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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6216
Experience:  ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
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I am having trouble with a 92 Crown Victoria not starting.

Customer Question

I am having trouble with a 92 Crown Victoria not starting. We initially thought it was the fuel pump but after replacing it, it was still not working. I noticed that some of the time when I tried to start the car, the driver information center had a different number of lamps lit up. Whenever the CHECK ENGINE light was illuminated when the key was turned to the on position, the car had a pretty good chance of starting. Only then would you hear the fuel pump start up. If the lamp was not lit, the fuel pump would not prime. This was the only case where it would start if it was the first attempt to the start the car during the day. If it did start, it would run fine until the driver door was opened. This has been an extremely frustrating problem. Can you help me?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thanks for using JustAnswer.I will try my best to help you with your question.
Did you replace, or just check the EEC power relay?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I checked the relay for continuity, resistance across the coil and across the energized circuit. All 3 relays are the same part number and had the same resistance across the coil. However, resistance across the energized or closed circuit varied 0.9, 1.5 and 5.5 ohms. I tried shuffling the relays around since they were the same and to no effect. I have not replaced anything other than the fuel pump, fuel filter and driver side window motor.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
You should start by checking the ground for the PCM and the EEC relay. It is located inner fender well by the battery and the passenger side front fender.
Start there. If the relay has a bad ground, it will not energize and cause your problem. Also check the pins in the connector for the relay for corrosion and loose pins.
Let me know what you find.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I believe the PCM is the square brick with a large plug going into it on the fender well of the driver side?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
You are correct. It is called either a PCM (Powertrain Control Module) or the ECM (Electronic Control Module) or just engine computer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I checked the previous repair receipts and it seems it was replaced about 2 years ago. The problem is it is loose and seems to be missing a screw that attaches it to the fender side of the engine bay. Would that cause an issue?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Only if the wiring harness connector is loose. The mounting bracket can be loose, just not the wiring harness connector.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I attached some pictures. The PCM doesn't have any kind of bracket. It's just sitting there. As for the ground, is it the wire attached with a screw in the metal or that black plug?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
What is that in the 3rd picture? The flat black looking box?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's the PCM. I was showing the screw holes and how nothing is attached except the wire connector.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Can you show me a picture of the front?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I also found the receipt I was mentioning. The ignition module and PCM were replaced with some sensors.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
The EDIS Ignition control module should be mounted to the fender and not lie loose.
If it is allowed to bounce around, it could get damaged. It controls the power to the coil packs to send spark to the spark plugs.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, would that be causing this no start issue or is it just a distracting issue?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
It could, but so could a bad PCM. Since the engine will only start if the check engine light comes on, I would look at power and ground to the PCM. The EDIS module will not effect the check engine light.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the PCM is on that same side?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
It is mounted to the drivers side of the brake booster. It has a 10 mm bolt in the middle of the connector in the fire wall.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I found a metal plate with a bolt on one end where you are describing. There is also a black vacuum component that is in the way. Can I disconnect some of the hoses and the bolts to move it out of the way to have a better approach to the wires and the PCM?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Post a picture of that area. I haven't seen under the hood of a 1992 in many years. They do not come into the shop that often any more and you loose memory of every things locations.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sure thing. First picture is of the firewall area. The second is the brake booster with a large electrical connector.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. That brings back memories. I have been working for Ford for over 30 years. That is a lot of vehicles to remember.
You can move the vacuum line and the servo.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright, cleared the way and disconnected the connector. It seems when they last replaced the PCM they wrapped the wiring harness real snug in electrical tape so I guess I am going to have to cut that off to be able to see what what is going where. What wires should I be focusing on for hots and grounds? I know ground should almost always be black or brown but hots can be a variety of colors.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.

Click the links below.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is the difference between vehicle power and keep alive power?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Keep alive power is constant and vehicle power is with the key on.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What about power ground and ignition ground?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Grounds are grounds and they are constant. Ignition power is with the key turned on from the ignition switch.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Mmk, I will go check.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Ok,.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright, just checked the circuits, pin 1 keep alive had about 5.5 megaohms, pin 37 and 57 vehicle power had about 34 megaohms. pin 20 and pin 60 both tested pretty low on the continuity test. Does that mean its the PCM itself?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Possibly. But the test needs to be done when the vehicle will not start to be definite.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Reconnect everything, change to voltage and try the circuits again?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Reconnect any wiring connectors and the battery but leave the PCM unplugged and then turn the key to on and check the power circuits at the PCM connector.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should I do hot to ground for the power circuits and ground to ground for continuity tests?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
check hot to ground for power circuits and continuity for the ground circuits.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just as an aside, can the ignition switch have anything to do with the PCM not getting power correctly? The part about door opening turning off the car seems really strange.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
When you open the drivers door, the vehicle turns off?
There are no ignition circuits in the drivers door.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Whenever i get the car running, as soon as I open the car door to get out to check under the hood, the car cuts off like clockwork.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Just the drivers door or any door?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
far only tried the driver's door as I have done it without helpers and I can only seem to get it to work in the morning and not again after that. So I get one shot a day.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
This is a new one on me.
I would see if the vehicle starts with the drivers door open because that seems to be the door that effects it. Then see if opening any other door will cause the same problem.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will try one of those tomorrow. As for the circuits, they all seem okay. Battery voltage to the keep alive pin on and off. Battery voltage to pin 37 and 57 only when the switch is on. Pin 20 case ground was around 14 ohms with the switch on and 3-5 with the switch off. Pin 40 and 60 power ground were about 80 with the switch on and 3-5 with the switch off.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
All sounds good.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This car has been driving me up the wall. I guess I will hook up the PCM again and try to give it a start. Maybe I giggled something in the correct direction. Otherwise I will try again tomorrow and we will reassess and maybe do a little head scratching.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Check the wiring behind the drivers kick panel and the harness that goes to the drivers door. Follow the harness around by the kick panel and see if there are any loose wiring or poor connectors.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is the kick panel on the inside?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
It is the plastic panel between the carpet and the dash by the parking brake pedal.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh okay. I will check that in the morning. Have a good night.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Goodnight.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright back to the grind stone. Last night I tried connecting the PCM back and it pushed through the firewall. When I got in the car and looked around the kick panel, I noticed the PCM just hanging there. Is it supposed to be attached to that metal bracket that it sits in?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
It is supposed to be mounted rigidly under the dash.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could that cause a grounding issue with that bracket?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
The PCM does not ground through the bracket. It only grounds through the wiring harness.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, let me go put it all back together and see if she will run.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
OK
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Put everything back together, got the fuel pump to come on once and it didnt start. Removed the panel behind the hood release to see the wiring from the door and those that run under the door. Did not see any damaged wires, wiggled a few connectors to no avail. One other thing to mention, the one time I got the fuel pump to run, it seems like the drivers seat moves a little and it comes on. I do not know if that is in my head or if that is meaningful.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Check the wiring under the seat track on the left side of the drivers seat. Follow the harness back under the step plates of the drivers side rear door also.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I pulled the drivers seat and pulled up the carpet. Don't see any damaged insulation there or in the step plates up front. I have not made it to the back yet.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
Check the wiring around the drivers door area, especially under the dash around the steering column and kick panel.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also I noticed that even if it looks like the PCM isn't coming on, the spark plugs are still sparking. I thought the PCM provided power or the signal that turned on the coils.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.

It does, see below.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh that brings up the diode, would that have anything to do with what we are seeing or is it more of a clear cut other problem?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
I've never seen a diode be intermittent, but anything is possible.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It just seems strange that 1: I can only get 1 start if that and nothing else and 2: the door opening doesn't seem to move any wires only causing the light button to move. Where is the ground of the cabin lighting?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's almost acting like a resistance/heat issue because the first time it happened back in June was the first time the car was actually driven in 2 years. It was stored and only started every so often. Then after maybe a day's driving, it died going up a hill. Then later, we went back to start it and it ran for about 1/3 of a mile before dying in my driveway. Since then, its been stuck with windows down in moist Georgia air.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
The dome lights ground in the passenger side kick panel and the in the trunk.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I pulled the fuses for those circuits to see if they had an effect. Did not get any change.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
I think this one has me stumped.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I ask for another expert, does that reflect badly on you?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
No. I can OPT OUT and reopen it for the other experts.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will they see all of what we have talked about?
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.
They will see it all.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Excellent. Well I thank you for your assistance. Let's give another expert a shot.

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