.
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post #30 of 41 Old 05-14-2019, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indy2000 View Post
you can use the plug wire that feeds the dist, just put a plug on the end that would go to the dist

then when you crank the engine you can check each plug
I would use the tester, but I want to work sooner and I'd have to order that.

Indy, I,m going to use that method you mentioned through the coil wire and ground the plug and try the plugs. I will update as soon as I can. I am behind on torubleshooting as I work at the Hospital and sometimes don't get out til late. This story will have an ending. I hate it when people get their answer then leave everyone hanging.
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post #31 of 41 Old 05-19-2019, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Finally an update.........

I had tried to turn the distributor by the rotor as it was in the engine when I first started diagnosing this issue. . It was tight.

Yesterday, I had put a socket on the crank bolt and rolled it over to TDC. I pulled the distributor, teeth looked good. I replaced the heater tubes on my intake (leaky, I had gotten distracted)....anyway, re-installed the distributor and the rotor had a lot of lay, I grabbed my flashlight, looked down in the hole, the cam is missing three or four teeth.

I believe I found the problem.
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post #32 of 41 Old 05-19-2019, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by vinnietbird View Post
Finally an update.........

I had tried to turn the distributor by the rotor as it was in the engine when I first started diagnosing this issue. . It was tight.

Yesterday, I had put a socket on the crank bolt and rolled it over to TDC. I pulled the distributor, teeth looked good. I replaced the heater tubes on my intake (leaky, I had gotten distracted)....anyway, re-installed the distributor and the rotor had a lot of lay, I grabbed my flashlight, looked down in the hole, the cam is missing three or four teeth.

I believe I found the problem.
Sounds like you have a mismatch with the cam and the distributor gear material. Stock distributor or aftermarket? What cam is in it?

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post #33 of 41 Old 05-19-2019, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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My cam is currently an Ed Curtis piece and the distributor is from DUI. The gear on the distributor has all the teeth but it needs a gear.

'88 Tbird..Z-Spec T-5,Track Heat intake,BBK CAI,Ed Curtis cam,Twisted Wedge heads,1.6 Scorpions,3G,Mass Air with 24's,75mm t-body,BBK CAI,140 mph speedo,8.8 with 3.73's,BBK shorties,mini starter,O/R H-Pipe, Flowmaster Super 44's, Saleen SC wheels,Taurus fan,CHE control arms
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post #34 of 41 Old 05-22-2019, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Update......

New cam is in, new timing chain and water pump as well. More progress tomorrow after work. Getting there slowly but surely.

'88 Tbird..Z-Spec T-5,Track Heat intake,BBK CAI,Ed Curtis cam,Twisted Wedge heads,1.6 Scorpions,3G,Mass Air with 24's,75mm t-body,BBK CAI,140 mph speedo,8.8 with 3.73's,BBK shorties,mini starter,O/R H-Pipe, Flowmaster Super 44's, Saleen SC wheels,Taurus fan,CHE control arms
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post #35 of 41 Old 05-25-2019, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Update, as of yesterday evening after work, the car is running again. The Anderson N41 cam sounds good. No test drive yet, that will happen today. No leaks of any kind that I can see. Running Pennzoil for a little while then back to my Royal Purple after that.

I set the timing at 12 degrees. I have to dial in the idle. It's at 900 right now. Doesn't seem to bad actually.

'88 Tbird..Z-Spec T-5,Track Heat intake,BBK CAI,Ed Curtis cam,Twisted Wedge heads,1.6 Scorpions,3G,Mass Air with 24's,75mm t-body,BBK CAI,140 mph speedo,8.8 with 3.73's,BBK shorties,mini starter,O/R H-Pipe, Flowmaster Super 44's, Saleen SC wheels,Taurus fan,CHE control arms
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