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Old 10-23-2005, 00:01   #1 (permalink)
maradcliff@UNLISTED.com
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Posts: n/a
Ford - This is driving me nuts

I have a 1979 F150 pickup with 400 engine. It used to start just
fine. A few weeks ago, it did not want to start at times and other
times started right up. Lately it has gotten worse. Most of the time
it starts when it's cold, but once it's warm, it's a gamble whether it
will start again. Eve nshutting it off for a few seconds and it may
not restart. The starter spins and is engaging the flywheel, but it
just cranks and cranks and will not start. However, here's the odd
part. It pops when I release the key from the START position. In
other words, it appears it is not getting ignition voltage during
cranking, but as soon as put the key to the RUN position, it pops. If
I am real lucky, it will start within that moment, but 99% of the time
it will not start. So, I have to just keep flipping the key and
hoping I can catch a spark as the key is withdrawn.

I replaced the solenoid, thinking there was a fault in it. However,
that did not solve the problem.

This is driving me nuts. WTF is causing this?

I should note, it IS getting gas. I can see it squirt into the carb,
and have flooded it a few times while trying to start it. The timing
chain was replaced one year ago, so that is ok. The carb was rebuilt
not too long ago either, and the plugs and wires and cap replaced last
spring. I am 99.9% sure it is just not getting a spark. This makes
me think of the coil, electronic ignition module, or distributor
problem. However, the problem is intermittent, and once started, it
runs just fine and has lots of power.

Here's an example. Yesterday I started it 4 times on my driveway, It
started fine, so I drove it about 20 miles, stopped for gas, stopped
at 3 stores, visited a friend, loaded some hay, and came home. By
this time I had started it, and shut it off at least 15 times without
any problem. I unloaded the hay, and moved the truck up to my gate.
The gate was loose so I had to shut off the truck to get my toolbox
key. 5 minutes later, I tried to start the truck and it would not
start. After cranking it about 30 times, I finally got it to start
upon releasing the key. I drove it to the lower part of the farm to
load some lumber that I needed to move. left the engine running, but
when I stepped on the gas, the tires slipped on wet grass so I got out
and turned the wheels to 4WD. When I got back in, I gunned it, and
the engine died. It took me 15 minutes to get it to start again. I
took the lumber to the shed and left the engine running while I
unloaded the wood. It idled fine for 10 minutes, then suddenly just
quit running for no reason. Now I can not get it to start at all, but
still get a pop when I release the key. Maybe when it gets totally
cold, it will start again, but the problem seems to be getting worse.

Any idea what is causing this?
Are there any tests I can do using a 12V test light?

This really is driving me nuts.

PS, I did take the coil plug off and cleaned the contacts (low voltage
plug).

Mark



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Old 10-23-2005, 01:01   #2 (permalink)
Jim Warman
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Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

The module on these can do some pretty wonky things.. When the problem
occurs, connect your test light to the coil negative terminal... Key on, the
light should be lit... cranking, the light should flash...



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Old 10-23-2005, 07:01   #3 (permalink)
Tom Adkins
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Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

maradcliff@UNLISTED.com wrote:
> I have a 1979 F150 pickup with 400 engine. It used to start just
> fine. A few weeks ago, it did not want to start at times and other
> times started right up. Lately it has gotten worse. Most of the time
> it starts when it's cold, but once it's warm, it's a gamble whether it
> will start again.


This is one of the classic Dura Spark module failure modes. The other is loss of
spark when the engine is warm, then spark after cooldown. It's possible that the cause
is somewhere else, but my money is on the module.
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Old 10-23-2005, 07:01   #4 (permalink)
Mike Hunter
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Posts: n/a
Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

Your description of your problem could lead to one of several different
causes. Apparently you do not have the proper skills or training to analyze
the problem. Why keep changing parts? Take your truck to a competent
technician and have him do that for you and correct the problem, WBMA. ;)

mike hunt


<maradcliff@UNLISTED.com> wrote in message
news:uj6ml1dnodst35qm56k9vn9ql6tst1liqq@4ax.com...
>I have a 1979 F150 pickup with 400 engine. It used to start just
> fine. A few weeks ago, it did not want to start at times and other
> times started right up. Lately it has gotten worse. Most of the time
> it starts when it's cold, but once it's warm, it's a gamble whether it
> will start again. Eve nshutting it off for a few seconds and it may
> not restart. The starter spins and is engaging the flywheel, but it
> just cranks and cranks and will not start. However, here's the odd
> part. It pops when I release the key from the START position. In
> other words, it appears it is not getting ignition voltage during
> cranking, but as soon as put the key to the RUN position, it pops. If
> I am real lucky, it will start within that moment, but 99% of the time
> it will not start. So, I have to just keep flipping the key and
> hoping I can catch a spark as the key is withdrawn.
>
> I replaced the solenoid, thinking there was a fault in it. However,
> that did not solve the problem.
>
> This is driving me nuts. WTF is causing this?
>
> I should note, it IS getting gas. I can see it squirt into the carb,
> and have flooded it a few times while trying to start it. The timing
> chain was replaced one year ago, so that is ok. The carb was rebuilt
> not too long ago either, and the plugs and wires and cap replaced last
> spring. I am 99.9% sure it is just not getting a spark. This makes
> me think of the coil, electronic ignition module, or distributor
> problem. However, the problem is intermittent, and once started, it
> runs just fine and has lots of power.
>
> Here's an example. Yesterday I started it 4 times on my driveway, It
> started fine, so I drove it about 20 miles, stopped for gas, stopped
> at 3 stores, visited a friend, loaded some hay, and came home. By
> this time I had started it, and shut it off at least 15 times without
> any problem. I unloaded the hay, and moved the truck up to my gate.
> The gate was loose so I had to shut off the truck to get my toolbox
> key. 5 minutes later, I tried to start the truck and it would not
> start. After cranking it about 30 times, I finally got it to start
> upon releasing the key. I drove it to the lower part of the farm to
> load some lumber that I needed to move. left the engine running, but
> when I stepped on the gas, the tires slipped on wet grass so I got out
> and turned the wheels to 4WD. When I got back in, I gunned it, and
> the engine died. It took me 15 minutes to get it to start again. I
> took the lumber to the shed and left the engine running while I
> unloaded the wood. It idled fine for 10 minutes, then suddenly just
> quit running for no reason. Now I can not get it to start at all, but
> still get a pop when I release the key. Maybe when it gets totally
> cold, it will start again, but the problem seems to be getting worse.
>
> Any idea what is causing this?
> Are there any tests I can do using a 12V test light?
>
> This really is driving me nuts.
>
> PS, I did take the coil plug off and cleaned the contacts (low voltage
> plug).
>
> Mark
>
>
>



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Old 10-23-2005, 09:01   #5 (permalink)
aarcuda69062
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

In article <uj6ml1dnodst35qm56k9vn9ql6tst1liqq@4ax.com>,
maradcliff@UNLISTED.com wrote:

> I have a 1979 F150 pickup with 400 engine. It used to start just
> fine. A few weeks ago, it did not want to start at times and other
> times started right up. Lately it has gotten worse. Most of the time
> it starts when it's cold, but once it's warm, it's a gamble whether it
> will start again. Eve nshutting it off for a few seconds and it may
> not restart. The starter spins and is engaging the flywheel, but it
> just cranks and cranks and will not start. However, here's the odd
> part. It pops when I release the key from the START position. In
> other words, it appears it is not getting ignition voltage during
> cranking, but as soon as put the key to the RUN position, it pops. If
> I am real lucky, it will start within that moment, but 99% of the time
> it will not start. So, I have to just keep flipping the key and
> hoping I can catch a spark as the key is withdrawn.
>
> I replaced the solenoid, thinking there was a fault in it. However,
> that did not solve the problem.
>
> This is driving me nuts. WTF is causing this?
>
> I should note, it IS getting gas. I can see it squirt into the carb,
> and have flooded it a few times while trying to start it. The timing
> chain was replaced one year ago, so that is ok. The carb was rebuilt
> not too long ago either, and the plugs and wires and cap replaced last
> spring. I am 99.9% sure it is just not getting a spark. This makes
> me think of the coil, electronic ignition module, or distributor
> problem. However, the problem is intermittent, and once started, it
> runs just fine and has lots of power.
>
> Here's an example. Yesterday I started it 4 times on my driveway, It
> started fine, so I drove it about 20 miles, stopped for gas, stopped
> at 3 stores, visited a friend, loaded some hay, and came home. By
> this time I had started it, and shut it off at least 15 times without
> any problem. I unloaded the hay, and moved the truck up to my gate.
> The gate was loose so I had to shut off the truck to get my toolbox
> key. 5 minutes later, I tried to start the truck and it would not
> start. After cranking it about 30 times, I finally got it to start
> upon releasing the key. I drove it to the lower part of the farm to
> load some lumber that I needed to move. left the engine running, but
> when I stepped on the gas, the tires slipped on wet grass so I got out
> and turned the wheels to 4WD. When I got back in, I gunned it, and
> the engine died. It took me 15 minutes to get it to start again. I
> took the lumber to the shed and left the engine running while I
> unloaded the wood. It idled fine for 10 minutes, then suddenly just
> quit running for no reason. Now I can not get it to start at all, but
> still get a pop when I release the key. Maybe when it gets totally
> cold, it will start again, but the problem seems to be getting worse.
>
> Any idea what is causing this?
> Are there any tests I can do using a 12V test light?
>
> This really is driving me nuts.
>
> PS, I did take the coil plug off and cleaned the contacts (low voltage
> plug).
>
> Mark


Put a volt meter across the battery, if the voltage during
cranking drops below 10.5 volts, the ignition module (Duraspark)
will shut off.
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Old 10-23-2005, 09:01   #6 (permalink)
Mike Romain
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

The first thing that comes to my mind is a dirty or loose plug on the
side of the starter relay/solenoid. I have had to replace more than one
of those plugs when they got stretched or corroded. The one on my Jeep
is currently soldered to the wire from the key that triggers the
solenoid. Sometimes they can be cleaned and carefully squeezed to
tighten them. This connection powers the coil and ignition module when
the key is in start.

One test is to take a jumper wire from the battery plus to the coil plus
and see if it starts consistently that way. Note: It will not shut
down until you remove the jumper.

If it still hic ups, then I suspect the connection on the ignition
module or the module itself as being bad. 'Usually' when the module
dies, it dies, but not always.

Mike
86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG Muds, 'glass nose to tail in '00
88 Cherokee 235 BFG AT's

maradcliff@UNLISTED.com wrote:
>
> I have a 1979 F150 pickup with 400 engine. It used to start just
> fine. A few weeks ago, it did not want to start at times and other
> times started right up. Lately it has gotten worse. Most of the time
> it starts when it's cold, but once it's warm, it's a gamble whether it
> will start again. Eve nshutting it off for a few seconds and it may
> not restart. The starter spins and is engaging the flywheel, but it
> just cranks and cranks and will not start. However, here's the odd
> part. It pops when I release the key from the START position. In
> other words, it appears it is not getting ignition voltage during
> cranking, but as soon as put the key to the RUN position, it pops. If
> I am real lucky, it will start within that moment, but 99% of the time
> it will not start. So, I have to just keep flipping the key and
> hoping I can catch a spark as the key is withdrawn.
>
> I replaced the solenoid, thinking there was a fault in it. However,
> that did not solve the problem.
>
> This is driving me nuts. WTF is causing this?
>
> I should note, it IS getting gas. I can see it squirt into the carb,
> and have flooded it a few times while trying to start it. The timing
> chain was replaced one year ago, so that is ok. The carb was rebuilt
> not too long ago either, and the plugs and wires and cap replaced last
> spring. I am 99.9% sure it is just not getting a spark. This makes
> me think of the coil, electronic ignition module, or distributor
> problem. However, the problem is intermittent, and once started, it
> runs just fine and has lots of power.
>
> Here's an example. Yesterday I started it 4 times on my driveway, It
> started fine, so I drove it about 20 miles, stopped for gas, stopped
> at 3 stores, visited a friend, loaded some hay, and came home. By
> this time I had started it, and shut it off at least 15 times without
> any problem. I unloaded the hay, and moved the truck up to my gate.
> The gate was loose so I had to shut off the truck to get my toolbox
> key. 5 minutes later, I tried to start the truck and it would not
> start. After cranking it about 30 times, I finally got it to start
> upon releasing the key. I drove it to the lower part of the farm to
> load some lumber that I needed to move. left the engine running, but
> when I stepped on the gas, the tires slipped on wet grass so I got out
> and turned the wheels to 4WD. When I got back in, I gunned it, and
> the engine died. It took me 15 minutes to get it to start again. I
> took the lumber to the shed and left the engine running while I
> unloaded the wood. It idled fine for 10 minutes, then suddenly just
> quit running for no reason. Now I can not get it to start at all, but
> still get a pop when I release the key. Maybe when it gets totally
> cold, it will start again, but the problem seems to be getting worse.
>
> Any idea what is causing this?
> Are there any tests I can do using a 12V test light?
>
> This really is driving me nuts.
>
> PS, I did take the coil plug off and cleaned the contacts (low voltage
> plug).
>
> Mark

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Old 10-23-2005, 14:03   #7 (permalink)
maradcliff@UNLISTED.com
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

On Sun, 23 Oct 2005 11:28:43 -0400, NickySantoro
<NickySantoro@optonline.net> wrote:

>On Sun, 23 Oct 2005 00:34:13 -0500, maradcliff@UNLISTED.com wrote:
>
>>This really is driving me nuts.
>>
>>Mark

>
>First guess would be the ignition module as a previous poster noted.
>www.autozone.com has some test procedures on the site that might take
>you deeper into the mystery. That being said, my old '86 Econoline
>E-150 I-6 did just about what your truck is doing and it was the
>module. The hot start problem is one of the classic symptoms. Some
>parts stores can test the part if you bring it in.
>FWIW
>YMMV
>DFB


It looks like almost everyone pointed to the module. I am going to go
check the battery voltage and connections first. However, if the
module is bad, do I specifically need one for this year and the 400
engine, or can I use one from another Ford year and/or engine?
I know a guy with about 20 junked Fords in his back 40. There's a
good chance he has something that may work, but just how many
varieties are them?

Thanks
Mark
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Old 10-23-2005, 14:05   #8 (permalink)
Puzzled Ed
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Posts: n/a
Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

Worn brushes in a starter can have those same exact symptoms. You can
change the brushes, without changing the starter. Polishing the comm
while it's apart will give you added starting power. With a polished
comm, that sucker will crank faster than you have ever heard it crank.
(been there, done that).

You can confirm by tapping on the starter with a wrench or small hammer
while someone is twisting the key.

Hopefully you had already checked for loose connections.

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Old 10-23-2005, 15:01   #9 (permalink)
Tom Adkins
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Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

Mike Romain wrote:
> The first thing that comes to my mind is a dirty or loose plug on the
> side of the starter relay/solenoid.


Mike, the engine will crank but not start when hot. It's in about the middle of the OP.
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Old 10-23-2005, 15:01   #10 (permalink)
Tom Adkins
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Ford - This is driving me nuts

maradcliff@UNLISTED.com wrote:

>
>
> It looks like almost everyone pointed to the module. I am going to go
> check the battery voltage and connections first. However, if the
> module is bad, do I specifically need one for this year and the 400
> engine, or can I use one from another Ford year and/or engine?
> I know a guy with about 20 junked Fords in his back 40. There's a
> good chance he has something that may work, but just how many
> varieties are them?
>
> Thanks
> Mark


There are a few flavors of Dura Spark modules, 4 if I remember correctly, it's been
a long time. They were usually identified by the color of the grommet where the wires
enter the box. Match up the connectors and the grommet color and you are good to go.
Failures were common on these modules so used modules are a real coin toss, especially
on parts this old. I remember seeing guys with 3 bad ones screwed to the inner fender,
they would switch the connectors around as they quit working. A quick search of
Autozone shows a Wells brand (yeech) for $19.99. A quality module can likely be had
for ~$30.
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