No start condition, what should I test?

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  #1  
Old 03-27-09, 07:56 PM
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No start condition, what should I test?

I have a 92' Ford Ranger with 2.9 V6. The engine quit on the freeway while I was in slow traffic. I have not been able to restart it. Here are the facts:

The starter cranks strong
The engine even starts to turn over a little.
I can hear hear the "whine" of the fuel pump spooling up.
The fuses are ok.
The battery/posts/terminals/cable/belt are ok

I have a multi-meter, but I don't know the dial settings that well except to test the battery. How do I test the alternator, solenoid, etc. if truck won't start?

Thanks,
Dave
 
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  #2  
Old 03-27-09, 08:56 PM
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Alternator function is meaningless until the car runs. Alternator will not stop the car from running.......It will cause the dead battery , but "IN and OF itself" , Will not be the cause of a No start.

Engines work on a Principal similar to the Triangle of Life..Earth air and water.

Air ,fuel, and fire......

You must have air to support combustion, A fuel to burn, and a Spark to start the fire. Assuming The mechanical condition of the engine is capable of Ingesting and compressing Air, we then look to see if there is fuel available to be burned, and then ,If so, we look for a spark to ignite the mixture.

Is there gas in the tank, ?, Is there sufficient pressure to supply the fuel to the engine, ? Pull a plug wire off of a spark plug.....Insert a "INSULATED" screwdriver into the wire, hold it close to a Metal piece of the engine, and have a friend Crank the Motor over...Do you see a spark??????

That was the easy part......

Now you need to find out why the Missing Corner of the Triangle, is Missing????
 
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Old 03-28-09, 01:52 PM
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I tested for spark as recommended by UncleDiezel. I tested one plug wire on both sides of engine and did see different colored sparks. I also looked for loose vacuum connections. The battery cable, spark plugs, spark plug wires, PCV cap/rotor, and belts were all replaced June 2008.

I replaced the fuel pump relay with a $10 Sorenson one in January 2007. So maybe it was a low quality model. The fuel pump was replaced in October 2005

I also pressed the valve test fitting on the fuel rail. It squirted on the 1st attempt, but just oozed on the 2nd and 3rd attempt.

I have an auto parts store within walking distance, and I have a digital camera if needed later.

What next?
 
  #4  
Old 03-28-09, 03:23 PM
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If you get strong fuel squirt SOMETIMES, you'd think during that sometimes it at least fire up some, even if for a moment, if that was the issue. Maybe Unc has opinion on this?

You say it cranks strong. Too strong? As in -threw the timing belt - strong?. Hopefully not?
 
  #5  
Old 03-28-09, 03:55 PM
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2.9 ford is a Chain motor.....Although I wouldnt rule out a chain Skipping just yet

Get in the truck, and turn the ignition key to the RUN position......Does the check engine light illuminate?????

You have what is called an ECA relay.....This supplies power to the ignition coil, Fuel injectors, and The feed for the fuel pump relay. The ECM must "See" this relay switch before it will Activate the "Ground Side" of the accesories. These relays were famous for taking on moisture and rotting away.

Real quick, About 8 or 10 inches from the battery, along the negative cable, you will see a connector that looks similar to a Fuse holder for old style glass fuses...make sure the two halves are secure.
 
  #6  
Old 03-28-09, 05:24 PM
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Still following your instructions. Let me answer your latest questions. The starter cranks strong in the sense that it is consistent with a healthy starter. I don't observe or see anything that would indicate that that it is starting too strong.

I might add that I had a remanufactured Jasper engine installed also in June 2008.

I did turn the ignition key to RUN and the check engine light DID illuminate, as well as the battery symbol.

I also checked all the connectors I could find trailing from the battery negative cable. These all look fine. The mechanic I use fabricated a new battery harness at the time of engine replacement.

This is my only vehicle, so I am willing to troubleshoot this for a few days while I use the municipal bus system. If I could save some money that would be great.

What do I look at next?
 
  #7  
Old 03-28-09, 06:10 PM
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When you were depressing the schrader valve on the fuel rail did you depress it three times on one fuel pump run time or did you depress it, get a squirt, then key the ignition and got an ooze the second time with the third time in the same manner as the second?
 
  #8  
Old 03-28-09, 07:25 PM
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you almost have to check fuel pressure with a guage to determine if its a fuel pump problem the pump may be running and may even have some pressure but 20 psi or less pressure is probably not enough to start the engine.
youve said it had spark so the next things to test would be fuel pressure and injector pulse, removing the air intake hose and a squirt of starting fluid down the intake to see if it starts and runs for a second should pretty much confirm that the engine isnt getting any gas just have to find out why.
 
  #9  
Old 03-28-09, 07:44 PM
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No start

Check injection pulse. disconnect one of your injectors on one side you should have power with key on and the other should pulse ground when key is turned over.? sounds like you have input from the dist pickup module and sounds like u got some gas so we need to see if the gas is going into the engine and how much fuel pressure you have?
 
  #10  
Old 03-28-09, 07:52 PM
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I depressed the Schrader valve without doing anything. I guess I was supposed to cycle the ignition key. How much does this fuel pressure gauge cost? I already have the digital multi-meter. The fuel pressure regulator is the original one from 1992 when truck was purchased.

Last week the fuel pump "whine" was either gone or weak. Now it is normal.
 
  #11  
Old 03-28-09, 07:57 PM
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somewhere around 50-75 dollars local parts store.see if a friend may have one seen u dont use one that often?
 
  #12  
Old 03-28-09, 08:22 PM
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No never used a fuel pressure gauge. I have very limited experience with troubleshooting, other than reading on Internet and forums. I think I can get a cheaper gauge at the AutoZone store tomorrow morning.
 
  #13  
Old 03-28-09, 08:34 PM
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When the engine died on the freeway did it stop suddenly or gradually lose power then die. Also when you tried to restart it, did it try to start or did it just crank over?

If it was trying to hit, I would suspect the ignition module or the coil. The 2.9 modules on the late eighties/early nineties had problems.

You might check the harness connection at the coil to make sure it's tight and not corroded as a lot of those things were.

Is this the reman engine you had problems with the intake manifold leaking?
 
  #14  
Old 03-28-09, 08:55 PM
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autozone has a test guage for around 40 bucks just make sure you get the one with the ford adapter while the average person will likely not use one much it can be handy to have if you are going to diagnose your own vehicles.
 
  #15  
Old 03-28-09, 10:04 PM
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Ok Bejay I'll check out the fuel gauge/with Ford adapter at Autozone.

Marbobj, the engine didn't stop instantaneously on the freeway. There did seem to be a very brief wind down accompanied by slight sputtering or roughness, maybe 2 or 3 seconds? Hope that helps. It happened just as I tapped the accelerator pedal. I was accelerating from a very slow traffic speed.
When I attempted restart, it did TRY to restart. I have a Chilton's manual and I was reading about the ICM and ignition coil both of which I located.

You must have read my previous posting. I did have an intake manifold leak with my remanufactured engine.
 
  #16  
Old 03-29-09, 11:51 AM
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The auto parts store lent me a fuel pressure gauge. It won't cost me anything. I just return it and they credit the amount back to my credit card. I am testing right now.
 
  #17  
Old 03-29-09, 03:47 PM
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I used the fuel pressure gauge. With the ignition key to ON, I got only 5 PSI. With the ignition key to start, I got 6 PSI. And when I let off the ignition key it creeped up to about 8 PSI and held that.

I also tried a spark tester to the ignition coil. I did not get a spark. But I heard an electrical ticking sound when I turned the ignition to start. Then I checked the supply voltage to the ignition coil. The reading was less than 90% of battery voltage.

Am I narrowing in on this at all?
 
  #18  
Old 03-29-09, 05:16 PM
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the eec relay and fuel pump relay come on when you turn the key on the fuel pump relay will go back off after a couple of seconds unless you crank the engine so the clicking noise is probably just the relays.
fuel pressure should be around 40 psi and come down to about 30 with engine running you do not have enough pressure to run an engine if you can hear the fuel pump running would probably go ahead and replace the pump, if you cant hear it running would check the inertia switch try resetting to make sure it is reset and test for voltage at the inertia switch and fuel pump with your multimeter remeber that you will only have voltage for a a couple of seconds after turning the key on so you may need some one to cycle the key on and off for you, or crank the engine over to do this test.
if you had spark at the plug originally with the engine cranking over you will also have spark at the coil with the engine cranking over, if you still have spark at the plugs you really dont need to do any more test related to the ignition system if you dont have spark anymore would have to wonder what changed is everything still connected and plugged in?
 
  #19  
Old 03-29-09, 05:30 PM
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Doesn't the inertia switch only need setting after a collision? The ticking sound I heard was rapid. Everything is still connected and plugged on.

Here is a new development. I put in two gallons of gas and then turned the ignition key. The engine actually started, but it sounded horrible so I immediately cut it off.
 
  #20  
Old 03-29-09, 06:01 PM
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it should be checked if your pump is not running but yes it is designed to only occur in a collision however it does not take much to trip it often just having the vehicle towed can cause it to go off.
still have the guage hooked up?
 
  #21  
Old 03-29-09, 06:05 PM
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one other thing you might check is pull the vacum line off the fuel regulator and see if any gas is coming out of it.
 
  #22  
Old 03-29-09, 06:26 PM
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I checked the inertia switch and pressed where the switch would be. The switch button was not popped out.

I checked the vacuum line where it attaches to pressure regulator for fuel residue earlier today.....nothing.

Speaking of fuel pressure regulator, think it would be a good idea to do the fuel volume test? Seems like a simple test. I returned the fuel pressure gauge. But I can always pick it up again tomorrow.

Why did the engine start after I added some fuel, and then sound so bad?
 
  #23  
Old 03-29-09, 06:39 PM
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2 possibilities it could have built up enough pressure to start. probably would not run well if pressure was low though if it was missing or barely running due to low pressure it probably wont sound very good not sure what you heard but if it was knocking or you heard unusual engine noise may have other issues but with a rebuilt engine just installed last year wouldnt expect anything major is the oil level ok?
the other possibility is if your fuel sending unit was not reading correctly and you were just out of gas.
 
  #24  
Old 03-29-09, 07:36 PM
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Before I added the fuel, I had the inclination to rock truck from side to side. Oil level is ok. Could this problem be a bad fuel pressure regulator? This one is 17 years old.

By the way, the fuel pump is only 3 years old.
 
  #25  
Old 03-29-09, 07:44 PM
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I believe I would add about five gallons of gas, start it and let it run a couple of minutes and see where you are. You may have something in the fuel pickup in the tank that's messed up or as bejay suggested you just ran out of gas.

After it started did you recheck the fuel pressure? If it's reading around 40 lbs just off the ignition keying you're probably OK with the regulator and the pump. However, a regulator isn't all that expensive and you have a seventeen year old one. First you will need to pinpoint what's happening.
 
  #26  
Old 03-29-09, 08:29 PM
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I already returned the fuel pressure gauge. But I will definitely borrow it again tomorrow after work (after 3:30pm Arizona time). The engine sounded so bad I turned it off real fast. Was afraid of damaging something. You really think I should attempt a restart after adding gas?

By the way, when I disconnected the fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose, I didn't see any fuel residue. I did smell the end of the hose and smelled fuel. Not very strong. But definitely a hint of gasoline. Normal?

What about borrowing a scanning tool to check for trouble codes? Never saw check engine light illuminate during days leading up to problem.
 
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