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Sputtered then stalled-now crank no start-no spark

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Old 06-17-2017, 08:08 PM
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Sputtered then stalled-now crank no start-no spark

Got a bit of a situation.
1983 F250-351W
I took the truck out the other day and on the road the truck sputtered (it had no power) so I downshifted but still had no power then it stalled. I luckily was able to coast it into a parking lot. When I tried starting it-it would crank but not turn over.
My initial thought was bad fuel b/c the truck has been sitting for a while and I just switched over to my rear tank which I put a few gallons in the other day.
But I checked spark for the hell of it and what do you know-no spark. I checked from the distributor to the spark plug and from the distributor to the ignition coil. Both didn't not spark.
Any suggestions?
Many thanks.
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:29 PM
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If you want to throw parts at it, get another ignition module. If that turns out not to be the culprit, it's good to have a spare to carry around behind the seat.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:34 AM
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Don't think thats the problem. I now have spark at both locations. Not sure if I could not see very well or what but I had the wife watch as I turned it over and apparently I DO have spark. I checked my fuel by pumping some into a container-its fine. So I got fuel and spark so I'm lost. Checked my distributor for cracks and its good. Luckily I broke down at a mechanics shop so I'll prob have them look at it.
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:00 AM
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When Ignition modules start going bad they quit when hot, then when the vehicle (module) cools down they work again. That's the first sign of a failing module. Eventually they will stay failed. If you don't want to change the module now, I would get a spare and keep it in the truck.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryBumkin View Post
When Ignition modules start going bad they quit when hot, then when the vehicle (module) cools down they work again. That's the first sign of a failing module. Eventually they will stay failed. If you don't want to change the module now, I would get a spare and keep it in the truck.
Would I still have spark with a bad module?
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:22 AM
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Because it cooled down.
Some will take a heat gun and heat up the module for testing (they heat the module and see if the engine shut off). If it's going bad it will first fail when it's hot.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:41 PM
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Could be lots of things...... If you are not willing or capable of troubleshooting, then yes, let the mechanics have it....
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Old 06-24-2017, 03:09 PM
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Here is an update.
I let the shop take a look at it so they could diagnose it for me. They said my ignition coil was shorting out and they told me to replace that and the distributor cap and rotor.
I installed everything they said and it did not fix the problem, which I somewhat expected because I had already had the coil tested by autozone and they said it was fine.
I am kind of a newbie at this but I've been researching how to pinpoint a diagnosis for a crank no start. I used the fastec technique and this is what I got:
Fuel: It is getting fuel-I can smell it when I crank it and I've tried starting with starting fluid with no luck
Air: Pretty sure that piggy backs off fuel
Spark: Got spark at plugs and distributor.
Timing: Not sure
Exhaust: When it cranks I can feel gases coming out of both exhaust pipes.
Compression: Tested two cylinders: Number 4 read 70psi and number 7 read 90 psi.

I think it may be timing but is there something I could be overlooking, like a sensor or something. Also the mechanic said the old ignition coil was getting hot which he said was a fire hazard-part of the reason he told me to replace it. It still gets fairly hot when I try and start it. What could cause that..bad condenser?
Any help is appreciated.
And I did try a new ignition module--no help
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Old 06-24-2017, 03:23 PM
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Timing chain give up?
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Old 06-24-2017, 03:36 PM
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So, before it stalled, in your first post, was it running ok?
What was the last work you had done when it was running well?

But you do need to verify the timing.

I do recommend you put 2 gal of high-test fuel in each tank to raise the octane level.
Is your accelerator pump squirting fuel into the intake?
Do you have a 2150 or 7200 carburetor?

A vacuum leak could keep you from starting, if it is big enough. Check all your vacuum lines.
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Old 06-24-2017, 04:26 PM
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When he said "timing" I see that as anything from the dist. moving (not clamped down) to a bad timing chain.
When cranking trying to start it how does it crank over, normal or fast or normal then fast then normal again?


Now you said has spark how did you test this? But I also don't think it is a no spark issue if you changed out the module and starting fluid did not get a pop but could be so don't rule this out just yet.


Now back to the timing thing. Get the motor set on TDC (top dead center) if you don't know how ask.
With #1 set on TDC and hope the damper is right, pop the cap and see if the rotor is also pointing to #1 on the cap. If not is it 180* off? It could be it you did not get it on TDC of the compression stroke.


If that does not check out may want to leave the cap off the dist. and crank the motor over and see if the rotor turns evenly.
Dave ----


ps: you need to do more then 2 holes for a compression test as that does not tell us a thing.
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Old 06-24-2017, 06:14 PM
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The coil getting hot is normal. They are oil filled to help keep the windings cool. Cranking on it all the time will make it hotter than normal also.

Like someone else mentioned, when it cranks but won't start, is it a even crank crank crank, or does it turn over fast then slow fast then slow. If the speed varies it could very well be the timing chain.
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Old 06-24-2017, 06:55 PM
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And just to be clear does it have a good spark? Needs to be fat and bluish-white at the plug.

A thin reddish or yellow spark is no good, it will not be able to jump the gap at all when installed and under compression. Maybe you know this already. Be sure to keep the battery on a charger while this gets sorted out, a truck that won't start is pretty torturous on the battery and starter, solenoid, etc.

The coil itself is going to get hot, that's what they do. Don't leave the key in the RUN position without the engine running however. Another test you can try, pull the coil wire at the distributor, it should be able to jump at least a 1/2" with a fat bright spark to ground. If for example it passed this test, but would not pass a good spark at the plugs, it would indicate a fault somewhere in the distributor cap itself, or rotor, and/or wires.
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Old 06-24-2017, 08:55 PM
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To see tedster's post
Dave ----
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:04 AM
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Thanks for all the replies,
when it cranks it is a pretty constant/good sounding crank.
I just got the truck so I'm not sure how it was running before.
Not sure about the spark but I will check soon. But I checked with a spark tester tool and made the gap fairly wide to jump.
The dizzy was kind of loose, so I went ahead and removed the distributor to see if the teeth were worn out. All was good but when I went to reinstall I consulted my manual on how to find TDC and as it turns out I have a duraspark 3 ignition system which is non-adjustable. Luckily I marked the position of the rotor in relation to the engine block before removal and got it back to its original position. I still wonder if my timing is off? The only way to adjust the timing is with a "rotor alignment tool." I attached a picture of the 83 shop manual I have if anyone cares to read. Anyone have any idea how to do that-I couldn't find the tool. Something else I found interesting is the previous owner had written on top of the distributor cap the order of the spark plug wires and they are way off both normal 351w firing order and 351w with Duraspark 3 firing order. The order he had them in (and in which it ran) is 1-6-3-8-5-2-4-7. I can't find that firing order for anything, so I'm hoping the previous owner wrote down the wrong numbers so I will just go with the duraspark 3 firing order.
Thanks for the help
Also kind of off topic but when I removed my distributor there was alot of sludge on the bottom(see pic) anyone know what could be causing that.
Thanks



Sledge on bottom of dist



Duraspark 3 rotor alignment
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