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  1. #1

    Default Intermittent Spark Issues

    I have a 79 Capri that is having some strange issues I can't seem to get to the root of.

    Toward the end of last year when I was getting ready to put it up for the winter it would start cold just fine, but after about 10min, or whenever it got warm, it would suddenly die, and there was no starting it again until it cooled down.

    When it quits and I try starting it again, I notice that right as I turn off the key the engine makes a quick sputter, like I would have gotten it started had I just kept turning it over a bit more! I think the car is taunting me.

    Fast forward to this week, and now the car won't start up when cold, same symptom where the car sputters a little after letting off the key. I eventually did get it to start, but died while driving down the road again.

    --- Setup ---
    5.0 Rollercam V8 from a '91 mustang and Carb'd
    Carter fuel pump with Holley bypass regulator

    ---Things that happened before this problem started ---

    I foolishly tried plugging in the Gauge cluster from my '85 parts car into my '79 since it looked like it would fit and noticed stuff was starting to smell so I disconnected everything as quickly as I could.

    Since putting the original cluster back in, I notice my Horn and temperature gauge sometimes do not work.

    Also replaced the Heater Core, don't see how that could effect anything though.

    ---- Troubleshooting ----
    The car is getting gas, has compression, and has air, so pretty sure it's spark that's the issue

    I replaced the following parts:
    - Ignition Module (brand new)
    - Ignition Switch (from '85 parts car)
    - Coil (from '85 parts car)

    I experienced the exact same symptoms with each part.



    Did I fry something when I put in the newer gauge cluster that could cause intermittent issues like this? Not sure what I should try next.


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    FEP Member Hans's Avatar
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    You got an automatic choke that keeps it running while cold?
    How is the ignition timing set?
    I guess (not certain) dashboard issue doesn't cause ignition problems unless contact switch or its wiring is burned.

    Good luck trouble shooting,
    Hans.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn ALE-L21 met Tapatalk

  3. #3
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    When it won't start, are you checking for spark and getting nothing? Or are you presuming it's a no-spark issue and not fuel related?
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  4. #4

    Default

    Appreciate the reponses!

    Yea I have an electronic Choke, tweaking it or giving it gas when it starts to die doesn't do anything.

    As far as spark, I have put a spark tester on it recently and was able to confirm that it has no spark while turning over.


    Until it does and it starts. I let it idle for a bit since it hasn't had a chance to really warm up this year, but it died sometime later. I assume because of no spark all of a sudden.

    Doing more research still and I think it might be worth looking into the Solenoid, maybe it's not getting enough power to spark while it's turning over. I think the Solenoid controls that? I had a friend comment that he saw a spark coming from the solenoid before when I was turning it over.


  5. #5
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Just a quick guess, from looking at parts you have replaced, is the distributor. Have you looked up the procedure for testing the pickup? It's been a while and I don't recall how, but a Haynes/Chilton manual should have what you need. Or just Google-fu it.
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  6. #6

    Default

    I have been reading on other sites and looking at people who are having similar issues on their duraspark ii setup (which I'm pretty sure I have)

    Is the Pickup the PIP sensor? Pretty sure that works with the TFI module and I don't have any of that just a vacuum advance on the distributor itself, unless I'm understanding this wrong.

    One area I haven't really looked into yet is the Solenoid, I'm not the most knowledgeable on it but it sounds like there is a cable that connects from it to the coil which works as a power bypass to crank the engine. I remember fiddling with it in the past (buddy told me he saw a spark come from it when I started it one time). I haven't looked at the car in a while but thinking I'll do testing in that area next.

    I'll report back if I'm able to fix it.

  7. #7
    FEP Senior Member liv2roc's Avatar
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    back a few years ago I had trouble starting my car it would spin over and just as I let off the key it would sputter a little but most of the time it started fine. I changed everything I could think of. ignition switch , coil, module, and last thing I did was bought a new distributor. I went to install it and was comparing them to make sure it was the right one. and I noticed the pickup ring in the old one was upside down. when It was trying to start the ring would raise up a little just enough to lose contact. I guess previous owner installed it that way.

  8. #8
    FEP Power Member Ray Dog's Avatar
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    I agree with liv2roc,lost the TFI on the Capri 2.3 and a week or 2 later I had to nurse it home sputtering.
    The distributer pick up failed. Got an ebay Pinto one and solved the issue.
    I've lost a few TFIs through the years but that was the first distributor failure.
    Ray
    86 Mustang LX 3.8 Convertible (bought new
    84 Capri (needs help)
    05 Volvo XC90 DD( The Swedish Tank)...................Used to own
    08 Magnum (The Roadie Wagon)...........................Too many. the good ones
    95 Saturn SL2 (Kid's Ride).................................65 Chevelle SS, 69 Torino GT
    94 Saturn SL2 (now parts for above) ................39 Willys Overland, 69 Fleetwood, 86 Saab 900
    65 Galaxie 500 XL 390 auto (Waiting for funds)..81 Mustang T-Roof hatch, 88 Lincoln LSC,
    2a

  9. #9

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    It is either the pickup or the Duraspark box, both are fairly common and the issue has been known for years. Nice thing about Ford, you can grab a box from almost any car (as long as the strand color is the same) and see if you have spark. If the box makes no difference, then change the pickup, if it starts with a box, replace the box.

    I always have a spare "blue" box in the cabinet. Not cheap, but handy.

    Kenny

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