1986 Ford E-Series Van 86 Econoline Just won't start

Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
  • 1986 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 102,000 MILES
I've been troubleshooting this van for two months now, and any help you guys might be able to lend I will be very thankful for.

It turns over just fine, but no start. It's got a 351 5.0L V8, automatic trans, fuel injected.

I've checked for spark on the No1 wire; all good. Replaced all the plugs and wires. I put in a new ignition module just this week. I put plenty of dielectric grease between it an the distributor before installing.

I disconnected my in-line high pressure fuel pump from the circuit and cranked the engine. A healthy flow of fuel came out.

I located my fuel inertia switch and jumped it; to no avail. The fuel pump relay, and EEC relay are in the area nearby this switch. There is a clicking sound coming from the EEC relay; to my understanding this is normal. The fuel pump relay does not have a 'clicking' to it as best as I can hear. I don't think there's a problem with the fuel circuit because, as I said, my pump is spurting out a healthy stream of gasoline when cranked. I can easily hear it priming when I turn the key.

I held the gas pedal to the floor while cranking for a bit to no avail. My battery is practically brand new. I just used some battery cleaning foam on it and cut down on the corrosion substantially.

Someone mentioned something to me about checking the fusible links under the hood, coming from the starter solenoid/battery area that will lead to the EEC-IV (my car's computer). Also, they mentioned to follow the fuel line up from the pump to where it reaches the injectors and look for a schrader valve where I can check the fuel pressure coming from the pump. If I have spark and fuel delivery then the problem must be fuel pressure past the pump or air, correct? I'm not sure where to start if my engine's not getting the air it needs. I checked my air filter, and it seemed alright - I just turned it upside down and put it back in. Bad move?

One last thing; when I was changing my plugs, I was able to see a hose that looked to be going into the top of the engine(intake manifold?), Whose tightener was loose, and the hose was consequently loosely attached. I tried to get in with a screwdriver to tighten it down but it was too bulky. This is just one of my leads; I am clawing for ANYTHING that might be indicative of the issue.

Thanks, Guys. Hope to hear from you.
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Saturday, May 29th, 2010 AT 2:22 PM

31 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Hook up a fuel pressure gauge on the schrader valve on the fuel rail and verify if the fuel pressure is within specs and also if the injectors are pulsing start here
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Saturday, May 29th, 2010 AT 2:32 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Start with the basics, and work your way up, Last tune up was? Wires plugs ALL filters? If all that is ok, check for a stuck EGR, then test fuel pump pressure, If it won't restart, determine what's missing, the engine needs three things to run, Spark at all plugs, gas to all cylinders, and compression in all cylinders, tho an engine may run lacking one in one cylinder, it won't run very well!
http://www.2carpros.com/car_repair_video/test_fuel_injection_pressure.htm
Go here and checkout our video.
http://www.2carpros.com/car_repair_video/test_engine_ignition_system.htm
and this one!
Yep, bad move on the air filter, this would allow all the trapped dirt to be sucked into the engine, NEVER turn these over!
The TFI module only needs a very thin layer applied, too heavy and it could cause problems too... If the new TFI didn't do it, the distributor is next, provided the fuel pressure is good and compression.
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Saturday, May 29th, 2010 AT 2:51 PM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Thanks, guys. I bought a fuel pressure guage and I'm going to test it tomorrow. You say to connect it on the schrader valve on the fuel rail. I'm not sure exactly where that is. I've got the doghouse pulled out in the cab of the van and I can see where the fuel line goes into the engine. Will I find the valve there?
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Sunday, May 30th, 2010 AT 1:01 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Yep, it's at the end of the rail, usually to the front passenger side. Did you check out the video? Although it's not a Ford, it's tested the same way. Both the valve and the fuel pressure regulator are on the fuel rail.
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Sunday, May 30th, 2010 AT 9:38 AM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Alright, thanks for your help. I got the pressure guage hooked up to the Schrader valve. It was at the end of the fuel rail toward the front of the engine. I turned the key to the 'on' position but did not crank the engine. I just listened for my pump to activate. When it did, my guage read 20PSI, but my manual suggests it should be between 30-45PSI. Cranking the engine won't make a difference here, right? Since the system is pressurized with the turning of the key.

There's also a T-fitting to the guage's hose, should I want to disconnect the fuel line right where it reaches the rail and read the pressure there. Would that be more accurate, or does it matter? It's probably for engines without a Schrader valve. Anyways, my reading is 20PSI which is at least 10 under what it should be.

Yes, I watched the videos, and thank you for posting them. What I'm looking at is a substantially lower fuel pressure than what is necessary. Is the next step to examine my inline pump and filter?

One quick thing here: I didn't yet check my EGR, as I bought the pressure guage and wanted to get this out of the way. And lastly, I was eying my injectors, I noticed some wear to the red wire on the #8 injector, and the #7, and a bit of the #6. What I saw was a few millimeters of exposed wiring; in at least one case there was enough damage to the wire housing that I could see them clearly only half-covered about 1/8" before they reached their injector.

As to the question if the injectors were 'pulsing', I'm a bit unclear about that.

Thank you guys so much for your help, I hope to hear from you soon!
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Sunday, May 30th, 2010 AT 6:11 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
20 psi is low, either the filter is clogged or the pump is going. Injector pulse is when the PCM energizes it, it opened and sprays fuel, a noid light made for checking this is available at all parts store, and they are cheap too. No use only the test port, these lines are pressed onto the steel rail with special tools, if removed, it's another problem altogether!
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Monday, May 31st, 2010 AT 1:38 PM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
First off, thank you so much for your insights toward my issues here. On my particular model there are two fuel pumps and two filters. The first place fuel is filtered is in the tank, when it passes through the low-pressure, in-tank pump. The next place it's filtered is on a framerail mounted reservoir-canister type filter. Fuel then travels to the in-line high-pressure pump, then up to the fuel rail and injectors.

I got under the van and took out my reservoir-type canister filter. There is supposed to be an o-ring there but there was only the canister and a soggy, brown filter. My next step is to pick up a new filter and install it, then check again for pressure. I'll let you know! Thanks!
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Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 AT 5:17 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
We are always here.
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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 AT 8:48 AM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Well hey. It has been a week and my mother came to visit so not much time to work on the van! But I am back and I have installed a new filter.

So I mentioned in my last post that upon removal of the canister filter there was no O-ring. I just wasn't seeing it initially. It was in there, although if it was exactly where it ought to be I cannot say. The filter itself was very brown and worn out looking.

I got the new one and the guy at the parts store actually sent me home with a second filter as well, citing that their computers stated I would need it. I think this 2nd one he gave me must be from a later model of the same year because I honestly don't know where it could go and the manual makes no mention of it, unless it's sitting with the in-tank pump by the inlet. Doesn't seem likely to me.

The new O-ring that came with my new reservoir/canister filter seemed too small to fit in 'the groove' -as my manual stated it should be placed into. I thought perhaps if I gently stretched it out it would fit but no, it snapped. I went to the parts store and on their recommendation used the original one which they deemed would still work fine.

Part of me isn't sure I put this O-ring in correctly. I thought of perhaps placing it on the highest thread on the receiving end of the filter canister to have it seal there. Instead I opted to place it in what I could best discern was 'the groove'. A small track at the bottom of the canister's threads. I turned the engine over with the pressure guage attached and to my surprise the reading was ZERO. Where before I had replaced the filter it was 20. I might add that I could not hear the fuel pump priming.

I disconnected the canister filter and doublechecked my work. To my suprise the new filter was completely dry. No fuel had reached it. I made sure to guarantee the O-ring would stay in place upon reinsertion. I got out from under and turned my key. This time I could hear the pump priming and I got a reading of 15. I'm not sure if I ought to disconnect and reconnect the pressure guage inbetween each reading; I just left it on the schrader valve.

Now I'm wondering if perhaps my fuel pump is just starting to go. As the pressure readings are not consistent. I couldn't figure why, in the first go with the new filter, I was unable to hear my pump priming. Do you think it's just being finicky because it's toward the end of its life? Or maybe perhaps I'm not getting this filter attached correctly.
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Thursday, June 17th, 2010 AT 10:18 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
20 psi of your first check was reason to suspect/replace the pump. 15 is waaayy off!
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Friday, June 18th, 2010 AT 8:52 AM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Alright! As soon as I can I'll get that pump and put it in! Then I'll let ya know 8). Thank you!
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Friday, June 18th, 2010 AT 3:48 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Standing by!
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Sunday, June 20th, 2010 AT 10:36 AM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Wellp.I got my new fuel pump in, and I still have zero fuel pressure on my readings. I'm thinking something is wrong with this fuel circuit. I'm leaning toward replacing the fuel relay. Perhaps even just looking around for the general condition of all the wires involved. =(
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Sunday, June 20th, 2010 AT 7:25 PM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
I just wanted to add here that the wire ends going to the pump on my van do not fit the terminals on the new pump. There was a brief series of instructions on how to modify the wires using some spare parts included in the pump package. It said to cut the wires back about two inches, strip the insulation back 1/4", and to crimp on ring terminals and new wires using butt splices.

I didn't have any butt splices, so I took the two conductive brackets that came with the set, and screwed them down on the positive and negative terminals. Then I just lined up the wires to their correct terminal/bracket positions and left it at that. I can clearly hear the pump priming, but I'm wondering: is there something wrong with how I set up the pump? Is the fact that my pressure dropped to absolute nothing after this install indicative of some other fuel circuitry or did I just install it incorrectly? Since I can hear it priming, doesn't that mean the current is reaching it and doing its job just fine?
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Sunday, June 20th, 2010 AT 11:29 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Make sure the polarity is right, or it may run in reverse. This sounds like your problem.
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Monday, June 21st, 2010 AT 2:28 AM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Well.I'm pretty sure the polarity is right. What I did was cut the wires back about an inch, strip them a bit, and just wrap them around the corresponding terminals on the pump. Red for positive, black for negative. I tightened them down with a bolt, making sure they stayed in place and covered them with a rubber encasement. Still zero fuel pressure. What the heck is going on?
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Monday, June 21st, 2010 AT 7:13 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Your pump runs for two or three seconds and you get zero pressure. Was this one a one piece design, or did you have to take the old pump apart to install the new one? There have been defective parts sold before, and will be again. If it runs as I described, you may have a dud!
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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 AT 2:35 AM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Well it was basically one-piece design. And yes, I was able to hear it priming perhaps once or maybe twice. Then nothing since yesterday. Think I ought to return it? There's no chance the pump is fine and there's something else wrong with my fuel circuit?
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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 AT 2:56 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Only other possibility is you put the fuel filter on backward, most have an arrow, this should point to the front. You can use an adapter at the pump to check pressure there instead of the rail, then you will know if there is a blockage.
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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 AT 2:36 AM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Ya, I might check the fuelpressure right before the pump. The thing is, the filter that goes on is a canister filter. It just screws on, one way with a filter sitting inside a little reservoir canister piece. I don't think there's any way I put that on wrong. Unless the filter was upside-down. But it had a hole in the top of it, and where it met the mount there was a hole, so I don't see any other way for the filter to have been placed inside the canister.
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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 AT 6:28 PM

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