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Why wont my car start?

Several weeks ago my 86 Ford Ranger started hesitating to start. Then it would only start in the early morning or when it was really cold. Even when it wouldn’t start it sounded like it was turning properly. It just wouldn’t quite catch.

Then eventually it failed to even start in the mornings or when it gets colder, but it still felt like it was turning when I tried to start it.

I asked around and was told that it was likely the ignition coil or module. I bought a new coil and replaced it carefully following the Haynes manual instructions. I also went ahead and gave it a general tune up. I changed the plugs and wires. I made sure that all the gaps were set and that the new wires I put on were in the correct firing order. I also changed the air filter and the oil and oil filter.

It still wouldn’t start.

So I went to buy a new ignition module.

I have a 6 cylinder, 2.9 liter, fuel injected Ranger and for some reason the module is mounted to the back of the distributor on this model. I had to take the distributor off to replace the module.

I marked it’s placement so that I could get it back in time and I carefully followed the Haynes manual instructions to remove the distributor. I mounted the new module also following the instructions and I put the distributor back on. It still wouldn’t start.

I felt stumped.

I assumed that I had somehow misplaced the distributor.

I set the timing to Top Dead Center and moved the distributor so that it was set for the first cylinder.

It still wont start.

I used the fuel pressure valve to make sure that I am getting good enough fuel pressure. I also replaced a battery connection that seemed shaky. It tries to turn so I couldn’t imagine that it would be the starter.

I am out of ideas and I really need this thing to run.

Anybody out there have any idea what else it could be?

The hall effect switch (stator, or whatever else one might callit) almost always falls to pieces when you remove the ignition module on that era of TFI Fords. Perhaps you saw chunks of it (orange) stuck to the module. If you’ve not changed that before, take the distributor to someone that has and have it replaced. If you’re a novice in that job, you’ll risk breaking the distributor drive gear and that cannot be replaced by itself. That’s my next best guess.

Have you checked to make sure that you have battery voltage at the ignition coil when the key is in both the RUN and the START positions?
Have you verified that you are getting a good strong spark when the engine is being cranked over?
Checked for any codes?

The TFI ignition module equipped engines are pretty touchy about distributor timing and once running the ignition timing should really be checked with a timing light AND with the SPOUT connector unplugged while doing so.

First thing is they sell a tool for about 5 bucks to change the igniton module so u dont have to pull the distributor,guess you will know that for the next time.Anyway what caught my eye in your statement was you used the fuel pressure valve to make sure you are getting enough fuel pressure,do you mean you put a pressure gauge on it or you just used something to depress the valve to see if fuel was coming out. Just because fuel was coming out doesnt mean you have the proper amount of fuel pressure.