Just Bought First Mustang, Need Help To Get It Running

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by Andrewrags, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. As my title said, I have just bought my first Mustang. It is a 92, 2.3L with an auto tranny.

    The car has not ran in a while(not sure how long, but think it has been less than a year)

    I towed it home and replaced battery. It will start, but runs really ruff, it shakes and sputters. I am not sure the fuel gauge works but I added 5 gal of premium gas(it says I am at full).

    It is still cold here, and I have some ice in the lower coolant hose, not sure where else. When I removed the battery I noticed coolant pooled under where the battery sits.

    I bought the car the guy who sold it to me said that it died when put in gear, I tried it and it caused the motor to immediately stop with a load thump. While in Park the engine seems to level out when I give it a small amount of gas.

    So far I have cleaned the IAC valve out with carb cleaner, no change. Oil is dark black but looks normal.

    I noticed the RPM gauge is reading between 3.5 and 4 at idle, not sure but I think it is reading higher than actual. Looks like previous owner has changer EGR, wires, and some vacuum hoses. My first thought was a vacuum leak. I am also wondering if the transmission is locked up, but that does not explain the engine problems.

    My plan is to get the coolant system defrosted and flushed, then let the car run for a while to see if it levels out the idle. I also am thinking of replacing the spark plugs and fuel filter. I have read the coil packs can cause RMP reading problems, and that an IAC can cause it to die when put in gear. I am not really wanting to just start replacing parts to hope it fixes it, I was hoping with all the symptoms I am having one of you all with more experience would be able to help me out.

    Thank you in advance for your reply,
  2. I cannot help with trouble shooting your new pride & joy's issues directly since I've never owned a 2.3 for more than 5 minutes before pulling it to transplant a 5.0 in it. But, if your going to try to make it run; here is how I'd go about it.... It runs, that's good. It means you can spray starter fluid all around the vacuum lines & intake to see if you have any vacuum leaks. You can perform a compression test to see if you have any dead cylinders. You can also pressurize the coolant system to see if you have any leaks as well. Throw a timing light on it & see not only what it's set at; but also see if advances properly. Pull the EEC codes to see what the computer can tell you. Basically analyze everything with as little to no investment as possible IMHO....
  3. I understand not wanting to start throwing money at parts HOPING to fix it. I would suggest buying a code reader, they're about $30 for OBD I Fords. They're not as quick & convenient as newer or more expensive readers but it will do the job. Even if your car isn't showing codes now (may be the result of a new battery resetting ECU and the car not running long enough to emit a code), it should show stored codes in the computer that may be the reason the previous owner left it sit and didn't bother to fix it.
  4. And I wouldn't consider this board terribly active so you might have to utilize Google extensively. That being said, there are some knowledgeable members on the forum, they just aren't all as active as they used to be. Life tends to do that!
  5. The absolute number one thing to start with on any fuel injected car is to pull codes out of the computer. You are flying blind until you can see what the computer is telling you.

    Once you have that done, you can start with the basics. Get the coolant situation fixed, replace worn spark plugs and wires if needed, check the firing order and make sure that the engine is in time. Do a compression test and make sure that you have good, even compression in all the cylinders. As you stated, the coil packs are a known problem on these cars so replace them if needed.
  6. Thanks for all the advise. So here is an update on my progress:

    I changed the plugs, wires, and fuel and air filter. This improved the idle very little. I bought a code reader and had the 125 code, TPS voltage lower than expected. I then replaced the TPS and IAC the car ran better. It was pulsing though, so still not a healthy idle. I turned the car off and disconnected the MAP sensor to see if it ran better without it, the car would not start. I disconnect the negative battey cable, to clear off the old memory codes. I let it sit for over an hour, and now the car will not start. The memory codes are 122, TPS voltage too low, and 126 MAP. Is it probable that the EEC computer could be malfunctioning? What would cause the TPS voltage to be reading low? Thanks again for all the advise.
  7. The TPS voltage can be adjusted, which may need to be done as you have replaced the sensor. I do not think it should cause a no start condition.

    This information should cross between the 2.3L and 5.0L...


    The map sensor could cause some drivability issues, however they don't go bad very often. I think it more likely that you have a vacuum leak. It would also explain idle issues and potentially the no start. Make sure all your vacuum hoses are secure. If you can get the car running, spray some carb cleaner around the engine. If it revs up, then you have found your vacuum leak.