HELP: 1987 Ford Thunderbird Ignition DIES when hot.


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Old 07-03-19, 03:16 PM
R
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Exclamation HELP: 1987 Ford Thunderbird Ignition DIES when hot.

Hi folks, I'm at my wit's end. I have a 1987 Ford Thunderbird, 3.8, throttle body injection with the ignition control module on the distributor. It has 118,000 original miles and, up till now, runs perfectly.

The problem started recently as summer came. I drive around a lot and run the A/C. In town, when it's hot out, the Ignition has started dying intermittantly at low speed or when stopped at lights, etc.

When it dies, There is NO (zero) Spark coming out of the coil wire, period. When it cools off a while, it will restart... for a while until hot. It seems to run fine at night, morning, in the rain, etc., when it's not above 80 degrees or so outside.

I have:

1) Replaced the ignition module on the distributor 2 times, using a healthy coat of heat-sink grease.
2) Replaced the ignition coil.
3) Replaced the cap, rotor, wires and plugs.

The battery is new, the starter/relay are new...

Please Help... anyone have any ideas? If this were the old days I'd rip all that ignition out of there and put an MSD system in and this would go away....

Thanks!

Rando


 
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Old 07-03-19, 03:26 PM
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The distributor pickup coil is faulty. It needs replaced. Requires a special puller after distributor removal. Remove drive gear and then shaft. At that time you will be able to get to the pickup coil. If you have the expertise, go for it, if not take it to a good mechanic.
When I had an auto service business I replaced many of these pickup coils and got customers back on road.

Good luck!

RR
 
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Old 07-03-19, 04:07 PM
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Remove drive gear and then shaft. At that time you will be able to get to the pickup coil. If you have the expertise, go for it, if not take it to a good mechanic.
Another option would be replace with a new distributor, they can be had for about 65.00. Sounds easier than taking one apart.
 
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Old 07-03-19, 11:11 PM
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That must be the EEC-IV ignition system you have.
I had an 1988 van had the same issue with heat and the internal distributor parts.
 
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Old 07-05-19, 07:36 AM
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Thank you all so much!!! Fortunately it's raining today so I can drive.... I'm on E-Bay now ordering a new distributor. I can get a 'new' one cheaper than the Coil costs.
 
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Old 09-30-19, 09:07 PM
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I had to remove a distributor on my 88 t-bird years ago (it was the 5 litre V8 not the 4 cylinder.) I can assure you that it is difficult to line up the gears on the distributor with the gears in the engine that they have to mesh into perfectly for the timing to be right. If you already have the skill to do that great, but if you have never done it, you might want to phone a friend!
 
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Old 09-30-19, 09:16 PM
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He probably had the work done already but you're right. There is a knack to putting the distributor back.

For others reading thru..... you must mark exactly where the rotor is pointed.
When you put the distributor back in..... you must put it back in slightly more clockwise from where it's supposed to end up. Put it all the way in place. Now pick it back up and turn slightly more clockwise again. You need to keep doing this until the rotor ends up back in the exact same spot.
 
 

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