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Classic Mustangs Tech Forum

Technical discussions specific to 1964-1967, 1968-1970, and 1971-1973 Classic Mustang. Discuss all tech related to in-line six cylinder and V8 powered Vintage Mustangs here.

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Unread 08-19-2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default 68 Mustang starting problem

I need advice. I have a 68 Mustang Coupe 200 Sprint. It started just fine not too long ago but I can't get it to start. I've been throwing parts at it but it's not doing the trick. I replaced the Ignition coil, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, battery, starter, fender mounted starter solenoid, rebuilt the carb and replaced the fuel filters and v belts. It get's power to the gauges and primes the fuel pump. Fuel get's to the carb. I took the coil wire out and stuck a screwdriver in there while trying to start it and it looks like it may not be getting spark past that point because nothing happened. What should I look at next? Thank you.
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Unread 08-19-2013   #2 (permalink)
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3 things run a motor. spark, fuel, compression.

if your leaning more towards the spark, which I think you are correct to do, you can test this by pulling a plug and holding it to the block or head or really anything metal with the plug wire still on and have a buddy turning the motor with the starter. if you see spark through the plug, the your ignition system should be working atleast well enough to fire the motor. if you don't see any spark to the plug while doing this procedure then the ignition system is your culprit. if you do see spark, chances are your issue lies elsewhere.

check this first then check back in here with your findings so we can further narrow your search.
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Unread 08-19-2013   #3 (permalink)
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Yikes! You sure have tried a lot of stuff. Instead of throwing parts ($$$) at it, step back and do a little diagnosis. First, try to divide the issue into fuel or spark. It might also be timing(valve or spark) but let's leave that for later. If it cranks over ok (robustly) then spray a little starter fluid down the carb throat and give it a crank. If it comes to life for a brief moment then you have a fuel delivery issue, else it is probably spark. You do not mention points/condenser in your original post. Those can get shorted (or open/corroded) and not work properly. I take a spare spark plug and unplug one of the existing plug wires and plug into the spare. Prop the spare plug against an engine ground and give the engine a crank. A healthy(bluish) spark should jump the gap. If not, you have to track it down. It is pretty simple to fix ignition problems but first, try a "divide and conquer" approach.

I am at a loss as to why you would replace the starter, battery and starter solenoid. Is it also not cranking or very slowly?
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Unread 08-19-2013   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randal View Post
Yikes! You sure have tried a lot of stuff. Instead of throwing parts ($$$) at it, step back and do a little diagnosis. First, try to divide the issue into fuel or spark. It might also be timing(valve or spark) but let's leave that for later. If it cranks over ok (robustly) then spray a little starter fluid down the carb throat and give it a crank. If it comes to life for a brief moment then you have a fuel delivery issue, else it is probably spark. You do not mention points in your original post. Those can get shorted (or open/corroded) and not work properly. I take a spare spark plug and unplug one of the existing plug wires and plug into the spare. Prop the spare plug against an engine ground and give the engine a crank. A healthy spark should jump the gap. If not, you have to track it down. It is pretty simple to fix ignition problems but first, try a "divide and conquer" approach.

great minds think alike no?
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Unread 08-19-2013   #5 (permalink)
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Default Ok this is what I've tried

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearheadhick429 View Post
3 things run a motor. spark, fuel, compression.

if your leaning more towards the spark, which I think you are correct to do, you can test this by pulling a plug and holding it to the block or head or really anything metal with the plug wire still on and have a buddy turning the motor with the starter. if you see spark through the plug, the your ignition system should be working atleast well enough to fire the motor. if you don't see any spark to the plug while doing this procedure then the ignition system is your culprit. if you do see spark, chances are your issue lies elsewhere.

check this first then check back in here with your findings so we can further narrow your search.
Ok. I've tried unscrewing a plug, leaving it connected to the wire and placing it on the valve cover while trying to turn it over. I saw no spark. I've replaced the ignition coil so does that lead me to the wiring that leads to the lock cylinder?
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Unread 08-19-2013   #6 (permalink)
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Default It seemed to need them

Quote:
Originally Posted by randal View Post
Yikes! You sure have tried a lot of stuff. Instead of throwing parts ($$$) at it, step back and do a little diagnosis. First, try to divide the issue into fuel or spark. It might also be timing(valve or spark) but let's leave that for later. If it cranks over ok (robustly) then spray a little starter fluid down the carb throat and give it a crank. If it comes to life for a brief moment then you have a fuel delivery issue, else it is probably spark. You do not mention points/condenser in your original post. Those can get shorted (or open/corroded) and not work properly. I take a spare spark plug and unplug one of the existing plug wires and plug into the spare. Prop the spare plug against an engine ground and give the engine a crank. A healthy(bluish) spark should jump the gap. If not, you have to track it down. It is pretty simple to fix ignition problems but first, try a "divide and conquer" approach.

I am at a loss as to why you would replace the starter, battery and starter solenoid. Is it also not cranking or very slowly?
Yes. I replaced the battery, starter and solenoid because it was trying to turn over very slowly and sounded horribly unhealthy with some cloud clicking and cranking noises. The good news is, It sounds a ton better now, it just won't completely turn over.
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Unread 08-19-2013   #7 (permalink)
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well, now id get yourself a test light and go back through the system. turn your ignition on and test the leads on your coil. if you are getting no power through them, the next place I would check is the ignition switch.

just work backwards and take your time. its really all you can do.
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Unread 08-19-2013   #8 (permalink)
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The valve cover is not the block. If your valve cover is painted, no ground. You need a bare metal place on the block because it is a bit of a jolt of electricity.

Your statement: "it just won't completely turn over" is confusing. Is the engine spinning freely and just won't start? Or is it locking up?

Do you have an electric fuel pump? What do you mean "primes the fuel pump"?

Do you have a timing light? If so hook it up and does it flash, at all. We are not interested in the timing, just the spark in the wire.

I would not change anything that can be adjusted; timing, valves, carb, linkage, etc. There is something mechanical or electrical that you need to track down, not adjust.

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Unread 08-20-2013   #9 (permalink)
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Default 68 Mustang starting problem

Hello BLAK IICE

FIRST - - STOP And regroup yourself. It seems as though you going all over the place on this and I understand your frustration and desire to get things running right.
what you DON'T want to do is throw more money at the problem. You need to diagnose and figure out what is going on. A LOT of good helpful things have already been mentioned but if i MAY I would like to try to organize your thoughts on this
I will get to that on the THIRD part of this reply. I am just trying to HELP
and get you organized

SECOND - -when you are talking about starting or NOT starting - -there are several terms that MAy be confusing.
1. - Motor will NOT crank - -means the motor does not spin with the key
2. - CRANKS - -means the motor will "spin or turn" BUT May not start.
Just so you know - -the clicking noise your heard MAY have been the SOLENOID
because of a possible low battery.

As others mentioned - these motors are KINDA simple once you understand the basics.
I am NOT trying to downplay your ability and I of course do NOT want to discourage you. We ALL learned and we have ll made mistakes.

So we know the basics of the motor is you neeed
FUEL and air in the cylinder - -COMPRESSION - -and a properly timed spark

That is why - -when you have a NOT start issue - -often time people will say try a little starting fluid - - -The starting fluid will ignite easily - -so if you use the starter fluid and the motor does NOT have some sign of starting - -you normally can eliminate FUEL as the culprit.

The guys have recommended checking for spark by grounding a plug - GREAT idea but as pointed out - -the plug must be grounded

What I suggest - -go to HARBOR FREIGHT if one is near - -they have a spark tester that is REAL EASY to use. The way you use it - is to remove the spark plug wire from one of the spark plugs - -This TESTER attaches to the end of the spark plug and then into the wire - - so it is just a 'jumper" if you will - -BUT it has a clear area to see the spark. The part is about $4.00
The next TOOL I suggest is a simple TEST light. Also available at Harbor - and costs about $4.00 as well. It looks like a screw driver BUT has a wire on the top of the handle and handle is clear and has a light in it. The wire is grounded to a good clean ground - - - then when you touch the TIP of the screw driver - -the light will light up to show there is current.

THIRD - -SOmeone mentioned - -POINTS anD CONDENSOR - -This is for sure my GUESS at what your issue is. DO NOT start replacing the ignition switch or anything like that.

If possible - -get the 2 tools I suggest - -then try finding out where you have "juice electricity" and where it stops.
To do this - - - I suggest - - take the test light - - -
Turn the key on - -then see if you have "JUICE" on the little post of the coil. When you look at the coil - -there will be 2 small posts one leads to the distributor and the other is POWER in. This is important.
CHECK to see if you have power going into the coil. If you do - -GREAT - - -
The next step is another test = - - -PUll the coil wire out of the distributor cap and place it about 1/4 inch from a ground. Crank the motor and you should see a spark.

PLEASE - -DO NOT swap any more parts or touch timing or anything like that.'My strong guess is that your POINTS are stuck - -or the CONDENSOR in the distributor is BAD.

Let us know if you can do these tests. This SHOULD be an easy fix once you diagnose the issue fully

DO NOT get DISCOURAGED

Print Dad
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Unread 08-20-2013   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gearheadhick429 View Post
well, now id get yourself a test light and go back through the system. turn your ignition on and test the leads on your coil. if you are getting no power through them, the next place I would check is the ignition switch.

just work backwards and take your time. its really all you can do.
Thanks. I'll give it a try.
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Unread 08-20-2013   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driveway View Post
The valve cover is not the block. If your valve cover is painted, no ground. You need a bare metal place on the block because it is a bit of a jolt of electricity.

Your statement: "it just won't completely turn over" is confusing. Is the engine spinning freely and just won't start? Or is it locking up?

Do you have an electric fuel pump? What do you mean "primes the fuel pump"?

Do you have a timing light? If so hook it up and does it flash, at all. We are not interested in the timing, just the spark in the wire.

I would not change anything that can be adjusted; timing, valves, carb, linkage, etc. There is something mechanical or electrical that you need to track down, not adjust.

Valid point about the painted metal. I obviously didn't think of that. I'll try against the block as suggested before. I'm sorry about my loose or incorrect terminology. I miss spoke. The engine spins but nothing more. It's a mechanical pump. What I failed at stating is the pump seems to work because when I try to start it and pump the gas a bit, the clear fuel filter filled with gas and I'm getting some in the carb as well.
I do not have a timing light and will invest in one as soon as I can. Thanks for your help.

Last edited by BLAK IICE; 08-20-2013 at 02:38 AM. Reason: type-o
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Unread 08-20-2013   #12 (permalink)
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Default Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Print Dad View Post
Hello BLAK IICE

FIRST - - STOP And regroup yourself. It seems as though you going all over the place on this and I understand your frustration and desire to get things running right.
what you DON'T want to do is throw more money at the problem. You need to diagnose and figure out what is going on. A LOT of good helpful things have already been mentioned but if i MAY I would like to try to organize your thoughts on this
I will get to that on the THIRD part of this reply. I am just trying to HELP
and get you organized

SECOND - -when you are talking about starting or NOT starting - -there are several terms that MAy be confusing.
1. - Motor will NOT crank - -means the motor does not spin with the key
2. - CRANKS - -means the motor will "spin or turn" BUT May not start.
Just so you know - -the clicking noise your heard MAY have been the SOLENOID
because of a possible low battery.

As others mentioned - these motors are KINDA simple once you understand the basics.
I am NOT trying to downplay your ability and I of course do NOT want to discourage you. We ALL learned and we have ll made mistakes.

So we know the basics of the motor is you neeed
FUEL and air in the cylinder - -COMPRESSION - -and a properly timed spark

That is why - -when you have a NOT start issue - -often time people will say try a little starting fluid - - -The starting fluid will ignite easily - -so if you use the starter fluid and the motor does NOT have some sign of starting - -you normally can eliminate FUEL as the culprit.

The guys have recommended checking for spark by grounding a plug - GREAT idea but as pointed out - -the plug must be grounded

What I suggest - -go to HARBOR FREIGHT if one is near - -they have a spark tester that is REAL EASY to use. The way you use it - is to remove the spark plug wire from one of the spark plugs - -This TESTER attaches to the end of the spark plug and then into the wire - - so it is just a 'jumper" if you will - -BUT it has a clear area to see the spark. The part is about $4.00
The next TOOL I suggest is a simple TEST light. Also available at Harbor - and costs about $4.00 as well. It looks like a screw driver BUT has a wire on the top of the handle and handle is clear and has a light in it. The wire is grounded to a good clean ground - - - then when you touch the TIP of the screw driver - -the light will light up to show there is current.

THIRD - -SOmeone mentioned - -POINTS anD CONDENSOR - -This is for sure my GUESS at what your issue is. DO NOT start replacing the ignition switch or anything like that.

If possible - -get the 2 tools I suggest - -then try finding out where you have "juice electricity" and where it stops.
To do this - - - I suggest - - take the test light - - -
Turn the key on - -then see if you have "JUICE" on the little post of the coil. When you look at the coil - -there will be 2 small posts one leads to the distributor and the other is POWER in. This is important.
CHECK to see if you have power going into the coil. If you do - -GREAT - - -
The next step is another test = - - -PUll the coil wire out of the distributor cap and place it about 1/4 inch from a ground. Crank the motor and you should see a spark.

PLEASE - -DO NOT swap any more parts or touch timing or anything like that.'My strong guess is that your POINTS are stuck - -or the CONDENSOR in the distributor is BAD.

Let us know if you can do these tests. This SHOULD be an easy fix once you diagnose the issue fully

DO NOT get DISCOURAGED

Print Dad
Thanks for the advice. This is my first Inline 6 and the pathetic thing is that it should be 10 times easier that everything else I've worked on. I'm just not as good at the wiring part. I'm familiar with spark plug testers and test lights. Thanks for the assistance and where to find them cheap. I will acquire them asap and conduct the fore mentioned tests. Thanks again.
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Unread 08-20-2013   #13 (permalink)
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agree with print dad, think its your points and condersor. check the gap on point should around .019, run a piece of fine sandpaper just a few times to get them clean. have someone spin engine over to see if you are getting spark there. if you are put cap back on and try again. if not replace points and condenser. try again, post results.
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