Loss of Power after distributor and ignition coil replacement


CrocsandRangers178

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So. I took it upon myself to switch out my distributor since it was squeaking badly and the engine surged a bit when it worked its way up to idle on a cold start. I just got this truck a few weeks ago so i do not know much about its history other than the fact that its been fixed when something went wrong by a pro. It looks like the disty cap had been replaced since there was some plumbers tape on the shaft where the rotor goes. The new disty is by carquest.

Low and behold a can of worms busted open.

I could not get the truck to start so i pushed it to my local shop. They racked their brains and could not get it going. Finally after 4 more distributors, they finally got it running by changing the ignition coil, they also mentioned they straightened out the forks for the plug that goes into the disty (sorry i dont have the terms in front of me). Since they never saw the truck running, they cant help me with the new issues that have come up. The truck is SLOW, especially in first gear. Once it shifts into 2nd (this is an automatic ), it gets going a bit more, but still nothing close to how it was before.

The truck needs some basic maintenance, which is my plan for tomorrow morning, but i thought id post to get some tips. It only has 114k and im suspicious that the plugs are original, or on its second set, so i will be changing those as well as the the wires. Fuel filter is also on the list. It also smells as if the cat is clogged. Finally its throwing a code for improper idle speed (412) and not performing the goose test (538). I thought i did the goose test (steering wheel right then left, brake, then hit the gas), but i guess i need to review that.

I'm just throwing all this out there in case anyone has some immediate red flags go up before i start researching the wrong things. I'm out for the night and will check back in the morning.

Thank you for any info.
 


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RonD

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You have a TFI spark system, and it has a SPOUT connector, and I bet it wasn't hooked back up, or "they" tried to time spark without disconnecting SPOUT

Look here: https://www.justanswer.com/uploads/fordguy4u/2009-08-31_211506_A1.jpg

Bottom center of drawing is "To C1006................"
Follow the line, it points to rad support under battery area, thats where TFI Module and SPOUT connector should be
Video here:

SPOUT looks like this: https://broncozone.com/uploads/monthly_10_2010/post-9476-12861522400762.jpg

Its just a plastic Jumper than can be removed to disconnect "spark advance" so you can set base spark timing

If its not removed then you can't set distributor timing, if you forget to put it back then you don't have spark advance so "sluggish" driving
 

CrocsandRangers178

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I did not ask about this, but I do know about it and assume they took care of it. I left it disconnected when I brought it to them and it was reconnected when I got it back. I will try re-timing it to make sure. Could it be anything else?
 

RonD

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There are codes for lean and rich, codes for MAF sensor, codes for O2 sensors, codes for most systems

No code for spark timing, computer "must assume" that is correct

Could be other things I just can't think of any
 

CrocsandRangers178

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Ok that's good to know about the codes. First thing I'm doing is checking the timing with my light.
 

CrocsandRangers178

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UPDATE: RonD. You were right. This whole time I was doing it wrong. I unplugged the entire ignition module rather than just the SPOUT connector. I know, I'm an idiot. I also went over to the shop I took the truck to and the guy who oversaw the tech who worked on it did not know about the SPOUT connector, yet the ignition module was plugged back in when I got the truck back. I dont know forsure if the guy who actually worked on it (did not get to speak with him since he wasnt there today) actually unplugged the SPOUT when he timed it. I asked about this and the guy told me that the ignition module was plugged back in first thing because they followed all the wires. They told me truck would not start for them until they replaced the ignition coil, and they even went through multiple distributors. I dont think I ever tried starting the truck with the ignition module plugged in so at this point i dont know what to think. Anyway, I adjusted it this morning and it was immediately better, drove it a little, then changed the plugs and dialed it in. Now i think its at where it was before. Again, i only had the truck for a few weeks and its not a daily, so i dont feel 100% certain. Its still slow, but now it has more of an actual throttle response compared to how it was. It feels like it might have less power/throttle response than it did at higher speeds. Also, the mark on the dampener jumps around a good bit, not sure if thats normal. Maybe thats a symptom of that improper idle code (412)?
Thanks again for your help
 

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Good work

Engine does need to be warmed up first, before you can time spark
Then you shut engine off and unplug SPOUT connector, loosen distributor bolt so you can turn distributor, but not too loose :)
Hook up timing light, make sure TDC line and "deg lines" are visible on crank pulley
Restart engine

Recommended base spark timing for the 3.0l is 10deg BTDC

Shut off engine
Tighten up distributor
Reinstall SPOUT connector
Start engine
You should see spark at 20-24deg BTDC now with computer input, via SPOUT

SPOUT is the "Vacuum advance" on this system
So similar timing as earlier distributors, warm engine, disconnect vacuum hose, set base timing, reconnect vacuum hose
"Vacuum advance" changes spark timing based on engine LOAD not RPMs, the TFI(ignition module) can only see RPMs, only the computer can see engine LOAD, i.e. RPMs + throttle position = engine load, SPOUT signal is the LOAD signal
 
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CrocsandRangers178

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Ok then I'll have to go through it again, I did not take these steps. I was popping the SPOUT in and out while the truck was running. Then I would adjust it so that the 10 deg would line up, compensating for how much it moves when popping the SPOUT back in. It only seemed like it moved 5 deg when doing that, not 10-14 to be around 20-24. Maybe it's different when I actually turn the engine off, or maybe I'm misjudging the distance by memory.
I did know it was important to have the engine warmed up, and not to have any accessories on and to keep the wheels straight.
I will get on it tomorrow and post an update.
Thank you for all this. I'd be lost without this info haha.
 
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CrocsandRangers178

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UPDATE: RonD, I went in and adjusted it according to your directions and its even better, definitely back to where it was before. On the last adjustment it was shifting at higher rpms, now its where an automatic ought to shift. Plus in pulls at higher speeds unlike before. Thank you. `
 

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