Please Help... 2.3 N/a Won't Run

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by Kent Snyder, May 19, 2013.

  1. I have a 1989 Ford Mustang LX 2.3. It starts and runs for about 1 second, then dies. If I pump the accelerator as fast as possible while cranking, and release the key while still pumping the accelerator, it runs for about 2 seconds at a VERY rough and low idle, then dies. I have replaced plugs, wires, injectors, cap and rotor, tfi module, starter solenoid, fuel pressure regulator, fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel filter and the IAC. I have tested to see if I have spark, and I have a very strong blue ark, I have tested fuel, and have fuel pressure, and I have also tested oxygen, which I do have with no vacuum leaks. Please help, I'm pulling my hair out on this one. I have work in the morning, but when I get home, I'll post a video of it all in hopes that it will help solve this. Thanks guys for all the help!
  2. First things first - are there any codes in the computer, this is extremely important and will help us point to a problem. Has the check engine light been on prior to this no start? Check the simple stuff first, too. Make sure it has enough fuel in it, make sure nothing is unplugged and the grounds are all clean and tight.

    You need fuel, spark, and compression. Do a compression test and report back.

    Could be a plugged catalytic converter, too. Pull the front 02 sensor and see what happens if the compression test is good.
  3. Okay, so when I got home I searched for my volt meter again (I did yesterday as well) and still didn't find it. I can go buy one and pull codes, that won't be a problem. At this point I have yet to pull any codes. First let me start off by saying that I've done a compression test, and when I plug my finger into the Head where the plugs go, it blows my finger out almost on the compression stroke. So I have to assume that I am making compression. When I first got the car, it only ran when I made a vacuum leak, and it idled REALLY high. I could drive it etc etc... as time went on, I replaced things here and there, and it got to the point where it wouldn't even do that. It started to crank and start, then idle down, then idle down some more, and finally when it tried to go into a regular idle it would just die. Now that I've replace all this stuff, it does what I explained above. So I would have to then assume that my catalytic converter is fine, since it DID run. I've made sure my cam timing is correct, I've adjusted my Idle Screw, I've done it all except replace the PCM. So do you think it could be a PCM issue? If not, please continue to help, I have no idea at this point and am dumbfounded. I'm definitely going to pull some codes.
  4. Kent, I like ya, but you are making too many assumptions. The absolute first thing we need is to pull codes, because if they are there we need to address them. It may tell us that your mass air meter is shot - which will make the car run horrible or not at all. You could also have an EGR issue, where the EGR valve is stuck open and causing a huge vacuum leak. So, run those codes ASAP.

    Do a proper compression test and determine that you have good, equal compression on all cylinders. If we have low compression there is no point going forward - you need a head gasket at least in that case.

    Secondly, the catalytic converter could be plugged, and it is simple enough to test - remove the 02 sensor and see if it runs. If it runs, then you have a clogged converter. It is not unheard of.

    Third, the PCM could be bad, but you really have to eliminate every other possibility before you jump to PCM, because they don't go bad that often.

    My personal opinion (guess!) is that you have something like a bad MAF, or some sort of major vacuum leak, like the EGR or intake manifold gasket. Or, worst case scenario, a blown head gasket, but since you never had any overheating this is probably not the case.
  5. Okay, first of all, thanks for all the input man. I really need help and some other brain power to mull this whole thing over, so you're awesome for helpin' me out. And it's not like I'm new to mechanics and fixing cars... I've had my fair share of pulling my hair out over stupid problems lol. But sometimes, ya know... you just need some help and an outside source of advice.

    So, I don't have a mass air, because mine is speed density. In 1989, the Mustang's speed density computer system was replaced with a mass air system. For some reason though... my 2.3 is Speed Density. I don't think they changed the 2.3's until 1990. Anyway, I digress. So tomorrow I get off early, which will leave me daylight so that I can run up to autozone, pull codes, and make a video of what it does (The Volt Meter, and how the car runs).

    Can you please tell me what a "proper" compression test is? I was taught by the old school generation and most of those who taught me, were poor and had to "shade-tree" engineer. Haha, so please let me know how to do that. I don't know if I'll have time (daylight) to remove the 02 sensors, but I'll definitely try.

    Once again thanks so much for all the help buddy, and thanks for readin' my long drawn out messages full of ADD symptoms like going off topic lol Anyway, take it easy man, and I'll get back with you tomorrow.
  6. You are right, I was thinking that the 2.3l changed to mass air after 86, but it wasn't until 91 when it went DIS I suppose.

    No problem helping, always want to keep another 2.3L Mustang on the road - they are getting to be a rare breed.

    Remember, the compression test is important but I wouldn't even worry about it until you are able to pull codes first.

    Now, how to do a proper compression test...

    Proper compression should be more than 100 PSI according to the specs, but 100 is the bare minimum and pretty low. This article it explains it quite well...

    Kent Snyder likes this.
  7. Also, for our purposes we are looking for low compression on probably 2 cylinders, indicating a blown head gasket.
    Kent Snyder likes this.
  8. Just went outside with a drop light and found my problem. My EGR was stuck closed, AND was missing one of the two bolts. That left a 1/16 inch gap on the bottom of the base plate because it wasn't bolted down. I would've tried to have started it right then, but unfortunately yesterday I torqued down the ground wire too hard on my Starter Solenoid and broke it in half, AND I need a couple washers because the bolt I found that fits the EGR is too long and comes in contact with the intake before the bolt head can be flush. So change of plans tomorrow, I'm going to go grab some washers and a solenoid and let's hope that solves it! If not, I'll pull some more hair out and keep on truckin'.
  9. Good, I thought EGR might be a culprit - it seems to be a problem for a lot of people on these 2.3l cars for some reason.
    Kent Snyder likes this.
  10. Nope... that wasn't it. It actually has gotten worse now that I fixed the EGR. Heres a vid of what it does:

  11. I did that about a month ago, don't feel bad!
    Kent Snyder likes this.
  12. Hahaha yeah it sucks. First my stocker solenoid was bad, then, I broke the new one I bought by torquing it down to hard, then, I crossthreaded the nut on the one I bought right after that, and i just got another one. The guy at Autozone thinks it's hilarious. Lol do you have any advice on this whole situation? I really need as mauch input as possible. Anything helps! Thanks

    ***UPDATE*** what ports do you use on the PCM when using a volt meter to pull codes?
  13. Oh, and I pulled codes. I got a 22, 23, and a 32. TPS, MAP, and EGR.
  14. Throttle position sensor, Manifold air pressure, and EGR still has an issue.

    Problems you are experiencing are possibly from the MAP sensor - either it is faulty, or you have a vacuum or wiring issue causing it to throw a code.

    Also could be causing your EGR code, or perhaps the EGR is causing it to have an issue. This is where I would start, though.
    TPS code is a little troubling, but could explain the high idle and things that you were experiencing prior to your no start condition. TPS can certainly create some funny driveability characteristics. I'd still try to tackle the MAP sensor issue first, and if the TPS code remains then it could also be faulty or have a poor connection/wiring issue.
    Kent Snyder likes this.
  15. I got it man... you won't believe what it was... After all these months, it turn out that my distributor was turned 180 degrees out. I never even checked it. I started to notice when I went back to the basics like every good gearhead should. I thought why not go back over the simplest of simple things, because those are most often what is overlooked. So I did. Hahaha wow.
  16. Yep, that will do it!

    Glad you got her squared away.
    Kent Snyder likes this.
  17. Thanks for all the help!
  18. New issue... Now it will idle and purr like a kitten, and you can give it a LITTLE throttle, and keep it alive as long as you want, but if you give it TOO much throttle, it dies. It's acting like an old carbureted 302 with too big of a Venturi Pipe. Man, I mean, it's like it's acting as if there's too much fuel, but my injectors are stock.

    ***EDIT*** How do you check for proper voltage on a MAP sensor?
  19. You'll have to check the link I posted above...

  20. Not really, sorry!