What was that fault code? A real common problem was caused by the Hall Effect pickup assembly in the distributor. The symptom was the engine cranks normally but does not start or run. If you investigate further you will find there is no spark, but too many people get stuck on that and troubleshoot the wrong system. You need to look further, then you will find there also are no injector pulses. The fuel pump also does not run during cranking, so a lot of people replace the pump, but the fuel pressure can be misleading. There will be pressure because the pump still runs for one second each time the ignition switch is turned on.
Measure the voltage on the positive terminal of the ignition coil, or either smaller terminal on the back of the alternator, to see if the automatic shutdown, (ASD) relay is turning on during cranking. You should find 12 volts there for one second when you turn on the ignition switch, then it will go back to 0 volts. What is important is if that voltage comes back during engine rotation, (cranking or running). The engine computer turns the ASD relay on when it sees engine rotation, and it knows that by the signal pulses it gets from that pickup assembly in the distributor. You can use a digital voltmeter to check the voltage, but they usually respond too slowly to catch that one-second voltage pulse. A test light works better for this test.
Be aware too that these pickup assemblies, as well as the newer crankshaft position sensors and camshaft position sensors, commonly fail by becoming heat-sensitive. The engine may run fine as long as the car is moving and there is sufficient air flow to keep the sensor cool. The typical failure occurs when a hot engine is stopped for a short time, as in when filling with gas, then "hot soak" allows heat to migrate to the sensor causing it to fail. They commonly work fine again after cooling down for about an hour.
As for the cranking problem, the first clue is whether the starter relay is clicking when you turn the ignition switch to "crank". If it is not, we have to look at the ignition switch and connector terminals, and the clutch switch. If the starter relay IS clicking, that circuit is okay and we have to look at the high-current starter solenoid circuit.
If you have a thick, clear plastic ring around the ignition switch lock cylinder, there are two things to consider. The first is overheated connector terminals. The switch must be replaced for that, then the two blackened terminals and four" of their wires must be replaced separately. That problem affects the accessory circuits like power windows, radio, and heater fan. The people who have the most trouble with this are those who run the fan on the highest speed a lot, and especially those who turn the ignition switch on or off when they do not turn the fan speed down first.
The second problem is a mechanical problem with the lock cylinder that prevents the switch from turning quite far enough to engage the starter circuit. The clue is everything else works normally, but the starter relay does not click. The dealer's part department has a repair kit for that. In my experience that problem has never been intermittent. A metal cam breaks, then the no-crank condition is permanent.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 AT 6:49 PM