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Old 11-17-2005, 12:05   #1 (permalink)
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91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

Newby, but did search this forum and followed relavant suggestions.... impressive content, btw.

Situation:
Was running (daughter's car) she said it had stalled a few times, but always started right back up.
Lot's of fuel flowing thru filter, hear each injector clicking (screwdriver to ear trick) beleive we smell fuel after trying to start.
Checked spark with plugs out and with one of those cheapo gap jumping tools, lots of spark, but on the plug I wouldn't say it's blue, more like white. Looked a little wet, sprayed with Starting Fluid (ether?) and reset gaps.
With the airfilter box removed, shot Starter Fluid into the intake and didn't even get a hint of firing.
Replaced Primary Ignition Coil.
Pulled distributor and had TFI module bench checked, it passed :(
Checked the voltage on the plug for the TFI and all surpassed the 90% of Battery voltage called for in the manual.
Chased the battery ground line to the block. Disconnected and cleaned. This time I *finally* got just the slightest stutter.
I'm throwing parts at it in desperation at this point.
When I get home I will replace the ignition wires and plugs.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Call me baffled.
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Old 11-17-2005, 16:42   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

#1 good luck starting it without the air hose disconnected,the mass air sensor gota have air going through it. take apart the cold air box, lift the top and shoot it through there, it wil barley roll over witout it, i foudn this out the hard way.
if your 100% shure ur pumping gas into the engine and ur 100% shure there is at least enuf spark "which sounds like u got more then enuf" to tickle the piston, and ur geting air theres just a few things left.
#1 befoire u throw any m,ore $ into it make shure u got compression in the cilinders and not a blown headgasket , u should and unles your over 100k u can loan a tool from most u.s. chain stores espicaly compresion testers
#2 ur fuel injectors are cloged bad so bad its insane but even then it would start on starter fluid which brings me back to the compression ishue.
a nice way to check this is to remove a spark plug, and have sum 1 try and start it does any gas fumes.vapors come out.
#3 u said u can smeel gas after trying to start, put liek an old sheet under the car from the gas tank to the fuel rail, see if any drips to the ground on it.
#4 timing, should be okay btw did u replace the dist rotor
#5 the groundmount system, even though u ran a wire right to the block, ive fixed so many tempos rangers and excorts that didnt wnana start not on the forum, in person because the wire coming from the neg battery post to the frame is pathetic. and its often not even metal below in fact ull see paint unles u have changed this yourself. pop the bolt of, get at least a 6ga wire i use a 2 ga oxygen 12v cable. instantly i felt a compresion increase along time ago when i did that, next i droped in 2 910 cold crank optima batteries "had a system back then" and now run 1 1200 crank optima, starting is rediclous now.
those old 610 cold cranks are good but, not enuf!
#6 the comps out
#7 its seized, u can test this by puting the car in netural, get a socket preferbily deepwal with a short extension, and a good long breaker bar, stik it to the crank bolt and try and turn it, it wont be easy but then again 1 person can do it. the 2.3 can be turned with a reg socket wrench the 3.0 defintly needs a breakerbar.
last i would say wait til it gets cold outside reallly cold and the temp of the block is nice and cold, get in the car turn the key to the on position 3 or 4 times for a full second or 2 to allow the fuel pump to get pleanty of gas ready, on the 4th or 5th turn let it presiurize 1 more time and start it depresing gas pedal maybe 10% slowly increase til u floor, if nothing, turn it 1 more time to on position, let presiurize, turn to off quickly, see if u can hear gas seem to drain back into the tank? if u can the fuel pump might be going out, if u cant and it wont start, and its cold outside ur comps proly blown because the car uses a preseting run mode to start until its warmed

forgot to add replace the silenoid "please take 1 wire of at a time btw" but u proly already know that, enshure the throttle body pins, cables, levers, springs, flux capasitors etc etc are functional and all vacume lines are connected and in good condition
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Old 11-17-2005, 19:17   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

thanks for the quick reply
Plugs, wires and dry gas made no improvement. :(

I'm not sure I understand some of the things you outlined.
- I don't think this one has a MAF sensor, there are no electrical connectors on any of the parts of the filter box and connecting assemblies, but I will triple check.
- I should have mentioned milage, it's at 103K the compression sounds like a good one to chase. Should have thought of that, will do the old thumb in the hole thing.
- The engine is not siezed, it's turning over fine. The starter is working as expected too.
- I didn't replace that ground line, I followed it back from the battery to the block and cleaned it all up. But you're saying it's actaully this original cable that can be the culprit. I can replace that! But, I don't think I am ready to get crazy with the mondo batteries. Maybe once she's running. I tell you, the more I work on this little car, the more I like it, which is all the more frustrating. It'd be much more satisfying to work on making it run better than struggling to get life back out of it.
- I did not replace the distributor rotor or cap, they both looked almost new, especially compared to other items around it. There wasn't even much of the usual sign of arching on the contact part.
- I'm not 100% sure on the fuel supply - other than getting wet plugs. Wonder if my parts place (Murrays) has a loaner plan for fuel pressure checking gauges too.
- "#6 the comps out" - do you mean the computer may be out? Is there a good (and simple) method of telling? It's only reading out 11 in the KO position.
- These methods for verifying the fuel pump or leak are great.! I will do them and it is cold here... in the 20s heading for 15.

Theres another thing I didn't replace. There looks to be a condensor mounted on the frame of the ignition coil. I haven't seen one of these on the ignition since my old beetles and 70 Vette (way before kids) =D I kept meaning to ask about the condensor when I went fo the other parts.

I'm thinking your onto something with the compression. Or, perhaps there is a MAF and I didn't notice it.

I just don't get how the plugs can spark fine and I barey get a stutter with Starter Fluid - Maddening.
I'll be back with the results.
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Old 11-17-2005, 19:48   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

right no need to get super volts "yet' but no need to not use all ur volts at that, and i can contest this vary wire can increase gas milege if done right.
thats how bad a problem it can be besides the starter wire this is the cars groundmount, for every device there is
rofl
o ya and the starter dont count the blocks on 3 rubber or hydralic mounts that eletricity dont pass through.
also the only place u might wnana add volts is the head, i ran 6 ga wires to the valvecover bolts that go into the head, slaped a nasty msd on it, n the batteries, that car can start im telling u if u got compression, gas spark and air dont give up voltage and eletronics are all thats left

if the plugs are wet with gas and ther is spark this is impossible unles there wet with oil, meaning the rings are done but, if u have good rings and u do the old thumb in hole try not to knock in gunk, but 5 buks says it wont pop

forgot to mention if its a automatic put it in netural and try and start it, if it starts replace the netural saftey switch
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Old 11-19-2005, 18:04   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

Well, this is beyond frustrating...
I got the loan of a compression tester, the press in type and measured 2,3 and 4 at 110, 100 and 95 respectively.
Replaced the rotor, main ground cable (4 guage was biggest they had in stock) and fuel filter just because.
It's cranking over pretty good and I'd say it is "catching" just a little bit more, but a long way from actaully running.
I did follow your steps for cycling the fuel pump and listened for any fuel trickling back. If it is, we can't hear it.
With the fresh clean plugs, it's harder to see if they are wet. I just do not get why I don't get why it doesn't seem to really catch with the starter fluid down the intake, but I'm starting to lean toward fuel.
I can hear the pump and it definitely pushes fuel up to the filter. It made different noises as it filled the new empty one up.
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Old 11-19-2005, 18:48   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

if uve got compression and u do, uve got spark and u do, and air and u do and gas?
ive been through so many headaches i wanted to kill it sumtimes.
this is goina sound kinda wiered but try this if its the probelm like mine was i need to get a way fatter way bigger fuel filter because the tank was full of crap I run 4 spectere filters side by side "ud only need 1"
but i had to edit the gas lines!
take the fuel filter off competly and get a piece of platic hosing like the kind for a house swamp cooler and stick it in between them to bridge the gap and try and start it, if it starts turn it off right away as u dont wnana run unfiltered gas.
immedatly run to autozone and get a duestish i think there calkled big black fuel filter there volume capaicty is like 2 cups of gas, it will fit right into the olf clamps and in the old fuel filter housing cherry

if it dont start timing would be left and also the mass air sensor could be bad, u would get to idle though then staul if it was bad, other than that timing is all thats left, if ur timing chain is broke that woild do it 2.
toher than that the comp and the "ingition saftey switch for automatics" are all thats left.
if its a manual try and push start it.
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Old 11-19-2005, 19:08   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

hmmm, I'll scrounge up that hose and try that...
I left out it's an automatic and I did try it in nuetral position, no joy
This engine doesn't have a MAF apparently and the distributor gear meshes right into the Cam gear, so no timing chain.
- Do I need a special tool to get the fuel line off the regulator or whatever it is that the line plugs into at the fuel rail? It looks like there's some sort of spring all the way around the inside of the fittings and I don't want to futz them up if I can help it, but I'd sure like to know if I have fuel pressure up there.
I found the pressure-relief/test valve on the rail over closer to the intake, but the fuel pressure guage I borrowed doesn't have a screw on fitting, and I don't think it's contacting right.
Other than the car wont start, is there anyway I can tell if the computer is the culprit?
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Old 11-19-2005, 22:15   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

comp ususaly needs profasional diagnosis.
u dont need any tools, disconect the fuel filter, conect the 2 lines with a lil piece of plastic tubing, try and start it as it is proly cloging em every time it pressurized ur tanks so dirty.
other than that id be stumped, one of those things u gota be there in person to see, try this disconect the wire on head temp sensor, o2 sensor, try and start.

btw have u checked the fusses yet.
and considered the fuel injectors click but still might be bad?
if everythings good i would say timing again, 1 of the gears could be bad, or maybe a valve problem?
ill brainstorm this 1 sum more but im about stumped

vacume leanks?
just a wild gues but this car wasent equiped with a emergency fuel shut off switch was it?
or does it have an alarm system
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Old 11-20-2005, 20:05   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

well, I appreciate how far you taken me on this - doing this remote is the hard way, isn't it.
I'm getting closer tho... now, it sounds like it is just about to catch.
By-passing the fuel filter made no difference.
I did check the fuses under the dash on the drivers side, nothing out. No alarm system that I'm aware of. The car does have the emergency (inertia) fuel switch, there's a placard in the trunk for it, but I'll be darned if I can locate it, but, that keeps the fuel pump from running at all, right?
Followed all the vacuum lines, everything seems solid. Having the O2 and head temp (at least what I think is the head temp) didn't seem to make a diff. There's this black plastic box mounted to the top of the right shock tower. It has a vacuum and electrical connector. I reseated them and while I was at it all the others I could find and cleaned up a few misc ground wires. I even pulled apart the steering column to see if any of the wires at the ignition switch looked suspect. Oh yeah, replaced the distributor cap too - don't know why I didn't do that with the rotor.
So, now it's like so dang close.
I don't see anywhere in this lousy Chilton manual where that computer is and so far, no luck even finding it on line. It is[I] called the ECC, right?
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Old 11-21-2005, 05:21   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 91 Tempo - cranks, won't start

ya ecc should be right next to ur driver side shock, if not dont worry bout it
right ur fuel pump shout shut of if the emergency switch is off but just cancelinmg things out
this 1's puzzeling big time ill brainstorm it all day but more and more it sounds like a problem of a wire being not connected or might possible be suumting in the starting system?
its gona take time on sumthing else.
call the autozone or checks or w/e in ur area start decribing the problem and whats wrong maybe they might have a good idea?
ill post back later when sumthing comes up
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