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1994-1995 5.0 Mustang SN95 Tech Forum

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Unread 09-17-2012   #1 (permalink)
guitar_stitch is offline Made Member

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Default 95 Intermittent no-start without apparent rhyme or reason

Finally, this thing has given me an interesting challenge.

Since I got this car in December, it has had intermittent hard start issues. Most of the time, it fires right up after a second or two on the key. Other times, I can crank for 15 seconds and get nothing out of it, release the key and try again, and it fires right up. Once the car is running, there are very few to no run problems (slightly rich while cold, occasional misfire while coasting at low speed).

While irritating, I figured that whatever is causing that will eventually fail. It's getting close now. Monday, I tried to start the car to get to work and tried cranking for 10 minutes with no effect. (Well, I did uncover a slightly loose ground terminal which was corrected). Temperature was about 68 outside and the humidity was high. When I got home from work, I jumped right to diagnosing the car. I got my tools out and... the darned thing fired right up. Repeat the same for the next day. Wednesday and Thursday, the car ran great. :-/

I thought it might be humidity related...until Sunday. I drove the car before the NFL game to grab a pizza, and everything was great. Came home and it sat for about 5 hours, then refused to start. Temperature outside was about 91 and my mechanical gauge showed a cold engine. Came home several hours later, and the F-ing thing started up again.

So, I'm now at a loss. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is ignition related, as I can always smell raw fuel after enough attempts at starting. Unfortunately, every time I have a chance to diagnose, the damn thing starts and runs great. I would suspect PIP or TFI, but all the posts I've read on the subject seem to indicated that the no-start is when hot, leading to a consistent no-start condition. They also all seem to indicate rough running.

There is one other odd thing I noticed... When I am cranking (and the car is not starting), the check engine light blinks about once per second. With each blink, the tachometer jumps slightly. :?::?: I cannot find much information on whether that's normal behavior. Would be nice if someone could check (pull a spark wire and crank your car while observing the CEL to see if it does the same thing...)

In Summary:
Car Desc: Stock 95 5.0 with aftermarket H pipe, T5 manual. All emissions in place. No security. Base model with manual windows and locks.

Symptoms: Intermittent no start both hot and cold. (No attempts to fire) Will resume normal operation without any outside influence. Can smell raw fuel when it doesn't start, indicating that fuel is flowing. Once car does start, no drivability problems noticed. Fuel pump primes at Key On. CEL flashes once per second while cranking.

Suspected System: Ignition (PIP or TFI)

Parts replaced and known good:
-Air Filter
-Fuel Filter
-Spark Plugs
-Spark Wires
-Cap
-Rotor Button
-All grounds cleaned up and tested under load
-12.2v Engine Off, 14.2 Engine running with Subs, Headlights, Wipers, and Blower running at Max.
-Cleaned MAF

Engine Codes KOEO: 111 (system good)
Engine Codes KOER: 111 (system good)

Tried rapping against the TFI module sharply while engine running, no change.
Tried dousing everything under the hood with water while running, no change.
Tried light water mist to check for leaking spark plug wires (corona), no change.

Sorry this is so long. I'm just trying to get all the relevant information out there to save ya'll from having to ask the same volley of questions over and over.
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Unread 09-18-2012   #2 (permalink)
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Considering all you've done and the rich condition my guess would be a leaking fuel injector flooding the engine on occasion. I had a very similar problem with an S10 but that had CFI which was the culprit. O2's are another possibility but that should throw a code.
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Unread 09-18-2012   #3 (permalink)
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If it was mine ,with all the time you have involved.I'd change the pip(or distributor) and the tfi module.Also verify that all your ground connections are clean at all ground points.
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Unread 09-18-2012   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with Hockeyman. If they're not already bad they will be soon (assuming they weren't recently changed). Unfortunately as the PIP/TFI fail they don't throw codes, you just get weird stalling, rough running, other failures until they just die altogether. It definitely might not be, but this is a common failure, and most other failures will either throw a code or be observable (fuel pressure or faulty plugs for example).
 
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Unread 09-18-2012   #5 (permalink)
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So, I took a chance and replaced the Distributor with a brand new unit (no reman).

After setting the firing order in reverse and being left to scratch my head for a minute (set it clockwise), I got it started, pulled the SPOUT, hooked up the timing light, set to 10 degrees BDC, secured the Dizzy and went for a test drive.

The motor definitely seemed to run smoother... up to about 4 grand, where suddenly, it gave up the ghost and let out a backfire that would have rivaled that of a canon shot.

Retracing my steps, I realized that I was romping on it with 10 degrees total timing.... I forgot to plug in the $&^# SPOUT again. After searching for 15 minutes under the hood for it, I got everything back in and took it for a second (much more pleasing) test drive.

I'm not sure if the PIP was bad or not, but the distributor was definitely wearing. The shaft had a lot more resistance than the new one. The engine is running smoother, but it did exhibit some "breathing" at idle (750 RPM - 900 RPM and back) after the test run.

I'll try to drive her to work tomorrow and see what happens. I'll post back!

Thanks to all who took the time to read and/or respond to this thread.
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'95 Mustang GT, 5 speed, O/R H-Pipe
Current Needs to Polish this Turd:
-AC Compressor
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Unread 09-19-2012   #6 (permalink)
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Something's still off. :-(

Drove the car to work this morning, and was giddy at how responsive and smooth it was running. It truly was like a completely different car.

About 20 minutes into my trip, I was cruising at ~40 MPH, when the car started bucking. When this happened, the tach was jumping significantly, more than I would think possible for a manual transmission car at a steady speed. I pushed the clutch and revved it, which stopped the bucking for the short term, but it returned.

Did I get a bad distributor? I bought the brand new Richporter model from O'Reilly's Auto Parts just to avoid any problems with the distributor from a previous installation. :-/ While not particularly difficult to change, it is somewhat time consuming, time being a resource that I am limited on.

Could it be the TFI going out as well?
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"Oh Good, my Dog found the Chainsaw"

'95 Mustang GT, 5 speed, O/R H-Pipe
Current Needs to Polish this Turd:
-AC Compressor
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Unread 09-19-2012   #7 (permalink)
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It could be the TFI or the distributor. I wish I had a trick to diagnose those things, I just replace it and keep my fingers crossed myself.
 
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Unread 09-20-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Unfortunately, I will not be working on this thing for a while.

Driving home yesterday, the Throw Out bearing finally let go enough to make the car difficult to drive. :<

I'm going to go ahead and replace the TFI when I get back around to working on the car ($$$), since it's probably the factory original from 1995. If that doesn't solve the sudden bucking, then I'll do some other tests (possible TPS failing, as well), but will probably return that distributor and get another one.
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"Oh Good, my Dog found the Chainsaw"

'95 Mustang GT, 5 speed, O/R H-Pipe
Current Needs to Polish this Turd:
-AC Compressor
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