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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I posted here a while back about my 89 spider that would not start. I've been trying to diagnose the problem, and the car still will not run. I've done a lot of work since my last post. Hoping an experienced owner can help me out.

Here is what I have done:

1. Confirmed that ignition system works using a spark tester.
2. Confirmed that fuel pump works, and fuel is going through fuel rail.
3. Confirmed cylinder compression.
4. Drained entire gas tank, and refilled with fresh gasoline.
5. Confirmed that FI ECU is working properly with noid lights.
6. Engine will run for a few seconds if I spray starter fluid in air intake, then dies.
7. Battery is new and fully charged.

At this point, I am guessing there is a problem with my fuel injectors. Any other ideas?

Thank you,
Greg
 

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I'd agree that it seems like it's not getting fuel. The injectors could be clogged (had it sat unused for a long while?). Can you buy/borrow/steal a fuel pressure gauge to confirm it is not just getting some fuel to the fuel rail but fuel at adequate pressure in the fuel rail? If the pressure is low, the injectors won't squirt.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Eric, thanks for your reply. The car did sit for about 10 months without being started. I have not tested the fuel pressure. I can buy a fuel pressure gauge. What sort of PSI is normal for my car?

Thank you,
Greg
 

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I would verify adequate fuel pressure at the rail. You didn't mention a fuel filter change.
 

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You say the ignition system is ok but have you verifed your two flywheel sensors are ok?
 

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After checking the pressure, check the injectors, maybe they blocked.
If the engine runs for few seconds with the spray, I won't suspect an electrical issue.
Saar
 

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Inertia switch?

Does the 89 have an inertia switch? Assuming she is cranking etc... this bit me some time ago on my '84. I bypassed mine. Just a thought.

Ron F.
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Discussion Starter #9
Here's a couple of snippets from the shop manual.

2.3 bar ~ 33 psi
2.7 bar ~ 39 psi
Hey guys,

I performed the fuel pressure test as described in the shop manual, the result was a healthy 38 PSI.

What do you guys think? Time to pull the fuel injectors? Does anyone have shop manual instructions on how to do this properly?

Thank you,
Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You say the ignition system is ok but have you verifed your two flywheel sensors are ok?
I have not checked the flywheel sensors. Could you explain to me what those are and how to check them for proper function?

Thank you,
Greg
 

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I have not checked the flywheel sensors. Could you explain to me what those are and how to check them for proper function?
If one or both sensors are bad, there'd be no spark or injector pulse. Since you have both spark and injector pulse, the sensors are good.

There are two flywheel sensors; one for RPM and the other is a reference point (like TDC). Both sensors send signals to the ignition ECU. Along with other inputs, the ignition ECU then calculates when to make and break the ignition coil ground circuit which then makes the sparks. The fuel ECU receives a pulsing signal from the coil which then pulses the fuel injectors for the proper duration at the proper time.
 

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Jim-
Is it likely that his injectors are stuck to the point where it won't run at all? This is something I've never seen, and I hate to see guys throw money at problems. Just asking.
Thanks!
 

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What do the spark plugs look like & smell like? If the cylinders have been getting fuel but the engine doesn't start they should be wet & smell of gasoline. Clean them (or install new ones).

If they are dry then the cylinders are probably not getting fuel. Could be clogged injectors. Before pulling them for service, try this: cycle the ignition on/off/on/off/on/off to pressurize the fuel rail (don't crank the engine - just switch the ignition on & off a few times). With the spark plugs out peek down into the spark plug holes looking for a cylinder with the intake valve open (you can see the edge of the valve when it's open). Remove the wire harness plug to that cylinder's fuel injector and briefly apply 12V + & - to the terminals on the injector - just touch & remove the wires. As you apply 12V observe via the spark plug hole to see/hear if the injector squirts. If it does not, then clogged injectors are likely. If it does, test another cylinder (re-pressurize the fuel rail & turn the engine until another intake valve is open).

If you have fuel but it won't start then make triple sure the ignition timing is correct. Position the engine so that #1 is at TDC on compresson (remember that the piston will go to TDC twice in one cycle of a four stroke engine). With the engine thus postioned, remove the distributor cap and note where the rotor is aimed. That section of the cap must have the spark plug wire for #1. The rest are installed to correspond to the firing order: 1-3-4-2. The rotor turns clockwise when viewed from above. It is not unusual for the distributor to be installed 180 degrees off. The engine won't care - as long as the spark plug wires are installed as described above.

P.S. info about the flywheel sensors and how to test them are in the Spider L-jet diagnosis page - see link in my signature.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Eric,

The spark plugs and ignition wires are brand new. I replaced them both. I will try your suggestion and see if the spark plugs are getting wet with fuel from turning the key on and off a few times.

Thank you,
Greg
 

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Please confirm the spark plug wires are installed correctly. Don't assume...

The spark plugs should not get fouled from simply turning the ignition on any number of times. If you've been cranking the engine and it doesn't not start then they could be fouled.
 

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That doesn't prove anything. See previous reply about positioning engine with #1 piston at TDC on compression then checking under the cap to see where the rotor is aimed. That is where the #1 spark plug wire must be attached.

Here's a funny story (it's funny now...). Many years ago I - I mean this guy I know - decided to tune up his MGA including new points, plugs, cap, rotor & wires. After adjusting the points, setting the static timing and putting things back together I - I mean this guy I know - tried to start the engine but it would crank but not start. I - I mean this guy I know - checked everything. Finally, I - [/i]I mean this guy I know[/i] - stuck his hands in his pockets to ponder the situation. There in his pocket I - I mean this guy I know - found the rotor still in his pocket...
 

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Is it likely that his injectors are stuck to the point where it won't run at all?
Sure. Please see this recent thread.
One would think though that in theory, if the cold start injector (CSI) is working properly, then the engine would at least start (even if it then dies when the CSI fuel runs out).

Nola,
Will the engine fire up with starting fluid?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Papajam - Yes, the car will start and run for about 2 seconds with starting fluid.

ghnl - Yes, I reconnect the air intake plenum after the starter fluid spray.


Here is some more info for you guys.

Today I confirmed that there is no fuel being injected into the cylinders when the ignition is turned on. I turned the ignition on-off about 10 times, pulled the spark plugs and they were all bone dry, no smell of gas from the spark plug holes.

ghnl - Can you explain how to turn the engine over by hand? I'm pretty sure the crank pulley is on the front of the engine...but its slammed right up against the radiator...how do you get in there to turn it over?
 
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