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89 Turns over, but won't start

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Old 03-07-2009, 07:41 PM   #1
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Default 89 Turns over, but won't start

I have an 1989 F150 with an I-6 and EFI. I can't get it to start. Here's what's going on, sorry for the length, but any help would be apprecitated.

After having my truck in the garage for a couple of months I started it up just fine without jumping it or anything. I went into the house to let it warm up and went back out after five minutes and it wasn't running any longer and I haven't been able to start it since.

I've disconnected the fuel line from the filter and fuel is pumping fine. I check one cylinder and I have spark. I replaced the spark plugs, but still won't start. Even though the fuel pump is pumping, I feel the engine isn't getting fuel because I cranked for several minutes, removed one of the plugs and they appear dry. I would expect fuel on them.

I've never dealt with EFI, so I really don't know what to check there to see if it is working or not. I'm an electronic technician so I feel comfortable if I know what I'm checking for.

I appreciate any help I can get.
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:28 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site!

Do you hear the fuel pumps engage when you roll the ignition key to On? Should be about a 2 second prime, then they will shut off until you roll the motor.

I mention pumps - the '89s had a low pressure pump in the tank, and a high pressure pump inside the driver-side frame rail about underneath where you put your feet in the floorboard.

When you checked the fuel, was this before or after the filter? Thinking you could have a problem either with a clogged filter, or a clogged pickup screen in the tank.

There's a test port on the fuel rail - it looks a lot like a tire valve. After the fuel pump primes the system before a start - you might want to check this for pressure. If you have a gauge - should get on the order of 30psi, give or take. Either way, watch out - if it's pressurized, it's going to spray all over if you aren't ready for it.

You can check for spark the old-fashioned way - pull a plug, or use a known-good one you have around, hook it up to a plug wire, ground it to the block, and roll the motor. The spark should be towards a bluish color - if it's yellow - may not have enough oomph to fire under compression - perhaps a coil problem, but - one thing at a time.

Suggest to validate fuel flow to the rail, then go from there. Good luck, and keep us posted.
1989 F150 XLT standard-cab shortbed 4x4, 5.0L, AOD, 3.55 gears, manual hubs, 31x10.50 tires, 217K miles. Repainted Oct09.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice wde, I really appreciate it. I didn't have a gauge, but I check the fuel AFTER the filter again and it appears to be pumping with a lot of pressure.

The spark looked to be too orange, took the coil to AutoZone and they checked it with a meter and it appeard the resistance was too high on the secondary, so I bought a new one. I installed it, and the truck started right up. It idled strong, I rev'ed then let it idle some more. After idling for two minutes, it started missing like it was running out of gas then finally died and it won't start again.

I disconnect the fuel line before and after the filter and there is no fule pumping anymore. I disconnected before the fuel pump and nothings pumping there either, but I'm sure if it is supposed to. I have fuel in both tanks and switching between them has no affect. I've seen talk of that inertia switch, so I put my meter on it and I have connectivity, with zero ohms of resistance, which I assume it's supposed to have.

Any ideas what to do next? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:06 PM

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