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Discussion Starter #1
On my last two drives, my engine (Ford 302 with Holley Terminator fuel injection) has died. Both times I've been able to immediately start it up again.

The first time, it died after I had driven 1 1/4 mile from the house. I was doing ~25 mpg, in 2nd gear at ~2200 rpm. The second time, it died after driving ~1/10 mile from the house. Again, I was doing ~25 mpg, in 2nd gear at ~2200 rpm. After coming to a complete stop I was able to immediately start the car, and continued both drives without incident - not so much as a stumble.

When it dies, the car feels like it's being starved for fuel. All of a sudden, the engine bogs & rpm's drop. Pushing in the clutch has no effect, nor does giving it more throttle.

The car only has 2200 miles on it. I don't think it's the TFI module overheating because I can immediately restart.

At my last fill-up, I was low on gas & had to add gas while the fuel truck was filling the underground tank. Could I have a piece of sediment that temporarily clogs the fuel pump pickup?


John
 

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John,

That's my first thought. When they fill the tanks they're bound to stir up a bunch of junk.

This is my experience with a similar issue with an Alpha Spider: The engine would die at speeds over 15 to 25 mph. I found that the in-tank fuel pump had some trash in it, but that the in-line filter was the real problem. Trash in the filter restricted higher flow to the injectors. So it would run okay at crawl speeds, but when it needed more fuel the pressure would drop and starve the engine. Water can also cause a similar issue. Do you have a way to test the fuel pressure?

I'd start by cleaning the filters and draining the fuel out of the tank. Check to see that the in tank pick-up tubes are secure and not damaged/leaking/clogged. Also check your fuel lines for possible damage/crimps/bends/etc..

Good luck and hope that helps a bit.

RichardB.

.....Could I have a piece of sediment that temporarily clogs the fuel pump pickup?


John
 

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Could be electrical, simply not heat related. When you pulled off to the side of the road, you cycled power when you restarted.

Troubleshooting intermittent problems are always a PITA.

Pull your fuel filter and make sure you don't have a fuel contamination issue. I remember my Dad telling me when I started driving not to fill up when the gas station was receiving fuel.

Do a wiring check, grounds and all connectors as part of the fuel injection as well as fuel pump wiring. The fact that the car restarts immediately does tend to rule out wiring, but you can't rule it out completely without inspection.

It is possible that the fuel pump is starting to go. Not sure if you are using a external or in-tank pump. Some of the guys using the Walbro pumps have had them die.

Something to try, if conditions permit, when you lose power, push in clutch and turn ignition off and back on while still rolling. If the engine immediately refires, the cycling of power corrected the issue. This would indicate that the problem is electrical in nature vs fuel pickup/filter contamination.

Good luck finding the issue.
 

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Do you remember running over anything that would upset the car ? An example might be a manhole cover or speed bump. The reason I say that is a problem I experienced with a crack in the baseplate of my distributor, that stopped the engine. It would then immediately restart. Just a thought. Irwin
 

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Get a pint of gas out of it and put it in a clear jar. Let it sit overnight. Look for debris of course but also look for if it separates into layers. If there are layers the only cure is to get rid of all of it. Not fun. Did it in our boat years ago and it cost almost exactly double the price of the gas to have it removed and disposed of legally. I like to use one of these.
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/dyna-glo-dh-10-manual-kerosene-pump
Cheap and all plastic so no sparks. Find them anywhere that sells kerosene heaters. It sucks up into the stiff tube so get a few sizes of clear plastic hose to experiment w/ which will go down the filler tube the easiest. Then some pieces of any rubber hose to adapt to the hand pump inlet tube size.
 

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As already mentioned, check your fuel filters first.
 

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Official OLD GUY
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Tfi

I'll have to go along with your thoughts about the TFI, prpbably not that as you stated that you hadn't driven very far, not enough to "overheat" the TFI in my opinion.

I would follow the idea of a fuel issue, especially if the tank is full of junk . . .
Doesn't take much of that to foul up an EFI system.
I'd first check / replace the filter and then blow out the line(s).

Good luck.

Doc :beerchug:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Took it for a 30 minute spin yesterday and the car ran flawlessly.

I'm going to replace the fuel filter this weekend. When I do, I'll get a sample of the fuel & see if it separates.


John
 

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I'll be different. Dirty fuel is the last thing to have those symptoms. Also, fuel stations have been required to replace all underground steel tanks with poly tanks, so there is no rust and dirt in the tanks. Fuel pumps at the stations also have filters in place, if you have dirty fuel, it came from a home gas can, not the pump. Many new cars don't even have fuel filters.
 

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Fuel, maybe. TFI, maybe. Reason is, if you do more research you'll find that A LOT of users doing the TFI route had major issues with the Holley HP. I can say that is a fact because I did one for an owner and advised against it, but he was right so it stayed on...for about 2 weeks. Then it was changed the Holley DS distributor and all problems went away.

Now, having said that, do you have a 3.5" LCD screen and did you or could you monitor fuel pressure (you need the fuel transducer) and could you see that the system still had voltage. This is easily seen from the screen. It just helps using it as a tool as well.

I currently have a friend who had similar issues, car runs then abruptly dies (Holley HP). He thought it was fuel or relay related so put another relay in. Not solved. I spent time yesterday diagnosing the system and the ECU stays powered, fuel circuit stays powered, but the engine just went pop and stop after about 15mins. Problem was losing spark signal and just happened to be the Hall Effect Sensor on the MSD distributor. My point is, you need to do some real investigating to trouble shoot the problem. PITA, yes, but worth it in the end.
 

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Buck
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I had a 94 Mustang do this to me a few times. Then it finally quit restarting. Turned out to be the pick-up coil in the distributor.
I had the same symptoms and same problem. The coil and stator were making intermittent contact, shorting out the ignition for a second. Found out the bearings were warn out. This was the turning point to convert to EFI, new dizzy, new fuel tank and pump. Snowball effect at its best.

Buck
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Things get worse...

After half a dozen flawless rides covering some 100 miles, I was going to chalk up my engine problem to the last bit of learning my self-tuning EFI system was doing. But on a ride last week, the car wouldn't start at all after an intermediate stop. And I was quite a ways from home.

Still thinking I have a dirty fuel fouling the fuel pump problem, I tried cycling my push button start through ACC, then RUN, then START to see if I could hear the fuel pump run. In my haste I was too quick on the push button and managed to get its controller to time out. It took a while for me to realize what I had done, and for a brief time I was convinced a clog had finally killed the fuel pump. But when I reset the push button start controller and took my time cycling through the modes, I could hear that in fact, the fuel pump was not running. Wondering if perhaps the push button start controller timeout had messed up the ECU, I disconnected the battery and let it sit for a while. When I reconnected the battery, the fuel pump ran for ~5 seconds at run and then cut off - just like it was supposed to. When I tried to start the car it fired right up immediately and I was able to get home.

Preliminary checks of the electrical system revealed nothing informative; the fuse was good, the relay was good, and the ECU didn't show any anomalous behavior. So I took my daughter to a birthday party in Manassas at a house at the end of at least a mile of dirt road (which was a great vibration test), and the car runs perfectly. However, when we jump in the car to go home, the fuel pump doesn't come on at RUN and the car won't start. This time, I did not get lucky; I had to call the tow truck.

So now I've got two problems: on two of the past dozen rides, the engine has died within 5 minutes of starting for now apparent reason, and on two rides the car just would not start. Or maybe I've only got one: an intermittent electrical problem in the fuel pump circuit.


John
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
...and things get a little more clear

After the tow truck debacle, I spent today performing fault isolation.

I dropped the fuel tank, and measured the voltage at the pump connector at RUN. Sure enough, I only had 10.8 volts. Next, I checked what the EFI output; that was 12.5 volts. Now I'm getting somewhere.

I checked the resistance from the fuel connector ground to one of the screws holding my brake line in place; it was ~ 7 milli Ohms. From that I concluded that the ground portion of the fuel pump circuit is good.

I checked the resistance from the connector between the EFI output and the fuel tank; it was 1.7 Mega Ohms. Definitely a problem here; so I checked the resistance between the Ron Francis rear harness connector to the fuel tank (the upstream half of that circuit): ~5 milli Ohms. I checked the resistance between the EFI output and the rear harness connector(the downstream half of that circuit): ~2 milli Ohms. Wait; how can that be? I check the resistance between the EFI output and the fuel tank again; now it's ~5 milli Ohms. Huh? I reconnect everything and measure the voltage at the pump connector at RUN. Now it's right at 12.5 volts.

So it appears reseating the two connectors fixed - at least temporarily - my fuel pump not coming on problem. And if one (or both) of those connectors is bad, that would explain my engine stopping within 5 minutes of start problem.

I think my next step is to just keep driving the car, and if I get a recurrence, to reseat one of the connectors. If that works, then I'll replace the connection and see if that cures things.

Thoughts?


John

P.S. Since I had the tank down, I collected a sample of the fuel. It looks clear as it should; no obvious debris. So for now I'm going to discount my original theory of stirred up sludge from the tanker truck.

P.P.S. Thanks much to everyone who suggested I look beyond dirty fuel!
 

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Official OLD GUY
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Connectors

John,

IF you know you have an issue with a connector, why wait till it fails again and you need to "call the truck"??

Just replace the connector now . . .

OR at least verify that the crimps are correct and (tug on the wire) tight or if soldered, its not a cold solder joint.
I, personally, did both and my car has been on the road 18 years without any electrical (connector) issues - EFI electronics not included

Doc :beerchug:
 

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G'day John,

An easier way to find your bad connection is to measure voltage drop with the system running under load. Steps as follows:
1. Have your fuel pump running.
2. Set your multimeter on DC volts.
3. Measure between the fuel pump negative and battery negative post. Any voltage you measure is an indication of the voltage drop between the battery and the fuel pump. If you get a reading, say more than half a volt, move the meter lead from the fuel pump, further back along the loom until you find where the voltage drop is occurring.
4. Use the same process to check for voltage drop in the positive part of the circuit by measuring between the battery positive post and the fuel pump positive.

Hope this makes sense.

Cheers, Nigel in South Oz
 

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Each connector/connection is a potential problem. Whether electrical, hydraulics, etc. So, you need to verify each one as you have. I'd bypass all of them to run a good test. This will tell you a lot.

Also, the Holley system will tell you a lot. Have you done a System Log? Do you have the fuel transducer to monitor fuel pressure? It needs 43psi (regulated to 34 +/-) and you can watch that happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Doc: I hear you on replacing the connector, but I'd just feel a lot better if I could recreate the problem. The connector is buried behind the dash such that I'm working mostly from feel. It's going to be a major project getting access. I'm gonna do it - probably in a couple of weeks after the kids are in school & I can work uninterrupted.

Nigel: Good tip for finding the bad connection. I'm not sure that method will work in my case as all the connectors are sealed.

Weendoggy: I have run a data log, but my firmware is so old I'm having trouble finding the right software to look at it. Yeah, we exchanged some messages on how to update it but since the car was running well I wasn't in any hurry. I'm working through the update issues now. After I get the firmware updated I'll definitely be buying the touch screen unit. For the FPS, I didn't run the wiring into the engine compartment (you don't know what you don't know). I'll probably get that taken care of when the body is off for paint.


John
 

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G'day John,

Good point about the connectors being sealed. I had neglected to mention a way to combat that issue. Okay, first you will need a set of multimeter leads with interchangeable adaptors for the ends. Specifically a probe with a needle point and also an alligator clip style of adaptor.
Here's how to apply in practice:
- for the lead attached to the battery terminal, use the alligator clip.
- for the 'roving' lead, use the needle point probe to pierce the insulation of the wire to be measured.

This method is very quick, thorough and accurate. Just make sure you don't slip and stab yourself with the needle point probe.

If you need more help or explanation, just let me know.

Wishing you the best of luck.

Cheers, Nigel in South Oz
 

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John,

I would update to at least Ver.4, you don't need 5 for what we have. The FPS is a blessing if for nothing else than monitoring. If you could see your fuel pressure when all this happens it's the same thing as the FPS, but it's much easier to see. I think you're using the small "flip-phone" style handheld which isn't even used anymore and is useless past Ver.3. You'll be much happier with the LCD screen. You still should be able to run a system log with a laptop connected. At least you now "know what you need to know". :)
 
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