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Car Won't Start - Next Steps? by Madscanner
Started on: 12-06-2014 07:30 AM
Replies: 25 (378 views)
Last post by: James Bond 007 on 12-11-2014 07:37 PM
Madscanner
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Report this Post12-06-2014 07:30 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hi

I'm having a problem with my Formula.

The background is that, a couple of weeks ago, I had a problem with a persistent mis-fire. I could see nothing visually wrong but found, after a couple of days, that the distributor cap was loose. I tightened it and, surprise, surprise, the engine refused to start. I took the cap off and realised that there was some damage to it from running it when it was loose. I ordered a replacement cap and rotor and, having put them in, the car still will not start.

Symptom is that it will crank but not fire. I tried a spare spark plug, one at a time, in each of the 3 rear (trunk side) plug wires and can confirm that I am getting a spark. I pulled a couple of the plugs and noted that both were pretty wet. There is also a smell of gas around.

What should I do next to troubleshoot this?
------------------
'88 Formula
'85 SE 2M6 (recently sold)
'93 Eunos Roadster
'00 Fiesta Zetec S (now sold to fund more Fiero work!)

[This message has been edited by Madscanner (edited 10-03-2017).]

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Paul.S
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Report this Post12-06-2014 10:09 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Paul.SSend a Private Message to Paul.SEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Sounds like it's flooded. Try flooring the gas pedal (the TPS will put the ECM in clear flood mode and turn off the injectors) and cranking it for a while to clear out the excess gas. -Paul

------------------
1988 Fiero Formula 25k miles, garaged since 1988

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Gall757
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Report this Post12-06-2014 10:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Check to see if your new cap is seated properly on the distributor. It is easy to pinch the wires to the pickup coil.
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Madscanner
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Report this Post12-06-2014 12:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Have checked that cap is seated properly, and that pickup coil wires are not pinched.

Have tried the Clear Flood mode suggestion, without any luck.

Engine still will not fire.

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Gall757
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Report this Post12-06-2014 12:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Do you have a can of starter fluid? Confirm that you have spark, and then you can look at fuel delivery.
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Yannsky
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Report this Post12-06-2014 12:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for YannskyClick Here to Email YannskySend a Private Message to YannskyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Look the low voltage connector on the coil pack, mine the wire was exposed at the connector level. When i kept them strait over the connector the engine start but as soon as i let it by itself the car died and won't start
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Madscanner
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Report this Post12-06-2014 12:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Tried a shot of ether into the intake - no go.

I have spark at the 3 spark plugs nearest the trunk (and am assuming at the other 3 as well).

I have checked the wiring between the distributor and the coil for continuity and found no issue.
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Report this Post12-06-2014 12:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Your ether test says that you do not have spark....or the spark is too weak when the plugs are in the engine.

edit: OR....that everything is too wet with fuel to even ignite the ether.

[This message has been edited by Gall757 (edited 12-06-2014).]

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Madscanner
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Report this Post12-06-2014 02:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
OK - will pull the plugs again in the morning (dark, cold, and wet here, now) and see how wet they are.

What would give me a weak spark?
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Report this Post12-06-2014 02:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Perhaps a damaged ignition coil, or a bad connector as Yannsky suggested.

[This message has been edited by Gall757 (edited 12-06-2014).]

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Madscanner
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Report this Post12-07-2014 08:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
OK - so far, I have replaced the distributor cap, rotor, coil and ignition module. I have checked the connectors for damage and found nothing. The pickup coil is about 18 months old. The battery was charged overnight, and is cranking the engine without problem.

The only thing I can find is that the spark does not appear to be particularly strong.

I'm stumped, just now.
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Report this Post12-07-2014 10:11 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 85 SE VIN 9Click Here to Email 85 SE VIN 9Send a Private Message to 85 SE VIN 9Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'm having the same problem with 85 SE. A spark tester showed the spark was there but very weak. I replaced the 4-wire connector to the module because it was loose and the lock was broken. It turns out there was a lot of rust and a loose connection of the coil wire on the coil end. New coil wire has not yet solved the problem, but the spark is much better. The old school way to solve this problem is to remove the plugs and dry them off. The last time this happened and I did get it started I just cranked and cranked in the flood clearing mode. Lo and behold it did start. That was a few months ago. We might need new wires. I would really like to know how you get it started. BTW, does tach register the cranking rpms? If yes, module and pickup are likely ok.
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Report this Post12-07-2014 12:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Well...I am out of ideas....except for my usual....New parts are not necessarily Good parts..
Also.... There may be some damage to your spark plug wires...increasing resistance.
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Madscanner
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Report this Post12-07-2014 03:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I am fairly fed up now.

I have gone back to square one with all the original parts, and replaced them all again, one by one (the replacements are all MSD); this time I also changed the ignition module.

The only items I haven't changed are the pickup coil and the plug wires, all of which are about 18 months old.

I pulled the trunk-side plugs and cleaned them and put them back in, tried again a few times, and checked the plugs. They were wet with fuel (there is a half-tank of fuel, and you can hear the pump prime...). I'll check the fuel pressure anyway, in a couple of weeks, when I'll have a day off (and will pray it will be dry outside).
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Report this Post12-07-2014 04:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Is the electrical connector that the pickup coil plugs to in good condition and are the contacts on it clean an free of grease?
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Report this Post12-07-2014 07:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Yes, and yes.
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Report this Post12-07-2014 07:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Try changing the timing and see if it fires
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Report this Post12-07-2014 08:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you are working in high humidity there may be some arcing going on with the spark plug wires. Have a helper crank the starter and watch the wires in the dark.....maybe you will see what's going on.
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Report this Post12-08-2014 11:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hi

Did another spark plug to ground test yesterday evening, and no sign of any arcing.

One thought I did have is the HT wire from the coil to the distributor cap - is there some way I can test it, e.g. measure resistance or something? I don't have a spare one lying about.

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Report this Post12-08-2014 11:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Madscanner

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Does the engine have to be running to check the timing, or can it be checked while cranking? I suspect it must actually be running, but I could be wrong (I have been, many times before).

[This message has been edited by Madscanner (edited 12-08-2014).]

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Report this Post12-08-2014 01:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I would loosen the distributer and try different positions to see if you can get it to fire.
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Report this Post12-09-2014 09:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Paul.SSend a Private Message to Paul.SEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Madscanner:

I pulled the trunk-side plugs and cleaned them and put them back in, tried again a few times, and checked the plugs. They were wet with fuel (there is a half-tank of fuel, and you can hear the pump prime...). I'll check the fuel pressure anyway, in a couple of weeks, when I'll have a day off (and will pray it will be dry outside).

You have spark and your plugs are still getting wet. I'd stay focused on the wet plugs till I knew what was going on there. Charge up the battery, disconnect the cold start injector, pull you plugs, (the 3 easy ones should be enough) spread a towel to catch the spray, have someone floor it and crank for a while and look for gas to stop spraying out the plug holes. If it never does your cold start injector is stuck open or there is a problem on the main injector side of things. If you weren't sure what was coming out the plug holes when, replace plugs, repeat and check for wet plugs.

3 cylinders and plugs dry now? Should be enough to at least get the engine sputtering. Leave the cold start injector disconnected and try to start. No go? Connect the cold start injector and try again.

I you are still not sure about the cold start injector, pull it and hook it up to something pressurized (air would be good) with the electrical connection left unpluged. If anything comes out of it, replace. -Paul

------------------
1988 Fiero Formula 25k miles, garaged since 1988

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Madscanner
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Report this Post12-10-2014 05:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MadscannerSend a Private Message to MadscannerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Paul

Thanks - I'll give that a try in a few days time, when I've got some time to work on the car.
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Report this Post12-10-2014 06:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for YannskyClick Here to Email YannskySend a Private Message to YannskyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hi Paul

Cold start injector are no longer available. is there a way it can be rebuilt or do you have a replacement part number?

thks
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Report this Post12-10-2014 11:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Paul.SSend a Private Message to Paul.SEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Yannsky:

Cold start injector are no longer available. is there a way it can be rebuilt

I have the same problem with my Jag. If the injector clicks when you give it a little voltage it will likely be easy to referb or cheap to have it done. If yours can't be brought back to life, look for a used one. Google "injector referb" for a bunch of info and links to shops that will referb it for around $20.

 
quote
or do you have a replacement part number?

I know little of Fiero CSIs but a cold start injector doesn't do anything fancy so any CSI with similar or adaptable fittings for an engine close to the same size should work.

My travails with Jag cold start injectors may be of some help:
http://www.jaguarforums.com...-130731/#post1099317
http://www.jaguarforums.com...urce-new-one-130895/

-Paul

------------------
1988 Fiero Formula 25k miles, garaged since 1988

[This message has been edited by Paul.S (edited 12-11-2014).]

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James Bond 007
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Report this Post12-11-2014 07:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for James Bond 007Send a Private Message to James Bond 007Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you have any wet plugs, your fireing order may be off. On rare occasions the metal connector inside the spark plug boot will rip out or become damaged, sometimes not snapped on.
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