1986 Ford E-Series Van My Van dies in the middle of traffic

Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
  • 1986 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 100,000 MILES
Gentlemen, I'll get right to the point:

My car:

1986 Ford Econoline e-150 5.0L v8, automatic, fuel injected.
Two fuel pumps, one in-line and one submerged in the tank. The in-line is new.
Just had some professional work done on it, the distributor cap was replaced, the Ignition Control Module is brand new, and the wire from the ignition coil replaced.

Now, my problem. Just starting today, I was driving up a hill, then when it levelled out, the engine cut out and I had to pull to the side. Immediately after I tried to start it but it just turned over indefinitely. A trick I picked up for when this happens is to cycle through the gears, then back to park, and it 100% starts up then. Almost as if the tranny doesn't know it's in park until I do that.

Unfortunately, shortly afterward, when shifting down from 3rd to 2nd, the engine immediately died again. I was able to use my tricks to get it running again but was more worried this time.

It died a 3rd and 4th time heading back home on the same trip. Once, when I was pulling onto the highway making a right hand turn. I might add that this particular stop sign was at an incline. The last time it died on me while running was on a straight stretch, without shifting from one gear to another, for no apparent reason.

I have not checked my spark plugs yet; I have not checked my engine timing. I'm suspecting something is wrong with fuel delivery. I read that when a car makes turns or climbs then levels, the fuel level inside the tank can vary to the point that the pump is starved and the engine will quit. Without putting too much stock into that notion, it does sound possible. Yet, this is a new problem. This hasn't happened the last month or so I've been driving the truck.

Where do you think I ought to start troubleshooting? Fuel relays? Timing belt?
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Friday, April 23rd, 2010 AT 7:10 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I would start by having the ignition module tested. To me it sounds like you lose spark, it dies, the module cools, and it restarts.

Have that checked and let me know what you find.
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Monday, May 3rd, 2010 AT 1:43 PM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
When you say 'ignition module' do you mean the Ignition Control Module? That's brand-new. Do you mean the ignition coil or switch? Those I haven't tested.
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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 AT 6:20 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I'm sorry. I ment coil.
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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 AT 10:47 PM
Tiny
PLEASUREMANN
  • MEMBER
Is there a way I could have that done at my home?
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Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 AT 5:06 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
If you have a multi meter that can check ohms, yes.

Here is what to do. And this is a good check for just about any ignition coil.

Using an ohmmeter, check the resistance between the side terminals of the coil. Do this with the wires to the coil disconnected. You should see 0.75 to 0.81 ohm of resistance. Next, check the resistance between either side terminal and the high tension terminal. The reading should be between 10,000 and 11,000 ohms. Deviation from these numbers would indicate that the coil is defective.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 AT 10:53 PM

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