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Author Topic: Distributor? Car not starting  (Read 187 times)

oakslee

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    • 1991 Capri
Distributor? Car not starting
« on: November 01, 2018, 06:37:40 PM »

Hi, this is actually my first post, Iím John! Iíve got a 91 N/A with about 80k miles. I got the car back in August from my grandfather who had garaged it after something went wrong with it and it had stopped running right  a couple years back. We took it to a mechanic and got it fixed, if Iím remembering correctly it had something to do with the master brake cylinder. Anyways, the car was working for a couple weeks and itís my first manual transmission car so I was having my dad teach me whenever we both had the time. The car stopped running which was because the alternator belt was too loose, so we tightened that up after a long while of sitting but the battery had been drained! So then we ended up with more problems because the battery cables didnít have any colors on them so after charging and reconnecting them, we crossed the wrong cables. Luckily the only thing I had to fix was replacing the main fuse in the engine bay, but now thatís done and over with the car will crank but not start. We checked the voltage in the spark plugs and they were only reading about 0.2 volts. At this point Iím lost because Iím not too savvy with cars yet but Iím learning as I go. Is this caused because of the distributor possibly? If so, will I have to replace the whole thing or a specific part of it? Is it even the distributor? Sorry for the long read! Thanks, John
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Trackerrrr

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    • 1991 BMW 525I, 1991 Capri N/A, 2011 Kia Sedona
Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2018, 12:58:30 AM »

Hey John, welcome. You don't check voltage at the plugs, you check for a strong blue spark at their gaps when cranking the car. The plug voltages are way higher than the battery but they only occur for milliseconds. You need five things for car to run: fuel, air, spark at the correct time, good compression, and correct valve timing. Check the easy stuff first.

1. Is there gas in the car?

You should be able to check this on your own.

2. Is fuel filter clogged or good?

Pull it off and try to blow through the inlet. If you can't or it's very hard to blow through, replace it.

3. Is the fuel pump delivering fuel to the injectors and at the right pressure?

On the firewall there's a fuel pump test connector on the passenger side. It's two prong and yellow in color, right next to a large green connector. If you jumper the yellow connector terminals and turn the key on (but not to start), the fuel pump should run constantly (it's under the back seat on driver side) and you should be able to hear it run. You can attach a fuel high pressure gauge to the fuel filter hose and check the pressure that way. WARNING: Do NOT run the pump with the fuel line open!!! You will get a geyser of gas spraying everywhere if the pump works good!!! Pull the jumper off the connector when done.

NOTE: The fuel pump does not run normally until the key is turned to start and the air flow meter starts to move from the air moving into the engine, hence the test connector for key on engine off testing...

4. Are the injectors working?

When you crank the engine, listen for them clicking. A stethoscope or long screwdriver pressed against each injector will help you hear this.

5. Is the air filter clean?

Duh.

6. Is there spark at the plugs?

Pull them out, lay them on the valve cover, and crank the engine. You should see a strong blue spark at each gap. The metal shell of the plug must be grounded against the valve cover for this to work. No spark means distributor isn't working right or no power to it, or the coil may be bad (check connector at coil too for looseness).

7. Is ignition timing correct?

You'll need to check this with a timing light.

8. Are all the cylinders showing good compression and within 10% of each other?

When plugs are out check compression.

9. Is timing belt in good condition and all valve timing marks aligned?

You can pull the top part of the timing cover off to check the cam gear marks and crankshaft pulley for alignment.

techcapri.com has all the shop manual info. If you can't get to the site I can send you the applicable PDF files.

This is just a basic rundown of stuff to check. You may just have a loose connection or your ECU may be fried from reversing the battery cables. You just have to start troubleshooting things methodically and eliminate the stuff that works.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 01:13:54 AM by Trackerrrr »
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Chris
Retired Air Force MSgt

Rocketman

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    • 91 BPT AWD Capri & 1991 XR2
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Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2018, 12:08:08 AM »

Simple test: When you crank the engine, does the tach needle bounce?

If no, it's likely a common ignitor issue.
Without a tach signal, the spark plugs can't fire, and the ECU won't chooch the injectors.

If yes, there's some more troubleshooting you'll need to do
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1.8L Turbo All Wheel Drive Capri... the "GTXR2"


greywolf27030

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    • 88 Festiva, 91 Capri, 91 XR2
Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2018, 01:42:34 PM »

Another North Carolina member, welcome and good luck getting her running.

Jack Byrd
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NiteLord

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  • Posts: 51
    • 91Cap,94Cap,86FieroGT,94G.C
Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 12:41:26 AM »

This may sound strange but my "No Start" turned out to be the Coolant Temp Sensor located on the firewall side of the motor that reads directly to the ECM. Wasn't getting any spark and many told me it was the igniter in the Distributor causing the problem. I also was getting a no jump from the Tach with key on.  I was able to buy a complete rebuilt Distributor with a New igniter installed from a closeout Auto Parts Store, installed it but  still no go. I painstakingly went thru the wiring harness's checking each wire, but found no problems. Car sat for 6 months till I was told by someone that a bad Coolant Temp Sensor would cause a hard start/NO START condition. I replaced this sensor($14 off EBAY) and after 6 months of the car sitting she fired right up... 
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Rocketman

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Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 10:48:47 PM »

This may sound strange but my "No Start" turned out to be the Coolant Temp Sensor located on the firewall side of the motor that reads directly to the ECM. Wasn't getting any spark and many told me it was the igniter in the Distributor causing the problem. I also was getting a no jump from the Tach with key on.  I was able to buy a complete rebuilt Distributor with a New igniter installed from a closeout Auto Parts Store, installed it but  still no go. I painstakingly went thru the wiring harness's checking each wire, but found no problems. Car sat for 6 months till I was told by someone that a bad Coolant Temp Sensor would cause a hard start/NO START condition. I replaced this sensor($14 off EBAY) and after 6 months of the car sitting she fired right up...

Did the car throw a code for the bad sensor? Haven't heard of this one before.
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1.8L Turbo All Wheel Drive Capri... the "GTXR2"


NiteLord

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    • 91Cap,94Cap,86FieroGT,94G.C
Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2018, 06:15:09 AM »

Since I bought this car in 2012 it would "occasionally" throw the 09 Code. The individual who told me to replace or to check the sensor is a retired Mazda Mech. He said the sensor going bad would cause the engine to have the same symptoms  as a bad crankshaft sensor as a no spark/hard start/no start condition. I checked the "ECT" Posts just now and a few commented/touch on this subject. Anyhow replacing my ECT fixed my problem.
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blueamber

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Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2018, 07:40:54 PM »

This happened to my son's 97 saturn sc2, would not start cold.  Bad temp sensor said the cold engine was warmed up, so ECM only put a trickle of gas out the injectors like a warm engine needed, not a lot like a cold engine needed.  Anybody remember chokes?  Cold engines need a rich mixture to start up.
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oakslee

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    • 1991 Capri
Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2018, 02:21:04 PM »

I appreciate the help guys, just as an update the car still isn't starting. I'm currently trying to locate the ECT sensor and I can't find it for the life of me. I saw somewhere on the forum that it was in the bottom of the intake manifold, do I have to take the engine out of the car to replace it or is it doable without taking anything out?

EDIT:
I found the sensor, but I don't know how I'd replace it given it's placement. I'm guessing I'd have to take something off to reach it?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 02:55:04 PM by oakslee »
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Trackerrrr

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    • 1991 BMW 525I, 1991 Capri N/A, 2011 Kia Sedona
Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2018, 05:31:26 PM »

You might have to go from underneath the engine with a deep socket and extensions. Not an easy place to get your hands into.
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Chris
Retired Air Force MSgt

jdp

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    • 1994 Magenta Capri NA, 94 Reef greenXR2 and 92 XR2
Re: Distributor? Car not starting
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2018, 05:04:11 PM »

I had difficulty finding it until I pulled the battery.  It opened up the view to see and reach it with wrench and my hand. it is tight space, but I was able to do it.  It was harder for me to remove the connector, than replacing the sensor.
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John