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New Guy Saying Hello and Asking For Guru Help!

Old 11-05-2018, 02:30 PM
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Default New Guy Saying Hello and Asking For Guru Help!

Hi all,

Thanks for having me and happy to be here. My name's Lou and I'm the proud new owner of a 93 E150 cargo van with a I6 300cid. The body is in great condition and it's had a very easy life hauling flowers and hippies. I bought it for very cheap as a secondary vehicle and as a work mule for our restaurant from a young couple who had their sights set on turning it into a camping/adventure van. They only owned it for a few months and never drove it much themselves. They claimed that one day it started running badly, they took it to a mechanic buddy of theirs who said it was a bad transmission, and parked it - until their apartment complex put a gun to their head to have it moved. ...then I came into the picture.

I am no stranger to dragging home old dilapidated sh*t boxes and fairly mechanically inclined. I gave it the once-over and found that, mechanically, everything seemed solid and even with the suspected bad trans, it was still worth more than what I paid for it.

Long and short of it is that it won't start. It'll crank as long as the battery will go but not so much as a cough or sputter of life.

Here's what I've done:

1/4 tank gas indicated on gauge.
New battery (full charge)
New batt. terminals
Pulled no.6 spark plug - found wet with fuel but gapped at .045"
Grounded plug wire to check for spark - spark present at about 1/4" gap to ground.
Verified ignition timing. Plug wires follow firing order on the distributor with proper rotation, rotor points to no.1 wire when no.1 cylinder is at the top of stroke and pulley indicates TDC.
Confirmed rotor rotates while engine cranks.
Fuel pressure present at rail (both during prime and cranking)
Fuel injectors are operating (clicking sound confirmed with stethoscope - don't know if spraying fuel but plugs are wet with fuel so I ***ume fuel's getting in the chamber. Besides, I'm getting nothing even with starting fluid right down it's throat).
Suspected may be a weak coil so checked coil resistance across primary and secondary. Found high resistance across the primaries (5.5ohms) so decided to replace coil. No change.
Pulled no.6 plug once more, it seemed fouled once more.

I'm thinking fouled but don't know why. Any advice or ideas are greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance.
Old 11-05-2018, 03:31 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 9,254

When you first turn the key on, do you hear the fuel pump run for the approx 2 seconds ?

If yes, suggest changing fuel filter and depending on how much water comes out of it will determine if you need to drain tank, could be full of water.
If plugs are wet with water, engine still will not start even with starting fluid.

Take a sample of the gas that comes out of the filter and dump a little on a piece of sidewalk and try to lite it with a match. If it lites fuel should ignite in engine , if not, too much water in it and no amount of drygas , seafoam etc will dry it up. Tank will need to be emptied and lines cleared.
Let's see what you find before going further, OK?

Before disconnecting fuel lines to filter , pull fuel pump fuse and crank engine over to relieve pressure in fuel system or you could get a bath when removing lines to flter.
Old 11-05-2018, 05:06 PM
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It never crossed my mind that I could potentially have that much water in the fuel but, now that you mention it, when I sniffed the wet stuff on the plugs it did smell of gas but it was a very weak smell. How would that much water get in the tank? Is it common? I'm running out of daylight today but I'll do the check you recommended tomorrow and report back with results. I suspect you're right. It makes perfect sense. Thank you!

...and yes, I could hear the pump.
Old 11-07-2018, 11:20 AM
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I took a fuel sample from the rail and, sure enough, it was about 50/50 water & gas. I did as you suggested though (spilled some on the sidewalk) and it lit. Not right away, mind you, but it lit after putting the Zippo right to the puddle. (behaved more like kerosene - which has me wondering if I got a case of gas/diesel in there).

I also kept flushing and collecting fuel from the rail as I repeatedly primed and the fuel eventually the milky bubbles cleared up. I also added bout two gallons of fresh gas to the tank. Still no fire but at least I got a hiccup or two so there is hope.

I'm gonna check fuel pressure tonight when I get home to eliminate a weak pump before dropping the tank.

One more thing: for gits and shiggles, I stuck an endoscope into the opening of no.6 cylinder plug hole. I didn't see anything outlandish other than carbon deposits and a little wetness. No puddling or anything seemingly weird. I also cranked it over while watching the display looking for fuel spray. I did not see a spray. ...should it be a visible spray?
Old 11-11-2018, 01:52 PM
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Checked fuel pressure at the rail. Key on, engine off, I read 55psi. I believe that's within range. I also took the opportunity to flush out some more gas and it's coming through is nice and clear (lights well too).

I'm out of ideas. Please help
Old 11-11-2018, 04:53 PM
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Posts: 9,254

About this time the plugs are pretty wet. If you removed some of the easier ones and dried them out good , it just may start with a few firing and allow the rest to clear up, worth a try.
Old 11-11-2018, 05:45 PM
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Pulling the plugs and making sure everything is H2o dry is a good idea. Checking for a good hot spark there as well.

If the tank was water polluted, just adding, pump cycling, won’t get all the water since water is heavier than gas. Certainly make a dent though.
What I might try to confirm a run check,, is pull the fuel pump relay and crank the engine. It will relieve the fuel rail pressure. Make sure the rail has no pressure remaining at the schrader.. At this point you can pull the plugs and make sure it’s not flooded or water fouling the plugs. Or,, do the below steps..
With the relay out, and no fuel pressure available to feed the injectors, give it a short shot of ether. Will it run on the ether assist?
If it starts on the prime, it would/may help to dry things out (if no other issues), but if enough water sat in the injectors for long enough, even with spec pressure with questionable fuel quality, may be all or a portion of the cause for a no start... If you have a noid light or meter, you can also check for active injector pulses...


Last edited by Hayapower; 11-11-2018 at 05:48 PM.
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