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Old 03-14-2002, 02:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
Holly
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Default Ignition Problems with '87 5.0. HELP!!!

My '87 5.0 doesn't start when it is cold (40-65 degrees). This has become a pain in the butt. It always starts when it is warm (65+ degrees). I gave my car a tune up 3 weeks ago (changed the distributor, rotor, sparkplugs and wires, and fuel filter) hoping this would change the condition; however, no luck. I keep all fluid levels maintained as well. I have a Chilton's guide and I looked at the ignition diagram and I'm thinking it might be the starter or the "ignition module." The problem is I don't know what the heck an "ignition module" does. The book says it controls the start of the engine in "certain conditions." Does the ignition module need to be replaced? The '87 5.0 has a duraspark type two ignition system. Has anyone had similar problems with their mustang and fixed it? I would greatly appreciate any advice or help. Thank you.
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Old 03-14-2002, 10:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
Mr 5 0
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Lightbulb Hard starter

Your '87 Mustang should have a TFI module, located next to the distributor, as in this photo:

http://www.coolcats.net/tech/ts/tfi1.jpg

The TFI module tends to quit at hot temperatures, not cold so I doubt that's the culprit here. Your recent tune-up absolves those parts from being the problem so before you get into expensive ignition replacements, do the simple stuff, first.

You may just need a new battery; have it checked at an auto parts store or your friendly local garage to see what it's condition is and consider installing new battery cables, too. Your starter should also be checked for efficency, especially if it's been in there a long time. A simple voltmeter test will give you a quick idea of the battery condition. Go from there.
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Old 03-14-2002, 12:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Changed Battery and wires

About 3-4 months ago, I changed the battery and wires hoping this would solve the problem. Still no luck.

When it's cold (below 65-60 degrees), the car turns over fine: when the key is turned you can feel the battery and ignition system trying to start the engine, but the engine won't actually get started running. It feels like it just needs that last split second "spark" to get the engine actually started. Could this be the starter? I am very grateful for any more advice. Thanks
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Old 03-14-2002, 02:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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well it sounds like your battery and starter aren't the problem if it turns over fine. I'd check for spark at the plug when turning it over and see what color the spark is. Then I'd scan the EEC for codes and see what it comes up with. There's an article about this on the corral (www.corral.net) that explains how to do it if you don't already know. That would give us more direction of how to troubleshoot your problem. I'm curious to see if your ECT, and the other sensors are working correctly. Just a thought.
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Old 03-14-2002, 09:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It also sounds alot like a sticking EGR valve. I agree that the battery and starter sound just fine. You really need to pull the codes, in both KOEO and KOER, and post them.

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Old 03-15-2002, 09:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Have you checked fuel pressure? Or, how about Vacuum leaks from your recent installations?
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Old 03-16-2002, 11:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I disagree with almost everything except a sticking EGR valve. That's rare for a complete no-start, but possible. I'm banking on the coolant temperature sensor (CTS). Reason being that the computer bases injector pulse width on the coolant temperature. If it won't fire in cold, but will when it's warm, logic tells you that the engine is simply stuck starting lean. The CTS is most likely stuck high. If it's never been replaced, I'd suggest doing so. I did on my '87 notch, and the car has started perfectly ever since. Before, I had a few problems starting when it was particularly cold. Very similar to what you're describing. Check your computer codes and see if the computer is reporting problems with it. However, it's also very likely that it WON'T because it will assume everything's OK if it's within certain parameters. All the computer knows about the coolant temp is what the sensor is interpreting.

BTW, the CTS is the large gray thing screwed into the metal heater pipes on the passenger side of the engine, right on top. I would NOT use any sealant or tape on it, they come pre-gooped at most parts stores. Good luck!
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Old 03-16-2002, 01:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A Coolant temperature sensor or sender will NOT prohibit the car from starting, Capri306, check out the thread here titled 'what not to do", I think you need to read that.

A sensor cannot "stick", they work off of a range of voltage, usually 0-1 volt, or 0-5 volts, if they get old, they go what FORD calls "out of range" and can no longer do there job, a code will be flagged. The computer makes decisions based on those voltage readings and a host of other readings as well. I'm not slammin' you, I'm trying to help you.
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Old 03-16-2002, 10:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default In Response...

Much thanks to everyone for your advice so far. I REALLY want to try and solve this darn problem so my car would be CONSISTENTLY starting in the cold.

I have been looking into the advice of all the previous posts so far and I have come up with KOEO codes that refer me to possible causes of concern. The three possible causes are: 1) ECT sensor problems 2) Wire harness problems and 3) ECA problems.

Being relatively new at doing this type of car work, could anyone advise me on what the ECT and ECA actually do? I know that ECA stands for the Electronic Control Assembly, but what does ECT stand for? Lastly, what would be the most efficient way on repairing the above 3 listed problems.

Once again, thanks for everyone's advice so far and would greatly appreciate more.
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Old 03-16-2002, 11:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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ECT stands for Engine Coolant Temperature, it is a sensor, it is on the black metal tube parallel wih the intake, it works off voltage, I believe 0-1 volt, for instance if the sensor is producing a voltage to the computer of say .35 volts the car is still relatively cool as the coolant temperature rises so does the voltage, and so on.

These sensors FORD uses are of military quality and have been tested to even work under water, my advice is replace ALL the sensors on the car, especally O2's and TPS, I say this because I work in a racing environment and when we have electrical problems we replace all sensors to eliminate any guesswork, this may not be practical in your case.

Replace the ECT and the ACT (Air charge temperature), there cheap.
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Old 03-17-2002, 07:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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What were the actual codes? FYI, if the engine wasn't hot when you performed the self tests, an false ECT code will come up. You need to run BOTH KOEO and KOER self tests and post the actual codes before you start throwing money at it.

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Old 03-17-2002, 01:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default BREAKOUT BOX

You may not need this, it's rarely needed, but after you extract the codes and cannot fix the problem, but keep coming up with the same codes.....FORD has a device called a breakout box, it takes that individual code and breaks "it" down even further, something our $30 testers cannot.

Just thought I'd make you aware of that.
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Old 03-17-2002, 04:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Actually, a breakout box (BOB) is nothing more than a tool used by all vehicle manufacturers that allows you to take electrical measurements between any of the wires in the EEC system, without harming those wires. It installs between the ECM harness connector and the ECM, and has pins that represent each wire. Virtually all "proper" KOEO and KOER testing should be done with a BOB, but since very few private individuals own one, most Pep Boys repair books (Haynes, etc.) give you just the simplest tests for things like the TPS, etc. My OTC scan tool set me back $450 when new, and another $350 when I added the OBDII update PROM chip. The tester you have doesn't make any difference as far as a BOB is concerned. The tester gets you the codes, and the BOB makes it easier to follow the correct flowchart for diagnosing the source of each code. My scan tool has many very nice features that the $30 ones (or even the $350 ones) do not have, but it doesn't make any difference as far as using a BOB.

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