97 thunderbird won't start, but will turn over. What could it be?

Asked by Jul 11, 2014 at 10:45 AM about the 1997 Ford Thunderbird LX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have been searching and searching and can't figure out why this car won't crank. The
IFSS is working as it should. The fuel pressure is at 39PSI when the key is in the on
position. There is fuel coming from the Schrader valve. I replaced the fuel filter.
Checked all the relays and they all work. I used multiple batteries and they are all
pumping out enough juice throughout. Checked the spark plugs, they are not fouled
out. They are all in proper sequence. The MAF was cleaned. We even tried using
starter fluid into the intake, and it will crank, but not stay running. The fuel pump IS
getting 12V.

The intake manifold had been replaced here recently, and since the replacement, it has
not ran. Another thing is the fuel looks almost a greenish color when we changed out
the filter, so we drained more to check it. It is a yellow/green color. I am thinking the
gas is old, and has lost its octane, but I am trying to not have to drain the tank. I am,
unfortunately, trying to take the shortcut for now. What is next?

13 Answers

89,035

Do you have injector pulse?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Not exactly sure what you mean by that. The plugs are getting a spark, I did check for that.

89,035

The fuel is injected into the engine via electronic fuel injectors, they need power and a ground pulse to operate, look in your shop manual to locate the injector fuse and if it is good then you need to test for injector pulse from the ECM, you can test for that at each injectors electrical connection.

That will be first thong this morning. Locating the fuses and ECM, checking, and will report in on what the find is.

I checked all fuses and relays, and they are all good. The injectors are all showing good with the output.

89,035

So you have injector pulse, it runs with starter fluid, good fuel pressure, and you have a fuel sample that concerns you. The fuel color is not that far off with this garbage they say is fuel these days, how much fuel is in the tank? If 5 gallons or under get some octane 104 octane booster and dump in the tank with a gallon of good fuel, if possible wait overnight and then cycle the key on then off for 5 seconds, do this a couple of times before attempting an engine start, that will push the fuel out of the lines that maybe bad and fill them with the modified fuel then try to start it.

I have been searching for the little screw/bolt in the corner that is used to check if fuel pump is working, but can't find it. I'm trying to rule out every possible thing. I'm unable to find the little valve that will spit fuel. I finally have regular fuel running from tank to fuel filter, but it's not spring enough to flush out the remainder of the rails. Any way I can get it to empty the upper rails at the injectors?

89,035

Just unhook the fuel return line from the fuel rail and drain it into a can with just a few key cycles.

Okay. I replaced the fuel pressure regulator and all of the plugs. It will run for 2-3 seconds then kick off. I checked the oil and found there was gas inside the oil. Is that from the intake manifold gasket? What could be it now?

89,035

Most common on a Ford is the fuel pressure regulator going bad, but you already replaced that, so change the oil and filter so you won't blow the pan off it, make sure you have good oil pressure as this engine maybe equipped with a low oil pressure shut down, you may need to bypass it temporarily to get the engine to start and run.

I'm going to change the oil and filter today. But the bypass part confused me. How would I do that?

89,035

The switch is located next to the oil pressure sender, all you have to do is unplug the connector and jumper the contacts.

4,935

You don't say how old the fuel is and how long it has been since you last ran it normally. Did this happen overnight? ie; was it running normal, you shut it down, and when you went to start it this happened? I would still drain the tank (BE CAREFUL) and then put 5 gal of REGULAR (non-ethanol) in it and try again.

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