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Saron81
Saron81 Reader
9/11/18 11:23 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Do you have another baro sensor you could try? They will do some strange things, and rarely throw a code as being bad. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/11/18 11:35 a.m.

In reply to Saron81 :

I have at least one, so I can try that.  I'll also check the fuel strainer as has been suggested, although it's new as of last year.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/13/18 8:28 a.m.

Pulled the fuel strainer, didn't look perfect but didn't fix the misfire.  May try lowering the boost and seeing if it goes away.

Saron81
Saron81 Reader
9/13/18 10:59 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Try the baro sensor?

You could close the gap in the plugs some if you feel the boost is effecting the spark. 

You are running Motorcraft 32Cs right? And Motorcaft plug wires? They can be very sensitive to other brands (new or not!)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/14/18 10:34 a.m.

Yep, motorcraft plugs and wires.  Plugs gapped at .028", wires pass a resistance check, all are new- I buy the plugs in bulk at this point.

Baro sensor changed nothing.  Did a fuel volume test and got 5 liters in a minute, which exceeds the 250ish liters per hour the pump should do.  Hmm.

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
9/14/18 10:36 a.m.

Does gapping the plugs down to .024-.025" help anything? My Miata had a terrible miss with the plugs at .030 that went away when they were gapped to .025. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/14/18 11:19 a.m.

In reply to EvanB :

It tends to start missing again down at that end of the range, this seems to be the sweet spot with this ignition/engine/boost.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/14/18 12:15 p.m.

Knocked the boost back to 10psi, no issues.  So it's load dependent whatever it is.

EDIT: Drove it again with fuel pressure gauge connected and boost back up to 15-17ish psi.  Base pressure is 42psi, under boost it climbs near 60psi like it should.  Needle bounces a bit but that seems like it should be expected.  Misfire still present, can do spark plugs again I guess...

I have to say, I'm inclined to just turn the boost down until it stops and call it good enough, but there's no reason this engine shouldn't be able to run stockish boost, right?

de80q
de80q Reader
9/14/18 11:36 p.m.

You are still running a distributor right? In my old Audi engines, we had to switch to a narrower rotor when turning up the boost.  We were getting arc jumping inside the cap causing very similar issues to what you are talking about.  You may want to look to see if you rotor is centered on the cap contact when idling.  I did this by cutting a whole in an old cap, and hitting it with a timing light.  If it seems centered, check to see what you max advance and retard are on the timing.  Make sure the rotor tip can handle the range.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/15/18 11:37 a.m.

Fresh plugs installed- all was well for a few minutes of driving, then the misfire started to slowly creep back in.  At this point I think something in the ignition system is probably marginal once it gets hot, like the TFI module or the coil.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/16/18 10:40 a.m.

Parts for a hopefully DNF-proof TFI system have been ordered.  I also got some Maxxis 195s that I picked up a while ago mounted and painted the wheels, and did the snow set for our Subaru while I was at it:  

tester
tester New Reader
9/16/18 11:44 a.m.

To preface, I never had any 2.3 Fords. However, I was around quite a few V8s with the same/similar TFI style ignition system. I think you are on the right track to look at other ignition components. 

You may want to replace the pickup in the distributor while you are in there. Also, use heat transfer paste under the TFI module.  I think I bought it at Radio Shack. That has been a while ago.  

I would also check the coil primary and secondary resistance cold and after warming up the engine.  They can be fine when cool and flaky once warmed up.

This old school; run it in the dark just to make sure that you are not getting any arch over between the cables, distributor...

You have touched a lot of stuff on the motor. The wiring to the coil, distributor, etc... could have been damaged while you where working on other issues in the heat of the moment. I know it would not be unusual for me to create a bit of extra work for myself under similar circumstances. 

Good luck! 

 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
9/21/18 7:29 p.m.

I suspected the TFI module was my problem.  The things are notorious for failing in confusing ways, and like to fail because they hate heat and vibration, yet they're attached to the side of the distributor.  I came up with a plan for this.

Take a giant heat sink, and bolt the TFI module to it with a bunch of heatsink paste in between:  

Since we don't trust the TFI module not to fail at a terrible time, make it two:  

Make a bracket, extend some wires:  

Now we have dual, redundant, cooled TFI modules sitting just behind one of the air inlets:  

I used a chunk of Chief's old lightbar harness for my wire extensions since it's nice and shielded and has good wires.  At this point I replaced the distributor cap and rotor again and started the car to set the timing again.  Once that was done, I plugged the timing connector back in and got... nothing.  So I unwrapped all my wiring, found a bad crimp connection, fixed it, and the car was running happily.

Then I drove it- things felt pretty good, hesitation seemed mostly gone and then, at the top of second gear, the car just sputtered and died.  I tried everything I could think of to get it to start, wishing I had brought my multimeter, but eventually ran the battery down with no luck.  And for the second time, Chief flat towed me back home; at least Sara and I are getting pretty good at flat towing the car.  It's on a battery charger now, I have some theories that I will test tomorrow.

 

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy UltraDork
9/21/18 10:41 p.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Stay after it.  Eventually you'll get it all dialed in.  I like the "dual" TFI idea.

759NRNG
759NRNG SuperDork
9/22/18 8:46 a.m.

Liking that heat sink ......what's your source?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
9/22/18 10:16 a.m.

In reply to 759NRNG :

Amazon.  It's a portion of a giant amplifier heatsink, which I cut down and drilled holes in.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
9/22/18 10:24 a.m.

The failure was EXACTLY what I was afraid it was:  

This is the second distributor/oil pump drive gear set this engine has eaten.  I suspect the misfire I have been chasing might have been this gear getting loose and slapping the timing around at high RPM just enough to cause an issue.  When the car died yesterday, it was this stripping out- no distributor spinny, no spark, engine no run.

When I put this engine together over the winter I tried to buy Esslinger's $300 billet aux shaft and drive gear, but they were out of stock so I ended up with another stock Ford one.  Clearly not up to the task, so I'm going to try again.  If anyone reading this knows anybody who has a billet one they might sell (ministock racers, Ford 2.3T drag guys come to mind) please let me know.

I'm really tempted to just put in an engine that I trust instead- there's a 4age and a 13b both sitting one room away from the car.  As soon as I pulled the distributor I went on a rant (which neither Sara nor the dogs were impressed by) roughly as follows: "Oh well at least FORD made the berkeleying ENGINE RELIABLE RIGHT?! Yeah sure it's heavy but OH IT's SOOooooOOOOO TOUGH!  I promise!  Ugh.  I miss the RX7."

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/22/18 10:38 a.m.

Ouch.  That sucks. I guess this means you'll need to drop the pan and clean metal bits out?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
9/22/18 10:40 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Last time they came out with the oil, and I didn't find much in the pan itself, so we'll see.  If the oil is clean after a change I'm not sure I give enough of a berkeley about this engine at this point.

paranoid_android
paranoid_android UltraDork
9/22/18 11:03 a.m.

To your distributor/oil pump drive gear set:

So you suspect it is a material failure in the Ford part?  Might be a dumb question...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
9/22/18 11:11 a.m.

In reply to paranoid_android :

Yeah- this is a known weak point on these engines (along with heads, and head gaskets, and cam bearings, and the entire ignition system, and... why do people think these are tough again?)  They seem to survive just fine for the most part outside of racing use, and for racing the Esslinger solution seems to be the answer, I just need to get my hands on one.  The alternative might be buying another stock set and having them cryo treated and that sort of stuff, but it seems like an awful lot of work when there's a proven solution out there that may or may not just be "out of stock".  Esslinger was supposed to contact me as soon as they got more in, so now I'm hoping they just forgot and that I can call on Monday and have one by next weekend.

RichardNZ
RichardNZ New Reader
9/23/18 3:38 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ : I do like your redundant TFI modules ...

Off topic but related - one of the Rally Escorts I serviced on back in the 70's was a Mk1 RS1600 that was claimed to have been a factory build. It had the biggest alternator that Joe "don’t drive at night" Lucas made, fitted but the integrated electronics had been removed and relocated. Lined up on the inner guard were three diode packs and three regulators ready for hot plugging. Two other oddities were that the windscreen washer water was routed through the top radiator tank and that all the body seams had been brazed rather than welded.

 

tester
tester New Reader
9/23/18 9:12 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
9/23/18 9:55 a.m.

In reply to tester :

Yeah, I'm calling them on Monday.  It said "in stock" 10 months ago when I tried to order it last time too.

Here's the aux shaft itself- clearly had a bad time:  

tester
tester New Reader
9/23/18 10:33 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

The gear on the distributor looks to be steel. Should it be bronze? On the Windsor, you have to be careful choosing the distributor gear depending on the camshaft material. Cast cams need a bronze gear. The later hardened steel cams use a steel gear on the distributor. I don’t  know if that applies here but you may need to do a bit of research. With this being a race car for so long, you may have a mismatch between components. 

Good luck! 

 

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