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Ron
Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 23001
Experience:  23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
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I have an 87 mustang gt that I have been having problems

Customer Question

I have an 87 mustang gt that I have been having problems with. It was running extremely rough and I could not get it to time right. I eventually found that the balancer had slipped on crank approx 40 degrees. The woodruff key was damaged in a way I had to pull front of motor off. So while in there I changed timing chain and reassembled. Now it still runs terribly. It seems far out of timing, no matter how many time I try to set the distributor. I am trying to figure out if my distributor may be bad. Once it is running, i set initial timing to 12 degrees advanced, with the jumper pulled out. What I don't understand is even when it is set to 12 adv on marks... when I pull the cap off, the rotor is past the no 1 contact on cap. Which seems to me like it is actually retarded by 10 degrees. Very confusing.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Welcome,

I have been a professional master mechanic for over 35 years and am happy to help you with this.

Being it was running like hell before you did any timing work, lets start with checking the cylinders compression. we really need a baseline on this to get to the bottom of this but we can if you can get those readings for me?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I don't have a compression Guage handy. I will have to get back to you with that. Does it sound strange to you for the rotor to be past the no 1 terminal after setting timing?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I double checked the alignment on timing gears a dozen times before putting it back together... now second guessing that. Oh..and a strange note. For peace of mind.. I set distributor 180 off. It actually ran almost identical. If that means anything
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Little bit but we can get to that as long as your sure the marks on the timing gears are lined up. Take your time and get back to me. We will get her running good.

Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Actually when those marks are ligned up cam at 6;00 and crank at 12;00 the dist should be pointing to number 6 on the cap :-)

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Let me get the compression numbers. That may also help with the question if the gears ar off, before I pull the front off again.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Not to confuse you but the crank turns twice to the cam once. So if both gears were at 12;00 it would be firing on number 1 but its a lot easier to line them up at 6;00 and 12;00 then point the dist to number 6.

Get back when you can.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok.. I rann the compression test. Numbers are as follows:1:125
2:130
3:135
4:130
5:125
6:130
7:135
8:130
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Btw.. it is .030 over
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Thats good news there.

With the crank mark at TDC does the dist point at 1 or 6 on the cap?

Also double check the firing order on the cap

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I have set the distributor to no. 1 at TDC. And confirmed firing order about 100 times..lol.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

I figured so but i gotta ask:-)

So the only 2 things its missing is fuel or spark.

Can you pull a plug wire off the plug end and stick a screwdriver in the plug boot and hold the shank of screwriver about 3/8 or 1/2' FROM ANY CLEAN METAL for a good ground and have someone crank the sarter and see if the plug throws a good blue spark.'

if it does have spark, give it a shot of carb cleaner or starting fluid and see if it kicks on taat.

let me know

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I know it is getting spark and fuel because it does run. It starts right up
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Will it stay running at high rpm...say around 3000rmp

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Also... when I pulled plugs for compression test they all had gas
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

what kind of carb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
just sounds bad. Like a dead cylinder. But smoother than at isle
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
EFI...
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Like I said before... it is weird that when I set the initial timing then set crank mark to that timing, the rotor is past the no. 1 terminal.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I am fairly confident that it is a timing issue. Fuel seems to be plenty.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

I;m leaning to the ignition control module breaking out under a load but thats a guess without a hand held scanner to read live readings.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I thought about that too..or a worn distributor. Just trying to narrow down possibilities before spending the money and parts I can't return..lol
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Can you look or feel to make sure the dist is all the way down. because it turns when pushing it down. thats why your timing marks are like that.

Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

when installing it it has fall past 2 spots while its turning.

Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

I have to head out for a bit. let me know about those things please.

I'm guessing its not all the way down

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Distributor has been down flush
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

When its flush is the rotor point at either 1 or 6.(dont over think this ...seems to be retarded for now)

Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Also

try pinching off the brake booster hose in case the booster is sucking air.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok.. I zeroed the timing. Crank mark at 0..rotor directly at no. 1 terminal. It barely started, barely ran. Had to retard timing(rotated dist clockwise) to make it idle enough to keep running. Pinching hose to booster made no difference.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 8 months ago.

Sorry for the delay, had an unexpected problem come up.

I think we can rule out the timing. Is it just at idle where its running bad?

will it run and hold rpm at around 3000?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Finally, I got back to this issue. It will run at 3000... does not sound great but is not bad. Definitely still sounds off. I tried hooking up my code reader and it will not perform test. Not sure if that is somehow related.

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