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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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  #1  
Old 08-21-2014, 05:32 PM
kc9bpo kc9bpo is offline
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new to forum and of course truck issues

Hello to all,
as stated, I'm new here. First Ford I have owned and so far not off to a good start. I bought a 1988 F250 with the 460 in it. The truck test drove fine with no issues. Truck was 90 minutes way, so I had a good drive home getting use to the truck. And let me tell you, I love the truck. At least I did.

Now the truck is tuff to get started and when it finally does start, it will idle for about a minute, then it dies. Battery light comes on with a check engine light will come on, but I think that's just cause it died.

I replaced the icm, and same issue. I'm a computer geek so engine work is a little foreign to me, so please be patient with me.

So to sum up, starts then dies. What should I be checking? I was told to look at fuel issues, but have no clue where to start to check for a fuel issue. Please help
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:13 PM
kylek95 kylek95 is offline
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88...efi or carb? On my 95 there is a little black valve on the front of the fuel rail passenger side that you just screw the gague onto it. Not sure about yours. Also try to pull the codes, you dont need a code reader i just use a paperclip to do mine
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:21 PM
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The battery and engine lights come on whenever the ignition is on but the engine ain't running. Normal operation.

As for the problem you're having...
Why did you replace the ICM?
When the engine quits running, can you start it up again right away without waiting?
How does it idle?
Does it only quit after it's up to operating temperature?
Does this truck have dual tanks, and if so does it act the same way when running on either tank?

When troubleshooting fuel system issues, most of us start with a pressure test. AutoZone will rent you a fuel pressure gauge for a fully-refundable deposit, or you can buy one for yourself. On your fuel rail there's a schrader valve, it looks like the valve stem on a tire. You connect your fuel pressure gauge here to read the pressure coming from the fuel pump(s).

You want to record the readings:
- while the engine is running good
- when it's fixin' to quit running (once you hear it start running rough or whatever)
- while you're trying to restart it after it quits

kylek95, his 88 should be EFI with a scavenge pump in each tank and a high pressure pump on the frame rail.
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:34 PM
kc9bpo kc9bpo is offline
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Replaced the ism because it started dying while driving and saw that the icm on the distributor was a common issues. Moved it and replaced it.
I did however sort of figure out the issue.
The rear tank shows empty, so just for the heck of it, I tried to start it on the rear tank. Thing started right up. Idled for 30+ minutes, no issues. Flipped it to the front tank, and it started running rough in about a minute. Put it back on the rear tank, and it smoothes out.
So, I have some issue with the front tank, will prolly just drop it and see what needs replaced. Then I need to see how to fix the fuel gauge for the rear tank.

Fun times. I am back to liking the truck again. Lol

To answer some of the questions, it is efi, tried restarting on front tank after it stalls and it takes a lot to get it running.
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:28 AM
kc9bpo kc9bpo is offline
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Well here it goes again.
Drove the truck all day on Saturday during 90 degree heat, 0 issues. Drove it Sunday morning for about an hour. No issues. Let the truck sit while I enjoyed some much needed time fishing. Got back about 5 hours later. Truck started, then died. Now it won't start at all.
Fuel filter looked org, and had some nasty stuff in it. replaced that. still didn't start. pulled a plug to see if we flooded it. plugs weren't wet, but were BLACK. even some rust on them. Paper work claims a complete engine rebuilt 3 years ago, but these plugs almost looked org as well. Anyway, replaced all 8, replaced the air filter too as it was no longer white. Truck still didn't start. pulled a wire on a plug to check for spark. No spark. checked the distro cap. contacts were dirty. cleaned those, still no spark. checked the ignition coil. nothing. replaced that as well. Truck still won't start.
I was very lucky to have the truck die at a relatives house and not on the highway. but still, I really need to get this truck running ASAP to get it out of their yard and way.
We also checked the emergency fuel shutoff switch behind the clutch. that wasn't tripped either.
Any help or things to check (with how to check them) would be VERY helpful.
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Old 08-25-2014, 12:54 PM
GoinBoarding GoinBoarding is online now
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When you cycle the key to "on" can you hear the fuel pump run? Check fuel pressure as stated above. I don't know what the spec is for that truck/motor but someone on here will know. If the fuel filter was never replaced until now, it is not unlikely that the pumps are all worn out now too.

So you have no spark at the coil with a new coil?

Sounds like multiple issues, but maybe not.
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Old 08-25-2014, 12:57 PM
kc9bpo kc9bpo is offline
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had nothing to check the pressure but the flow out of both tanks was the same when we pulled the filter off. very strong.
from research and friends, I think the next step would be the Distributor ignition pickup. which sorta makes sense.

yes I can hear both pumps run.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:47 PM
Mike1 Mike1 is offline
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The fuel rail has what looks like an air valve stem on it, with the key on, push the valve stem an see if gas shoot out, that'll at least tell you if your getting gas to the injectors.
You put a new coil on it and still no spark, Put a volt meter on the incoming side of the coil and see if you're getting 12V to the coil. If not then you have to trace back down the line, if you are getting power, but nothing out of the other side of the coil then I'd say either put the old coil back on or try another coil, It is possible that you just got a bad one out of the box. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. It's been awhile since I worked on an 88 but I'll look up in the manual when I get home unless someone answers first about the next step because I can't remember if there's a main fuse or relay under the hood for that.
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Old 10-26-2014, 02:45 PM
kc9bpo kc9bpo is offline
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Been a while since I posted anything. Had UPS and down with the truck. After sitting at my nephews place for a week, got back out there and tried more stuff. Found out the battery died so we replaced that. Also did new plugs, wired, rotor, dis cap. Still didn't start, then we moved some wires near the firewall, and it fired right up. Not sure what the wires went to. But even tho it started, I now have an issues with the transmission. Its like the clutch isn't engaging all of the way. Even with that, I drove it home.
Next day, won't start and it jumps even when the clutch is to the floor and its in gear.


I'm thinking about just redoing the entire ignition system. I just don't know what I would need. Does msd have a complete system? I checked and the injectors are getting fuel. So I think I have some wiring issue somewhere. Not sure about the tranny tho. What can be wrong when it shifts great, sits for a week, then has issues? No fluid leak, I checked that.


This truck is driving me nuts.
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Old 10-26-2014, 09:31 PM
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Stop and think before you spen money on the MSD. You stated that you moved some wires on the firewall and it started. You have a loose connection or broken wire somewhere. "Wiggle test " wire to find it. Let me put it another way. I bring you my computer and tell you sometimes the monitior works sometimes it doesn't. Do you automaticly say bad monitior or do you swap cables to see if that is it? Your transmission problem can cause a no start condition if the safety switch tells the ecm that it is it in gear and clutch engaged. Thw physical part about you tranny sounds like the clutch is slipping
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:30 AM
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Have you checked for PIP signal when the ignition cuts out?
If you relocated the TFI to a remote heatsink this should be REAL easy.
Those ignition pickups in the distributor do go bad.

Sounds like the "wires near the firewall" go to the clutch safety interlock.
I believe an '88 still has the self adjusting plastic rack attached above the pedal.
You can see how the adjuster block bottoms out the contacts for this style to work.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:45 AM
kc9bpo kc9bpo is offline
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The engine turns over it just doesn't fire, I thought the clutch safety stopped it from turning over at all. I tested the clutch thing by trying to start it without the clutch pushed in and it didn't even turn over. So I don't think the clutch safety is my issue.
Looking in the engine bay there are a ton of wires all over the place. behind the dash, there are wires spliced into other wires, that aren't original. I think I did figure out why my battery died from sitting for a week. The previous owner had the break controller plugged into the fuse panel into a port that was always hot. So even when the truck was off, the box had power. Killed that wire to save my battery.
I was gonna do the wire chase thing for the ignition, but thought about replacing everything so I know the wires are good. I just can't find a complete engine re-wire kit anywhere.
so I guess the suggestion of chasing down the bad wire is what I need to do. ugh. fun times. lol.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:24 AM
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I guess I don't understand the part about 'it won't start even with the clutch dumped to the floor...'
Like I said, if you don't have spark and you have thrown all these ignition parts at it, *do you even have a trigger signal*???
Have you tried for spark with the SpOut removed?
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:30 AM
kc9bpo kc9bpo is offline
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ok. let me try this again. sorry if i made everyone confused.

step on clutch, truck will turn over. won't start.
without stepping on clutch, nothing happens.

getting fuel in the fuel rail.
replaced: battery, plugs, wires, distro cap, rotor, fuel filter (as the old one rattled), ICM, ignition coil, starter relay (as i broke the old one putting in the new alternator).

I will test for spark at the plug hopefully tonight. Hard to get extra hands to turn a key while checking for spark.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:52 PM
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You can always jumper from the + battery cable lug to the 's' terminal of the fender mounted relay.

Not sure where you mounted the TFI, but I'm sure you can reach the distributor from there.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:52 PM
 
 
 
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