Engine Does Anybody Make A Distributor For Our Cars That Isn't A Piece Of Crap?

Discussion in '1994 - 1995 Specific Tech' started by sixt9coug, Jan 21, 2014.


  1. sixt9coug

    sixt9coug Member

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    I bought my car about 4 years ago and it had a distributor problem. It took some work but we changed the PIP and hey, the car was good for a good chunk of time.

    So a year ago, being that I still have pinging issues at times, I bought a new RichPorter distributor off of Amazon and stabbed it in the car. It ran great for a couple of months, and then it started hesitating and bogging on me. I took it out, and swapped my old OEM unit back in.

    The OEM unit was fine until about a month ago, when it finally died on me outright. The car just would not fire, and it was gone. Well, I went back to the old RichPorter distributor I had and I was going to use that as an emergency unit. Well, it somehow totally siezed while sitting in my dry, SoCal garage. Well crap.

    I went out and bought a reman unit from Napa. Tossed it in and the car fired right up and ran great.

    Until earlier this week. It's got some nasty hesitation and bogging again. To the point where even the CEL light has occasionally been coming on. It feels like the distributor again.

    Again.

    I'm tired of buying distributor after distributor for this car. Does anyone make a unit for this car that isn't a totally worthless paperweight after two or three months? Is new OEM my only real option? Or a pile of junkyard distributors?
     
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  2. davis3

    davis3 Active Member

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    Why not a motorcraft pip?
    $45 on rockauto.

    I've been meaning to buy one myself.
     
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  3. revhead347

    revhead347 I have face herpes.

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    There's been a lot of discussion on this in the past. Buying rebuilt stuff is hit or miss. Thanks for mentioning that the Richporter was no better. I'll know not to spend the money next time. I like Davis suggestion. Replace the pip with an oe one. A lot of people like the BWD pip as well.

    Kurt
     
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  4. sixt9coug

    sixt9coug Member

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    I had no idea the OEM PIP was available still on RockAuto of all places. I might have to do that, they aren't exactly hard to swap out.

    Thanks!
     
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  5. Chythar

    Chythar Well-Known Member

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    Replacing the PIP is a good way to go. Most of the remanufactured distributors is, as already said, hit or miss since they only test the electronic components before selling them. If you are looking for something fancy, I'd go with these guys:

    http://performancedistributors.com/product/ford-hot-forged-dui-distributors/

    I bought one some years ago and it's still going strong.
     
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  6. joetrainer31

    joetrainer31 Member

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    My friend, I'm sorry to say that, a new OEM is your best bet for functionality and longevity. Think about how old your original distributor was before it took a dump. I know people may disagree w/me and that's ok, but I simply will not move from OEM on certain items -the distributor being one of them. Plus, remans often come w/o a new PIP. That translates to [problems]. Furthermore, I'd consider looking at your ignition module. That part might be original as well, and it is another item I would not buy after market.

    I hope this helps your thought process even if it hurts your wallet.
     
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  7. v8only

    v8only Active Member

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    Wow, in two decades of fox mustangs, 150k miles in foxes over several cars ive had one pip go bad...u have bad luck
     
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  8. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    Werd... The one in my 86 is the ONLY item left in the car, that's from the original motor.
     
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  9. sixt9coug

    sixt9coug Member

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    Yup, I figured as such, so I bought a new OEM PIP off of Amazon recently. I went to install it tonight, and well.... I'll make another thread to show off the points of interest I found along the way.

    The TFI module is also original to the car, but most of the issues I've had were with the PIP in this car. I'll keep an eye out for an OEM TFI module in the meantime though. FWIW, the new PIP wasn't that expensive. $48 and the 30 minutes it took to swap it out.
     
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  10. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    I think ( don't recall exactly ) that @jrichker has a little insight on the TFI modules. If I recall, there was a preference there as well but I don't remember what the specifics were.

    He should be along once he gets the alert. It may have been for just Fox cars but we'll see. Ours (Fox) tend to have a few more issues because of the mounting location.
     
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  11. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    How the TFI ignition works in 86-93 model Mustangs:

    Tools needed: DVM, noid light, safety pin.

    Theory of operation:
    The TFI ignition in 86-93 Mustangs has 4 main components: the ignition switch, the coil, the TFI module and the PIP sensor inside the distributor.

    The ignition switch gets power from the two yellow wires that are supplied power by a fuse link located in the wiring harness that connects to the starter solenoid.

    Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds
    [​IMG]

    I.) The coil is mounted on the driver’s side strut tower on most EFI Mustangs. It gets power from a red/green wire and a brown/pink wire from the ignition switch. That wire from the ignition switch feeds a 20 gauge blue fuse link that connects to the red/green wire. The fuse link protects the wiring and the ignition switch, since the fuse link for the two yellow power supply wires has a much higher current rating. Without the smaller fuse link protecting the smaller wiring used in the ignition circuit, a short there would cause the red/green wire to overheat and burn up.

    II.) The TFI module is mounted on the side of the distributor and supplies the ground for the coil. Every automotive power supply circuit uses the ground as the return path to carry power back to the negative side of the battery. The TFI switches the tan/yellow wire coming from the coil to ground. It gets power from the red/green wire when the ignition switch is in the Run position. The red/lt blue wire supplies a signal to turn on more power (dwell time) when the engine is cranking. The increased dwell can cause excessive current draw if the red/blue wire remains energized when the ignition switch is in the Run position. The trigger signal comes from the PIP sensor when cranking and the computer when the engine is running. The SPOUT jumper plug enables computer controlled spark advance. When the SPOUT is removed, spark advance is locked at the setting determined by the mechanical position of the distributor.

    III.) The PIP sensor is in the bottom of the distributor under the shutter wheel. It is a Hall effect magnetic sensor that senses a change in the magnetic field when one of the slots in the shutter wheel uncovers the sensor. Then it supplies a pulse that triggers the TFI module to provide a ground to the ignition coil. A bad PIP will often set code 14 in the computer and cause hot start problems. Replacing the PIP sensor requires removal of the distributor and pressing the gear off the distributor shaft to expose the sensor. For most people, a remanufactured distributor ($55-$75) is the solution, since they may not have access to a press.


    IV.) Troubleshooting the ignition system – no spark or weak spark. All the tests are done with the ignition switch in the Run position unless specified otherwise. A safety pin may be used to probe the wiring connectors from the back side.
    1.) Check for 12 volts at the yellow wires on the ignition switch. No 12 volts and the fuse link near the starter solenoid has open circuited.
    2.) Check for 12 volts on the red/green and brown/pink wires coming out of the ignition switch. No 12 volts, replace the ignition switch.
    3.) Check for 12 volts at the ignition coil. No 12 volts and the blue 20 gauge fuse link has open circuited.
    4.) Check for 12 volts at the red/green wire on the TFI module. No 12 volts and you have wiring problems.
    5.) Remove the small red/blue wire from the starter solenoid (looks like it is stuck on a screw). This is a safety measure to keep the engine from turning while you are making measurements. Have a helper turn the ignition switch to Start and look for 12 volts on the red/lt blue wire on the TFI module. No 12 volts and you will have starting problems, but push starting the car will work OK. No 12 volts, replace the ignition switch. Be sure to reconnect the red/blue wire to the starter when you finish.
    6.) Check the red/blue wire to make sure that it has less than 8 volts when the ignition switch is in the Run position.
    7.) A noid light available from any auto parts store, is one way to test the PIP pulse. The computer uses the PIP signal to trigger the fuel injectors. The noid light plugs into the fuel injector harness in place of any easily accessible injector. Plug it in and it will flash if the PIP is working. No flash from the noid light and the PIP is suspect. To confirm the PIP is being the source of the non flashing noid light, look for 12 volts on the red injector wiring. Good 12 volts and no flashing noid light means the PIP has failed.
    8.) Remove the SPOUT plug from the harness and try to start the engine. If it starts, replace the PIP. This is a common no start condition when the engine is hot.
    9.) The TFI module is a go/no go item when you have a no spark/weak spark condition on a cold engine. It either works or it doesn’t.
    The TFI failure mode on a running car is usually a high speed miss on a warm engine. Many auto parts stores will test your TFI module for free. Bring along a hair dryer to get it hot while testing it and run several test cycles, since it often gets weak when it heats up.

    The coil is somewhat more difficult to pinpoint as a problem. A good coil will make a nice fat blue spark 3/8”-1/2” long. The problem is that one person’s perception of a fat blue spark looks like may not be accurate enough to spot a weak coil. The coil is cheap enough ($13-$16) that having a known good working spare might be a good idea.

    diagrams courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2Birds
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Page from Chilton's Mustang service manual on testing the TFI
    [​IMG]

    See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) & Stang&2Birds (website host) for help on 88-95 wiring http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/ Everyone should bookmark this site.

    Ignition switch wiring
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/IgnitionSwitchWiring.gif

    Fuel, alternator, A/C and ignition wiring
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/fuel-alt-links-ign-ac.gif

    Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 88-91 Mass Air Mustangs
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/88-91_5.0_EEC_Wiring_Diagram.gif

    Vacuum diagram 89-93 Mustangs
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/mustangFoxFordVacuumDiagram.jpg

    HVAC vacuum diagram
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/Mustang_AC_heat_vacuum_controls.gif

    TFI module differences & pinout
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/TFI_5.0_comparison.gif

    Code 14 - Ignition pickup (PIP) was erratic – the hall effect sensor in the distributor is failing. Bad sensor, bad wiring, dirty contacts.

    Revised 10-Dec-2012 to add PIP diagnostic testing & Wells info

    The PIP is a Hall Effect magnetic sensor that triggers the TFI and injectors. There is a shutter wheel alternately covers and uncovers a fixed magnet as it rotates. The change in the magnetic field triggers the sensor. They are often heat sensitive, increasing the failure rate as the temperature increases.

    PIP Sensor functionality, testing and replacement:
    The PIP is a Hall Effect magnetic sensor that triggers the TFI and injectors. There is a shutter wheel alternately covers and uncovers a fixed magnet as it rotates. The change in the magnetic field triggers the sensor. A failing PIP sensor will often set code 14 in the computer. They are often heat sensitive, increasing the failure rate as the temperature increases.

    Some simple checks to do before replacing the PIP sensor or distributor:
    You will need a Multimeter or DVM with good batteries: test or replace them before you get started.. You may also need some extra 16-18 gauge wire to extend the length of the meter’s test leads.
    Visual check first: look for chaffed or damaged wiring and loose connector pins in the TFI harness connector.
    Check the IDM wiring – dark green/yellow wire from the TFI module to pin 4 on the computer. There is a 22K Ohm resistor in the wiring between the TFI and the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 22,000 ohms +/- 10%.
    Check the PIP wiring - dark blue from the TFI module to pin 56 on the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 0.2-1.5 ohms.
    Check the SPOUT wiring – yellow/lt green from the TFI module to pin 36 on the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 0.2-1.5 ohms.
    Check the black/orange wire from the TFI module to pin 16 on the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 0.2-1.5 ohms.
    Check the red/green wire; it should have a steady 12-13 volts with the ignition switch on and the engine not running.
    Check the red/blue wire; it should have a steady 12-13 volts with the ignition switch in Start and the engine not running. Watch out for the fan blades when you do this test, since the engine will be cranking.
    If you do not find any chaffed or broken wires, high resistance connections or loose pins in the wiring harness, replace the PIP sensor or the distributor.

    The PIP sensor is mounted in the bottom of the distributor under the shutter wheel. In stock Ford distributors, you have to press the gear off the distributor shaft to get access to it to replace it. Most guys just end up replacing the distributor with a reman unit for about $75 exchange

    PIP problems & diagnostic info
    Spark with the SPOUT out, but not with the SPOUT in suggests a PIP problem. The PIP signal level needs to be above 6.5 volts to trigger the computer, but only needs to be 5.75 volts to trigger the TFI module. Hence with a weak PIP signal, you could get spark but no injector pulse. You will need an oscilloscope or graphing DVM to measure the output voltage since it is not a straight DC voltage.

    See http://www.wellsmfgcorp.com/pdf/counterp_v8_i2_2004.pdf and http://www.wellsmfgcorp.com/pdf/counterp_v8_i3_2004.pdf for verification of this little detail from Wells, a manufacturer of TFI modules and ignition system products.
     
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  12. davis3

    davis3 Active Member

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    Apparently, just speaking of the pip causes it to go out.
    Took forever last night for my car to start.

    Good thing I ordered the motorcraft pick up coil the other day.
    I also got the last autozone reman dizzy in town this morning (I have a LLT warranty).

    I'll wait until the pip comes in to install it.

    In the mean time, all my fingers will be crossed every time I attempt to start this thing!
     
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  13. joetrainer31

    joetrainer31 Member

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    Ok, so I'm not trying to be a Debby Downer. I'm just attempting to warn you about the following: nothing i've bought from Autozone, with the exception of bottled water, has worked properly and/or has been worth the money. I hope your experience is different.

    How much was the Motorcraft pickup coil? I hope all this fixes your problem. Just make sure not to speak of the part which shall remain nameless so that it does not fail =)
     
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  14. davis3

    davis3 Active Member

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    Which is why I bought the Motorcraft pip.
    mechanically, every AutoZone dizzy I've had/seen have been fine.
    it's their electronics that are crap, in my experience.

    I've also tried a NAPA pick up coil (the less expensive one), whice failed quicker then the AutoZone pick up coil (a new one, not the coil that came with the reman dizzy)
     
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  15. joetrainer31

    joetrainer31 Member

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    Either way, I hope you get it fixed. How much was the Motorcraft pip?
     
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  16. davis3

    davis3 Active Member

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    Sprint+bad weather= a horrible data connection!
    Price info was supposed to be in my previous post.

    $53 shipped from rockauto.
     
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  17. sixt9coug

    sixt9coug Member

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    Same here. I've had bad luck with anything reman so far. Even Napa parts which I was hoping would be better, but the NEW Rich Porter unit was junk as well. To be fair, it took three months to crap out over the reman unit's one month.
     
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