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Old 07-12-2012, 10:16   #1 (permalink)
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93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

Couple weeks my dad's car died on him on his way to a friends house. When he tried to start it up it would just crank. He had it towed home and I've been trying to figure out what went wrong to no avail.

I swapped the plugs and wires and noticed that the plugs in cylinders 1 3 and 4 had black tips and were a lil wet but # 2 had the typical tannish color and looked fine. Car still didn't crank so i tested for spark and all wires had a whiteish/ light blue spark, but i tested the ignition coil anyways with a dmm and got a resistance of .9 ohms on both terminals .

I then hooked up a fuel gauge and found out he had no pressure. I heard the fuel pump humming when i turned the key so i changed the relay, which didn't help. Then i changed the fuel filter, still no pressure. Changed the fuel regulator and got normal fuel pressure back around 40 psi. Car still just cranked and didn't start.

Checked air filter and it had a lil bit of sludge on it, checked the pcv and found it was dirty but still rattled. checked its hose coming off of exhaust manifold and found a hole. I replaced the hose, but still no change.

Lastly I checked the timing belt and it looks just fine. Not even the slightest rounding or cracks.

I am at a loss as to what I'm missing. he bought the car from an elderly couple that took good care of it. Has only 93,000 on it. It does not have an egr valve.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:26   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

If your getting fuel and spark , might be an idea to check compressions ?
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Old 07-12-2012, 14:50   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

Figures I'd forget something obvious. Well did the test and #1-30psi, #2-0psi, #3-0psi, #4-90psi. Since #4 had a much higher psi than the other does that mean a leaking head gasket?
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Old 07-12-2012, 16:33   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

I'd check the timing of the timing belt.
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Old 07-12-2012, 17:52   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

Couple of quick checks before you start into a rebuild you don't need, check for signs of cross contamination in your radiator and oil. A blown head gasket across 3 cylinders should be showing fluids someplace if not all over the place.

Second, even though it won't tun, it still should be sparking, check timing with a timing light while turning it over. If the spout connector is pulled, your timing should be somewhere around 10-12 degrees and it shouldn't drift. If it drifts, probably the timing belt has stretched. If you don't have a timing light, check to see if #1 cylinder is at top dead center when the timing mark is aligned with the zero mark.
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Old 07-12-2012, 19:11   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

I went ahead and took off the valve cover. Sections of the left side looked burnt, which I didn't expect cause my dad said when it died it wasn't overheating. I drained the oil and it was dark with a reddish tint to it. I also found small metallic fragments in it as well. So now I'm more inclined to think that there is engine damage.
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Old 07-12-2012, 19:16   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

Forgot to mention that when I was draining the oil I saw oil on most of the half of the engine and the oil pan.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:06   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

Depending on size, shape and material, the fragments may or may not be something to be alarmed at. Could be normal wear (very small and fine), could be parts from gasket material. It is looking like the head gasket is blown, though.

Since you have the cover off, you can verify the lifters with piston position and make sure your lifters aren't sticking. Rotate the crank by hand and make sure everything rolls smoothly.
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Old 07-13-2012, 15:18   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 93 Mercury Tracer Wont Start

I agree with Bert check the timing belt. All those numbers are low for a healthy engine. My '88 Escort with 518K miles has about 150 PSI across the board. If the timing belt is bad, this is a non interference engine so it's just a matter of lining up the timing marks and putting a new belt on. If you replace the timing belt it would also be a good time to replace the water pump to avoid possibly having to do the job all over again a short time from now.
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