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Thread: 1999 Ford Mustang 6 cyc. 3.8L won't start

  1. #1
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    1999 Ford Mustang 6 cyc. 3.8L won't start

    1999 Ford Mustang 6 cyc. 3.8L

    Until two hours ago, I have not even tried to start this engine for almost a year. It ran fine back then. This car has been sitting in the garage all this time. Battery well maintained, so it cranks very normal.

    But the engine now does not have even the slightest indication of starting. It's just as if there was no ignition at all. No pops, no backfiring, no anything, just very smooth cranking at a good cranking speed. And I have tried to start it many times in the last couple of hours, with some waiting after a lot of cranking (I don't want to burn out the starter motor!).

    I have NOT yet done ANY troubleshooting.

    But I am curious, what is the most likely problem based on the info. I mentioned here?

    I will do the troubleshooting later. Right now, I just want to hear some guesses of what I should expect to find.

    -Don- Reno, NV

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    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Hi, Don.

    Guess 1. No spark. Broken wire, rodent damage, failed coil.
    Guess 2. Fuel not getting through. Gummed up jets, fuel pump failure, crud in tank.

    If car has been stored in a good dry atmosphere go for Guess 2 first. You could try squirting a little
    neat fuel into the carbs whilst cranking.

    Best of luck in your fault finding, Don.

    Ken.
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    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Hi, Don.

    Guess 1. No spark. Broken wire, rodent damage, failed coil.
    Guess 2. Fuel not getting through. Gummed up jets, fuel pump failure, crud in tank.

    If car has been stored in a good dry atmosphere go for Guess 2 first. You could try squirting a little
    neat fuel into the carbs whilst cranking.

    Best of luck in your fault finding, Don.

    Ken.
    Carbs? This vehicle is 1999, not 1979. It's MPFI.

    It cannot be a coil as it has three coils for six cylinders and none of them sound like they are firing.

    Anyway, when I start checking it out, I will post here what I find.

    I hope it's not a fuel pump problem as that is something I won't do myself. I don't work on fuel tanks.

    -Don- Reno, NV

  4. #4
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    Carbs? This vehicle is 1999, not 1979. It's MPFI.

    It cannot be a coil as it has three coils for six cylinders and none of them sound like they are firing.

    Anyway, when I start checking it out, I will post here what I find.

    I hope it's not a fuel pump problem as that is something I won't do myself. I don't work on fuel tanks.

    -Don- Reno, NV
    I have no knowledge of your car, Don so I was
    merely talking in principle. I stand suitably
    chastised (and totally unrepenitant - )

    If no cylinders are firing - with three separate coils -
    and assuming all are receiving a suitable voltage then
    they can be discounted.

    As you can't spray fuel into the non-existent carbs then
    try removing a couple of plugs and putting some fuel
    into the cylinders, replace plugs and try again. If you
    get a couple of puffs and chuffs then fuel is your most
    likely problem.

    Ken.
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    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    As you can't spray fuel into the non-existent carbs then
    try removing a couple of plugs and putting some fuel
    into the cylinders, replace plugs and try again. If you
    get a couple of puffs and chuffs then fuel is your most
    likely problem.Ken.
    I now expect a fuel pump problem, but not totally proven (yet). Here are the facts:

    1. I have good spark (as shown on a timing light for a quicky test).

    2. I have normal voltage at the fuel pump connector.

    Not much left, other than the fuel pump itself.

    I see no valve on the fuel rail, so I did NOT yet check for the fuel itself or its PSI. But I expect the fuel pump will be the problem. This is bad news as this means I will have the car towed somewhere and have them fix it. But first, I want to prove there is no fuel pressure. I now have all the books and tools here to check everything, only fuel pressure has not yet been checked for the basics.

    What will be weird is if I find normal fuel pressure, but I really doubt that. But if I do, I will check the ignition system better than simply using a timing light. But I expect to find the fuel pump isn't doing anything.

    One more test I can do is to see if the fuel pump is drawing any current, but that is rather meaningless at this point if I have no fuel pressure.

    BTW, is it common for fuel pumps to crap out from lack of use? The car was fine the last time it was started, perhaps around 8 months ago.

    -Don- Reno, NV

  6. #6
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post

    BTW, is it common for fuel pumps to crap out from lack of use? The car was fine the last time it was started, perhaps around 8 months ago.

    -Don- Reno, NV
    Hm? I've never had an injection fuel pump pack up on me. The old mechanical
    ones failed now and again but were easily reworked.

    It would be worth doing a current check as the pump is switched 'On' - if no current
    is drawn then one could almost categorically say it was the pump that was faulty.
    Also one can often hear the pump start as the ignition is switched on. One could
    disconnect the fuel line and briefly switch on into a catch can, a resultant petrol
    spray would confirm 'pump runs'.

    I'm tending to discount stuck, gummed up injectors as it is probably unlikely
    that all would fail simultaneously. Any chance you have a fouled up in-line
    fuel filter somewhere? There are, of course, all the associated electronics
    to consider. Just hope its not the ECU.

    I've been trying to find a diagram for your MPFI but no luck so far.

    Ken.
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    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Hm? I've never had an injection fuel pump pack up on me. The old mechanical
    ones failed now and again but were easily reworked.

    It would be worth doing a current check as the pump is switched 'On' - if no current
    is drawn then one could almost categorically say it was the pump that was faulty.
    Also one can often hear the pump start as the ignition is switched on. One could
    disconnect the fuel line and briefly switch on into a catch can, a resultant petrol
    spray would confirm 'pump runs'.

    I'm tending to discount stuck, gummed up injectors as it is probably unlikely
    that all would fail simultaneously. Any chance you have a fouled up in-line
    fuel filter somewhere? There are, of course, all the associated electronics
    to consider. Just hope its not the ECU.

    I've been trying to find a diagram for your MPFI but no luck so far.

    Ken.
    In this vehicle, there is so much junk covering things that I cannot even find the fuel line. I can see one injector and part of the fuel rail but that is about all.

    Yes, it could be a clogged up filter. I cannot remember ever changing it, or even looking for it. I wonder if they can somehow clog up from lack of use.

    I will have to check for that if I find no fuel PSI. In this vehicle, the fuel pump cannot be heard even when it works. In fact, I even proved that with my other Mustang, a 2002. Same size engine, 3.8L. That car starts normally, but before start up there is no trace of any fuel pump noise. I do hear one click with the ignition being turned, but that is in BOTH vehicles, the 99 as well as the 2002.

    I am in no big hurry to fix this thing, I just work on it when I have nothing better to do. I just came home for a 150 mile motorcycle ride on my 2016 Motor Guzzi Stelvio, which I find more fun than fixing cars.

    But as I work on it, I will update this thread until the time it is actually running again.

    I do not see how the ECU can be related to this problem when I have ignition spark as well as voltage to the fuel pump.

    If I do have fuel PSI, I will then have to do some more advanced troubleshooting, but I seriously doubt that I will have any fuel pump PSI. I just have to prove it.

    I usually look at the books as a last resort. And after I check the fuel pump current, that will be my next step.

    -Don- Cold Springs Valley, NV

  8. #8
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Why do you discount the ECU, Don? It controls many functions of the engine,
    including the injectors, amongst other things and monitors a whole host of
    vital sensors - see diagram below.

    An intermittent ECU failure on one of my old cars, a Vauxhall Cavalier
    SRi left the car, dead, on the roundabout outside their showroom just
    after they had insisted there nothing wrong. They'd had the car in four
    or five times and I'd even told them where the fault on the ECU PCB was.
    They wouldn't listen saying their technicians knew more than any amateur
    mechanic. The engine would just stop dead, anywhere. This time, after
    they got it back into the shop they agreed I was right, it was the ECU, they
    fitted a new one and all was well for the rest of the time I had the car.

    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  9. #9
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    It's possible the fuel pump packed it in, but I'd replace that as a last resort. First off, make sure it's a fuel and not an electrical problem. first thing to do is get a can of starting fluid. I've seen guys use gasoline to prime an engine but a friend is heavily scarred from burns suffered doing this. Starting fluid can flash and maybe burn your eyebrows off giving you a surprised look, but it won't cause major burns.

    Pull the air hose going from the air filter to the throttle body. Look inside and you'll see the throttle place. Open it by hand and shoot some starting fluid in there. Now try to start the engine. If it starts and then dies, you have a fuel issue. If it doesn't start, you MAY have an ignition issue.

    Let's go with it starting and then dying. Before you dig into the fuel pump, check your relays. I had a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 I got for a steal. The previous owner replaced the fuel pump (it's just as bad, if not worse, on a truck than on a car) and was still having occasional problems. I was sitting idling getting ready to pull a trailer and waiting for the GF when I noticed a shuddering noise from the back of the truck. There are only two mechanical things back there. The ABS and the fuel pump. Since I wasn't moving, I didn't think it was the ABS. Before replacing the pump, which was fairly new, I checked the relay box. Usually these are under the hood. They have relays and large fuses. The small fuses are inside the car in the dash usually. Since something was shuddering, it was getting power so I swapped some relays around. The A/C relay was next to the fuel pump relay and was identical. Relays are usually used for several different things so the company only needs to get one type to keep costs down. Swapping the relay cured the problem so I stopped by a parts store and got one for about $10. I swapped the A/C relay back and put the new relay. No more issues.

    So, check your fuses and relays first. I'll bet you either have a failed relay or blown fuse. If that doesn't fix it, let me know and I'll think on it some more. (Even though it gives me headaches.)
    Last edited by grouch; 03-18-2017 at 11:05 AM. Reason: I kant spel wurth a durn.
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    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    I posted once and it went away. Get some starting fluid and pull the air hose from the air filter to the throttle body. Look inside and you'll see the throttle plate. Open it a bit and shoot some starting fluid in there. Now try to start it. If it starts and then dies, you have a fuel problem. If it still doesn't start, you have an ignition problem.

    Let's assume it starts and dies. Rather than pull the fuel pump, check your relays and fuses. I had a truck once the previous owner had replaced the fuel pump. I got it cheap as it still had issues. I was sitting idling waiting on the GF and noticed a shudder from the back of the truck. The only two mechanical things back there were the ABS and fuel pump. Since I wasn't moving, it wasn't the ABS.

    Under the hood is a relay box. Open the cover and look at the relays. Usually, the name of the relay is on the cover. Swap the fuel pump relay with another one. I swapped the a/c relay as it was a cool day. The problem cleared up. I stopped by the parts store and bought a (at that time) $10 part and popped it in. I put the a/c relay back and drove the truck without issue for years.

    Always check the cheap and easy fixes first. If it works, you save a lot of time and money. If it doesn't, you aren't out much. You may have a bad relay or blown fuse. Although if the fuse blew, I'd want to find out why.
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    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Ken,

    I cannot say I totally discount it being a ECU problem, just that some of its functions are working and I think its an unlikely item to crap out just from the car sitting. But if I find I have normal fuel PSI, I will certainly will check it and many other things.

    One other thing I have not yet checked is to see if I have voltage going to the injectors. I do have a set of those injector Noid lights for testing the voltage going to them.

    I have not been working on this car lately and I probably won't look at it again for a couple of weeks. I am now at one of my other homes, 100 miles away, in Auburn, CA. So I cannot check things until I get back to Reno, NV.

    But the biggest problem in this car is finding things. Like I mentioned, I have not yet even found the fuel line or a place to check the fuel psi. But I do have the books, but I did not bring them here to Auburn, but I now wish I did so I could study them for what to do when I return to Reno. But no big hurry anyway.

    I will probably have to remove several items to find ways to test some things.

    The other thing I need to do is check the fuel pump current. The only reason I have not yet done this is because the type of connector used at the fuel pump makes it difficult, but not impossible to rig up something to get a series connection. I will cut the wire and use my own connector if I need to. The job will get done. BTW, any idea what normal fuel current till be? Perhaps an amp or so?

    -Don- Auburn, CA

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    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Grouch,

    One of the first things I did was to check all the fuses and some of the relays. Usually a bad relay contact will give intermittent symptoms and this car is not intermittent at all. But another thing not likely, IMO, for a car to fail from not being used for months. But I don't expect a fuse when I have ignition as well as fuel pump voltage.

    But I am glad it is NOT intermittent. It's a lot easier to find a problem when it does not work at all.

    I will try the starter fluid idea. I hope it does NOT then start as that will mean a bad fuel pump. That will probably be a lot easier than checking the fuel psi, but I won't know anything for sure until I study the books. Many books, as I have all the shop manuals for this car. I always try to get every book possible for every vehicle I own. That ends up being a lot of books! I now own 13 motor vehicles and some of them have about a dozen books involved to cover the entire thing. So I won't be short on info. if I can find the time to look through it all.

    I do know I have normal fuel pump voltage. BTW, I discovered the voltage drops a lot from a slight load (200 ohms or so) when ignition is on but not trying to start. I have a voltmeter that can add a small load for testing small batteries, which I used to check the furl pump voltage.

    But this same voltage does NOT drop when I crank, which is what really counts. I assume the fuel pump shuts off for when the engine is not running, for safety reasons. So I will have to crank the engine when I check for fuel pump current.

    -Don- Auburn, CA

  13. #13
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    If you have normal fuel system pressure, then your sensor on ether the crank or cam shaft has packed it in. These don't have any symptoms except for not starting. You won't even have a code in the computer because the system doesn't know you're trying to start it. When I say crank or cam sensor, some engines use one and some use the other.
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    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    If you have normal fuel system pressure, then your sensor on ether the crank or cam shaft has packed it in. These don't have any symptoms except for not starting. You won't even have a code in the computer because the system doesn't know you're trying to start it. When I say crank or cam sensor, some engines use one and some use the other.
    Would I still get a spark if the CPS craps out? I am pretty sure this ford uses a CPS (Crankshaft Position Sensor), but I assumed there would be no spark if it craps out. And I do have spark.

    -Don- Auburn, CA

  15. #15
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    Would I still get a spark if the CPS craps out? I am pretty sure this ford uses a CPS (Crankshaft Position Sensor), but I assumed there would be no spark if it craps out. And I do have spark.
    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post

    -Don- Auburn, CA


    Prophet of Doom stuff here. I thought replacing the CPS would be fairly straightforward.

    Here is the procedure for (I'm pretty sure) your car, Don. Check out
    https://www.v6mustang.com/threads/ca...oniser.236113/

    There are some diagrams attached to the article as well as the useful info.

    Camshaft Position (CMP) Sensor
    Mustang 3.8L Engine


    SPECIAL SERVICE TOOL(S) REQUIRED Description Tool Number
    Syncro Positioning Tool T89P-12200-A

    Removal
    Disconnect battery ground cable (14301) .
    Disconnect fuel charging wiring (9D930) from distributor stator (12A112) (camshaft position sensor).
    Remove stator
    camshaft position sensor retaining screws and distributor stator (camshaft position sensor) from camshaft position sensor housing.
    If removing camshaft position sensor housing from the engine front cover (6019) , proceed with Removal Step 5. If camshaft position sensor housing is not being removed, proceed to Installation Step 6.

    CAUTION: Before proceeding with this procedure, set cylinder No. 1 to 26 degrees After Top Dead Center (ATDC) of the compression stroke. Then note the position of the stator (camshaft position sensor) electrical connector. The installation procedure requires that the connector be located in the same position.

    Remove retaining bolt and hold-down clamp (12270) .
    NOTE: The oil pump intermediate shaft (6A618) should be removed with the
    camshaft position sensorhousing.

    Remove
    camshaft position sensor housing from engine front cover .
    Installation

    CAUTION: If the replacement distributor stator (camshaft position sensor) does not contain a plastic locator cover tool, a special service tool such as Syncro Positioning Tool T89P-12200-A must be obtained prior to installation of the replacement distributor stator (camshaft position sensor). Failure to follow this procedure will result in improper stator (camshaft position sensor) alignment. This will result in the fuel system being out of time with the engine, possibly causing engine damage.

    If the plastic locator cover tool is not attached to the replacement distributor stator (camshaft position sensor), attach Syncro Positioning Tool T89P-12200-A as follows:
    Engage
    camshaft position sensor housing vane into the radial slot of the tool.
    Rotate tool on camshaft position sensor housing until tool boss engages notch in camshaft position sensor housing. The cover tool should be square and in contact with entire top surface of camshaft position sensor housing.
    Transfer oil pump intermediate shaft from old
    camshaft position sensor housing to replacementcamshaft position sensor housing.
    CAUTION: If stator (camshaft position sensor) electrical connector is not positioned properly (for example, contacting the A/C compressor bracket), DO NOT reposition the connector by rotating thecamshaft position sensor housing. This will result in the fuel system being out of time with the engine, possibly causing engine damage. Remove the camshaft position sensor housing and repeat installation procedure, beginning with Step 1.

    Install
    camshaft position sensor housing so that drive gear engagement occurs when arrow on locator tool is pointed approximately 30 degrees counterclockwise from the front face of the cylinder block (6010) . This step will locate stator (camshaft position sensor) electrical connector in the pre-removal position.
    Install hold-down clamp and retaining bolt and tighten bolt to 20-30 Nm (15-22 lb-ft).
    Remove Syncro Positioning Tool T89P-12200-A.
    CAUTION: If stator (
    camshaft position sensor) electrical connector is not positioned properly (for example, contacting the A/C compressor bracket), DO NOT reposition the connector by rotating thecamshaft position sensor housing. This will result in the fuel system being out of time with the engine, possibly causing engine damage. Remove the camshaft position sensor housing and repeat installation procedure, beginning with Step 1.

    Install distributor stator (camshaft position sensor) and retaining screws. Tighten screws to 2.5-3.5 Nm (22-31 lb-in).
    Connect fuel charging wiring connector to distributor stator (camshaft position sensor).
    Connect battery ground cable .

    Item Part Number Description
    1 T89P-12200-A Syncro Positioning Tool
    2 12127
    Camshaft Position Sensor Housing
    3 N605907 Bolt
    4 12270 Hold-Down Clamp
    5 6019 Engine Front Cover
    6 6A618 Oil Pump Intermediate Shaft
    7 12A112 (Camshaft Position Sensor) Distributor Stator
    8 N805029 Screw (2 Req'd)

    A Tighten to 20-30 Nm (15-22 Lb-Ft)
    B Tighten to 2.5-3.5 Nm (22-31 Lb-In)
    Last edited by Ken; 03-19-2017 at 12:30 PM.
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  16. #16
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Missing element should read 'cam-position-sensor-and-synchroniser.236113/'

    Ken.
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    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  17. #17
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    Would I still get a spark if the CPS craps out? I am pretty sure this ford uses a CPS (Crankshaft Position Sensor), but I assumed there would be no spark if it craps out. And I do have spark.

    -Don- Auburn, CA
    The car ran fine when parked, right? nothing has been done while it was parked right? If you have fuel pressure and spark, you should be running. Something is not telling the injectors to inject fuel. Are there any codes in the computer? Not all codes will set the CEL. I'd unhook the battery and unplug the computer and then plug it back in. Then hook the battery back up and try it. If it still doesn't start,check all the wires and connectors you can find. Look for any wires that are unhooked or look like something has been gnawing on them. Mice have a bad habit of getting under hoods and gnawing.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    The car ran fine when parked, right? nothing has been done while it was parked right? If you have fuel pressure and spark, you should be running. Something is not telling the injectors to inject fuel. Are there any codes in the computer? Not all codes will set the CEL. I'd unhook the battery and unplug the computer and then plug it back in. Then hook the battery back up and try it. If it still doesn't start,check all the wires and connectors you can find. Look for any wires that are unhooked or look like something has been gnawing on them. Mice have a bad habit of getting under hoods and gnawing.
    I have only checked the fuel pump VOLTAGE. Not current or fuel pump PSI (yet).

    This vehicle was not even been touched for almost a year. Perhaps about ten months for a little better accuracy. The last time it was driven was when Tommy drove it into the garage. That was the very last time he has driven any car. And it was fine then (and so was Tommy!).

    -Don- Auburn, CA

    -

  19. #19
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    "Originally Posted by Ken
    Prophet of Doom stuff here. I thought replacing the CPS would be fairly straightforward."

    Ken, thanks, but none of that answers my main question:

    Is it somehow possible to get spark when a CPS has crapped out?


    I have good spark and that is the ONLY reason I do not expect a bad CPS.

    I will be back in Reno this Thursday night and I will probably work more on the car on Friday.

    -Don- Auburn, CA

  20. #20
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    If you have a GOOD spark then it is, as far as I am aware, not going to be a faulty CPS.
    (It is possible to have a spark indicated by a timing light when the spark is too weak to
    ignite fuel under full cylinder pressure. Have you checked to see if the plugs are wet
    after cranking? That might show fuel is getting through.)

    It could be a blocked filter - quite likely if you had uploaded a
    tank of contaminated fuel.

    It could be a fuel pump problem.

    It could be stuck injectors - unlikely for all to stick though.

    It could be the ECU.

    I guess it is just going to be a process of elimination, Don.



    Ken.
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    Ken.
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