89 GT cranks every time but won't start MOST TIMES! HELP!! - Mustang Evolution

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Old 01-24-2014, 06:01 AM   #1
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89 GT cranks every time but won't start MOST TIMES! HELP!!

I am new to this forum but while doing searches I always get directed here so I figured I would join. I am a basic backyard novice but I have some good skills. I restored both a '68 & '69 Mustang and they run like tops. My '89 was running perfectly until a few days ago. I have seen dozens of answers to this issue all over the web. Problem is, some of the solutions seem way over my head and skill level and the others didn't work. I know finding and fixing something like this at a shop will cost huge dollars so I want to at least try everything first.

Here is my issue.

It is a 1989 GT, automatic convertible.
MSD Streetfighter box, blaster coil and billit distributor
BAMA computer ship from American Muscle
BBK cold air intake and throttle body.

All of these mods have been in the car for over a year and she has always run like a top. This weekend I installed a PA Performance 95amp alternator along with the heavy duty lead that runs from the alternator to the starter relay. Everything went great, finished up, started the car and it ran like it always does. Amp meter read strong and all electricals worked properly. I took her for a ride and it was perfect. Brought her home, shut her down and cleaned up. When I tried to start her about a half hour later, nothing. She cranks fine but won't turn over. I tinkered and nothing. Came out about an hour later and she fired right up. Took her out again and all was good. Next morning same issue, nothing but crank. Tried it last night and it started again but when I tried a bit later nothing.

When I turn the key all seems and sounds normal, fuel pump cycles, all indicator lights come on and it cranks. I have spark. So here is what I tried with no success. I was wondering if there was a simple way to see if the injectors are spraying. Ugh.

By passed MSD box
Tried new coil
Tried new starter relay
Tried new ECM on the distributor
Cleaned up with a rag all wires by relay and made sure all looked good
I do have power to the MSD box

I can't figure anything else out. I don't own a OBD I tester and have limited electrical diagnostic tools. I can usually figure almost anything out with help from the forums but I am worried here. Just dumped a boat load on tires/wheels, new convertible top, all new seat upholstery, carpet, door panels and trim. I need some help.

I have also seen a few posts that suggest replacing the fuel pump but that seems like a huge job/expense that seem in all probability, won't correct it.

Thanks so much everyone. I also live on Long Island so if I need a mechanic any referrals would be great.

[B]New problem too. While tightening my negative battery groung to the engine, the boss on the timing cover snapped off. It was only the tab so thankfully I don't need to replace it, I just need a new, solid, good contact to ground to. I have heard so many different places and reason not to ground to places. Where can I attach the ground to the engine that will be a solid, secure, well grounded connection.[B]

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:11 AM   #2
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When did the ground break?
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:13 AM   #3
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And shade tree testing injectors is to put 2 fingers in it and try to feel it pulsing or use a scope and try to hear them.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:35 AM   #4
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Ground broke last night when I tried to make sure it was snug. I guess 8 degree weather makes things brittle. I do know the ground was tight (at least I do now) and the problem started before I touched the ground cable. She just won't turn over. Ugh.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:43 AM   #5
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Does it feel like it's trying to? You know like it get to a point and it's starting to sputter or does it just crank and nothing?
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:45 AM   #6
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You just need three things to start fuel air and spark so hunt down those systems and you will find your problem
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:52 AM   #7
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Nah, doesn't even seem like it wants to start. The few times it did, it turned over right away and ran perfectly.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:22 AM   #8
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Sounds like ignition, did you check when it wasn't starting if you were getting spark at the plugs?
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:29 AM   #9
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Now that I think about it check the crank sensor
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:55 AM   #10
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Don't think so, I have a MSD distributor. This is making me nuts.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:21 PM   #11
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Have you checked plugs? Maybe you got oil or coolant fouling the plugs? All plug wires are in correct order? Should be if it was running good before...hmm. Seems like something with new alternator since that's when it started. I've heard it takes some time for computer to recognize changes made to motor...maybe it's not picking up the alternator? I don't know for sure cuz mine is pre-computer age...just a thought.
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:22 AM   #12
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Sgt_Syke,

All plugs are good and wires are correct. After I finished installing the alternator she started on the first crank. Idled perfectly and all was good. I took her out for for a test drive and everything was perfect. Even with the heat, radio, headlights and fog lamps the alternator gauge was reading better than ever before. When I got back home I shut her off to get cleaned up and when I came out a half hour later she wouldn't start. About two hours later she cranked and started. Took her around the block and everything was ok. Next day, nothing again. While tinkering around she cranked and started once more. Ran and idled perfectly. Shut her down and tried to start her again and nothing. Ugh! Checked coil, fuel inertia switch, swaped out TPS and starter relay and still nothing.

Today I am going to check fuel pressure, ignition switch, EEC relay, fuel pump relay, all fusible links and engine ground. Hoping for something. This just sucks.

I'm hoping between all of the resources on this forum we can figure is out.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:11 AM   #13
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Sound like it may be fuel pump relay or fuel pressure regulator.have you checked fuel pressure?
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:18 AM   #14
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Going to try that today. Got to heat the garage first, 20 degrees makes it even more miserable. I'll post results.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:22 AM   #15
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I'll be in garage today as well but no heat with a whopping 15 deg.hope to get fuel tank back in and fuel line fixed so I can start it again 😁.been 2months since it ran and I'm anxious
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:35 PM   #16
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Update.....

Put new ignition switch in, re grounded the engine and cleaned up some wires and SHE STARTED! Ran well too. I started her 5-10 times and kicked each one of them. If she starts tomorrow I will call her fixed.

Fingers crossed.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:16 PM   #17
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My next suggestion was going to be ignition switch...it's common on foxes. Sounds like u found it though.
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Old 01-25-2014, 04:22 PM   #18
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Just went out, reinstalled coil cover, cranked her and she started! If she starts tomorrow I'm calling that fixed.
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Old 01-25-2014, 04:36 PM   #19
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Good job
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:12 AM   #20
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Went out this morning and NOTHING. Cranks but won't start. Totally lost. Don't think there is spark at the plug.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:56 AM   #21
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If its manual, maybe a problem with neutral safety switch? Check plugs first though.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:00 PM   #22
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She's an automatic. Also looks like now there is power at the coil but not the plugs. What could be causing an intermittent issue? Could the ignition switch be bad?
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:10 PM   #23
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Sounds like tfi module
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:43 PM   #24
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I replaced that from a working distributor and nothing.

UGH,

---------- Post added at 01:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:43 PM ----------

I replaced that from a working distributor and nothing.

UGH,
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:58 PM   #25
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Ignition switch could be bad, but didn't you just replace it?
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:16 PM   #26
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I did. Faulty?
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:36 PM   #27
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The ignition coil provides power to distributer.i believe there are resisters built internally which could have gone bad.if you have power comming in to coil but no spark sounds like there is the problem
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:50 PM   #28
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I don't suspect the ignition switch, I agree with libert91...if you have power into coil, but none coming out, that's probably it. Google how to test your coil, so you can be sure before you replace it. Or maybe someone on here can tell you how.

---------- Post added at 07:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:50 PM ----------

Sorry...liebert
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:46 AM   #29
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I was out there last night for hours.

Bypassed the MSD setup, no start.
New coil, no start.
New ignition switch, no start.
New starter relay & cleaned all wires and fusible links up, no start.
Changed cap, rotor& coil wire, no start.
Pulled spout plug, no start.
Fuel PSI checked at 30+psi after priming pump a few times.
Power at the injectors.
All fuses look good.

I put on the OBD1 but couldn't figure codes. Seemed like 22 but I know that is wrong.

I am lost. I have a the original control from the original distributor I will swap tonight but then I am lost.

Coil just not throwing spark.

Ugh.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:56 AM   #30
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Have you checked the connection and connectors?maybe they are loose?maybe a prong bent or loose getting connection sometimes?could be reason sometimes it starts?it has to be between coil and distributer if you are getting voltage at coil.may also check at distributer connection to see if voltage is leaving coil.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:03 AM   #31
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How would I check to see if power is leaving the coil? I put a spark plug tester on the coil, put the other end on the coil wire and ran it to the distributor. Cranked it and no light came on or pulsed. I know this coil is good. I am going to replace TPS tonight but I feel like I am running out of options.

Garage is $102/hr. to work on this. Holy smoke this bill could climb quick and there is no real guarantee that they can find it either.

ROCK--(ME)--HARD PLACE
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:28 AM   #32
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Sounds like only thing you haven't replaced that is new is tfi module.unhook harness that plugs into it and see if voltage going to it from coil.i would double check connectors and make sure nothing loose or broke
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:40 AM   #33
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How would I check voltage between the TFI and the coil? Where on the the TFI and to what on the coil? I guess the connector that plugs into the TFI is where I would look for a broken or bent pin? I think this is the last hurrah before I have to to take it to a shop.

Hoping this works liebert91stang. Electrical has never been my strong suit.

Thanks for the help so far.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:45 AM   #34
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No problem.fingers crossed for you.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:51 AM   #35
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How would I check voltage between the TFI and the coil? Where on the the TFI and to what on the coil? I guess the connector that plugs into the TFI is where I would look for a broken or bent pin? I think this is the last hurrah before I have to to take it to a shop.
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