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1986 Capri with 1988 2.3T Restart after 6 Years - Electrical Problem?

Hi guys, I hope yall can help point me in the right direction. As the title states, I have a 1986 Capri with a 1988 Thunderbird 2.3T Engine and as it was my daily driver, I had transmission problem and I let it sit for approx. 6 years. Well, I want to get it back on the road and this is what I have done. The transmission problem is not related to the new problem because it was a mechanical issue that I was able to fix.

*Replaced -  plugs, wires and distributor cap which all three are motorcraft, LA3 computer, fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel level sender, ignition switch, ignition coil, distributor rotor. I also had the injectors cleaned and bench tested and all are good.

Before I started work on the car I had to tow it, and in order to tow it I was able to start it and drive it on a trailer. When it would start I had to pedal the gas to keep the engine running because of all the bad gas.
I was also chasing a problem with the dash cluster illumination, so when I replaced the tank, pump, fuel level sender, wires, plugs and cap I started looking for the issue with the gauge lights. I was never able to find out what that issue was but now when I try to start the car it just turns over and there is no indication of combustion in the engine.

When I first tried to start it, I would not hear the fuel pump prime with the key turned on and was not getting gas to the engine. I looked over all the wiring and cannot find any issue with the wiring that was there before. I have grounds that are needed with this swap and voltage where and when needed (pin #1, 37, 57) and grounds at pin 16, 20, 40, 60. Because of this I thought it was a computer problem. and that is why I now have a new computer.  I then swapped out ignition coil, and ignition switch.

I had spark, and compression, but still no fuel.  I hard wired the fuel pump to turn on with the key to get fuel to the fuel rail, and I have a fuel pressure gauge showing I have good fuel pressure. I have looked at the base timing continuously.  I think I have it timed correctly and I still may because I don't see what is wrong. I lined up the cam and the crankshaft to their appropriate marks on the timing cover and the distributor will be pointing to the #1 cylinder. The firing order set up is 1, 3, 4, 2

I have yet to checked the pulsing of the injector harness but I plan on doing that today I can get a tool.  When the pump would not run I was looking at the IRCM to be the culprit, but would it also have an effect on the injector harness?

I am at a loss. I know it is hard to diagnose without being able to see the car but may I be overlooking? I took a plug out after attempting to start and I don't think it was wet. I could smell gas but I don't think it was wet enough to say I was getting fuel from the injectors. What would cause them not to pulse, if this turns out to be the culprit?

I don't want to keep throwing new parts at it, if the parts that are there are still good. I guess it could be the PIP or the IRCM if everything at this point is correct. According to the wiring diagram if the IRCM (which houses the fuel pump relay) is not working correctly the injector harness wont either, is this correct?

If I keep throwing parts at the car I will end up with a new distributor, IRCM, TFI and I would also want to know which order of these should I start with.  As you all know, each of these parts average $100 or more. 

I read that the car may be WOT.  How do I check that?  Could this be the problem?

MORE Background INFO:
The original swap (which ran great) consisted of 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coup Engine with T5 Transmission, LA3 computer, and engine harness, swapped into 1986 Mercury Capri GS originally 4 cylinder carb.  I installed stinger front mount radiator, T3 turbo, the upper and lower intake were purchased from 40bob gutted/knife edged, I have a ranger roller cam (after I get it running again ill finally put in a new performance cam.)

Fuel Pump Relay....

There is a voltage when the ECU wants to run the pump that it sends to the fuel pump relay. The fuel relay then sends current to the fuel pump accordingly.

You can test the voltage at the fuel relay to ensure the ECU is firing correctly when the key is in "ON" at the two leads from the ECU that plug into the relay. And you can check that the relay fires by putting voltage through the same terminals on the relay, and hear a sound and see continuity on the other two leads.

Sorry if I'm over or under explaining.... that is what I suspect.

Thanks Desert Patina SVO.  I have a hunch that is causing the fuel pump not to prime when the key is turned on.  My relay is housed within the IRCM.  I am waiting for it to be delivered, probably Tuesday. 
Once I fix this fuel pump issue I then need to find out why the car still isn't starting.  Because when I hard wire the pump and get fuel to the rail it still doesn't start.  Unless the relay creates a domino effect with another piece of the electrical system and it fixes the entire issue.

Nick, I sent you a PM with my contact info.
(2) 84.5 TurboGT 'verts/84.5 TurboGT hatch/(3) 86 SVOs
86 LX 2.3 (project Ratstang)/04 SVT Focus #1276
77 F-350/40 Ford Sedan/67 Fairlane GT

Soooo.......after writing that "novel" in the original post, you're now saying you have no rail pressure (fuel), lol?. [Image: confused0024.gif] .The three basic "requirements" of a running engine are (1) Compression - which you have, (2) Fuel, and (3) Ignition .[properly timed/sequenced]. Whenever you have a "no-start" condition......those 3 things should be checked first and THEN a proper diagnosis can commence.

Apparently, you have no rail pressure, due to a lack of pump operation? If that's the case, then obviously you'll need to trace thru the electrical and mechanical fuel "circuits". The first thing I would do is to by-pass the computer by "jump-powering" the pump directly thru the diagnostic connector. If the fusible link(s), pump relay & inertia switch are good, you should hear the pump running and rail pressure should reach approx 39psi. The "jumping" is done by turning the key to "on" and grounding the top/right pin in the "pyramid-shaped" diagnostic connector under the hood.

If the pump fires off.......you'll need to check the PIP, EEC power relay &/or the EEC/ECU itself. If it doesn't......check the inertia switch, pump relay, fusible link(s) and - ultimately - the pump itself. GOOD LUCK! . [Image: happy0034.gif]

BTW ~ WELCOME to TurboFord! What's your name?
Placerville, California
(former)  2.3T '78 Courier ~ (current)  2.3T '87 Ranger & '82 Mazda B2200 (smog-exempt diseasel truck)

So yes, from the fuel relay you can test if the ECU is sending the signal (and alive), and test the fuel relay itself to see if it is working or not, continuity and pump as suggested.

But I also want to introduce you to the NOID light. When I suspect the fuel injectors aren't firing, I get a-NOID.

A spark plug will help you test for spark, fuel pressure gauge will test for fuel pressure, but a NOID light is needed to test for the fuel injector signal (safely). 

If you don't have spark, then the TFI, Distributor, and ECU are suspect and you can test and rule those out independently.

If the ECU is suspect, get the codes.

But the NOID light (you can get one at Harbor Freight, or rent one from a local auto store) is plugged into the harness instead of the fuel injector, and lights when it gets the fuel injector signal.

If the NOID light doesn't fire then it is a simple wire continuity or ECU problem (again run the codes).

I remember a 30 or so point inspection of what to do if your EEC-IV doesn't start somewhere on the internet.

Thanks Paul for sending me your info.

TurboRay - hey, I'm Nick and I live in Brenham Tx.  Thanks for the welcome.  I have always seen your name on this site.  Sorry for the long post.  Just wanted to explain as much as I can. 

As it sits right now, I do not have fuel coming from the fuel pump, but spark is good and I have good compression.  I can bypass the relay and hook up to a 12v source and then have 39 PSI at the rail, but then it still doesn't fire up.  I will have to see what you mean by "jumping" it the way you explained to see if it is the fusible links, relay and inertia switch. 

I have a new ECU, because I thought that was the problem. 

Desert Patina SVO - I picked up a NIOD light and the injectors do light up when I try to start the car.

Code reader only pulls code 84 - EGR Vacuum Regulator circuit failure

another thought is that I don't think I have an inertia switch tied in to this computer.  I couldn't find one on my Capri harness, and the wiring for the 88 turbo coupe was just the engine/computer harness.  It worked previously without it when I completed the swap.  On the capri harness I looked everywhere in the hatch (ALL interior is out) and it was a carbed 2.3 prior.  I don't know if it had one, but if it does, would it even be an issue if it wasn't tied into the 88 harness?

"Jumping" was meant to by-pass some of the electrical components in order to make the pump work, Nick. BUT, if you've by-passed the f/pump relay and get 39psi at the rail ~ yet it still doesn't start, you have TWO probs: namely, (1) The fuel pump not running during cranking, and (2) The engine's inability to start even with the proper rail pressure.

Try starting it with the "SpOut" plug disconnected. Doing so eliminates the computer from the ignition circuit ~ giving sole discretion for spark to the TFI module. If still a "no-start" - even with spark - I would probably suspect a lack of injector signal. To that end, I agree with Desert Patina SVO .about using a NOID light (it plugs into the injector harness as a "substitute" for an injector and will flash while cranking, if there's a firing signal from the ECU). 

NOID lights are fairly cheap ~ but if you'd rather not spend the money, you can accomplish virtually the same type of diagnosis by simply putting a long screwdriver between yer ear and each injector......then listen for the "clicks" while a helper cranks the engine. If you don't hear anything, I suspect that yer PIP (Profile Ignition Pickup) in the distributor is N/G. This would also prevent the f/pump from continuing to run after the 1-2 second "timeout" when first turning on the key...[Image: confused0024.gif]

BTW ~ AFAIK, all fuel-injected Fords have "inertia switches" in series between the f/p relay and the pump. They're usually located in the trunk and are intended to "open-circuit" the pump (shut it off) when sensing an impact.....sometimes even a light one. If it's been triggered and is "open", the pump will never work as intended (w/o ghetto-wiring it) and simply needs to be reset...[Image: happy0034.gif]
Placerville, California
(former)  2.3T '78 Courier ~ (current)  2.3T '87 Ranger & '82 Mazda B2200 (smog-exempt diseasel truck)

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