1990 Ford Taurus 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 173000 miles
1990 Taurus GL wagon, with "Vulcan?" 3.0litre V6, not "SHO"
Driving on flat non-bumpy road, suddenly aware had no power steering. I kept coasting, and realized engine was stopped. I shifted into neutral, and a few seconds later the Oil and Check Engine light came on. I could not restart the engine by cranking.
I let the car come to a stop, and started checking "the obvious" such as I could in the boonies without regular tools, etc. Battery good, engine turns over easily, just won't start. When turned to ON, I hear the "buzzt" of fuel pump presumably, and after starting attempts I can smell "raw fuel" at the exhaust pipe.
I checked fuses, all good, noting that #1 is labled as "brakes, turn signals, engine computer". The brake lights DO work, but the turn signals now do NOT! (They worked when the engine was running before this breakdown).
The coil seemed to not be putting out a spark, in the field I could see no spark jumping from the coil wire to ground (when moved away from the distributor connection and a screwdriver stuck in the cord).
DMM/VOM showed resistance (forgot what, it wasn't shorted but it wasn't 20Kohm either) on both primary and secondary windings of the coil. So on a lark I replaced the "Ignition Control Module" below the distributor between shuttling my family home in a friend's car and heading back to where my car died and passing a parts store. With the new module, my car still didn't start, so I had it towed home.
Now I'm sitting here, trying to figure out where to go next. I've had the car for 2 days, and I have NO manuals or infomation on it, etc. (And can't find anything online. Haven't paid for online manuals access yet but could if that would help).
How do I read the "check engine light" codes on this? Other cars of this era (1990, but not Fords), I put a jumper in a connection block and could read out by counting the number of flashes. Is there a way to do this on this car? Or must I use a Ford OBD reader. (OBD1? Not OBD2 I assume?) Are there any codes that would be useful to me? (Eg. Coil pickup sensor, crankshaft sensor, ?)
I could replace the "hall effect magnetic pickup sensor" inside the distributor - I don't know how to test that. Can I test it with a DMM or does it need some exciting/bias signal before I can get any readings? It's showing "open" in resitance between all three terminals. It shows no inductance reading, and no capacitance reading.
What next to check? I am confident there was no spark from the coil (I didn't get zapped!) And I can smell fuel in the exhaust pipe, so I assume fuel system is ok and problem is in the "ignition system upstream of the distributor".
I don't like "not getting a spark", but is there some cam pickup sensor that would cause there to be no spark if the timing belt were broke?
I might suspect the internal timing belt broke, but I do smell fuel in the exhaust which seems to me to indicate the valves are operating, right? The engine seems to "crank" with the same zest as before though again I haven't a long time of experience/expectation. If the camshaft(s) were not turning, I'd think I'd hear a different cranking cadence? Wouldn't I be able to check that the valves are operating by pulling spark plugs out and checking compression in a couple of different cylinders. Is it worth doing this or is the gas getting into the exhaust a good enough indication that the timing belt isn't broken?
I think I've located the "computer" pushed into the passenger compartment from the engine side of the firewall, and it has a dangling "EEC Test" connector, but I don't have any resources telling me how to use this or if it can even help with my problem. I don't know how important the computer is -- does it control the ignition or just "emissions" equipment in this car?
The car ran fine and smoothly before the failure - it was quite sudden without any "misfires or rough running or hard to start, etc.". This seems to indicate to me either mechanically something broke (timing belt?) Or an electrical component died. In my limited experience, when a wire or connector goes bad, it tends to cause intermittant problems first. Does this sound right for this car?
Is it significant that the turn signals don't work? The hazard flashers also don't work now, but I don't know if the hazards worked before or not. (Car new to me). I do know that the hazards were not "faulted" during a "safety inspection" (prior to sale/title transfer) 2 days earlier and I assume they checked the flashers. I do know that the turn signals worked up to 1 minute before the engine failure. I don't know if the turn signals don't work if the engine is not running, but every other car I've had will allow the turn signals to work if ignition is "ON" whether the engine is running or not. If the timing belt broke, how would that stop the turn signals from working! (Unless in this car the turn signals only work if engine is running)
Any help or hints appreciated! I don't want to put $hundreds$ into this old wagon, but the body is in nice shape and the seating (station wagon with 3 rows) is great for my family. It's got to be reliable though! The previous owner never had anything like this happen. (Previous owner is good friend, I can believe her and if car had died suddenly before, I'd probably have been called to help her!)
have the same problem?
Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 AT 9:52 PM