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Hard start 87 328-need advice..

Discussion in '308/328' started by greg328, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    my car has been exhibiting this problem in recent months, getting worse by the day. the battery is brand new and fully charged, and cranks strongly. it just won't catch. happens when hot and cold. it left me stranded this morning at a friends house. had to get my wife to pick me up.

    another problem, possibly related, is that the throttle seems to stick during driving. the revs won't drop down as I shift. could this be related?

    thanks in advance for any advice.

    Greg in Houston

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  2. Inowownone

    Inowownone Formula Junior

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    Greg,
    Seeing the number of posts you have, I'm sure you might have read this in a previous thread... I have read on other threads about the floor mat getting caught up with the gas peddal causing the reving to take place while shifting.
    Regarding the car not "firing" but having a strong crank - thinking it might be fuel related. (Fuel Filter / Pump). Second guess would be fuse/electrical. Rather than my guesses, I'm sure an SME will read and post soon.
    Good Luck.
     
  3. Steelton Keith

    Steelton Keith F1 Rookie
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    smelling any gas when it won't start?
     
  4. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    Yes i do smell gas when cranking but that may be due to my pressing the gas pedal when desperately cranking!! i know i shouldn't with a FI car. when i don't press it i don't notice a gas odor. just yesterday it was doing this but i eventually got it to start. no dice this morning ..

    And no, for sure the mat is not causing the hi rev issue... Been down that road before!!!

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  5. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    By the way, i installed a new fuel filter and fuel accumulator a few months ago... couldn't be the pump , could it? car runs great when i can get it started....
    ???

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  6. Steve Magnusson

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    #6 Steve Magnusson, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
    (Assuming that you have spark during the no-start cranking period -- and that's the first thing that you should confirm/deny before worrying about the fuel system.)

    Anything's possible, but it can also be the electrical control of the fuel pump (which has two different paths for cranking vs running). First thing to do on the fuel side is learn how to unplug the safety switch on the airflow metering device, turn the key "on", and listen for the fuel pump to run:

    If the fuel pump doesn't run, you'd focus on the ...113 fuel pump relay and/or the fuel pump and/or the wiring (but your report that the engine runs well once running makes this result less probable)

    If the fuel pump does run, and immediate cold starting is easier after doing that for 10~15 secs (i.e., when cold, unplug the safety switch, turn the key to Pos II "on", listen to the fuel pump run for 10~15 sec, turn key to Pos III start) = try a different ...101 relay in the "Fuel Injection delivery pump starting-relay" position (they sort of misnamed this relay -- it really should be called "relay to control the fuel pump relay during starter motor cranking vs engine running").
     
  7. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    Steve, so glad you chimed in. Getting the car towed back to my place, then I'll get to work testing your ideas. it's in a friend's garage now..
    Thanx!!
    Greg

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  8. Iain

    Iain F1 Rookie

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    Re the sticky throttle its as likely to be the cable as anything else - in which case just replace it - its not too hard. ( I had the same thing and that's what it ended up being)

    Check the mechanism at the throttle body & also the pedal first though. Not sure about the LHD cars but on the RHD cars you remove the throttle pedal via an access hatch underneath the car.
     
  9. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    Steve, you seem to be leaning towards a bad relay as problem source, you think that's the likely culprit?

    I'll for sure check the cable and linkage...thanx..

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  10. Steelton Keith

    Steelton Keith F1 Rookie
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    agree...from non expert...check cable first...fuel pump likely suspect.
     
  11. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    Likely as something else, but this is why you measure/test things -- to deduce/find out what is wrong, before throwing $s at it. Right now, I'd say that you really don't yet know if it is a spark problem or a fuel problem.
     
  12. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    I can feel both relays Steve mentioned clicking as i crank, for what it's worth..

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  13. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    Tow truck is on the way, hate to put this car on a flat bed, but oh well. it cranks very strong just won't catch...

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  14. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    I don't think I've ever heard the fuel pump run, by the way. even when this problem wasn't occurring.

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  15. JohnnyTS

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    Greg, I also can't here my fuel pump when position to 1 or 2 etc. It could be that sticky throttle causing the car to "flood" fuel everytime you try to start her, if it happens or when you smell fuel step the throttle all the way down and see what happens, 328's tends to flood easy, some disconnect the Cold start valve(blue plug)of the right side of the intake (top) in summer time to eliminate this problem.

    When its cold or winter time my 328 start very easily/quick like instantly with the Cold start valve connected and works better disconnected in summertime.

    also check your plug wires towards your spark plugs if they make proper contact and that they are clean for proper electrical spark, you can also check the distributors contacts.

    let us know when you sort this, I'd like to know whats causing this problem

    cheers
    Johnny
     
  16. B-26

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    Check the fuel pump wire at the fuse panel. It's connected to the gang plug, you may have to drop the fuse panel to pull the plug. In my case the spring connector on the end of the wire had been overheated at some time in the cars life and lost its temper, and expanded causing a loose connection. Easily seen by the brown burn mark on the plastic plug.
     
  17. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    Thanks guys, car is home now, so i can begin to explore this problem. does the fact that both fuel pump relays click when i crank the ignition have any meaning to anybody? Steve ? would this indicate that they are ok?


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  18. B-26

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    My relays were working, the wire I'm talking about is exiting the panel to the pump. After the fuse /relays.
     
  19. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    Jay, can you give a bit more info about this fuel pump wire? Does it lead from the back of one of the fuel pump relays to the pump? What color is it? I'm looking for a burnt connector at it's base?

    Steve, I'll check for spark again. I did it a few months ago, I believe you were helping me with a similar issue back then. I have an inline spark tester..



    Greg
     
  20. Steve Magnusson

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    It's a sign that they aren't the problem, but you won't be able to hear the fuel pump when the starter motor is cranking. That's why it's better to unplug the safety switch and turn the key "on" (because then you can audibly confirm/deny if the fuel pump is running):

    If the fuel pump relay "clicks", but you don't hear the fuel pump run = bad fuel pump relay, or a bad connection between the relay and the fuel pump, or a bad fuel pump.

    If the fuel pump relay "clicks", and you do hear the fuel pump run, but the engine will still not start when you go to Pos III = fuel pump operation probably not your problem.

    Use the spark tester too ;)
     
  21. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    #21 greg328, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
    Steve, just tested for spark using an inline spark tester between wire and plug 4. No glow, so no spark. I've narrowed the problem. any advice on what to check next?

    Is it safe to use the spark tester on each coil, to see if those are bad? A Ferrari parts guy told me last year that the 328 when new experienced a bad batch of coils, usually replaced under warranty when new. He was of the opinion that at this point, if my car was running normally (this was last year) then I probably have the new replacement coils. He said they are $$$ now!!

    Seems to me, that since when the car will start, it runs great, it can't be the coils. It's gotta be something that's PREVENTING the ignition system from firing. Again, the car ran last night, after hard-cranking for a bit.... It's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma. :)

    I dropped the relay panel in the dash, all connectors and wires look good, no brown spots...

    By the way, where exactly is the safety switch you speak of?

    Greg

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  22. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    #22 Steve Magnusson, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Sure, you can use that same spark tester on the coil wires going to the distributor caps -- but no spark does not necessarily mean the coils themselves are bad (in fact, since you've lost spark on both banks, it's unlikley IMO that the problem is downstream of the MicroPlex ECU)

    To simultaneously lose spark on both banks, you most likely have a problem with the TDC flywheel sensor, the RPM flywheel sensor, or the MicroPlex ignition ECU. If you do a search on "TDC flywheel sensor" and/or "RPM flywheel sensor", you should get some prior threads descibing how to make an unplugged resistance measurement of both and a functional, plugged in, AC voltage measurement of both during starter cranking.

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  23. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    Just the post I was hoping for. I'll tackle these possibilities tomorrow and report back..
    Again, bear in mind--this problem has been intermittent--I've been able to finally start the car, and have it run as normal--pulling strong to redline. Sometimes it's required me to pump the gas pedal, usually a no-no on a FI car, to get it to start. Not today however. That DOES seem counter-intuitive to the fact that I have no spark. Fuel shouldn't be the issue, but I guess I shouldn't rule anything out.

    Maybe one of the sensors you've mentioned has been failing slowly and now has finally given up the ghost, explaining the recent normal running (but abnormal starting) behavior...??

    Thanks again,
    Greg
     
  24. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie
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    One other possibility I've neglected to mention:

    My car came with a Mirage alarm. It operates the door locks, and I assume has an ignition cutout. When I bought the car about a year ago, I researched this alarm and couldn't find any documentation or info on it.

    Could it be the cause of my no-start condition? I have NO idea how it's installed, or even where all the components are. If somebody on here has any alarm install experience, maybe you could tell me how to disable the ignition-cut circuit? Maybe that's why the car won't start. Again, it will crank hard, but not start. Do most alarm ignition cut-outs even allow the starter to turn?

    The remote door unlock feature is convenient, but if I could pull the whole system out, I'd do so..

    Greg
     
  25. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I had the sticky throttle issue a few years ago. I took off the protector plate near the gas pedal and hit the linkage cable with PB Blaster a few times over a few days. I haven't had the problem since.
     

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