88 econoline 6 no spark no start issue.

philford

Well-known member
parked my van over winter. had an issue with my car and so insured the van but the van just will not start.

thought maybe the fuel pump was bad , bought a better bosch one but then realized it wont start and there is no spark so I didn't install the pump. the eold one was a cheapo and it was buzzing sometimes so I can do that later.. the fuel pum is not the issue,

tried quick start and checked and no spark. checked with just a sparkplig from the high tension lead and still no spark

ordered a new sensor for the distributor and as well a complete distributor.

I got the gear off by using a press at work and swapped the sensor parts inside.

in the meantime someoe said the modules do fail and some keep a spare in their vehicle for reliability.
I noted that mine has some heat transfer goop on the back of it where it contacts the distributor body.

Is it important ot replace this putty?

I got notification that the new distributor arrived at home so when I get there so I can try replacing it as a whole and then I can try my distributor with the new sensor and my old module.
my aim is to get it running and then to have a spare distributor in case this stuff happens out on the road.

i realize my issues could be deeper. Im hoping it isnt; a computer issue and Im not even sure where that might be mounted. I assume the module needs to get a signal from the engine computer or maybe there is a separate ignition computer?

does anyone else know what else I could check ? are there any hidden fuses? any obvious things I have missed? the only fuses I know of are in the block above the drivers feet but I have heard of ford using in line "fusable links" i dont know where to look for those.

I have a spare coil from a Volvo of the same year but thats a 4 cylinder. maybe it would be ok to use as a test.
I could try switching that in or maybe I can just check the resistance between the positive and negative at the coil with the wires unhooked. I saw a video where he said the resistance should be about 10 I guess he meant 10.000 ohms.

I had my volvo die in a similar manor and it was a bad sensor in the distributor so I thought maybe it's the same thing in this ford.

if the issue isn't distributor related then Im a little int he dark , I have a hanes book but it doesn't say much about the fuel injected models or models without points.

I think they used the hall sensor in the distributor when mine was made and then then I think they went ot a crankshaft position sensor in later years. Im assuming my model does not have the crankshaft sensor.

I like the van otherwise. It was initially a wheelchair van and still is but that's a blessing because it only has about 100 K on it. whatever is wrong is some electrical glitch. It worked fine until I parked it for about 3 months. I have an unrelated struggle with belt squeal but Ill make a separate post for that issue.
 

bubba22349

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It is very unusual that a running car or trucks parts would just go bad from only setting for such a short amount of time an exception would be things such as a direct or close lightning strike, EMT, or... However the electrical grounds can be lost and other electrical connections will get corroded causeing a no start, this is were I always start looking. First thing check the battery volage to see that it is fully charged and or charge it if the battery voltage is below a certain voltage the ignition won't work or fire the plugs. Then start the prcess of cleaning the battery cables at both ends checking the cables condistion that are both clean and tight they might look clean but that doesn't mean you have a good elecrtical connection a volt / ohm meter s a big help with this too to read voltages in the system to see how much it's varies. Contune on through to the engine block ground contentions and solinoid connections and then next to the chassis ground, all this its usally a no or very low cost thing to fix, plus many times it's a real cause of lower voltages to the ignistion system even if it isn't the car or truck will run even better from having good electrical connections. The distributor pickups don't go bad very often, the modules can and do go bad on occasion though there is often a little bit of pre warning signs, and yes you do need the insulating paste to transfer the heat away from the Modual. Yes there can be fuse able links they are offten located at the stater solinod and t hey are clearly marked as a fusible link on that end next to the ring connectors. To save yourself some time and money on changing some parts out that are likely still good get yourself a simple 12 volt test light and start checking the wires to see if you have continuity or power is at both ends. Do the basics first before looking at the ECM / computer, or other expensive parts. Best of luck
 

Big six Farmer

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Since the Econoline ran fine when you parked it, and now you have no spark ?.. I would first look for chewed off wires, from a mouse or rat. They love to chew through wires on things that sit over the winter, have seen that more than a few times
 

sixtseventwo4d

Well-known member
Locate your power relays (Bosch type), the ones I'm concerned with are one the drivers fender/well area, towards the back .Your diagnostic connector should be right there with them. These will not be plugged into a fuse type on box as you might be expecting. They will have their own harness leading to them. One is a fuel pump relay, one is for the EEC. The fuel pump relay is black i believe but the EEC is brown. From the factory they are mounted in a vertical position inside of a black plastic 2"x 5or6" cover. This cover could also have gotten discarded at some point. The relays lock into mounting tabs, It is common for these tabs to break or someone to not secure them properly after doing a repair, allowing them to lay down and still be connected to the harness. I've seen rain and debris get into them and cause various problems when left laying down. 1623127298574.png
 
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philford

Well-known member
I replaced the distributor with a rebuilt one and that fixed the no start issue.

i pulled the gear and replaced the pickup sensor in my old distributor but it wont start with that. im fairly certain the issue was the module attached to the distributor just failed while parked.

I will look for the relay and OBD reader plug.
i just got a reader for 20 bucks so i can try to check codes

it stalls at idle until warmed up

i just replaced a vacuum sensor at the left under hood as well a serpentihe belt and 02 sensor.

just want to do what I can to get it smooth and reliable.

I hooked up a tiny indicator lamp in parallel with fuel pump in my 88 volvo so i can see when its got power. i might do the same. its just helpful for roadside troubleshooting.

i bought a better bosche fuel pump. the one in there seemed to start buzzing sometimes. at least i had a sound that seemed to be coming from that direction. the bosche one seems heavier than the cheap one i put in 5 years ago but it did not cause my no start issue.

im interested if there are any other common failure parts i should check for reliability. so i feel more sure about longer road trips.

it has overdrive. that seems ok.

the 300L6 engine is fine mechanically so i just need to look for parts that commonly fail from being 35 years old. I should clean all the grounds some battery connections look dirty from age. It still might be able to outlive a new Tesla :)

thanks for the kind help.
Phil
 
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B RON CO

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Hi, the EEC 4 ignition is a good one. The Motorcraft ignition modules are the best. We used to carry a spare module but seldom needed it. Usually they would fail in high heat conditions, and come back to life when the engine cooled down. We used to grab original Motorcraft modules from the junkyard. There was a special ratchet for the job. The goop between the module and the distributor is dielectric grease. It should be cleaned off and reapplied. Dielectric grease is also good for spark plug wire terminals. Check all the wire connections for green corrosion. Good luck
 

Big six Farmer

Well-known member
The very early TFI ignition modules were a mess, 83?-86 ?.. The shop i worked in then, we had some customers with fairly new Fords with ignition problems. It was a mess, some under warranty, some not. The ones out of warranty Ford wanted a ton of money to repair the ignition, it was rape.... I had bought a new F150 in 1985. Years later i was paid in a class action law settlement against Ford for the TFI ignition modules... After that the Fords i owned , or worked on, saw very little issue with the ignition modules... Although i did just replace the Distributer in my 90 F150 4.9. 235,000 miles. Have no reason to complain on that...
 

philford

Well-known member
Locate your power relays (Bosch type), the ones I'm concerned with are one the drivers fender/well area, towards the back .Your diagnostic connector should be right there with them. These will not be plugged into a fuse type on box as you might be expecting. They will have their own harness leading to them. One is a fuel pump relay, one is for the EEC. The fuel pump relay is black i believe but the EEC is brown. From the factory they are mounted in a vertical position inside of a black plastic 2"x 5or6" cover. This cover could also have gotten discarded at some point. The relays lock into mounting tabs, It is common for these tabs to break or someone to not secure them properly after doing a repair, allowing them to lay down and still be connected to the harness. I've seen rain and debris get into them and cause various problems when left laying down. View attachment 7235
that helped, thank you.

found those relays on passenger side and the two plugs for the code reader.

the insulation on a couple wires is damaged. i could make a splice to be sure its ok.

maybe someone cut in to probe the wires?

the blocks didnt want to separate from the wiring easily so i stopped.

hey what's this connector that looks like a fuse for? ground for the EEC?
 

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bubba22349

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There is a product I think is called Liquid Tape they sell it at Home Depot in the electrical department and probably other stores that could just be brushed on to the bare spots of the wire. Another way to fix it is with some shrink tubing but you would need to pull the socket out and prob the wire lock in the plug so you could remove it to slip the shrink tubing on afterwards you just slide the wire back into the socket. Both those ways are much better in keeping a good wiring connection with less resistance than trying to splice those wires. Best of luck
 

philford

Well-known member
There is a product I think is called Liquid Tape they sell it at Home Depot in the electrical department and probably other stores. Another way to fix its is with some shrink tubing but you would need to pull the socket out and prob the wire lock in the plug so you could remove it to slip the shrink tubing on afterwards you just slide the wire back into the socket. Both those ways are much better in keeping a good wiring connection with less resistance than trying to splice those wires. Best of luck
 

philford

Well-known member
I will cut the two damaged wires and use the metal tube from a crimp on splice and solder that.
Sometimes getting the prongs out of the connector results in issues. ive done it but sometimes it creates a little issue where the prong doesnt want to lock into the plug properly again. im not concerned with cosmetics here, its not a showpiece so a little lump is ok. that won't cause resistance.
just dont want an electrical issue to trace later.

i usually throw the plastic cover away and crimp then solder them and heat shrink. i dont trust just crimping them alone. I never have an issue with them if i solder them. i dont think they are an issue but that will make sure. they might have some damaged strands..
 

sixtseventwo4d

Well-known member
Your wiring looks really good for the age. I was expecting worse, but since the relays were still held in place under the plastic cover I'm sure it makes all the difference in the world. The EEC relay should click on and stay on when you cycle the ignition key on, it will get a little warm to the touch. Check it to make sure it's passing power through. The fuel pump relay will only come on for about 2 seconds unless the engine starts. The forth pic is a ground. I've never encountered any problems with those unless someone was careless or tried tapping into it, it's pretty well made
 

philford

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i can use that to help sort out which is which. if i have the right scematic in my haines manual i can see what the damaged wires are for. maybe i can leave acouple connectors or a little indicator bulb to easily check if and when they are on. it was giving codes. ill try to make a blinky light video. its got codes and fuel pump works so i think the relays work now but ive had cars die a few timrs for the sake of a relay. the new ones are likely chinese quality but i could get spares.
im happy to know where it is. i need to find the ECU, throttle position sensor, maybe set the distributor so it points to plug 1 at TDC. that might be off a little.

when i changed the distributor i had issues getting it into the oilpump. eventually found some hex bar that fit down there so I could turn the pump until it dropped in. took a few tries at shifting the position of the pump.
the new gear was just positioned a little different in relation to the hex shaft.

I think there is some leeway in the timing position. im not sure if i can use a timing light.
in hindsight i could have just swapped modules since that was my issue but thats ok.
 

philford

Well-known member
i continued this in a separate post about reading codes. I accidentally posted in the small block forum but a kind moderator moved it. i will put code reading details there.
 
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