Cranks OK, but No Start Checklist for Fuel Injected Mustangs

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by jrichker, May 22, 2006.

  1. Cranks OK, but No Start Checklist for Fuel Injected 5.0 Mustangs model years 1986-1995

    A word about this checklist before you start: it is arranged in a specific order to put the most likely failure items first. That will save you time, energy and money. Start at the top of the list and work your way down. Jumping around will possibly cause you to miss just what you need to see to find and fix the problem. Don’t skip any steps because the next step depends on the last step working correctly.

    Revised 26-Jul-2017 to add fuse link diagram.

    All text applies to all models unless stated otherwise.

    Note: 94-95 specific changes are in red

    1.) Remove push on connector (small red/blue wire) from starter solenoid and turn ignition switch to the Run position. Place car in neutral or Park and set the parking brake. Remove the coil wire from distributor & and hold it 3/8” away from the engine block. Jumper the screw to the big bolt on the starter solenoid that has the battery wire connected to it. You should get a nice fat blue spark.
    Most of the items are electrical in nature, so a test light, or even better, a voltmeter, is helpful to be sure they have power to them.

    No spark, possible failed items in order of their probability:
    A.) MSD, Crane, or other ignition box if present - Bypass it and return to stock configuration if possible. Do this as a temporary measure to eliminate it as a possible problem source.
    B.) PIP sensor in distributor. The PIP sensor supplies the timing pulse to trigger the TFI and injectors. A failing PIP sensor will sometimes let the engine start if the SPOUT is removed. See paragraph 5A – Using a noid light will tell if the PIP is working by flashing when the engine is cranking.
    C.) TFI module: use a test light to check the TFI module. Place one lead of the test light on the red/green wire on the ignition coil connector and the other lead on the dark green/yellow wire on the ignition coil connector. If the TFI is working properly, the test light will flash when the engine is cranked using the ignition switch.
    D.) Coil
    E.) No EEC or computer power - EEC or computer relay failure
    86-93 models only: EEC relay next to computer - look for 12 volts at the fuel injector red wires.
    94-95 models only: EEC or PCM power relay in the constant control relay module. Look for 12 volts at the fuel injector red wires.
    Both 86-93 and 94-95 models: No 12 volts with the ignition switch in the run position on the fuel injector red wires. The relay has failed or there is no power coming from the ignition switch. Make sure that there is 12 volts on the red/green wire on the coil before replacing the relay.
    F.) No EEC or computer power - fuse or fuse link failure
    86-93 models only: Fuse links in wiring harness - look for 12 volts at the fuel injector red wires. All the fuse links live in a bundle up near the starter solenoid. Look for a 20 gauge blue fuse link connected to 2 black/orange 14 gauge wires.
    94-95 models only: 20 amp EEC fuse in the engine compartment fuse box. Look for 12 volts at the fuel injector red wires.
    G.) Ignition switch - look for 12 volts at the ignition coil red/lt green wire. No 12 volts, blown fuse link or faulty ignition switch. Remove the plastic from around the ignition switch and look for 12 volts on the red/green wire on the ignition switch with it in the Run position. No 12 volts and the ignition switch is faulty. If 12 volts is present in the Run position at the ignition switch but not at the coil, then the fuse or fuse link is blown.
    Note: fuses or fuse links blow for a reason. Don’t replace either a fuse or fuse link with one with a larger rating than stock. Doing so invites an electrical fire.
    Ignition fuse links may be replaced with an inline fuse holder and 5 amp fuse for troubleshooting purposes.
    94-95 models only: Check inside fuse panel for fuse #18 blown – 20 amp [fuse
    H.) Missing or loose computer power ground. The computer has its own dedicated power ground that comes off the ground pigtail on the battery ground wire. Due to it's proximity to the battery, it may become corroded by acid fumes from the battery.
    In 86-90 model cars, it is a black cylinder about 2 1/2" long by 1" diameter with a black/lt green wire.
    In 91-95 model cars it is a black cylinder about 2 1/2" long by 1" diameter with a black/white wire.
    You'll find it up next to the starter solenoid where the wire goes into the wiring harness
    I.) Computer. Don’t replace the computer just because you don’t understand how it works. Computers seldom fail, it usually is a sensor or wiring problem that causes the problems.
    J.) Bad or missing secondary power ground. It is located between the back of the intake manifold and the driver's side firewall. It supplies ground for the alternator, A/C compressor clutch and other electrical accessories such as the gauges.
    K.) Engine fires briefly, but dies immediately when the key is released to the Run position. Crank the engine & when it fires off, pull the small push on connector (red/blue wire) off the starter relay (Looks like it is stuck on a screw). Hold the switch in the crank position: if it continues to run there is a problem with either the ignition switch or TFI module. Check for 12 volts at the red/green wire on the coil with the switch in the Run position. Good 12 volts, then replace the TFI.
    See the Ignition switch wiring diagram for more information on the ignition wiring fuse link because it is the next thing to be tested. You will need a Multimeter or DVM and know how to use the Ohms function to check continuity between the red/green wire on the ignition coil and the red/green wire on the ignition switch. Make sure that the ignition switch is in the off position when you do the check. You should see less than 1 Ω (Ohm) between the red/green wire on the coil and the red/green wire on the ignition switch. More than 1 Ω means that the fuse link may have blown open and needs to be replaced. If you get 1 Ω or less means the fuse link is OK and the ignition switch is bad.

    Wiring Diagrams:

    See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) & Stang&2Birds (website host) for help on 88-95 wiring Mustang FAQ - Engine Information 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

    Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 91-93 Mass Air Mustangs

    Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 94-95 Mass Air Mustangs

    AutoZone wiring diagrams: You can navigate to the diagrams yourself via Repair Info | and select the car year, make, model and engine. That will enable you to bring up the wiring diagram for your particular car.

    2.) Spark at coil wire, pull #1 plug wire off at the spark plug and check to see spark. No spark, possible failed items in order of their probability: [/b]
    A.) Moisture inside distributor – remove cap, dry off & spray with WD40
    B.) Distributor cap
    C.) Rotor
    D.) Spark Plug wires
    E.) Coil weak or intermittent - you should see 3/8" fat blue spark with a good coil

    3.) Spark at spark plug, but no start.
    Next, get a can of starting fluid (ether) from your local auto parts store: costs a $1.30 or so. Then pull the air duct off at the throttle body elbow, open the throttle, and spray the ether in it. Reconnect the air duct and try to start the car. Do not try to start the car without reconnecting the air duct.

    Two reasons:
    1.) If it backfires, the chance for a serious fire is increased.
    2.) On Mass Air cars, the computer needs to measure the MAF flow once the engine starts.
    If it starts then, you have a fuel management issue. Continue the checklist with emphasis of fuel related items that follow. If it doesn’t, then it is a computer or timing issue: see Step 4.

    Clue – listen for the fuel pump to prime when you first turn the ignition switch on. It should run for 2-4 seconds and shut off. To trick the fuel pump into running, find the EEC test connector and jump the connector in the Upper RH corner to ground. The EEC connector is near the wiper motor and LH hood hinge.


    If the relay & inertia switch are OK, you will have power to the pump. Check fuel pressure – remove the cap from the Schrader valve behind the alternator and depress the core. Fuel should squirt out, catch it in a rag. Beware of fire hazard when you do this. In a pinch, you can use a tire pressure gauge to measure the fuel pressure. It may not be completely accurate, but you will have some clue as to how much pressure you have. If you have any doubts about having sufficient fuel flow/pressure, rent a fuel pressure test gauge from the auto parts store. That will tell you for sure if you have adequate fuel pressure.

    4.) No fuel pressure, possible failed items in order of their probability:
    A.) Tripped inertia switch – Coupe & hatch cars hide it under the plastic trim covering the driver's side taillight. Use the voltmeter or test light to make sure you have power to both sides of the switch
    B.) Fuel pump power relay – located under the driver’s seat in most stangs built before 92. On 92 and later model cars it is located below the Mass Air Flow meter. Look for 12 volts at the Pink/Black wire on the fuel pump relay.
    C.) Clogged fuel filter
    D.) Failed fuel pump
    E.) 86-90 models only: Blown fuse link in wiring harness. Look for 12 volts at the Orange/Lt Blue wire on the fuel pump relay.
    91-93 models only Blown fuse link in wiring harness. Look for 12 volts at the Pink/Black wire on the fuel pump relay.
    The fuse links for all model years 86-93 live in the wiring harness near the starter solenoid.


    94-95 models only: 20 amp fuel pump fuse in the engine compartment fuse box. Look for 12 volts at the Dark green/yellow wire on the constant control relay module.
    F.) Engine seem to load up on fuel and may have black smoke at the tailpipe. Fuel pressure regulator failed. Remove the vacuum line from the regulator and inspect for fuel escaping while the pump is running. If fuel is coming out the vacuum port, the regulator has failed. Check the regulator vacuum line for fuel too. Disconnect it from the engine and blow air though it. If you find gas, the regulator has failed.

    5.) Fuel pressure OK, the injectors are not firing.
    A.) The PIP sensor in the distributor tells the computer when to fire the injectors. A failing PIP sensor will sometimes let the engine start if the SPOUT is removed.
    A noid light available from any auto parts store, is one way to test the injector circuit to see if the injectors are firing. The noid light plugs into the fuel injector harness in place of any easily accessible injector. Plug it in and try to start the engine: it will flash if the injector is firing.

    I like to use an old injector with compressed air applied to the injector where the fuel rail would normally connect. I hook the whole thing up, apply compressed air to the injector and stick it in a paper cup of soapy water. When the engine cranks with the ignition switch on, if the injector fires, it makes bubbles. Cheap if you have the stuff laying around, and works good too.
    B.) Pull an injector wire connector off and look for 12 volts on the red wire when the ignition switch is on.
    C.) No power, then look for problems with the 10 pin connecter (salt & pepper shakers at the rear of the upper manifold).

    See the graphic for the 10 pin connector circuit layout.
    The injector power pin is the VPWR pin in the black 10 pin connector.

    D.) No power and the 10 pin connections are good: look for broken wiring between the orange/black wire on the EEC relay and the red wire for the 10 pin connectors.
    E.) TPS voltage exceeds 3.7 volts with the throttle closed. This will shut off the injectors, since the computer uses this strategy to clear a flooded engine. Use a DVM, a pair of safety pins, and probe the black/white and green wires to measure the TPS voltage.
    On a 94-95 Mustang, probe the black/white and grey/white wires to measure the TPS voltage.
    It should be .5-.1.0 volts with the key on, engine not running. Note that if the black/white wire (signal ground) has a bad connection, you will get some strange readings. Make a second measurement using the battery post as the ground to eliminate any ground problems. If the readings are different by more than 5%, you may have a high resistance condition in the black/white signal ground circuit.

    6.) Spark & fuel pressure OK.
    A.) Failed IAB or improperly set base idle (no airflow to start engine). Press the throttle ¼ way down and try to start the car. See the "Surging Idle Checklist for help with all your idle/stall problems.
    B.) Failed computer (not very likely)
    C.) Engine ignition or cam timing off: only likely if the engine has been worked on recently. If you removed the distributor, there is a good probability that you installed it 180 degrees out of time.
    D.) Firing order off: HO & 351 use a different firing order from the non HO engines.
    HO & 351W 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
    Non HO 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
    E.) No start when hot - Press the throttle to the floor & try starting it, if you get this far. If it starts, replace the ECT.
    F. ) Engine that has had the heads off or valves adjusted. Do a compression test to make sure the valves are not adjusted too tight. You should have a minimum of 90 PSI on a cold engine.

    Attached Files:

    #1 jrichker, May 22, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  2. Good to know about a NO START condition!

    If you've checked everything else and you have:
    Good Spark & Good Fuel Pressure at the rail,
    and decided that your injectors are not pulsing,
    (another symptom will be, the fuel pump runs continualy with key on, & MIL stays on when trying to self test);
    :nice:Then check the 10uf electrolytic capacitor inside the EEC!
    The negative lead sometimes fries and it will also take out the trace on the circuit board, which you will also have to repair!
  3. Okay, Joe, I think I am on the right forum.
    As I mentioned, I get a 21 and 96 code. I have checked the voltage on the ECT and it reads 4.66 volts, but would that cause a no start problem? Seems like this code has been there forever. The fuel pump (38lbs) primes, the injectors have 12v and there is injector pulse. There is plenty of spark at the plugs. The timing is correct. You mentioned that the fuel pump reengages when the RPMs are above crank speed. But wouldn't the pump priming still make it start initially? I also tried spraying ether and combustible carb cleaner into the TB, but nothing.

    Interesting thing--when I move the distributor back and forth to check the fuel pump, there is a tick, tick, tick sound somewhere in the engine bay. Any idea what that might be?
  4. Code 21 or 116 – ECT sensor out of range. Broken or damaged wiring, bad ECT sensor.
    Note that that if the outside air temp is below 50 degrees F that the test for the
    ECT can be in error. This code may go away as the engine warms up, so don't dump the codes
    on a cold engine

    The ECT sensor has absolutely nothing to do with the temperature gauge. They are
    different animals. The ECT sensor is normally located it the RH front of the engine in
    the water feed tubes for the heater.

    The ACT & ECT have the same thermistor, so the table values are the same

    ACT & ECT test data:

    Use Pin 46 on the computer for ground for both ECT & ACT to get most accurate

    Pin 7 on the computer - ECT signal in. at 176 degrees F it should be .80 volts

    Pin 25 on the computer - ACT signal in. at 50 degrees F it should be 3.5 volts. It is
    a good number if the ACT is mounted in the inlet airbox. If it is mounted in the lower
    intake manifold, the voltage readings will be lower because of the heat transfer.

    Voltages may be measured across the ECT/ACT by probing the connector from
    the rear. A pair of safety pins may be helpful in doing this. Use care in doing it
    so that you don't damage the wiring or connector.

    Here's the table :

    50 degrees F = 3.52 v
    68 degrees F = 3.02 v
    86 degrees F = 2.62 v
    104 degrees F = 2.16 v
    122 degrees F = 1.72 v
    140 degrees F = 1.35 v
    158 degrees F = 1.04 v
    176 degrees F = .80 v
    194 degrees F = .61
    212 degrees F = .47 v
    230 degrees F = .36 v
    248 degrees F = .28 v

    Ohms measures at the computer with the computer disconnected, or at the sensor with the sensor disconnected.

    50 degrees F = 58.75 K ohms
    68 degrees F = 37.30 K ohms
    86 degrees F = 27.27 K ohms
    104 degrees F = 16.15 K ohms
    122 degrees F = 10.97 K ohms
    140 degrees F = 7.60 K ohms
    158 degrees F = 5.37 K ohms
    176 degrees F = 3.84 K ohms
    194 degrees F = 2.80 K ohms
    212 degrees F = 2.07 K ohms
    230 degrees F = 1.55 K ohms
    248 degrees F = 1.18 k ohms

    Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds


    See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) & Stang&2Birds
    (website host) for help on 88-95 wiring Mustang FAQ - Wiring & Engine Info

    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

    Code 96 for 86-90 model Mustangs. KOEO- Fuel pump monitor circuit shows no power - Fuel pump relay or battery power feed was open - Power / Fuel Pump Circuits. The fuel pump lost power at some time while the ignition switch was in the run position.

    Look for a failing fuel pump relay, bad connections or broken wiring. The fuel pump relay is located under the Mass Air Meter on Fox bodied stangs built after 91. On earlier model cars is under the passenger seat. On Mass Air Conversions, the signal lead that tells the computer that the fuel pump has power may not have been wired correctly. See

    Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds

    Look for power at the fuel pump - the fuel pump has a connector at the rear of the car with a pink/black wire and a black wire that goes to the fuel pump. The pink/black wire should be hot when the test connector is jumpered to the test position. . To trick the fuel pump into running, find the ECC test connector and jump the connector in the lower RH corner to ground.

    86-90 Models:
    Using the diagram, check the red/black wire from the fuel pump relay: you should see 12 volts or so. If not, check the inertia switch: on a hatch it is on the drivers side by the taillight. Look for a black rubber plug that pops out: if you don't find it, then loosen up the plastic trim. Check for voltage on both sides of the switch. If there is voltage on both sides, then check the Pink/black wire on the fuel pump relay: it is the power feed to the fuel pump. Good voltage there, then the fuel pump is the likely culprit since it is getting power. No voltage there, check the Orange/Lt blue wire, it is the power feed to the fuel pump relay & has a fuse link in it. Good voltage there & at the Pink/black wire, swap the relay.

  5. Injectors energizing.
  6. I did the connector test causing the fuel pump to run. Fuel readily flows. Still no start.
    Then I held the accelerator 1/4 down, and though it didn't start, I got a popping sound from the TB.
    Didn't want to push it, so I stopped cranking after a few seconds. This is new information and hope it is helpful.
  7. What was the FP reading while this occurred?

    Have you made sure your plugs are not fouled?
  8. The fuel pump reads almost 40lbs and the plugs are not fouling. There is little fuel on the plug I checked.
    Seems maybe starved for air???
  9. It seems more like a lack of fuel if you're cranking it that much and not soaking plugs.

    What did the ECT testing reveal?

    Was anything done to the car before all of this happened?
  10. I replaced the ECT and now get a code 11 KOEO. During crank I was getting a popping sound and heard that could be due to timing being too advanced, so slowed it down bit--no more pop, but no start either. I checked the plugs and although a little wet, not like I would expect. I just shot some carb cleaner into the TB, reconnected the air intake, cranked with peddle 1/4 down and got a loud pop out of the TB. That is a first. What is going on?
  11. Ether is the best choice to try and start a car with fuel delivery problems.

    Without a timing light to set the timing, you could be way off time.

    What sort of fuel pressure are you seeing with the pump test jumper in place?
  12. I checked timing with a timing light and now it is about dead center. I have strong spark to the plugs. I have 40lbs to the fuel rails--used a gauge to check. Tried starter fluid as suggested and pressed throttle 1/4 way down. There a kind of soft popping sound when I crank, but no start. The computer shows an 11 code with my scanner KOEO.

    Is there anything left?
  13. Are you real sure you're on the compression stroke when the dizzy went in?
  14. I removed the spark plug from number one and checked to be sure the piston was all the way up when the rotor was pointed to #1. The light shows timing is on.
  15. Did you use a noid light to check for injector pulse?
  16. Yes, I had done the noid light check before with positive results. I just tried again with no results. In fact, something interesting happened. Yesterday, I used starting fluid, but nothing happened. When I hooked up the noid light to the injector wire and moved the distributor back and forth to see if the light came on, there was a huge pop out of the TB--must have been the starter fluid igniting.

    Is the culprit the black and white connectors?

    But even if the injectors are not firing, wouldn't the starting fluid do something?

    Let me describe again the behavior before the no start condition. It would start right up, then sometimes die. I would start it again and the engine would speed up, the engine light come on, then go off, the engine would revert back to a more or less normal idle. Then if I drove it right away, the TB would pop a couple of times, then run strong--you know, that positive feeling on acceleration. However, as it warmed up it didn't run as positive. In fact, I got beat by a Camero!

    The only thing I have done since the no start, is to install a new Mallory distributor. I checked to be sure the number 1 piston was up when the rotor was pointed to the number one wire. My timing light indicates correct timing.
  17. Correction on noid light test. I do get a pulse.
  18. Try swapping the ignition coil with a known good one. The visual check of the spark quality can be deceiving.

    If the coil swap doesn't fix the problem, remove the SPOUT and try to start the engine.

    Keep in mind that the last thing you installed before the problem appeared is the first thing to suspect as the cause of the problem.
  19. I swapped the coil with two others--an accel and a stock coil. No change. Then I removed the SPOUT. Still nothing. Is there anything else?? I still get a KOEO code 11.
  20. Okay, riddle me this, I have a 93 GT. The check engine light was coming on immediately after starting whether hot or cold. With the engine cold I ran a KOEO test and it spit out codes 51, 22, 53, 54, 35 and 67 through the check engine light. I used the method of jumping the single terminal connector to pin #2 of the EEC connector under the hood and observing the check engine light. I disconnected the battery to clear the codes and then drove the car to get it up to operating temp. Re ran the KOEO and got the same codes, then attempted to run a KOER test and the engine died and now it will not restart. I have spark when cranking and I have 12 volts at the red wire at the injectors. I can hear the Fuel pump prime when cycling the key. If I run a KOEO I still get the same codes, but the engine wont start.