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My '89 LX 5.0 won't start...

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Old 10/10/04, 09:55 PM   #1
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I've got a 1989 Mustang 5.0 LX Sedan with 102,000 miles (see my avatar). Recently, I have had problems with the car not starting. It began a couple weeks ago only on days that I would make the short trip home for lunch (about a 5 minute drive). The car would sit for 45-50 minutes, then when I come out to go back to work it would fire but stumble then stall on the first attempt. Then when I tried to restart, it would just turn over but would not fire at all. I would then take my other car back to work, and when I get back home about 3 hours later the Mustang would fire right up. This happened about three times last week. Then, yesterday after the car had been sitting for a little over 24 hours since it last ran, it would turn over but not fire at all.

A guy I work with suggested it is a problem with what he called the 'idiot box', he has a 1988 Ranger that had the same problem. He showed me the box in his truck (attached to the driver side front fender in the engine compartment), if it is that I'm not sure where it is on my Mustang since there is so more more 'stuff' in there compared to his truck.

Can anyone here offer a suggestion as to what the problem is? Hopefully two or more of you will come up with the same conclusion and I will go with that. Just trying to save a towing charge to a repair shop, if I can get the part myself and install it.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 10/11/04, 10:02 AM   #2
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Obviously it is not getting one of three things vital to engine combustion;air, fire, or fuel. It would make sense that if you cranked it too much, it flooded, then when it sat a while, it evaporated, and you could start it.

Have you checked your distributo, wires and plugs?? A loose connection could make a difference.

If it is air, the idiot box he is talking about could be where the air filter is contained. If the engine isnt getting suffiecient air, then it wont start. Check your air filter, your plugs, and possibly your fuel pump, fuel filter, and distributor.

If that doesnt work then a tow guy is going to get paid...
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Old 10/11/04, 01:01 PM   #3
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commen problem that would cause this is the ignition module if what nathan sujested doesnt help i would try that
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Old 10/12/04, 04:30 PM   #4
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yeah i forgot that thanks
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Old 11/15/04, 05:00 PM   #5
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Originally posted by Nathan@October 11, 2004, 9:05 AM
Obviously it is not getting one of three things vital to engine combustion;

air, fire, or fuel.
I agree with Nathan

These three things need be present when it won't start

#1 Electricity

#2 Fuel

#3 Air

#1 remove a plug wire, place a screw driver in the plug recieving end and lay on metal
Valve cover? (whatever metal while cranking) look for blue spark
Be careful, don't be holding the screw driver while friend is cranking
other wise you''ll look like a Christmas tree.

#2 Not sure on your car but, I know a 2.3 has a valve stem on the fuel rail
This has a cap on it you'll need to take off. (Its similar to a tire valve)
Depress the center. Becareful and not have your face to close.
Wether its premium or regular it all tastes terribly BAD.

#3 disconnect breather and remove filter while cranking

do the test 2 out side and away from garage hot water heaters
above all else always be careful around cranking or running engines.

Had an insructer with a missing wedding finger when his had got it between battery positive and the body of a car.

another test while car is running will help find vacuum leaks.
This involves a small propane bottle and using it to spray unburnt gas on various places such as vacumm lines sometimes under the dash too.

If the engine should rev than you have found your leak.

Again becareful and don't do this in a garage

Hope this helps, DIY is not for everyone. and good luck
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Old 11/15/04, 07:29 PM   #6
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Originally posted by maverick351ci@October 11, 2004, 2:04 PM
commen problem that would cause this is the ignition module if what nathan sujested doesnt help i would try that
I had this problem on my last '86 Capri (MSD Distributor), and a new module cured my starting problems.
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Old 11/16/04, 03:48 PM   #7
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Originally posted by maverick351ci@October 11, 2004, 12:04 PM
commen problem that would cause this is the ignition module if what nathan sujested doesnt help i would try that
I had an '88 GT once upon a time and there was a recall on that ignition module. I don't know if it's the same thing, or if they'll replace it under the recal since the car is over 10 years old... but it's worth askin'. Call the dealer and see if there was a recall, and if they'll honor it this late in the game.
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Old 11/16/04, 04:37 PM   #8
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so what happened in the end???
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Old 11/16/04, 05:26 PM   #9
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I ran into the ignition module problem a couple of months ago on my 91. Yes they will replace it, no, this doesn't sound like the symptoms.

Sparks from the ignition switch around the key, smoke from under the dash, AC blower motor quit, and fried fusable link were my symptoms.

Had a friend had a similar problem with his old Firebird. Turned out to be the catalytic converter was stopped up. He would drive a bit, too much backpressure, car wouldn't start. Sit for a while, crank right up.

Kind of off the wall, but it worked for him.
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Old 11/19/04, 07:51 PM   #10
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i wish the module was the starting problem w/ my car
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Old 11/25/04, 08:12 PM   #11
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check out ur starter solenoid as well...that happened to me last week...drove...stopped for a min and shut her off...came start...good voltage on the battery and crap....but the starter solenoid was i replaced it that nite
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Old 11/26/04, 02:53 PM   #12
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yeah, i would have to say its ignition module. get a plug wire puller and see if you are getting a spark
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Old 11/29/04, 09:54 PM   #13

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I would think it would be something under hood getting heatsoaked. A coil or maybe the module in distributor.I put ice in a bag and put next to distributor module for about 5 minutes.My car started up. I replaced module and car ran fine
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Old 9/11/10, 04:37 PM   #14
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I have a 89 lx 5.0 and I'm not getting any spark to the ignition I did the spark test with a screw driver and nothing. So I replaced the ignition coil and no spark, I guess the ignition modul is next but I'm afraid about getting it out of timing. I know that there's a way to keep it in timing or at less to where it will start.

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Old 9/12/10, 12:20 AM   #15
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Hi there. You can go to the forum in question, and at the top left, there's a 'new topic' button. Click that, and post away!


As to your dilemma:

Get a sharpie, a 5.5mm deep socket (or the cool little ignition module tool they sell).

Use the sharpie to mark the distributor's location. You will be rotating it out of time to get to the module, so you'll need to put it back. You want to mark it wherever it will be easy to line right back up again. You may need to clean something to make a good mark, and you need to be able to both see the mark, as well as be able to make it.

Now, once marked, loosen and rotate the distributor so that the screws for the ignition module are easily gotten to. This is where the tool comes in.

Unscrew the screws, but DO NOT PULL THE MODULE OUT. Push it down towards the block. It will be difficult in some cases. If you do anything but 'slide' it down, you'll break some pins. That's bad. Do not be discouraged, and DO NOT PRY IT AWAY FROM THE DISTRIBUTOR.

Clean the distributor area for the TFI, put the new dielectric grease as needed, and replace the module. PUSH IT UP into the distributor, but don't be all gorilla about it, k?

Rotate the distributor back into alignment with the mark. Clamp it down. Start the car. Enjoy your awesome achievement unlocking.

Or retime it, then enjoy the unlocking.

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//as well as remembering the SVO's trip down this road. Same module, same deal.
///Worse, as the **** thing had to be removed 'cause you couldn't get to the screws in any rotatable position.
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