Mechanics

STARTUP AFTER NEW HEAD GASKETS

Ford Thunderbird

I've recently replaced the head gaskets on a 94 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe 3.8L that had sat for approximately 1 year before the motor was dismantled. Everything went well with the rebuild but can't seem to get it to fire up when complete. It turns over (with a new battery), it has spark on at least one plug, I put 5 gallons fresh premium gas with 2 heet treatments in the tank but still doesn't seem to even try to fire. I think it's got fuel to the fuel rail (at the schader valve). But I don't know what to do next. Any suggestions would be much appreaciated, I would hate to have to turn to a shop/garage to finish my job after almost completing it myself.
Avatar
MDWoggon
February 26, 2006.



Timing. Did you reset the crank to TDC after pulling out distributor. You may have to lift up the distributor and turn the shaft 180 degrees. D you get really bad popping & farting & backfire when you try to start? Things happen when you pull a distributor out and if you do not put it back exactly as you pulled it, your car will not start.
If all is correct in the re-install, have some one crank the ignition whilre you turn the distributor by hand until it fires up. Only crank for no more than 20 seconds at a time.
If after turning distr both ways and no fire, you must find out if you get spark to every plug, not just one. Spark plug wires might be bad!
Then ensure 100% that you are getting fuel.
Doublecheck all your electrical connections assuming you made some notes on the teardown?

Tiny
Kenvcr
Feb 26, 2006.
Not timing. Distributor wasn't removed or changed. It has good spark where I checked, I believe it's fuel delivery problem. I do get fuel from the shrader valve on the fuel rail. Although not much pressure behind it. (Just sort of oozes out, I'm uncertain how it would normally act, guess I need a fuel pressure check.) No backfire or popping while trying to start either. It just cranks over and over without any igintion at all.

Still no clue, thanks. : )

Tiny
MDWoggon
Feb 26, 2006.
Yes that is the next logical step. You said it sat for about a year, how much gas was in the tank over this time. Very little? Fuel pump may be rusted up inside your tank.
If you have a proper fuel pressure test gage, check the pressure.
Let us know what happens. If you can drop your tank and pull out the pump, don't be surprised to see a lot of rust on it.

Tiny
Kenvcr
Feb 26, 2006.
I can hear the fuel pump 'humming' when the key is turned on. For whatever that means. And the fuel guage was reading a 1/2 tank. *Shrug*

Tiny
MDWoggon
Feb 26, 2006.
Try this then. Let the car sit overnight. Gas cap off. Can you disconnect the fuel line underneath the car, say at the fuel filter. By the way when was the last time you changed the fuel filter? Attach a hose to the line in place of the fuel filter and turn on ignition so that the pump starts, do not try to crank the engine. See how much fuel pumps into a gas can over a 10 second period. Should be a good flow. If you can hear it whirring and very little fuel, replace the pump. If you get lots of fuel replace the fuel filter.
Let hear the results.
But back to the basics, did you do all of the following: 1) new cap & rotor (make sure rotor shaft is cleaned with fine emery cloth to remove any rust build up)
You may be surprised at how often a cap & rotor cause engines to not fire even though you get spark to the plugs.
2) new spark plugs properly gapped.
3) Clean your battery terminals 100% or replace them, $1 each or less. Side post nuts can be replaced too, clean off corrosion inside screw hole.
4) Fuel filter - change it every year
5) cold weather climate - do not let gas tank go under 1/2 tank to prevent moisture buildup.

Tiny
Kenvcr
Feb 27, 2006.