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Old August 6th, 2011, 09:04 PM
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Unhappy Another Ignition Thread...HELP!

I'll try to keep this as simple as I can:

Truck details:
1995 D90
Bone stock 3.9L V8 with 88k

Recent service:
Oil change

Problem:
A week after the oil change I added Lucas fuel treatment and filled up with 92
Just a few miles after filling up the truck would intermittently lose power then regain it again. I thought it might be the Lucus treatment.
Well a few weeks later, it did it again, still thinking it's the Lucas treatment.

Early this morning I hopped in the truck, she fired up purring like a kitten...one minute laterjust before I pulled out of my garage...the engine shut off...didn't sputter like it was trying to run, it just shut off like I turned off the ingition switch.
Tried to start her up...nothing, she'll crank over but will not run period.

This is what I check:
The fuel relays click and I can hear the fuel pump hum for about 5 seconds.
I cracked open the fuel line before and after the fuel filter...plenty of pressure.
Now I'm thinking it's electrical...
I check all the ignition connections and found the wires from the ignition amplifier/module wire loose.
Reconnected them...bam...she fires right up.
I turned the engine off and on again about five times only running it for about 1 minute each time.
Then the 6th time I fired her up, idling smoothly and I rev'd her up too, after about 20 minutes...she died...will not start.

I re-check all the ignition connection...everything looks good.

Then I breakout the voltmeter and followed the workshop manual...here is what I got:

Battery voltage checking + and - leads = 12.05V
With ignition switch on, coil (+) and battery (-) leads =11.81V (this is within 1 volt of battery)
With ignition switch on, coil (-) and battery (-) leads =11.79V (this is within 1 volt of battery)
Test the ignition amplifier/module next to the coil reading the mounting screw and battery (-) = .006V

With ignition off, tested the battery (+) and the coil (-) = 11.81V
Turn ignition/start on tested the battery (+) and coil (-) = .06V

Test the pick-up coil resistance = 3.5k ohms

Tested for spark, pulled the lead off the distributor cap held it close to the block turned on ignition/started...no spark

BTW...tried a spare working ecu...no luck either...

Wires rotor cap plugs are only 3 years old with less than 10K miles on them

Can anybody share some words of wisdom here? Sorry for the novel...
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  #2  
Old August 7th, 2011, 06:12 AM
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So you have no spark and you are getting all the right voltage at the coil? I'd check the coil wire first and then the coil.....or the amplifier. Are any of these getting hot with the ignition on?
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Old August 7th, 2011, 11:05 AM
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Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkyddog11 View Post
So you have no spark and you are getting all the right voltage at the coil? I'd check the coil wire first and then the coil.....or the amplifier. Are any of these getting hot with the ignition on?
Based on the workshop manual, I should be getting greater than 11.5V at the battery (I'm getting 12.05V)
and no less than 1V difference measured at the (+/-) coil and (-) battery than the orginial battery voltage of 12.05V. I'm getting 11.81V and 11.79V respectively which is within 1V difference.

The coil nor the ignition module are getting hot while the ignition is on.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 11:39 PM
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OK. New parts arrived today. I replaced the wires and coil ($$$ Bosch).

Again, tested all voltages, all within spec.

Cleaned all iginition connections/terminals

Initially it wouldn't run. (Couldn't check the spark, I was flying solo tonight)

I discovered that if I turn the ignition ON 3 times (not starting, just ON and with the fuel pump priming), then on the 4th time, start it, it would run for about 30sec to a minute then sputter and shut off. WTF?! Also it would idle really rough.

I can hear the fuel relay click on while priming then when the engine dies, it clicks again.

Here is the weird part:
A couple of times while turning the ignition ON (just ON not starting) , the fuel pump primed 2 times. Could the fuel relay be on the fritz? Could this thing be opening the circuit causing stalling?

I also plugged in a spare working ECU and the same results.

Is it possible:
A) bad gas and/or Lucus fuel treatment f'ed-up my gas?
B) fuel filter clogged?
C) Rover Gods angry with me?
D) Fuel relay crapping out?
E) O2 sensors?

I've read many posts and spent many hours under the hood the past couple of days.

Any help would be appreciated...

Cheers...
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  #5  
Old August 11th, 2011, 01:35 AM
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Just to throw a few ideas into the mix.....

Cleaned out the inside of the cap/rotor? Can sometimes get some carbon buildup in there, particularly the button between the coil wire and the rotor. Are you checking for spark both directly from the coil, and again at the plugs?

Checked the voltages coming off the sensor in the distributor, and again coming out of the module? (I think those procedures are in the manual). Could be a bad module.... good thing is there are inexpensive options such as a GM HEI module swap.

You can rule out the O2 sensors, they don't even come into play until you reach operating temp, and over 1500rpm anyway.

I wouldn't suspect bad gas, as that would be a constant issue, not intermittent. But I'd definitely throw a new fuel filter in there, as it's cheap and easy to rule out a clogged filter.
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Old August 11th, 2011, 04:38 AM
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It also sounds like the battery is not up to par if you are only just getting over 12 volts. 12.05 volts seems a little low. I would put a charger on the battery and get the voltage up around the 12.5 or greater. Batteries charge a little when just sitting but the starting process drains the reserve. If the battery is on the edge that might be playing into the mix?
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Old August 11th, 2011, 06:55 AM
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Spluttering to a stop after priming several times would indicate to me that it is running out of fuel. Relays are wear items as are fuel filters (although it's been probably 10yrs since I've seen a V8 that wouldn't start because of the fuel filter being dirty).
One tool that never seems to get put away around here is the in line fuel pressure gauge.........and the remote start button.
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  #8  
Old August 12th, 2011, 09:20 AM
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I'd go back and check for spark again at the coil/dist lead. you weren't getting spark before so if you're still not, or its intermittent or weak, then thats gotta be fixed before worrying about fuel system. maybe get a circuit tester and check for power at coil+ while you turn the key on and off a few times. make sure threre's no positions in the ignition switch that have intermittent faults. or just get a new ignition switch, they are cheap and relatively easy to replace. I've had issues with that switch where the truck would fire up when key was in starter position but as soon as i let go of the key it would die. If i held the key in starting position it would continue to run (with starter continuing to spin).
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Old August 12th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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Wouldnt he be getting 13+ volts at the battery if the alternator is putting out properly?
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Old August 12th, 2011, 12:47 PM
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At 12.05v the battery is effectively dead. At idle you should see about 13.5-14.4v at the battery. I would try a known-good battery first. Second suspect would be the ignition module on the side of the coil.
A load test is in order for the battery, but I suspect it will fail.
Check your grounds too, mate.
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Old August 14th, 2011, 07:59 AM
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I had a loose wire and overheated connector on the ignition key that would cause a similar problem. As soon as I would move, the loose wire and bad connector would move enough to cause a break in the circuit, which is similar to cutting the contact. I removed the ignition key and installed a start button and bingo, no more stalling...

It looks like the contact had been damaged due to overheating and/or some kind of ignition cut-off theft proof system installed sometime in the past by the previous owner, but removed before I got the truck. This was rather difficult to actually diagnose, but my friendly mechanic (Joseph in Vaudreuil-Dorion) figured it out !
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 11:58 AM
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Back and Running!

Back and running!
After replacing the with genuine rotor/cap, coil and MSD wires, it turned out to be a faulty ignition module.
I had an old spare that I swapped in and it fired up, idling and running smooth.
To be on the safe side, I ordered a new ign. mod. and use the old working one as a spare.
I can't explain why it would start and run briefly after 3 fuel pump primes, I did replace the fuel filter.
Thanks for your input!
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Old August 28th, 2011, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleger View Post
I had a loose wire and overheated connector on the ignition key that would cause a similar problem. As soon as I would move, the loose wire and bad connector would move enough to cause a break in the circuit, which is similar to cutting the contact. I removed the ignition key and installed a start button and bingo, no more stalling...

It looks like the contact had been damaged due to overheating and/or some kind of ignition cut-off theft proof system installed sometime in the past by the previous owner, but removed before I got the truck. This was rather difficult to actually diagnose, but my friendly mechanic (Joseph in Vaudreuil-Dorion) figured it out !
Interestingly, I'm having the exact issue as described by the OP. Had the vehicle for a week and all of a sudden it started stalling. could start it back up, would run for a bit, then would just stop running (like turning the ignition off, no sputtering or engine noises). The dealer that sold it to me did remove an old car security system so wondering if it's the same issue. I have removed all the remaining wires for the alarm I found, put in a big battery (Odyssey PC2150), and was about to order a new ignition coil and check the ignition key connectors.
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