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  #1  
Old 02-15-2009, 12:39 PM
golley golley is offline
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2.3L Will Not Start !

Hey guys and gals! I'm hoping for a little help....

My 1990 ranger xlt 2wd has the 8 plug 2.3L 4 cyl. I bought the truck new and had a new engine put in at a Ford dealership about 9 years ago (bad oil pump ruined original), current engine has 60+ thousand on it. I really like this truck. It has taken me through the swamps of south Florida as well as the Blue Ridge.
I had driven the truck as a mostly daily driver, and had not had to do much repair until lately, as components began to wear. This past year I began to fix various things as time and money allowed...put in a new clutch pack in the R1 manual 5 speed this past summer, all new parts including flywheel, clutch cylinder, etc. New tires, new battery terminals, etc.

It happened that after the the first of '09 truck sat more than usual. I drove it at least once a week, and after a cold snap around home (in north NC a "cold snap" is several days below freezing) at the beginning of this month, got in the truck and tried to start it.

Engine turned over fine, but would not start. Starter speed appears entirely normal. Tried to start it again later in the day when warmer, same thing. Tried pumping gas pedal, pedal to the floor, etc. I let the truck set there until the next week when temps outside got in the 50s and 60s (of course, I haven't got a garage, truck is out in the yard). I depressurized the fuel rail with the mityvac and put in a new fuel filter that I had in stock. Tried to start, no change. One thing I did notice was that on the first attempt, engine would act like it wanted to fire for a second. After that, won't even try and fire up. After setting again for at least a day, same thing happens.
I could hear the fuel pump come on when the key is in run position, pumping up the fuel rail for maybe 3 seconds.

So, checked the fuel rail. I don't have a fuel pressure tester for the ford (one on the way), so I uncapped the test valve and pushed down on it...fuel squirted out nicely, with the key in off. My fuel level sender is out, but I know I have at least half a tank…rocking the truck side to side and you can hear plenty of fuel sloshing around.

Just to make sure, turned to the battery terminals. Made sure ground wires were ok in the negative side, checked the positive, and hooked up the battery charger to the battery while doing this. Put things back together and tried to start, again no change.

I hooked up the obd1 tester and pulled codes on a key on engine off test. Other than a code 15 (I assumed that was from having the battery disconnected, right?) only showed a code 11. Erasing and pulling codes again showed only code 11.

I installed new wires, plugs, DIS and coil packs. Truck needed new plugs and wires anyway. I just threw money at it with the DIS and coils. Had already pulled #2 plug wire loose from passenger side and checked for spark…looked good to me.

Checked the inertia switch, it wasn’t kicked out but I jumped it out anyway.
Also tried the starter fluid trick, even after finding gas on the plugs just after a start attempt. Still no change.

Pulled the snorkel loose from the air box and TB while doing plugs and checked for anything unusual; looked good, and throttle cable and TB flapper working ok. Left snorkel off while tried to start. Even put a piece of paper in exhaust pipe to see if had air flow thru engine…paper blew right out.
Checked engine ground to negative bat terminal, looked good. I don’t see any broken ground wires yet. I pulled the pass side kick panel and looked at computer grounds…they are in place and tight.

At this point I am lost. I didn’t pull the timing belt cover, but just bending it back shows the belt is under tension and the back of the belt looks brand new.

I’m open to any suggestion at this point. Computer says it is ok but don’t know how far that goes. I was thinking that if crank sensor was bad, the computer would show that. I can see that RPM side is working at the RPM gauge during cranking.

One thing that I hadn’t noticed before was the behavior of the volts gauge during cranking; gauge falls to 8 volts. Don’t know if this is normal. So I put the volt meter on the battery. With key off shows 12.45V. During cranking shows around 10.5 volts.

Anyone with any ideas? Thanks in advance.
G
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2009, 11:40 AM
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TigerDan TigerDan is offline
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Since it didn't even try to fire on starting fluid and you say it looks like it has good spark, I think the next thing I would try is to look at the timing belt/cam pulley while cranking the engine to make sure it's turning. I've see the teeth ripped right out of the timing belt by the crank gear so that the timing belt was still under tension and obviously not broken, but the crank turned while the cam and belt didn't. I think the spark is triggered by a crank sensor on that engine (if memory serves me correctly) so you'd still have spark even though the cam isn't turning.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:47 PM
golley golley is offline
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Got back under the hood this afternoon and pulled the front cover off the timing belt. Guess what?! The cam pulley mark is off 3 teeth counterclock from the cam timing mark, when the crank mark is at TC cover mark. But i didn't see any missing belt teeth, and the belt still looks good. Tension looked ok and the belt turned everything fine, at least when using a wrench. This worries me a bit. I thought that if the timing was off that the engine would still try to fire/turn over on its own, and just run like crap for however long. This engine does have a crank sensor, no cam or aux sensor this i know of. I took long enough today to determine that TDC on #1 piston actually matched the TC marks on the crank pulley and belt cover.

But something has me scratching my head. Consider this.... I always see it writ that when determining #1 piston TDC, there is a compression and exhaust stroke. But if the timing belt is off or broken, how do you tell? Inlet/exhaust/compression are all a function of the valves. If valves aren't working, no cycling of above.

Can I assume that one complete rev of the crank puts the pistons in the same up/down positions, every time?
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:03 PM
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Yes, that's correct. The crank turns two turns for every one turn of the cam so you just put the crank on the TDC mark and it'll put the pistons for the numbers 1 and 4 cylinders at TDC, then just turn the cam and line up the marks.

I'd by most concerned about what caused it to jump time. Really look at the belt, check the whole thing carefully and chenck the tensioner to make sure it's not loose.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:01 AM
golley golley is offline
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Thanks Dan. I thought that was correct concerning the piston TDC.

I'm still worried about what happened. Get this...someone on another site said he had experienced a sheared pulley key! It is hard to accept that a keystock would give it up, before the belt would lose teeth or just plain break.

I think I'll replace belt and tensioner. You can buy a kit with both parts, and they're not too outrageously priced.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:18 PM
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Hmm, now that you mention it it seems to me that I have indeed heard of that before, I'd sure check it out.
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:22 PM
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Had to run to the next town over to get the tensioner, but i got one. It's just the pulley mounted on the steel mount, but it did come with a good page of info on changing the timing belt...belt sold separately.

Due to weather and other work, I haven't done much last two days; hope to make up for it on Friday...but did TRY to remove the crank belt pulley...TRIED.

My 1/2 inch breaker bar is a long one, and I put the trans in fourth; blocked the rear tires, and finally pulled out my four foot -repeat- four foot long cheater bar, and still could not break the pulley bolt loose. De-Frustrated with the hammer some...at one point had to push the truck up off the tire blocks and reblock, as it was about to climb over them...

Then, drained and pulled radiator out and set the AC coil to the side.
Now, I have a corded 1/2 inch impact driver, that I've used to take freaking boilers apart with. Damn thing is so long that even with all the coils out of the way, still couldn't get exactly straight on the pulley bolt, due to the support that runs vertical just behind the grille cover.....and STILL couldn't get that bolt to move! Used the 1/2 inch universal at one point too, just for shucks and grins and had to push and peen the pins back in afterward, but that just adds to all the fun! Of course, bolt still no move.

Are these things reverse-threaded or what? Haynes manual doen't say so.

I dare say that there aint' no recalls by Ford, for loose crank pulley bolts.

Was toying with the idea of trying to get the belt off/on without removal of the pulley, but if the sensor or keyway are shot....
I guess I'll see if I have any LP or MAPP gas left around the house, try some heat and go at it again.

I'll sure let you know what happens in the Second Battle of the Bolt.
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Old 02-19-2009, 11:37 PM
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The usual trick is to put the socket and breaker bar on the bolt and wedge the breaker bar against the frame, then bump the starter. It will usually spin the crank around the bolt while the breaker bar holds it in place, breaking it loose instantly.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:30 AM
Old Rob Old Rob is offline
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerDan View Post
The usual trick is to put the socket and breaker bar on the bolt and wedge the breaker bar against the frame, then bump the starter. It will usually spin the crank around the bolt while the breaker bar holds it in place, breaking it loose instantly.
Be sure to put something like 2x4 wood to keep the socket on the head of the bolt. DON'T USE YOUR HANDS!!
You might also need a gear puller to get that gear off.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:08 AM
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I had read about the starter trick...had already tried it for one bump. When that didn't break it loose, I chickened out on a repeat. But I found another way. I did win in Bolt II. Bolts beware!

Finally got back on the truck Saturday afternoon.
I got the bright idea of dropping an 18” pipe wrench down of top of the crank hub. I put the end of the handle under the steering box and frame. I put the breaker bar and four foot cheater on the crank bolt and carefully took up all slack. Checked that the pipe wrench held itself in place and didn’t slip position or start ratcheting and tearing up the hub housing.
Started putting pressure on the cheater bar counterclock and watched breaker bar start bending, very nicely. More pressure and finally got a few pop-pops and I stopped pulling. Put just the breaker bar on, checked the wrench and carefully took up all slack again, and pulled. Crank bolt broke loose as pretty as you please! Immediately and carefully retired the pipe wrench. Used a damper puller and pulled the crank hub off. Had to use the puller, but hub came off fairly easily.

WORD OF WARNING here. You cannot let the pipe wrench grip the tinned metal flags for the crank sensor. The shop manual says the air gap on the sensor is less than 40 thousandths. Bend the stamped sheet out of place and it could wipe out the sensor. Even if it ends up just touching, the constant banging can cause sensor failure IMO. End of warning.

Breaker bar now has a permanent slight bend. Gives it character, I guess.


Well, removed the timing belt. Used a crowbar on the tensioner as per other forum work descriptions. I didn’t remove the sensor; the “slinger” looking piece in front of the crank belt cog pulley (shop manual calls it a “belt guide”) is blocked from removal by the sensor (and notched for the keyway so it won’t spin), but rocks around enough that it wasn’t a major problem to get the belt off or on. Inspected pulley and key as I could, and all looked well.

Replaced belt tensioner. This is a new pulley on a mounting bracket with a roll pin for the tensioner spring. You don’t get new bolts or tensioner spring (not in this Advance Auto kit I got, anyway). Loosen spring bolt and adjustment bolt. Release the spring by using the crowbar to remove tension off the adjustment bolt, remove bolt and slowly release spring tension with crowbar. Remember how spring in oriented for reinstall and remove spring bolt, spring and bracket. There was a little fresh looking oil on/around back of the spring bolt, so I put some teflon tape on the bolt threads. Couldn’t tell if bolt originally had sealer on the threads and didn’t check for a blind hole; should have. Reinstalled in reverse order.

Installed new timing belt in place under crank cog.
Put crank hub housing back on and torqued to 120 ft-lb (Haynes manual reads 103 to 133). Made sure of TDC at #1 piston via spark plug hole. Used a ratchet on cam bolt turned clockwise only; cam sprang around on me! I should have used a short breaker bar or wrench with two hands to control movement better. Positioned cam pulley for correct alignment dead center on the cam marks. Completed Installing belt and tensioned, left tensioner bolts slightly loose. Installed crank belt pulley onto hub and timing cover minus the cam mark cover plug. Removed rest of pass side spark plugs and turned crank with wrench on crank bolt four complete revs clockwise. Cam/crank marks stayed aligned correctly, belt in place and tension looks OK. Replaced and wired plugs, removed timing cover and tightened tensioner bolts. The good book says “use a wrench on tensioner assembly to set belt tension, not the tensioner spring” which makes no sense to me, nor did I see anyplace to put the average wrench; they must mean the “special tool” used to relieve tension.

Secured engine bay and put AC coil loosely back in place, put battery terminals back on. Got in truck and started; she runs! Just for a few seconds, shut down and repeated, no problems. Well, almost. There is a loud ticking, sounds like in the top end, a single tick like a valve might make, not the whole valve train. I had checked oil level and was showing a little overfull, so I know ever livin’ drop of oil is in the bottom, it’s cold out here, and not too worried yet.
Put the engine exterior parts back on. AC coil, radiator, coolant, fan cowl and fan, belts, air box snorkel, etc., all the things that were disconnected in the course of tuneup and repair.

Started truck, and it started right up. Ran good, but still the ticking. It didn’t get any worse so I just let it run at idle. As the engine warned the ticking rapidly lost volume. After a little while it’s almost gone. I can still hear a little tick, but revving the engine to 2k and slowly back to idle, it doesn’t change volume and no new ticks or noises. Engine idle is smooth.

After engine idles maybe 25 minutes I shut down and installed my timing light. I removed the jumper plug on the connector located in wiring harness above DIS location. Restart was smooth, no changes. Warned engine and checked timing. Timing is close to 10 BTC, but a little retarded. I dial the timing light advance to 13 and the crank mark is lined up with TC on cover scale. SO about 13 BTC is what I’ve got at about 710 rpm according to my rpm meter (keys off the #1 plug wire), while in the truck the rpm shows just slightly over 500 rpm. (I did all this on both #1 plugs; results were the same). Oh, checked timing after reinstalling plug at DIS, and timing at idle ranging around 20 to 25 BTC; this just a “shucks and giggles” check.

You know, I scanned both the Haynes and Ford shop engine manual, and cannot find a call-out for timing. It seems that in forum research I saw that timing is 10 BTC +/- 2, but I’m not sure. Whoops! Forgot to read instructions on any vac line removing and plugging; will have to review the forum info.

Still don’t know what caused the timing jump, but noticed the new belt is tighter than the old one, of course. The old belt was missing no teeth, and had been on nearly 70k miles. When this all started, it was well below freezing. I did find a fair amount of misc dirt near the crank pulley. A piece of frozen crap caught between belt and cog pulley? Something momentarily stuck in the top end? Just a loose timing belt?
The tick bothered me. Early Sunday morning, I’m up and out to the truck. I start her up; she fires fine, with no loud tick. So maybe it was just lack of oil.

To me, the most FUBAR crap in the whole affair (other than the silly 8 plug head) is getting around the crank sensor to deal with the timing belt. It sucks. This is what led me to be creative in belt installation, and I may have caused top end damage in the process. It would probably be advantageous to install a new sensor with the belt, but the things are like around US$130. Who wants to spend that, if you don’t have to? Also, does the “timing sensor positioner tool, T86P-6316-A, or equivalent” come with a new sensor, or separately? The best scenario would probably be to have access to this tool and follow the factory shop procedure. This still leaves out the special tensioner tool, but it seems you can get good results without it.

Thanks to all for all the help!
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:41 AM
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Glad you got it. Nothing as satisfying as hearing it start up after all your hard work!

Definitely a puzzler as to why it jumped time in the first place, your theory of a frozen piece of crud that got into the cogs might be it. At 70K you were about due for timing belt replacement anyway, so it's all good...

10º BTDC sounds right to me, I like to advance 'em another 2º beyond that to 12º as long as it doesn't ping.
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:08 PM
golley golley is offline
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Interesting, Dan. Maybe 13BTC is a bit much?

But you can't change the timing on a 90 with DIS. Right?

Can you describe what you mean by ping? I'm not a great auto mechanic and it's been a while since I've worked with a distributor. I'm assuming that is what you mean by being able to adjust the timing, correct?
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:36 PM
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Actually, you're correct...can't adjust timing on DIS. I didn't really think about it being DIS, but you did mention 8 plugs so that should have clicked. Duh...

Don't sell yourself short, sounds like you've done a great job so far.

Ping, or knock is the sound you hear when you give it throttle under load without shifting down, sort of a rattling sound. With DIS it's all controlled by the computer so it's doubtful you'd hear it. If it's showing you 13º, that's just the amount of timing you're getting at that particular time and it's pretty much informational only, not really anything you can do to change it. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:26 PM
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Ok, i get it Dan; have heard it before.

Road tested fine today. Afterward did an oil change.

Moving on to brake work tomorrow!

And again, thanks for the help.

Oh, for anyone interested, the Ford Crankshaft Positioner Gauge 303-354 (T86P-6316-A) is available via internet mailorder. In researching the forums, someone said the gauge comes with a new sensor, if yours goes out.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:16 PM
RadioFlyer84 RadioFlyer84 is offline
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Just wanted to say thank you for this thread; it helped me figure out why my truck wouldn't start. I went to check the cam timing mark and discovered even though the timing belt was in place and intact, when I turn the crank by hand...the belt doesn't move!
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:16 PM
 
 
 
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