Blowing pip sensor

87lx_

New Member
May 1, 2022
18
0
1
Recently picked up an 87 lx 5 speed 5.0 drove it 3 times and the pip stopped working so I replaced the distributor with a new one the car started no problem went for a drive for maybe 5 mins then it died and the pip isn’t working again

Any ideas why the pip keeps going and how to fix it ?

Thanks
 

manicmechanic007

5 Year Member
Sep 26, 2017
1,901
535
133
That is what I am thinking
Bad part
Let it burn up a few Ford modules and then decide
The early escorts 1982 with 3 pin tfi used to burn up modules if the stator was failing
We used to replace both the tfi and stator on those ones when they came in for no start
 

CAMTWO1070

Active Member
Dec 17, 2021
139
42
38
Sounds like theres an issue with wires getting rubbed raw...Try starting the car and doing whats called "THE WIGGLE TEST" on the wiring...

Just go by the connector at the firewall and start wiggling wires...if you hear changes in the way the car runs or it stalls then you know the general area to look....


If you cant find an issue send the ECU out for test and repair...

Good Luck
 

87lx_

New Member
May 1, 2022
18
0
1
Sounds like theres an issue with wires getting rubbed raw...Try starting the car and doing whats called "THE WIGGLE TEST" on the wiring...

Just go by the connector at the firewall and start wiggling wires...if you hear changes in the way the car runs or it stalls then you know the general area to look....


If you cant find an issue send the ECU out for test and repair...

Good
Sounds like theres an issue with wires getting rubbed raw...Try starting the car and doing whats called "THE WIGGLE TEST" on the wiring...

Just go by the connector at the firewall and start wiggling wires...if you hear changes in the way the car runs or it stalls then you know the general area to look....


If you cant find an issue send the ECU out for test and repair...

Good Luck
Not sure if this still sounds like wiring or not but i tried a different distributor again last night drove about 10km and it started breaking up and wouldn’t rev above 2k before dying and not starting even after cooling down all the way
 

jrichker

StangNet's favorite TOOL
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Mar 10, 2000
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There may be a mismatch between the distributor and the TFI module. They all look the same but the wiring scheme is different.

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

Revised 15 Feb 2022 to add need for thermal conductive paste on the TFI module.

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
IgnitionSwitchWiring.gif


Excess heat is the primary reason for intermittent TFI problems. When working with the TFI module, make sure that there is plenty of thermal conductive paste on the distributor mounting pad for the TFI module or the mounting pad of the TFI module itself.

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.

A bad TFI module or a bad PIP sensor have similar problem symptoms - a high speed miss on a warm engine. It can be difficult to tell which one may be the problem cause of the high speed miss on a warm engine.

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 and tells the computer to trigger the fuel injectors. A bad PIP will often set code 14 in the computer and cause hot start problems. The fuel pump control looks for the PIP pulse to keep the fuel pump control circuit turned on and keep the fuel pump running. 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 backside.
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.
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.
Spraying the TFI module with “canned air” used to dust computer keyboards while the engine is hot and misfiring is one way to check the TFI. Turn the can upside down and spray away; this will cool the TFI of quickly. If it stops missing, the TFI is the likely suspect.

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.

Excess heat is the primary reason for intermittent TFI problems. When working with the TFI module, make sure that there is plenty of thermal paste on the distributor mounting pad for the TFI module or the mounting pad for the TFI module.

diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2Birds
fuel-alt-links-ign-ac.gif


TFI_5.0_comparison.gif


tfi-module-troubleshooting-gif.585284


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

Fuel, alternator, A/C and ignition wiring

Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 88-91 Mass Air Mustangs

Vacuum diagram 89-93 Mustangs

HVAC vacuum diagram

TFI module differences & pinout
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
23,661
8,746
203
GEEZ, if you only knew what it takes for me to just post here (spelling, grammar and generally trying to look less like an idiot) and you want me to catalogue a list of jrichker-isums and place them in a way members can actually find is asking for a monumental task.
Sounds like fun :cautious: but I guess I could try. :doh:
Some are already in the tech/how to and resources areas.
 

Mindseye007

Active Member
Oct 21, 2020
162
18
28
There may be a mismatch between the distributor and the TFI module. They all look the same but the wiring scheme is different.

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

Revised 15 Feb 2022 to add need for thermal conductive paste on the TFI module.

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
IgnitionSwitchWiring.gif


Excess heat is the primary reason for intermittent TFI problems. When working with the TFI module, make sure that there is plenty of thermal conductive paste on the distributor mounting pad for the TFI module or the mounting pad of the TFI module itself.

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.

A bad TFI module or a bad PIP sensor have similar problem symptoms - a high speed miss on a warm engine. It can be difficult to tell which one may be the problem cause of the high speed miss on a warm engine.

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 and tells the computer to trigger the fuel injectors. A bad PIP will often set code 14 in the computer and cause hot start problems. The fuel pump control looks for the PIP pulse to keep the fuel pump control circuit turned on and keep the fuel pump running. 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 backside.
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.
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.
Spraying the TFI module with “canned air” used to dust computer keyboards while the engine is hot and misfiring is one way to check the TFI. Turn the can upside down and spray away; this will cool the TFI of quickly. If it stops missing, the TFI is the likely suspect.

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.

Excess heat is the primary reason for intermittent TFI problems. When working with the TFI module, make sure that there is plenty of thermal paste on the distributor mounting pad for the TFI module or the mounting pad for the TFI module.

diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2Birds

fuel-alt-links-ign-ac.gif


TFI_5.0_comparison.gif


tfi-module-troubleshooting-gif.585284


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

Fuel, alternator, A/C and ignition wiring

Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 88-91 Mass Air Mustangs

Vacuum diagram 89-93 Mustangs

HVAC vacuum diagram

TFI module differences & pinout
I just installed a new ignition switch and ignition key switch and my car feels like I picked up 20 hp everything just feels like it works better, the dash lights up brighter, the motor Idles smoother, and starts up faster.....
 
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manicmechanic007

5 Year Member
Sep 26, 2017
1,901
535
133
Long before the recall came out for Ford ignition switches
Trucks and car were catching fire from those loose ignition switches
At the dealer we told about 5 guys their truck must have had a short somewhere
2 years later we were like... Hey I found the short right here!
We all got to where we could change a switch in less that 5 minutes
 

87lx_

New Member
May 1, 2022
18
0
1
I recently bought an 87 5.0L 5 speed and have been having problems with it blowing the pip sensor I pulled the ecu out today and it is labeled for a (3.0L Taurus/sable only) wondering if these are interchangeable or if this is a problem
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
23,661
8,746
203
I recently bought an 87 5.0L 5 speed and have been having problems with it blowing the pip sensor I pulled the ecu out today and it is labeled for a (3.0L Taurus/sable only) wondering if these are interchangeable or if this is a problem
i would think that is the problem. What tells you it's for a 3.0 taurus?
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
23,661
8,746
203
You need to dig a little deeper in that harness and look for a part number tag wrapped around the harness.
Have you checked the vin number on the car?
Some titles indicate the number of cylinders
I just don't understand why someone would put a computer into it that clearly was not meant to operate in this configuration.
What did the guy that sold you the car tell you?
 
Last edited: