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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6426
Experience:  ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
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Cranks but wont start, yes, 99 3.8 mustang, changed fuel

Customer Question

cranks but wont start
JA: Have you checked the engine's fuel supply? And the spark plugs -- are they all working?
Customer: yes
JA: What is the model/year of your Ford?
Customer: 99 3.8 mustang
JA: Are you fixing your Mustang yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: changed fuel filer, camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor and when i sprayed carb cleaner into the intake was the closst i got it to starting
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: it was running, then started it up i my driveway one night and it ran for awhile then cut out and hasnt started since
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Have you checked for trouble codes in the PCM (Engine Computer)?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
no codes
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Does the check engine light come on when the key is on and go out when the engine is cranking over?
How did you check for fuel to the engine and spark?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
the light comes on and goes off, you can smell the fuel in the engine area while trying to start car
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
replaced coil pack too
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Remove a couple of spark plugs and see if they are fouled out with fuel.

Also, remove a spark plug and place it in the plug wire and place it on good clean metal ground and have someone crank the engine over. You should get a bright blue/white spark.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
ok but could a bad sparkplug just make the car stop running all of a sudden?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
ive been working on cars for years and was a mechanic at a car dealer and this is the first time ever that i have been stumped
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Loss of spark to all the spark plugs will cause it to not start. You stated you can smell fuel. I just need to verify there is spark to any of the spark plugs. I need to narrow down the cause. Without any trouble codes, we need to eliminate all the possibilities.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
ok be right back
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Ok.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
sparkplugs are filthy and smell like gas
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

No spark I guess. But place a clean spark plug in one of the plug wires and crank the engine over. Look for a bright blue/white spark.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
dont have new ones yet
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Clean one of the old ones off and try it. Do not buy anything yet. Lets verify what the problem is first and save money.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
could the plugs be bad thats why car wont start, also one of the ends that clip on to the coil pack with two clips has a clip that has broken off could that be a problem?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
be back in a bit
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Ok.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
there is no spark
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Check fuse 34 in the dash fuse box and also check for power on the RED/GREEN striped wire at the coil connector with the key turned on.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
wait now i have spark
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Is there a red theft light on the dash flashing rapidly when you try to start the vehicle when it would not start?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
no it comes on for like 3 secs then goes off
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

So you now have spark, is it constant or intermittent?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
constant
Expert:  A. Penland replied 3 months ago.

Clean the spark plugs and reinstall them. See if it will start.

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