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Old 12-30-2010, 10:30   #1 (permalink)
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351W starts cold, won't fire warm

I've got an 82 F150 4X4 with a 1986 351W block. It's a Borg Warner 4spd manual tranny, granny geared with straight 3.00 gears. I've got 2 issues with it...

First off, it will start and run just fine when the motor is cold. After driving and getting it up to temperature, if I shut it off, it won't re-start until the motor is cold again. Naturally, there are limited electronics. I tried to go the easy way with a new Ignition Control Module and a new Starter Solenoid. That didn't fix my issue. In fact, after changing them in the parking lot, and waiting for the motor to cool down so it would re-start, on my drive home in fourth gear the truck just shut off. So while driving, I dropped the tranny to third and popped the clutch and it re-fired and kept going. It did this to me 3 times on a five mile drive home!! So naturally, my thoughts go straight to the distributor, which was what I was hoping it wasn't because I know NOTHING about timing!!

Now I looked under the hood at the distributor with the diagram for the firing order. The mechanic I took my truck to when I moved from FL to CO 7mos ago has my wires all backwards. 1 is hooked up on the cap where 4 should be, 5 is hooked up on the cap where 8 should be and so on and so forth. So that tells me that with a firing order of what should be 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8, I'm now firing with an order of 4-2-6-3-7-8-1-5. Correct? Now can somebody please tell me how in the world this thing can fire and run backwards??? Cuz I switched them around to the way the diagrams show and the truck won't even start.

The other thing I did notice, I don't know if this could be my starting problem or not, is that the adaptor that the cap sits on directly between the distributor and the cap, is loose. Could this be my hot/cold starting issue?

Hopefully somebody, somewhere has had one or both of these issues. Or maybe somebody has the answers for me cuz I'm going crazy trying to figure this all out. Thanks for all your help guys!!
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:20   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

Wow! I gotta be honest that I'm surprised nobody has any input whatsoever for me. I changed the coil hoping maybe that was the issue, but no fix. So the only other thought I am having is the pick-up coil in the distributor. ANY and all input somebody has is GREATLY appreciated!!
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:26   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

Did you switch the wires back to where it started? When it wouldn't start hot, was there spark to the plugs when you cranked it?
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:28   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

Yes, I did put all the wires back the way they were, although to me and the firing diagram it's backwards. As long as it's cold, it fires just fine. Yes, there is spark to the plugs. A "mechanic" at my work suggested the coil. I went ahead and changed it, but once it sat for 10-15min after driving, it wouldn't re start. But the second it's cooled back down, it starts again.
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:58   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

If there's spark when it won't start, try spraying carb cleaner in the air cleaner (careful when it's hot so no fire) and see if it starts.
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Old 01-08-2011, 13:14   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

I tried that the very first time it did this to me. I was always told you need 3 things to start a vehile: air, fuel and spark. I know I had fuel b/c right in front of the carb I have the clear fuel filter and it had fuel. I know I have air b/c , well, duh. I should have actually not said that I had spark earlier in my previous post b/c I didn't try that. So, for that, my bad. The only other thing I was thinking was changing the distributor since there is limited electronics on the truck. It's got an ICM, a starter solenoid and the vaccuum advance distributor. Anything I could be missing? It just has me confused as to not starting hot.....
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Old 01-08-2011, 13:52   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

Why not run it until it has the no start condition and check for spark. The fuel could be in the filter but not in the carb. You can also see if you get a spray of fuel down the carb by opening the throttle when it's not starting. No sense in just throwimg parts at it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:28   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

Figured I would post an update in case anyone else ever has this problem. Pretty sad there are over 800 views of this post and only you replied with any thoughts, Bert. But that's neither here nor there.... Ended up being the pick-up coil on the distributor. Cheap $20 part with the headache of taking the distributor apart to change it.... or spend $40 for a whole new distributor and the fun of plug and play. So, I just changed the entire distributor and avoided the headache. All is well now except now the truck is leaking fluid where the front drive shaft goes into the transfer case. So that's the next little project.... Any words of wisdom??
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:39   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

Those pick-up coils are second to the ICM for failure. Usually when they get hot. As for the seal. I haven't had one around for a long time but if I remember correctly, the seal is easy to replace. Check the shaft before removing it to make sure nothing is worn causing that. try moving the driveshaft up and down to see if there's any movement.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:07   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 351W starts cold, won't fire warm

There was no need for others to post since Bert had it covered
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