Need help - Misfire/Backfire

Mar 7, 2018
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#1
Hey guys I'm having problems with my 89 lx. Lately it started misfiring and backfiring through the intake. I've replaced the plugs and wires, fuel filter, iac, mad and distributer but the problem hasn't went away. It's real bad when going up a hill, I lose like 10 mph even while accelerating. It feels like it's really struggling, almost like it's pulling a trailer or something.
A little bit about it and some recent history. It's got Edelbrock performer heads and intake, scorpion roller rockers, the timing chain has been replaced before I bought it, and it's only at 115xxx miles. Recently I had to replace the valve springs bc one broke, but it was running fine after that until recently. Any ideas? Thanks
 
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jrichker

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#2
Dump codes sticky

Look at the top of the 5.0 Tech forum where the sticky threads are posted. One of them is how to dump the computer codes. Codes may be present even if the CEL (Check Engine Light) isn’t on. You don’t need a code reader or scanner – all you need is a paper clip, or if your lady friend has a hair pin, that will do the job.
I highly suggest that you read it and follow the instructions to dump the codes. http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/threads/how-to-pull-codes-from-eec4.889006/
 
Mar 7, 2018
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#3
I got a code 87 which says fuel pump relay failure. I replaced it but it didn't fix it. At idle my fuel pressure is saying 38 so it's fine until I start driving. Idk where to go from here
 

jrichker

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#4
Code 87 – fuel pump primary circuit failure. The fuel pump lost power while the engine was running. Check fuel pump relay, check inertia switch, wiring to/from inertia switch, red wire going to inertia switch for +12volts. Check the other side of inertia switch for +12 volts.


Fuel Pump Troubleshooting for 87-90 Mustangs

Revised 1-Dec-2015 to add fuse links diagram.

Clue – listen for the fuel pump to prime when you first turn the ignition switch on. It should run for 1-3 seconds and shut off. To trick the fuel pump into running, find the ECC test connector and jump the connector in the upper LH corner to ground.

Foxbody Diagnostic connector
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Foxbody Diagnostic connector close up view
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Turn the ignition switch on when you do this test.



If the fuse links 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. A tire pressure gauge can also be used if you have one - look for 37-40 PSI. Beware of fire hazard when you do this.

No fuel pressure, possible failed items in order of their probability:
A.) Tripped inertia switch – press reset button on the inertia switch. The 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 Mustangs built before 92. See the diagram to help identify the fuel pump relay wiring colors. Be sure to closely check the condition of the relay, wiring & socket for corrosion and damage.
C.) Clogged fuel filter
D.) Failed fuel pump
E.) Blown fuse link in wiring harness.
F.) Fuel pressure regulator failed. Remove vacuum line from regulator and inspect for fuel escaping while pump is running.

88241.gif


The electrical circuit for the fuel pump has two paths, a control path and a power path.

Control Path
The control path consists of the inertia switch, the computer, and the fuel pump relay coil. It turns the fuel pump relay on or off under computer control. The switched power (red wire) from the ECC relay goes to the inertia switch (red/black wire) then from the inertia switch to the relay coil and then from the relay coil to the computer (tan/ Lt green wire). The computer provides the ground path to complete the circuit. This ground causes the relay coil to energize and close the contacts for the power path. Keep in mind that you can have voltage to all the right places, but the computer must provide a ground. If there is no ground, the relay will not close the power contacts.


Power Path
The power path picks up from a fuse link near the starter relay. Fuse links are like fuses, except they are pieces of wire and are made right into the wiring harness. The feed wire from the fuse link (orange/ light blue wire) goes to the fuel pump relay contacts.

Fuse links
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Fuse links come with a current rating just like fuses. A clue as to what current they are designed for is to look at the size wire they protect. Fuse link material is available at most good auto parts stores. There may even be a fuse link already made up specifically for your car. Just be sure to solder the connection and cover it with heat shrink tubing.

Heat shrink tubing is available at Radio Shack or other electronics supply stores.

See the video below for help on soldering and heat shrinking wiring. There is a lot of useful help and hints if you don’t do automotive electrical work all the time.

View: http://youtu.be/uaYdCRjDr4A


When the contacts close because the relay energizes, the power flows through the contacts to the fuel pump (light pink/black wire). Notice that pin 19 on the computer is the monitor to make sure the pump has power. The fuel pump has a black wire that supplies the ground to complete the circuit.

Remember that the computer does not source any power to actuators, relays or injectors, but provides the ground necessary to complete the circuit. That means one side of the circuit will always be hot, and the other side will go to ground or below 1 volt as the computer switches on that circuit.



Now that you have the theory of how it works, it’s time to go digging.

All voltage reading are made with one voltmeter lead connected to the metal car body unless otherwise specified

Check for 12 volts at the red wire on the inertia switch. No 12 volts at the inertia switch, the ignition switch is turned off or faulty or there is no power to the EEC (computer) power relay. To be sure look for good 12 volts on the red wire on any fuel injector.
Good 12 volts means the EEC relay is working. No 12 volts and the ECC wiring is at fault.
Look for 12 volts on the red/green wire on the ignition coil: no 12 volts and the ignition switch is faulty, or the fuse link in the ignition power wire has blown. No 12 volts here and the ECC relay won’t close and provide power to the inertia switch. Check the Red/black wire on the inertia switch, it should have 12 volts. No 12 volts there, either the inertia switch is open or has no power to it. Check both sides of the inertia switch: there should be power on the Red wire and Red/Black wire. Power on the Red wire and not on the Red/Black wire means the inertia switch is open. Push the button on the side of it to reset it, and then recheck. Good 12 volts on one side and not on the other means the inertia switch has failed.

Look for 12 volts at the Orange/Lt. Blue wire (power source for fuel pump relay). No voltage or low voltage, bad fuse link, bad wiring, bad ignition switch or ignition switch wiring or connections. There is a mystery connector somewhere under the driver’s side kick panel, between the fuel pump relay and the fuse link.

Turn on the key and jumper the fuel pump test connector to ground as previously described. Look for 12 volts at the Light Pink/Black wire (relay controlled power for the fuel pump). No voltage there means that the relay has failed, or there is a broken wire in the relay control circuit.

Pump wiring: Anytime the ignition switch is in the Run position and the test point is jumpered to ground, there should be at least 12 volts present on the black/pink wire. With power off, check the pump ground: you should see less than 1 ohm between the black wire and chassis ground.

49675.gif



The yellow wire is the fuel tank sender to the fuel quantity gage. The two black wires are grounds. One ground is for the fuel tank sender and the other is the fuel pump. The ground for the fuel pump may be larger gauge wire that the fuel tank sender ground wire.

Make sure that the power is off the circuit before making any resistance checks. If the circuit is powered up, your resistance measurements will be inaccurate.



You should see less than 1 Ohm between the black wire(s) and ground. To get some idea of what a good reading is, short the two meter leads together and observe the reading. It should only be slightly higher when you measure the black wire to ground resistance.

The Tan/Lt Green wire provides a ground path for the relay power. With the test connector jumpered to ground, there should be less than .75 volts. Use a test lamp with one side connected to battery power and the other side to the Tan/Lt Green wire. The test light should glow brightly. No glow and you have a broken wire or bad connection between the test connector and the relay. To test the wiring from the computer, remove the passenger side kick panel and disconnect the computer connector. It has a 10 MM bolt that holds it in place. With the test lamp connected to power, jumper pin 22 to ground and the test lamp should glow. No glow and the wiring between the computer and the fuel pump relay is bad.

Computer: If you got this far and everything else checked out good, the computer is suspect. Remove the test jumper from the ECC test connector located under the hood. Probe computer pin 22 with a safety pin and ground it to chassis. Make sure the computer and everything else is connected. Turn the ignition switch to the Run position and observe the fuel pressure. The pump should run at full pressure.
If it doesn't, the wiring between pin 22 on the computer and the fuel pump relay is bad.
If it does run at full pressure, the computer may have failed.

Keep in mind that the computer only runs the fuel pump for about 2-3 seconds when you turn the key to the Run position. This can sometimes fool you into thinking the computer has died. Connect one lead of the test light to power and the other lead to computer pin 22 with a safety pin. With the ignition switch Off, jumper the computer into self test mode like you are going to dump the codes. Turn the ignition switch to the Run position. The light will flicker when the computer does the self test routine. A flickering light is a good computer. No flickering light is a bad computer.
Remove the test jumper from the ECC test connector located under the hood.

Fuel pump runs continuously: The fuel pump relay contacts are stuck together or the Tan/Lt Green wire has shorted to ground. In extreme ghetto cases, the pump relay may have been bypassed. Remove the fuel pump relay from its socket. Then disconnect the computer and use an ohmmeter to check out the resistance between the Tan/Lt Green wire and ground. You should see more than 10 K Ohms (10,000 ohms) or an infinite open circuit. Be sure that the test connector isn’t jumpered to ground.
If the wiring checks out good, then the computer is the likely culprit.


a9x-series-computer-connector-wire-side-view-gif.gif


Prior to replacing the computer, check the 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. It is a black cylinder about 2 1/2" long by 1" diameter with a black/lt green wire. You'll find it up next to the starter solenoid where the wire goes into the wiring harness

If all of the checks have worked OK to this point, then the computer is bad. The computers are very reliable and not prone to failure unless there has been significant electrical trauma to the car. Things like lightning strikes and putting the battery in backwards or connecting jumper cables backwards are about the only thing that kills the computer.

See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) &
Stang&2Birds (website host)

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

http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/fuel-alt-links-ign-ac.gif

http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/88-91eecPinout.gif
 
Last edited:
Mar 7, 2018
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#5
Thanks man. You seem to know a lot about this stuff. I'm going to try your ideas this weekend. Would adjusting the roller rockers mess with my timing? Bc I adjusted them then my timing changed. I'm wondering if I need a new timing chain. It was replaced before I bought it but that was 10 years ago
 

Mustang5L5

Car used in adult film "Highway Gangbang-InDaButt"
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#6
Erase the codes and rerun them. That code 87 could be an old code from a previous incident.

How confident are you of your intake install? A large vac leak due to slipped gasket could cause the symptoms you are seeing as well.
 
Mar 7, 2018
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#7
I'm pretty confident in it. It was only my second time ever doing it but I took it pretty slow double checking everything
 

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