North American Turbocoupe Organization



Engine starts then dies
TCLover82 Offline
Member
#1
Having an ongoing problem I'm hoping you guys can help me diagnose, as I don't have alot of patience for these things when it comes to EFI and all it's over complication, and don't want to end up junking the car over an easy to fix problem. I fully expect and am prepped for this to be a long repair saga this time, but hope it's not gonna be.

My '88 TC will not Start or Idle now. This happened randomly after the car sat idle for a few days. I push the key forward to crank the engine, and it starts to fire up like always, then as soon as I release the key, it dies again. If I push the gas pedal down at just the right time while cranking, and then let off the key it fires right up, and will run like normal as long as I keep the gas pedal pressed down, and the rpms above 1K, let to go any lower and it sputters and dies.


Since this problem began I have replaced:

TFI Module
Fuel Filter
Bypassed Inertia Switch


Still does the same thing. Just bought an Ignition switch today, and am gonna try that next, after I find the elusive T-27 S-Torx bit to remove the old one. Was also thinking that it may also be that the Distributor Pickup **** the bed, the FP Regulator bit the big one, or possibly the Fuel Pump Screen might be clogged with gunk. Any suggestions as what to check or replace next, so that I'm not just fumbling in the dark here. Thanks guys, love the site.
'88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe - 120K miles, 99% Rust-Free, 351W/AODE Swap coming soon!
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Pete D Offline
Administrator
#2
Have you pulled the codes? See related article in the Tech Articles.

Fuel System Diagnostics will identify a fuel system problem. Related article in the Technical Articles

You can use a Dremel and cutoff wheel to slot the Torx heads and use a flat blade screwdriver to get them on/off.

I'd check the VAM and the IC hoses to 1. make sure they are crack and hold free, 2. properly seated and properly clamped. Take them off and look them over thoroughly. Also look for vacuum leaks, as in rotted or broken hoses.
Pete Dunham


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4cammer72 Offline
Posting Freak
#3
how old is the ignition switch?....
88tc (sold) but keeping an eye out.
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#4
Check fuel pressure both at idle and when boosting. Disconnect VAM electrical connector and see how/if it runs. Dont boost it with VAM disconnected. If the PIP is bad, you MIGHT get a CM code 14, but not always. Do you have a known good distributor you can try? Any chance plug wires are damaged, melted, etc?
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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TCLover82 Offline
Member
#5
Swapped in a new Ignition switch tonight, and now it will fire up every time after 2-3secs of cranking. Only it still runs rough below 1K rpm. Push the gas down or set the idle screw to get it above 1K rpm and it runs normal again. Although I can smell gas likes it's running pig rich, and the stock Tach no longer works.

All the basics and simple stuff have been covered by me already, and I don't have another dizzy to try unfortunately. I do have another Pip Sensor I could swap in if needed, but I'd rather not do all that work if it isn't necessary. I also have no way to check fuel pressure.

I now suspect the TPS has went wonky, so tonight on the way home from work I picked up a Digital Multimeter, to test the TPS as per the instructions in the tech pages, but I ran out of daylight. I should have the time to test it tomorrow night. I also ordered a Equus 3145 OBD I Code Scanner from amazon which should be here on thursday. I will Test the TPS and scan for codes before I do anymore unneeded work, or waste more money throwing parts at this thing. I really want to figure this out soon, as I'm being forced to DD an N/A car now, and **** I miss my T-Bird Sad She's getting hard to keep on the road anymore though.
'88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe - 120K miles, 99% Rust-Free, 351W/AODE Swap coming soon!
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TCLover82 Offline
Member
#6
Well, I guess I lucked out this time, because it ended up being an easy fix. The codes where no help this time, but after messing with everything I could think of for around 5 hours, it turned out to be a combination of my TPS having several dead spots in it, and my Cam Timing being off by one tooth because I went by the stock timing marks, which where obviously off.

Replaced the TPS with a cheap parts store piece for now until I can get my new Motorcraft TPS, set the TPS to 0.95V, and re-timed the cam using the String Method, I got everything dead on this time. All is well now, and she runs like a champ once again. Thank god, because I really missed DD'ing this car, after having to drive my truck for 2 weeks. Feels good to be Back in the Saddle Again.
'88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe - 120K miles, 99% Rust-Free, 351W/AODE Swap coming soon!
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4cammer72 Offline
Posting Freak
#7
cool beans.....you should come to one of our meets we occasionally have... theres a few guys in your area and a few in mine and we sometimes get together to bs and pic on the ricers...aka club baby seals...haha
88tc (sold) but keeping an eye out.
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TCLover82 Offline
Member
#8
That would be cool. Let me know when/where it will be going on, or we can plan something on this board, and I'll see if I can make it out sometime.

Lots of Go-Fast mods are coming for this car in the near future, so that I can put some of the faster ricers around here in their place. Hoping to be around 400 horse, and still with the stock bottom end, by the time I am done.
'88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe - 120K miles, 99% Rust-Free, 351W/AODE Swap coming soon!
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TCLover82 Offline
Member
#9
UGH! Just about ready to push this thing into the rock quarry. Now I'm having a random intermittent Bucking/Stalling problem.

The car will run fine for awhile, and then start randomly bucking/missing, then stall out. When it does this the tach jumps back and forth violently between 0-2K rpms. When it starts doing this, if I keep the pedal down to keep the rpms above 2K, it then smooths back out. When it does stall out, it starts right back up again afterward, and then drives fine for awhile longer.

Being how it happens randomly, I believe now it to be either the Pip Sensor, or the TFI Harness Plug has a short in it somehow. Would just buy a new cardone distributor, but if it didn't come with a Motorcraft Pip installed it would be a waste of money, and I would be better off just buying the MC Pip and installing it into mine.

Anyone know if teh reman Cardone dizzy comes with a Motorcraft Pip Sensor installed or not? I have a Wells Pip Sensor now I could install, but am afraid to install it as I have heard they fail frequently. Also open to any advice you guys might have as I'm not getting any Pip Failure related codes when do the KOER test.
'88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe - 120K miles, 99% Rust-Free, 351W/AODE Swap coming soon!
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#10
I dont think any reman comes with a Motorcraft PIP, except possible a Motorcraft reman (if they are even still available). It isnt that bad of a job to install a PIP by disassembling the dist. Using your old dist also keeps the old dist gear which is worn in to match the aux shaft gear, limiting the chances of a stripped gear in the future.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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