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TCCA Staff (Retired)
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Discussion Starter #1
Doesn't happen often, but I went out this morning to go to work and the 91 turned over and tried to fire but then "Clunk!" and it stalled out before it got running at full idle. It wasn't harsh or really loud or anything, but now it just turns over and won't fire. The battery is strong and the starter is new. There were no prior indications of any problems. Does anyone know where I should start looking for this gremlin?

It's a 3.8 Essex, BTW...
 

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i for one will be watching this thread.... thats the same thing thats happening to my wifes blazer. i wish i had an answer for you, good luck.
 

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Gotta check the basics:

-Fuel pressure at the rail?

-Spark at the plug wires?

-The only other thing req'd to run is compression, but we'll assume that's fine since it ran OK before.

Is it possible that the fuel line is iced up?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No, not a backfire. It was just like the engine trying to get running then abruptly shutting off (stalling). I can hear the fuel pump running before I try to start so I think it is getting fuel (I will double check, though) It ran fine Saturday night when I last drove it. I suspect plugs or wires...they are kinda over due for replacement.
 

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Nope. But it does have a TFI (thick film ignition) module that will result in the same symptoms. Spark test will tell.
 

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The TPS can go bad, but it usually won't cause a no start problem. It will usually set a CEL too. You can use a voltmeter to test it, closed should be darn near 0v, fully open should be close to 5v. Look for any "dead spots" as you're manually operating the throttle lever too.

Looked it up quick using "ignition module" as a search item as opposed to TFI.

http://www.autozone.com/R,APP36880/vehicle...oductDetail.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The TPS can go bad, but it usually won't cause a no start problem. It will usually set a CEL too. You can use a voltmeter to test it, closed should be darn near 0v, fully open should be close to 5v. Look for any "dead spots" as you're manually operating the throttle lever too.

Looked it up quick using "ignition module" as a search item as opposed to TFI.

http://www.autozone.com/R,APP36880/vehicle...oductDetail.htm
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That looks like it could be the culprit! Thanks for the info...I will check it out tonight...
 

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What year is the car? How many miles are on this car? Can you verify service/repairs since new. It might be the timing chain. Check timing chain by finding top dead center for the number one spark plug on the harmonic balancer and set it to the the timing pointer. Remove the distributor cap and check the relative position of the rotor. Rotor shoud be pointed to the position of the number one spark plug position. If it is 180 degrees off rotate the harmonic balancer one complete turn to the top dead center mark as stated earlier. Again, check the position of the rotor. The rotor should be pointed to or very close to the number one spark plug wire contact position. If it's off a substanial amount either way but not 180 degrees the timing chain could be stretched and it jumped a few degrees. This problem can show up as drove just fine up until the car it was parked and now it won't start. Car may try to start but won't or no amount of cranking produces anything but a dead battery. Check for fuel and fuel pressure. Check for adequate spark at the plug wires. I just replaced the timing chain in my 87 3.0 GenI Taurus after I had to repair the front timing cover for a bad water leak. The old timing chain had alot of sloop in it and was definately in need of replacement. Installed a new timing set and I'm back and working fine except for other issues. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, oddly, it is running again! All I did was crack the bleeder on the fuel rail to see if it had fuel...everything looked good so I put the cap back on and tried to start it. It turned over a few times and chugged to life. So I'm not sure what the problem was, but she's purring like a kitten again! :ford:
 

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vapor lock can happen in winter too.

or maybe,

if you are using gasoline with 10% alcohol in it, it can seperate in winter and cause odd problems.
 

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I'd throw in a bottle of dry gas just to be on the safe side. Glad to hear it started up for you!
 

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If the TFI module goes bad won't it throw a pip failure code or something?? I've replaced many of them, but it's been years. Texas heat plus underhood temps will wreak havoc on some parts. I just seem to remember they would throw a code, maybe not.
 
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