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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings fellow Mustang Enthusiasts! Here I am again, with another one of my famous "stupid questions". Actually, this is my first Fox Body, so I'm just learning about its bugs. One of the biggest problems besides figuring out how to adjust the headlights (which I still haven't figured out), is that pesky "cold start solenoid". At least that's what my best friend, who manages a wrecking yard AND ownes a 5.0 GT, calls the part. So did the wrecking yard I bought 2 of them from.

Well, when I got this car (with the 2.3L) a few months ago, it would NOT start cold unless I sprayed starting fluid into the PCV tube! It just refused to start cold! So my buddy said it was that Cold-Start Solenoid. I went to a local wrecking yard and got 2 of them for only $5 each. Unfortuneately, these things seem to not last long. When I first replaced it (with used), it would start cold every time! Coolness! But after a few weeks or so, it took 2 cranks of the starter. It would never start on the first try, no matter how long I held the key, but if I let off the key and tried again, it would always start on the second try. Then it got to where I had to try it 3 times before it would start cold. It's even getting worse. Now it's getting cold around here, so it often has this problem even in the middle of the day if I let it sit for an hour or so.

Is this stupid part famous for failure? Is there some sort of "rebuild kit" for it, sorta like rebuilding a carb? I was hoping there is just a cheap replacement diaphram I can change and fix the problem. Or, does anyone know how much a new one is, and are they available as an aftermarket part or dealer only? Can someone tell me a company that sells these solenoids? I'm serious here, ANY help or advice or guidance would be very much appreciated. I'm sick of trying my key 3 or 4 times before it fires up! This is the only thing I or my Ford friends can figure the problem is.

Thanks for your help, Friends!:eyepoppin

Shawn
 
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I've never heard of a cold start solenoid, and judging by the lack of response I don't think anyone else has either. Can you describe the part you're talking about, where it goes, what it looks like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's on the back side of the FI unit...

For those of you who have never heard of the "cold start solenoid", it's on the back side of the fuel injection unit, at the end of the black are intake tube, closest to the firewall. I asked serveral friends about this part, and they as well as every wrecking yard I talked to called this part a "COLD START SOLENOID". It meters how much mixture the intake gets when the car is cold. I can't describe it any other way.

Hope someone understands what I'm talking about.
 

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Never heard of such a thing so a picture would help because cold start is controlled by the computer increasing the pulse. Maybe your problem is that your replacing a part that has no function to what your problem is.
 
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speedytang said:
Never heard of such a thing so a picture would help because cold start is controlled by the computer increasing the pulse. Maybe your problem is that your replacing a part that has no function to what your problem is.
This is what I'm thinking too. The only thing that I know of that serves the function of this mythical solenoid is
the coolant temp sensor which reports to the EEC which then adjusts the fuel ratio as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wish I could find SOMEWHERE online where I can look at exploded parts views!

I've searched and searched, even in Ford and Motorcraft homepages but can't locate an exploded parts view. Maybe I'll call my local Ford Dealer and have them fax me one like they did for my headlight. When I can find a picture, I'll post it, OR I'll just have my buddy take a pic with his digital camera. But trust me, I've been messing with cars for over 30 years (yup, I'm old) and was employed as a F/T auto mechanic at 3 shops over the years, so I'm not trippin' here. I'm just not super familiar with EFI or computerized systems. If I knew what it was called, I'd give it the proper name. I'm doing all I can to describe that part. Don't lose faith in me, I'll figure it out ASAP and list the name AND part number. Oops! Just knocked over my bong...:so
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just kidding about the bong...

:drink: Just trying to put a little humor into my frustrating topic.
 
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Shawn said:
Oops! Just knocked over my bong...:so
Nice. I'm not calling you crazy, I've just never heard of it. Those 2.3s are crazy though, the first time my friend
told me his 93 had eight spark plugs I just laughed at him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay, Now I Feel Like An Idiot Fer Sher!

I was determined to find out the TRUE name for this part, so I drove to the Ford Dealer this morning on the way to work. The parts guy printed out an exploded view, and I pointed out the part. He had an official name for it, which was way different from what my buddy calls it AND the wrecking yard called in on my receipt. So, I'll admit you all were right, especially "Speedytang" and "'95.0 stang" who were making me wish the hell I knew the real name for the part. Okay, here is what it is called: (don't laugh at me) "IAC" (Idle Air Control) motor/actuator/valve. Oh, and it's only a mere $94!!! I'm attaching the printout he gave me.


Okay, so, take my same original question and replace the words "Cold Start Solenoid" with the words "Idle Air Control", and please tell me why this baby fails so quickly. Or, does this part really affect the cold starting? It sure started first crank, every time, after I put in one from a wrecking yard! So I assumed this part affected the cold starting. But it started to get back to they way it was after a couple months.


Can anyone tell me if this part can affect the cold start mixture? Several people who own Mustangs, plus the dude at the wrecking yard, said it affected the cold starts. (Maybe that's why everyone assumes it's called a "cold start solenoid". This thing is pissing me off! I have to hit the key, crank, let off, crank again, let off, crank a third time, and it will finally start! NEVER on the first crank, no matter how long I hold the key! SOMETHING is not right. NOW can anyone help me since I have the right part name?


Thanks everyone!:worship


Shawn (the dude who can't give the correct name for a part!):eek:
 

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IAC allows a vacuum leak to raise the rpm during a cold start while the computer also changes the pulse rate of the injectors to make the car run rich. You can unplug the IAC and the car will run but you will need to hold the gas pedal or turn the idle screw to raise the rpm. You can clean the IAC with brale cleaner or sensor cleaner to free the carbon to allow the unit to operate correctly. If the IAC on a 2.3 goes bad you should get a Engine Code and your idle will hunt up and down usually. Your problem sounds like a TPS(Throotle Position Sensor) not adjusted correctly or your Temperature Sensor is not working causing the car to start under the warm cycle settings instead of a cold start cycle.
When the car has been started for about 5 minutes will it start normal if you try?
 
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I could be wrong, but I think you've been replacing a part that isn't causing your problem. The IAC does exactly that, controls air flow and regulates rpm when you're not touching the throttle. I would check your TPS voltage and maybe scan for codes, if this is truly related to cold starts then the most likely culprit is the coolant temperature sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks so much, guys!

Yes, it usually starts fine after it's been running for a few. It used to always start on the first try throughout the day, once I got done with that initial cold start. But lately it seems to take less and less time before it "thinks it's cold again", and gets back into that "2-or-3-crank mode". Ya know, I originally thought about the TPS, but my buddy who has a sweet 5.0 is the one that walked out, opened my hood, and pointed out the IAC.

I'm going to replace the TPS and that Temp Sensor. These MUST be the issue, now that you guys informed me that the IAC is most likely not the culprit.

Thanks again.:kooky:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh...ps...

I forgot to mention something. My car also has a tendency to die (or dang close to it!) when I let off the gas suddenly. Like if I'm cruising along at a few thousand rpm's and suddenly the light turns red, or I put in the clutch, especially if I have the lights and wipers and heater running at the same time (I guess because of the current draw on the system). It almost dies EVERY morning when I go down this one hill by my house, on my way to work, if I cruise down the hill in 3rd or 4th, then put in the clutch at the bottom to go through the roundabout. Dang near dies every time, and usually does. I've solved this problem by holding the clutch in and coasting down the hill. :shrug

But I AM going to replace those sensors you guys mentioned.:)

Thanks again. (Maybe I should have kept the Granada I had for 8 years that NEVER gave me any problems!):sosad:
 
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Now that does sound like the IAC, because they're supposed to stay open when you're on the gas incase the throttle snaps shut. Try cleaning the IAC, don't go buy another one, and definitely check the TPS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Friend told me a few helpful hints about the IAC

A friend of mine who owns a yard full of (running, driving) Fox Bodies and has been around Mustangs for 30 years gave me some advice. Let me share it.

First, he said to check the IAC, just start the car and let it idle. Then, unplug the IAC. The car should die, or at least come dang close to it. If it stays running with very little noticeable change in RPM, the IAC is bad. Hey, it even makes sense to me. Does this make sense to the rest of you?

Another thing he said, like you said also, '95.0, is that it could be dirty inside because they gum up sorta like carbs to. He told me to spray carb cleaner into it and shake the hell out of it, then blow it out with air if I have air. He said to also clean the ports that go into where it mounts. Makes sense again.

One issue I haven't posted a question about, I asked my friend (I met him on craigslist, is about my timing. The dude I got the car from said it was idling way too high to go have it emission tested, so he just turned the distributor to slow down the idle rather than mess with the idle screws. Well, it doesn't act like the timing is off, but I keep wanting to check it and reset it. I've been told by a few people that the computer will compensate for the timing if its off, but my craigslist friend told me this is hogwash! He said it may compensate a small amount, but due to the nature of EFI, I need to use a timing light and set it to factory specs! Does this sound right?

You guys (and gals, of course!) don't realize how much I appreciate all your input. I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to cars, but not when it comes to EFI and computer-controlled engines. So I come here where the experts are! I thank you all for taking the time to answer my idiotic postings! Your replies really do help.

Thanks again!

PS...my Craigslist friend, who changed both my headlights for free (labor) is looking for some Pony wheels for his '88. If you know of any for sale in the Western Washington area, please let me know so I can tell him. He said that when he finds some Pony wheels, he is going to GIVE me his "old" GT "phone dial" wheels with tires! So I'm helping him find his wheels.
 
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Your friend knows exactly what he's talking about. The EEC will advance/retard timing based on its lookup tables and engine conditions, but the base timing MUST be set at 10*. The EEC will NOT compensate for base timing being out of specs so get yourself a timing light and make sure it's right. Stock is 10* BTDC, but you can bump it up to around 14 if you're willing to shell out for higher octane gas.
 

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I've searched and searched, even in Ford and Motorcraft homepages but can't locate an exploded parts view. Maybe I'll call my local Ford Dealer and have them fax me one like they did for my headlight. When I can find a picture, I'll post it, OR I'll just have my buddy take a pic with his digital camera. But trust me, I've been messing with cars for over 30 years (yup, I'm old) and was employed as a F/T auto mechanic at 3 shops over the years, so I'm not trippin' here. I'm just not super familiar with EFI or computerized systems. If I knew what it was called, I'd give it the proper name. I'm doing all I can to describe that part. Don't lose faith in me, I'll figure it out ASAP and list the name AND part number. Oops! Just knocked over my bong...:so
Okay guy- u got me laughing!
I have the same issue with my 1989 LX. This thing wont start easy if it's cold, but once u get it started then u have no issues starting it all day. So yeah I think it has something to do with "the cold start" thing you're talking about! :worship
 

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OK their is such a thing called a cold start injector or some car companies used to call them FIFTH INJECTORS. But ford does not use THEM. The idea was to inject a metered amount of fuel during cold starts on old CIS injected cars. Mostly foreign cars. But with that said if you do not know what an IAC is you should not FIX CARS. Now please do not take this the wrong way but the IAC has to be balanced with the MIN idle screw and the TPS adjustment. So not knowing what an IAC is better off leaving it to the PROWS. Peacr TOM
 

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turn the idle screw to raise the rpm. :nono::nono::thumbdown:thumbdown:deadhorse:




THis statement is absolutely WRONG. Fuel injected cars do not have an IDLE SPEED SCREW. The idle is controlled by the IAC or idle bypass controll. Never set base idle with the throttle stop screw that is not what its FORE. Here is a quick way to set the base and iac controlled idle. Also Timing must be EXACTLY 10* BTDC before adjusting the idle

1 disconnect the iac on a wormed up engine and set the idle at between 750-800 RPM IAC disconnected

2 Check TPS for proper adjustment. .95-.98 Volts at closed throttle

3 make shure the RPM did not change after adjusting the TPS

4 reconnect the iac and drive the car to let the ecm relearn your new settings.

5 repeat if necessary to achieve the correct settings

6 NEVER just tighten the throttle stop screw to adjust the idle.

7 Timing must be 10* BTDC with spout removed

8 Reinstall spout and set the IAC paramaters as explained ABOVE

Peace Tom
 
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