1996 Ford Probe Spark, Fuel, Air and it Cranks but No Star

Tiny
ELEMENT116
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD PROBE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 240,000 MILES
Car died a few days ago after just leaving work. 240k on car, but only about 80k on this engine. Background on the car is that it has been recently intermitently missing and stumbling when I accelerate especially under load and more often when it's wet outside. I checked a plug and there's bright blue spark. Fuel pressure is fine ~30-35 just after cranking. Plugs get plenty wet. VAF is moving smoothly. Throttle open and closes smoothly. No restrictions in the intake. Cat convertor is less than a year old. I pulled codes P0335 (Crank Position Sensor) and P1345 (Cam Position Sensor). I checked the connection to the Crank Position Sensor since it's known to be an issue and after multiple disconnects and re-connects, there's no change. I even wiggled the wiring in case there's a short/open. The resistance on the sensor is around 520 Ohms which is in the range. The crank position sensor is not loose either. The timing belt is fine and the timing marks line up so it didn't skip a tooth. The car will crank all day until the battery is dead, but not even a hiccup. I at least got a little sputter once the night it died - nothing at all now. I had the original distributor in the car with an MSD external ignition module and Blaster coil. I thought that perhaps I would get a no start condition with a bad cam position sensor. Since the cam sensor is part of the distributor, I replaced it with a distributor from another car. No luck - still sparks fine, but no firing. Stumped, I then replaced the crank sensor even though the one on my car checked out OK. No luck. I swapped the spark plugs for a new set at the same time and no luck. I've hit a wall with this car and about to have it towed to a graveyard. Any input?

I can get a 3rd distributor and try it if it's worth the effort. I don't know what else could be causing this issue. I'd expect to at least get the engine to cough when I have spark fuel and air. I suppose I should put a gauge on one of the cylinders and test for compression, but I've assumed it's there if the timing belt is not busted or loose.

By the way this car is currently parked at work and it's freezing cold outside and snow everywhere so it's not so easy to work on it.
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Monday, January 12th, 2009 AT 7:43 PM

13 Replies

Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
Hello. Thanks for the donation. Much appreciated

you really are going have it compression tested. You are getting spark/fuel so it should be firing up. Let me know !
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Monday, January 12th, 2009 AT 8:31 PM
Tiny
JAMES W.
  • MEMBER
If you've got spark, fuel and wet plugs, the only thing you must be missing is compression. To not even get a pop, the crank and cam must be close to 180 degrees out. Check compression on at least one cylinder and see what you have. I live in Minnesota and know what it's like working in the cold. Let me know
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Monday, January 12th, 2009 AT 8:36 PM
Tiny
ELEMENT116
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the feedback. I'll dig out my compression tester and see what I read. I'll be shocked if it's mechanical. That would imply that both of my cams are way out of phase - seems unlikely since the timing belt marks on the cam gears were spot on. I left the timing covers off the engine last time I replaced the timing belt because it's easier to notice a slipping timing belt - this is how I can see the timing marks so clearly.
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Monday, January 12th, 2009 AT 9:03 PM
Tiny
JAMES W.
  • MEMBER
Well, that kind'a shoots that down, but check a cylinder anyway. That way we'll both know.
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Monday, January 12th, 2009 AT 9:12 PM
Tiny
ELEMENT116
  • MEMBER
I checked compression today and in temperatures approaching zero degrees F and an ice cold engine, one cylinder checked in around 150 psi after only 5-10 seconds of cranking. Any more ideas?
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Thursday, January 15th, 2009 AT 6:45 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
You have compression on that cylinder. You have fuel at that cylinder. You have spark at that cylinder. This car should be at least coughing even if all the other cylnders have low compression for some other reason. Ie. Rings/burnt valves. Headgasket. You would think 1 cylinder could be low for some other reason but not all. Possibly even 2 if headgasket was the fault . I know it's cold out there but try taking the catalytic convertor out of the equation. I know you said it was only a year old. But iv'e seen it happen? Let me know
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Friday, January 16th, 2009 AT 3:06 PM
Tiny
ELEMENT116
  • MEMBER
I agree that it should at least try to ignite.

Really? A clogged cat. I might have put 10k miles on this cat if that. I suppose it's possible, but I'd be shocked that it's not even coughing because of that. I may just cut my losses with the car and have it picked up by a charity. It's served me well over the last 10 years with 200k miles since I bought it back in '98 and as of late it's only been my winter car so I do have another car. More than anything, I'd love to just figure this out. However, since the car is currently at work an easy 30 miles from home, it's the $150 plus tow bill that's holding me back from getting into that deep. I shouldn't try to pull the cat at work because there are snow mounds surrounding the car now and it's unsafe to jack it up there, but it would be amazing if that was the issue. My hunch is that there's something wrong with the wiring in the engine compartment. I did pull the codes for the crank and cam position sensors, so there must be something behind that. Who knows. Almost seems like an unseen force wants me to get rid of the car.
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Friday, January 16th, 2009 AT 4:39 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
An electrical fault would cause you to lose spark or fuel or both ?? CKP & CMP are both related to fuel and spark ...even if they were causing spark or fuel at the wrong time you would be getting a misfire/backfire etc. not a non start issue when you are getting both ?? if the PCM was totally shot you would lose one or both of them .. you are getting over 100 psi compression (100 being the lowest recomended) and spark and fuel .. this vehicle should be firing up .. even with the PCM as a emmissions controller ... an engine is an engine, if it has fuel and fire and compression it should run .. it may run rough because of faults on the CMP/CKP .. but it should be running .. I agree with you regarding the cat ... it shouldn't be bad yet ... but what else is there .. ??

Camshaft Position (CMP) Sensor
The CMP sensor is located in the distributor and detects cylinder No. 1 signal to be sent to PCM. CMP sensor is serviced by replacing distributor.

Crankshaft Position (CKP) Sensor
The PCM uses CKP input to determine injector and spark timing. CKP sensor also used for misfire monitoring. The CKP sensor is mounted on front of engine and detects movement of crankshaft pulley.

Free Auto Repair Advice by Certified ASE Technicians.

Troubleshooting / Car Engine Cranks but Will Not Start

Introduction
For an engine to run, you need three things to happen inside the engine, compression, fuel and ignition, without any one of these components the engine will not run. Follow the repair guide below:

Engine Configuration with Camshaft Operation
Compression - Engine compression caused by crankshaft rotation and a piston moving up and down inside the engine block. If the timing belt or timing chain fails it will cause the camshaft to become out of correlation with the crankshaft or allow the camshaft to stop rotating. Either of these conditions will cause the engine to lose compression and sometimes cause internal engine damage.
Fuel Delivery System - The fuel system includes: fuel pump, fuel injectors, pressure regulator, fuel filter and pressure lines. This system is used to supply fuel under pressure to the fuel injection system, the lack of fuel pressure or volume will cause the fuel delivery system to fail and the engine to stall or not start.
Ignition Spark Delivery System - The ignition system components include: spark plugs, spark plug wires, crankshaft angle sensor, camshaft angle sensor, ignition coil, ignition module, knock sensor and ECM (engine control module). The engine relies on the ignition spark to be delivered to the combustion chamber at the correct time. If the ignition spark stops or is delivered at the wrong time the engine will not run or run poorly


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/266999_compression_1.jpg

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Friday, January 16th, 2009 AT 8:15 PM
Tiny
ELEMENT116
  • MEMBER
I'm with you. Just frustrated because I don't get it either. Bad wiring is perhaps my excuse because I can't figure it out. I'll be taking a ride over to the car tomorrow. With 7" of fresh snow since this morning, I have quite a bit of digging to do. If I feel up to it, I may try and mess with the cat as a last ditch effort, but my intention of going there is to swap the wheels on the cars which currently have new winter tires for an old set of wheels/tires along with pulling a few things out of the car in preparation of donating it. Time is not something I have a lot of these days, so we'll see.
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Saturday, January 17th, 2009 AT 8:03 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
I quite understand. It is very frustrating. And the weather is not helping. Sorry we couldn't be more help !. Let me know what you decide to do

All the best
Dave H
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Sunday, January 18th, 2009 AT 8:40 AM
Tiny
OBXAUTOMEDIC
  • EXPERT
Hi All,

Just thought I'd through my 2cents in.

Ok, you have spark, fuel, compression and every thing seems to check out good.

So, since you say that the plugs are wet with gas it would seem to me that there is a firing order problem.

Have you check to make sure that the Number 1 Cylinder at TDC lines up on the Number 1 Plug Tower. I ran across this a few years ago with a shadetree and he just removed his old one and put the new one on not checking to make sure it was line up. And I am in no way saying you done this, you seem to have good working knowledge of vehicles.

.
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Sunday, January 18th, 2009 AT 9:25 AM
Tiny
ELEMENT116
  • MEMBER
Well. I went to the car earlier and figured I'd give it one last shot before swapping the wheels/tires and having it picked up by a charity. The last thing I had done in attempt to get it running was swap in a new crank position sensor (CKP). Since it didn't work, I pulled it out and left the old one hanging there disconnected. So, today - I jacked up the front end of the car and reconnected the CKP sensor and installed jumper cables since the battery needed a charge. Aside from that I didn't touch anything. By some stroke of luck I cranked it over and it acted like it was trying to start. It was igniting and trying to get running but it seemed that the timing was off. I never had this happen at all until today. So, I adjusted the distributor and gave it another shot and it fired right up and ran clean. Amazed, I nearly crapped my pants. I was able to drive the car home without any issues at all. Call it pure luck. I have no explanation for it. Even if the distributor was off a little (and it wasn't much), there's no reason why it shouldn't have coughed a bit any of the other times I tried cranking it. In any case, I'm glad it's running. I plan to unload the car now. I've caused my wife enough stress with this car already!
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Sunday, January 18th, 2009 AT 5:31 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
Like you sad. Even with the timing slightly out it should have been coughing. Oh well. Another one for the memory bank. And thanks OBXAUTOMEDIC for your input.

I think the wife will be glad to have you home for a while. Lol.

Happy motoring
Dave H
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Sunday, January 18th, 2009 AT 6:14 PM

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