T-Bird (I think) Ignition

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The car is definitely an '88 3.6L V6 Thunderbird but has at some time had the engine replaced.

This engine matches the car in terms of hoses mechanical connections etc and is a 3.8 FI V6. But I want (need) to exchange the Ignition control module.

Well it ain't where my Haynes manual says it should be, clamped to that flat part on the distributor (the flat spot is!). and so far I've searched under the hood for any of the ignition modules ever used on thunderbird 3.8's as far as I know with no success, the coil Is there and it and the distributor look standard TFI IV.

Anyone got any suggestions where I might look? :banghead:

posted by  HighWayMan

How is it mounted to the distributor? Is it screwed in? Dunno what "clamped to" means... I'm just thinking it may be right.

posted by  DodgeRida67

The flat spot on the distributor is there but there's no ignition module connected to it, by screws clamps or anything else and no electrical connecters of the right type anywhere near it.

That's my point. I can't find the Ignition control module anywhere under the hood so far. Maybe the use of the phrase 'clamped to' was a little inaccurate but since there;'s nothing there, clamped or screwed to is what it's not

posted by  HighWayMan

If the car was retrofitted with a 3.8 V6, it may have a remote ignition module which is about 3 inch x 3 inch and bolted to the metal of one of the wheel wells or inner fenders.

http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=az/cds/en_us/0900823d/ 80/14/d3/2a/0900823d8014d32a.jsp

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Oops, sorry :oops:

posted by  DodgeRida67

??? Why can't you trace the wiring from the distributor to the module? not the plug wires. Don't understand.

posted by  lectroid

Cuz were not as smart as you, lol. :sleep:

posted by  DodgeRida67

Cause the wires from the distributor go to a single plug then disappear into a harness that goes back towards the firewall where it joins a bigger harness that seems to serve just about everything in the engine compartment. Same thing with the wires from the coil, which finish up in the same harness. I assume the ones from the module wherever it is do tha same thing!

posted by  HighWayMan

What exact distributor do you have in that engine?

posted by  DodgeRida67

I'm not exactly sure how I tell, I don't recall any markings, Cerrtainly the '1' that's supposed to be on the cap by the 1 cylinder terminal (as per the Haynes book) is *not* there. But maybe a photo will help? I'll take one tonight and post it.

posted by  HighWayMan

"scratchin butt, no I mean head" :laughing: Well, if you don't want to remove the wire loom to trace the wiring, you can always go to a telco supplier and purchase a tone generator and a inductive amplified probe. The gererator will emit a 1khz tone on the wire(s) to which it is connected, the probe will identify the wire when the probe is placed on the insulation of the correct wire(s) to which the generator is connected. I WOULD disconnect battery and ECM. :2cents:

posted by  lectroid

It looks exactly like the Cardone 302688 shown at:
http://www.partsamerica.com/PartDetails.asp?SourceArea=SHOP&SourcePage=SEAR CHRESULTS&MfrCode=A1C&MfrPartNumber=302688&PartType=218&PTSet=A

If you look at that you'll see the flat place where the control module is supposed to be screwed on. but just like this picture mine has no module there. Suggesting to me that it is elsewhere and should look like on of the standard modules used on this car. Can I see it anywhere though? - Nope!

posted by  HighWayMan

Did you search the firewall? Look for a square box, maybe colorful, on the firewall...

posted by  DodgeRida67

http://www.partsamerica.com/product_images/img/ACC/49320.jpg
Maybe something on the firewall like what you see in the bottem left-hand corner of that picture.

posted by  DodgeRida67

Theres a reason it's not there come to think of it. Ford had a recall for the modules because they got fried from the heat when mounted there. They even tried including an heat dispercing paste to put on the distributor in a failure of an attempt to stop the module mounted on the distributor from frying. I guess someone fried 2 or 3 like I have in the Crown Vic and got fed up and moved it. Or they stuck on a performance one like in that picture above and it's on the firewall or cleverly hidden from theives because it runs close too $300... :2cents:

posted by  DodgeRida67

I did look for that model, it's listed in my book, couldn't see it but I got the impression that model needed a distributor with vacuum advance, which mine don't have. I'll do another search tonight.

Thanks for the ideas.

posted by  HighWayMan

Both my former 94 Areostar and my 92 CV had the remote modules

I will have to do a little research to tell you if your 3.8 has a vacume advance or not.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

I'm doubting it does have a vacuum advance... :2cents:

posted by  DodgeRida67

The distributors on the older 3.8 V6 with feedback carbs had vacume advance

The car equipped with EEC-IV ECMs (Newer 3.8 L V-6) built from 1989 and later had a remote module on the radiator support bracket or the fender well and no centrifugal advance. Timing and saprk advance is done by the ECM (I am familiar with this system since I had it on the Areostar I mentioned) Do you know if the replacement engine was 1989 or later?

1996 and later had DIS (distributorless ignition) similar to my 1992 Crown Victoria

posted by  tbaxleyjr

If by radiator support bracket, you mean the cross member which amongst other things has the latching mechanism for the hood in it then you got it right. None of the books I read even hinted at this, but there it was in front of the radiator on the passenger side so neatly bolted into a heat sink it didn't even look like the module I was seeking.

Thanks to all.

Oh and it didn't solve the cutting out problem. In fact the recovery wait time is now up to an hour or more. So something's shutting me down and refusing to let me start until it has cooled. Suggestions so far are Engine Control Module wich is a shop replacement part. This is now interfering with my work schedule so maybe that's the solution!. :ohcrap:

posted by  HighWayMan

What do you mean by a shop part?

posted by  DodgeRida67

My Haynes book says don't try to replace this yourself, have the dealership do it.

posted by  HighWayMan

I would suspect a reluctor or hall effect pick-up plate in the distributor or a crankshaft or camshaft position sensor before I would suspect the ECM

Have you checked for trouble codes?

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Exactly, they're very exspensive. I've only known of about..3 to go bad. They're the last thing you should think about replacing. :2cents:

posted by  DodgeRida67

The cutout and taking a long time to cool and restart sounds like what happened to an 86 Dodge I had when the pick-up plate went bad in the distributor.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

I guess I'll find out. It's become such a pain I have the local ford dealer running a diagnosis on it today. Hopefully their diagnostic computer will come up with an (expensive) answer. :ticking:

posted by  HighWayMan

let us know what he finds

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Well so far he claims that the 'aftermarket' Ignition Control Module I installed is giving weak signals and he wants $300 to replace it. A $50 part that takes 5 minutes to change (I did it in that time).

I have told him to run the car 'til it fails and then try seeing what's causing the problem. Because I'm convinced they just tested it by starting it and putting the computer on without waiting for it to fail.

This is an official Ford Dealership.

Maybe it's time to see if Ford have a complaints process since I spelt out the problem when I left it there and he read it back to me.

posted by  HighWayMan

Well this morning after the dealership claimed it fixed, I was in the middle of a 1/4 mile long tunnel (West Rocks for anyone who knows CT) when the motor died yet again. I manged to roll to the end of the tunnel and pull over (whew) and had the dealer send a wrecker to rescue it at no charge, and Loan me a car to get to work. Now he has today to come up with a plausible explanation why he didn't find the problem since the report he gave me contained a very accurate description of the fault as I told him about it first time.

From those print outs I have more ammunition as to why he didn't diagnose it first time - thanks. I will probably let him do the diagnosis this time and then say "Nope can't afford it" and take it away and fix it myself :)

More to come......

posted by  HighWayMan

You should have never gone to the dealership. :cussing: Come on man, you should know better than that. :screwy:

:laughing: sucks doesnt it.. :laughing:

posted by  DodgeRida67

Yeah I know. But it's gone on so long and as a consultant I was losing income hours over the thing. Now I'm driving a *free* loaner from the dealership and earning again while they look at it and try to figure out what's going on.

:wink2:

posted by  HighWayMan

Well they seem to have fixed it. Runs a bit rough but it no longer cuts out or refuses to start - Well it didn't yesterday anyway. The dealer claims they replaces the stator to achieve that. and after my mishap "NO CHARGE" So we'll see Now I jyst have to stop the oil pan leak.

posted by  HighWayMan

What stator?

posted by  DodgeRida67

It's the sensor in the distributor that sends the timing pulses to the Igniition control module.

posted by  HighWayMan

Hehe well *that* problem is fixed. I still have Oil leaks, slightly rough running undr load and I need to replace the tranny filter and rear brake shoes but all of thos now look relatively simple except the s3als on the pil pump and rear pinion. And even those I know where they are. :heh:

posted by  HighWayMan

Some of it's done.

Rotor Distributor cap wires and plugs all new. But I should probably recheck plug gaps cause this is when the problem first started.

Fuel filter was changed twice in the last 3 months because the original was full of some nasty red powder substance and within a week of changing it my son ran the tank dry so for the low cost I thought it expedient to do again. Previous one didn't show any foreign deposits on changing.

I do have to put the link in and check the codes.

Then I'll go on to other things

I guess I also have to do the RH engine mount as the dealer replaced the LH one and now they are showing (vibration) signs of bein inbalanced.

But tonight I have to install a water heater for a friend so it'll be later in the week :rolleyes:

posted by  HighWayMan

Water heater is working and I ran a code check on this (I think it's OK but just checking. KOEO gave a fast flash then 11 11 pause single flash 14 18 14 18. I think that's the memory from before the ignition was fixed since 14 & 18 are Ignition errors.

Just have to stop the oil leak without removing the transmidssion and replace the right Engine mount. (left one's been done and now there's vibration from the other.

posted by  HighWayMan

It sounds like you are on target. Those codes are ignition system related. Code 18 in particular is probably the reluctor/pick-up failure in the distributor which the stealership (I mean dealership) fixed. This means the rough running issues are more than likely the tune-up related issues I mentioned earlier

Lift the negative battery terminal for a few minutes and clear the codes. Allow the car 15-20 miles the next time you drive it to relearn how you drive.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Oh man! That means I have to do the radio presets again! Before the kids get their obnoxious stations set in.

posted by  HighWayMan

sounds like my 14 yr old

posted by  tbaxleyjr

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