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Old 04-12-2010, 11:07 PM   #1
rangeral87
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Default 87 ranger cranks, no spark

Hi, new here and backyard diy mech. I've read several threads and followed through on some, but still stumped. 2.3 gas engine. Please help. Current status:

engine cranks
eec&fuel pump relays operate, fuel good
no primary or secondary spark
coil tests good, voltage at coil good
voltage at pin 4 of ignition module good
check engine light ignition run= no


Prospectus. Truck ran fine until one afternoon would not start. I noticed no fuel relay, then found that plug at negative battery was disconnected. Reconnected and fuel relay worked, and smell fuel at pipe but no start, and cannot get spark. I have to think it is some stupid wiring issue but can't find any. Never had overheating issue and day of problem only drove down to end of driveway, so the common cause of bad ignition module seems unlikely.Ideas? and thanks.
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Old 04-13-2010, 03:47 AM   #2
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check all your grounds and clean them up
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Old 04-13-2010, 04:16 AM   #3
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+1 on the grounds especially the coil take them apart and sand metal to metal and make sure they are tite. clean Batt terminals ground to engine ground to chassis and chassis to engine and all computer and ignition grounds you can find if necessary pull the coil and assure it is properly grounded. check the start solenoid connections also.
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:09 PM   #4
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ill chime in with a similar experience i had 3 times with my truck. now granted mine is a 94 and a 3.0l, they both still use a distributor type ignition. i had the same sypmtoms, power at the coil, power at the ign. control module, addequate fuel pressure, compression, but no spark.

i finally traced it back to the pick up module in the distributor, i stumbled across this while i was using a noid light to check my injectors out while i was trouble shooting the fuel system. since the injectors get their signal from the pick up module and i wasnt getting flashing from the noid light, i pulled the cap and rotor, then removed the reluctor wheel so i could get to the pick up module. thats when i realized that i had to pull the distributor out and remove the gear to change the pickup.

ive owned rangers for about 8 years now, so naturally i have a large stock of spare parts and in this case, a spare distributor. i swapped it in and bang, fired right up! i ran my truck for about 2,000 miles before the same thing happened again, bad pick up module. this happened to me one more time, about 700 miles this time, and after replacing the distributor assemble once again (thank god for warranties) i was starting to think something else was causing these things to burn out.

2 days later i went out to my truck after work to go buy a tool box that i had been saving up for and the truck would not turn over. i had dash lights, radio, head lights, etc. so i checked my battery connections under the hood, then proceeded to crawl underneath and inspect the starter solenoid, the positive battery cable had corroded off and was hanging freely.

now mind you i restored this truck from the ground up not even 1 year before these problems started occuring, but i never replaced the battery cables because they "looked" fine. i ended up making my own pos. and neg. cables out of 2ga. (twice the size of the original ones) for less than the dealer wanted for one of them. since replacing them i have logged 5,000 trouble free miles and believe that the old cables were the cause of all my distributor module failures. i cant guarantee that this is your particular problem, but its worth taking a look at. i also have lots of pics of the pickup module failures and the new and old cables in my build thread.
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:46 PM   #5
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I had the same issue and a ground had come untied.
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Old 04-13-2010, 02:02 PM   #6
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Thanks, great info everyone. I thought I checked everything, but didn't clean and redo them, which I will now do.

I did also notice in the wiring harness for the ignition module is one uninsulated wire that just ends in the harness about three feet back from the plug. Don't know what its for, is this normal?
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:46 PM   #7
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Hi all, OK I worked on all the grounds I could find, and performed a couple more tests as per tech library. I can get spark with the tapping method and have power to coil, and run in run mode, and coil run and start in start mode.

I'm not sure about the ignition ground though. Where is it? Also, there is a bare gound wire in the TFI harness that ends in the middle of nowhere, and it resembles a bare wire coming off the computer ground. What is this, and where is it supposed to go?

Before I buy a used distributor, is there anything else I can check or test here?
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:06 AM   #8
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If it looks like smells like The wire your talking about is not right if it goes into the loop you need to break the harness apart and look at how far the damage is. Unless you can find the other end and just terminate it. not sure on the year but the ignition ground goes from the tfi to the neg on the coil maybe you can jus replace that wire and be good as long as ther is not a internal short in the harness. I believe the ignition ground is the #1 terminal on the dizzy but then again that is on the TFI ignition. Ok test between the bottom wire on the dizzy connector #1 to the neg on the coil is the wire good. If not you have to figure out why it shorted out maybe the coil went bador that burnt wire your talking about had somthing to do with it I would fix the obvious strip the tape off the part of the harness that has the burnt wire and see if any other wires are burnt in there then try and determine why it happened Or maybe a harness out of the bone yard would be easier and check the components it was connected to thouroughly for faults
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:46 AM   #9
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All the wires in the harness look fine, the six that go to the tfi. But the one I am talking about has always been a bare wire, like a very thin ground strap, and there is a similar wire ( or the same wire) that piggybacks on the computer ground wire.

I am getting power at neg. coil, and coil tests good spark with tapping test, so I guess my ignition ground is good?
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Old 04-17-2010, 08:32 AM   #10
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Default Is the compter getting the pip signal?

it has to know the dist is turning to turn on the fuel....

http://fordfuelinjection.com/?p=12

TFI tools tip...."A better test is to check the fuel pump relay when cranking the engine over. Not the 2 second run after the key is turned on, but while cranking the engine. If the fuel pump relay kicks on when cranking, the TFI & Stator are good. "
just a thought...
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