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Hi, guys. My '96 4.6L suddenly didn't start last week after it got me to work. It turns over fine, there was pressure at the fuel rail at first. There are no trouble codes, other than two misfiring plugs that I fixed. I checked the fuel filter, I could blow through it and gas drained out a bunch from the engine line. I can hear the fuel filter whirling when I turn the key. When I spray ether down the throat it starts, so I have spark. It's not out of gas and I don't see any obvious vacuum lines off. What am I missing? It's got a zillion miles on it, I bought it new and it's a great car. Thanks folr your help!
 

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I'd start with taking the battery connections off and letting the computer reset. To do it fast you can press the brake down for 20 seconds until all power is lost.

Also do you mean fuel pump whirling when you turn the key? Hopefully someone else will chime in, however this reminds me of the time I got a jump start, got home, and the car was completely off and in park and key out, but the engine decided to keep running. I had to use the emergency fuel cut off switch in the trunk, reset the computer, and I never had the problem again.

Everything I think of contradicts what has been checked. It's odd that it starts with starter fluid added to the air intake and keeps running. if you had a fuel problem, it would not keep running. If you had a starting problem, it would not start even with added chemicals to the intake. Maybe your 100k plats are too old and the spark is getting diminished, but once they are hot enough they produce a better spark and keep running? I guess I would start pulling the plugs you did not replace as the first step and see if any look abnormal.
 

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bccolum said:
It turns over fine, there was pressure at the fuel rail at first.
Could you elaborate, here? How did you check for fuel pressure? A quick push on the schrader valve isn't very telling. If you used a gauge, you should be seeing 35-40psi when the key is on, engine off, and the pump has primed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, when I turn the key on I can hear the pump whirring like always. But it doesn't keep running after it runs out of starting fluid. I suspect the pump but I hear it running and I have no error code for it. I did pull all the plugs and checked the wires. I don't want to start buying parts hoping that's the problem cause I can't afford it. When I had it towed I relieved the fuel pressure at the Schrader valve and got quite a bit of gas there as well as at the filter later. The car has 245,000 miles on it (but no rust) and I thought I'd seen everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I didn't have a gauge to check pressure at the time. That may be my next bet. I sure hope it's not the pump, they are a pain to take out, but I have a habit of running the tank down to almost empty.
 

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I understand not wanting to throw parts at the problem and hope it works.

It makes more sense of being definitely a fuel problem now since we have information about it dieing out after the fluids out. The fuel is not making it there so most likely the computer reset will do nothing, but it would not hurt either. I'd than do the pressure gauge like masters said. In my haynes manual we have the following.

Fuel system pressure with key on engine off 35-45 psi
Idle vacuum hose attached 30-45psi
---------------------- detached 40-50 psi
Fuel system hold pressure after 5 mins 30-40 psi
Fuel pump pressure maximum 65psi

I figure I would leave them all just in case you get past the first one.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I suspect the pump or the in-tank filter is clogged cause the pump runs when I turn the key to on. I've got the battery unhooked, dropped the exhaust and now I have to figure out how to get the filler and air tubes off back in that cramped space. Any tips? Thanks
 

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Dude I drooped the tank on mine 5 times in the past month and maybe a total 10 time in the 2 yrs I've owned it for leaks drive shaft u joints pump etc I say just get in it and do it get it as high as u can safely I got the bottom off my tires about three and a half foot in the air and used 7 ton stands for clearance and dropped it
 

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Discussion Starter #10
mysikbirdy, cool! Some of us live in apartment complexes and asphalt parking lots however, with very small floor jacks and can't vault the Bird up that high. I would just guess most people here don't have 7 ton stands to fix their Birds.

Dude, having said that, I bravely went under only a foot and a half and dropped the exhaust, the big heat cover and the tank and yanked the fuel pump today. All day deal, with cinderblocks for backup so I didn't get squashed while looking up at death.

But I got the horrible tank out, all dusty, and got the rusty fuel pump out as well. The pump seems fine as I recuperate but the clean white filter attached is brown/black and full of crud.

.
 

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mysikbirdy, cool! Some of us live in apartment complexes and asphalt parking lots however, with very small floor jacks and can't vault the Bird up that high. I would just guess most people here don't have 7 ton stands to fix their Birds.

Dude, having said that, I bravely went under only a foot and a half and dropped the exhaust, the big heat cover and the tank and yanked the fuel pump today. All day deal, with cinderblocks for backup so I didn't get squashed while looking up at death.

But I got the horrible tank out, all dusty, and got the rusty fuel pump out as well. The pump seems fine as I recuperate but the clean white filter attached is brown/black and full of crud.

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Understandable I was trying to say u dont have to do it that way lol just to get it up high enough to work on it and the tank low enough from the body to have clearance and good to know u did it and hope that works for ya
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It was interesting, never done one of those that way. I always hate dying but at least I ripped out everything so I can see what's going on. I laid there for an hour to look at the chassis to understand. The little 2 x 4 screen on the pump is a tangy black and cruddy. I sure don't want to put a whole new pump in after all this and have it do the same thing. There must be a way to check the pump after I clean or replace the strainer. The books say 'use a solvent to clean the strainer'.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Anyway, that is one sharp Bird you have, I'm jealous. I speak Ohio rather than socal but Tbird is the same language.
 

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My 4.6L only comes up to 10 lbs. with key on, engine off. When you crank on it, it slowly increases to 31 psi. Runs at 32psi. Will not restart hot, otherwise fine. What is causing this? Pump was changed twice as was fuel filter.
 

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I changed the fuel pressure regulator. It brought the KOEO (Key On Engine Off) pressure from 10 to 25. I thought I had it fixed. Daughter drove the car 5 miles and returned home. Car won't start again. I am sure it will start right up in the morning. Next on the list is to change the whole engine harness. I got one at the junkyard. The only thing left is the engine itself!!

Phil
 
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