78 Ford Fairmont 5.0

mike mompeller

New Member
Sep 18, 2015

i know its knot a mustang, but close. i have a 78 ford fairmont stock 5.0. i cant get the damn thing to start. i have no idea why it wont start.. i live in east lancaster/ lake los angeles ca. is there anyone in my area who can come by my house and help me please. i just want to get the stock motor running and play with it as slow as it is un til i start building another motor or buy another motor.. thank you for your time i appreciate it. mike
  • Sponsors(?)


I want to measure mine. It doesn't look that tall.
10 Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
Soooo....the starter turns the engine over? Or sometimes it turns over?

Have you pulled a plug and checked for spark?

mike mompeller

New Member
Sep 18, 2015
carb car. i wanted to just find a newer fi engine and throw it in there but everybody wants so much damn money for them.


StangNet's favorite TOOL
SN Certified Technician
Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
Cranks Ok but no start for carb’d cars.

Updated 17-Jun-2008 to include firing order diagram

Carb'd cars require an old time approach to troubleshooting.

1.) Remove push on connector from starter solenoid and turn ignition switch on. Place car in neutral or Park. Remove coil wire from distributor & and hold 3/8” away from engine block. Jumper the screw with the red wire to the big bolt on the starter solenoid that has the battery wire connected to it. You should get a nice fat blue spark.
Most of the items are electrical in nature, so a test light, or even better, a voltmeter, is helpful to be sure they have power to them.
No spark, possible failed items in order of their probability:
A.) Coil.
B.) Distributor PIP sensor or points & condenser
C.) Bad ignition Box or Duraspark unit
D.) No power to ignition system wiring or ignition box (if used). Look for 12 volts at the coil with the ignition in the Run position
E.) Bad ignition switch
F.) Bad fuse links.

2.) Spark at coil wire, pull #1 plug wire off at the spark plug and check to see spark. No spark, possible failed items in order of their probability:
A.) Moisture inside distributor – remove cap, dry off & spray with WD40
B.) Distributor cap
C.) Rotor
D.) Spark Plug wires
E.) Coil weak or intermittent - you should see 3/8" fat blue spark with a good coil

3.) Spark at spark plug, but no start.
4.) Pull the air cleaner and sniff for fuel vapor - look for signs of flooding. If so, then press the accelerator to the floor and crank for a while – if the engine is flooded, this will clear it out. You may want to have a jumper battery & cables handy.
5.) Electric fuel pump if you have one, is it getting power? Use a volt meter or test light to probe the wires at the pump.

Don't see any evidence of flooding? Then pump the throttle - does the accelerator pump squirt fuel? If so then you should have enough fuel to start the engine. If not look for fuel delivery problems. Check the fuel pump, and fuel filter. Remember that most carbs have a fuel inlet filter that protects the float needle valve from trash.

Next, get a can of starting fluid (ether) from your local auto parts store: costs a $1.30 or so. Then pull the air cleaner, open the throttle, and spray the ether in it. Reinstall the air cleaner and try to start the car. Do not try to start the car without reinstalling the air cleaner. If it backfires, the chance for a serious fire is increased. If the engine starts now, you have a fuel delivery problem.

A warning about backfires: Holley carbs may have damaged power valves as the result of a backfire. The engine may be hard to start. Other symptoms are that it may seem to load up on fuel and be slow to accelerate until it clears out a bit.

6.) Fuel & ignition OK:
The HO firing order is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8.
Non HO firing order is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8

Check to verify that it is indeed an HO engine. Remove the #1 & #3 spark plugs. Put your finger in #1 spark plug hole. Crank the engine over until you feel compression on #1 cylinder. Slowly turn the engine until the TDC mark and the timing pointer line up. Mark TDC on the balancer with chalk or paint. Put your finger in #3 spark plug hole and crank the engine 90 degrees. You should feel pressure trying to blow past your finger. If you do not feel pressure, repeat the process again. If you feel pressure, it is a HO engine.

No pressure the second time, remove spark plug #5. Put your finger in #1 spark plug hole. Crank the engine over until you feel compression on #1 cylinder. Put your finger in #5 spark plug hole and crank the engine 90 degrees. If you feel pressure now, the engine is not a HO model, no matter what it says on the engine.

Using a small carpenter or machinist square to mark the harmonic balancer off into 90 degree sections may be helpful here.

A 15/16 deep socket & breaker bar or ratchet may be used to turn the engine.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
J 1980 Ford Fairmont 302 Hydraulic Conversion Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech 18
CarMichael Angelo Progress Thread 1978 Mercury Cyclone . Monday is Converter day. 1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk- 12016
pro50 F/s 1980 Ford Fairmont Wagon Cleveland, Ohio Fox Body Mustangs For Sale (1979-93) 0
6 83 Ford Fairmont 2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech 3
U What's it Worth? 67 Ford Mustang Thermactor Smog System What is it Worth?!?!? 1
J 302 ford D90E-6015-E3A hole on back passenger side of engine Classic Mustang Specific Tech 0
S I'm the New Guy!!! 1993 5.0 HO w/AOD Trans. in a '35 Ford panel truck Fox Engine Swaparoo 24
P Will any Ford SOHC 4.0 fit my 08 Mustang? 2005 - 2009 Specific Tech 1
M 93-98 Ford Taurus rear caliper 1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk- 6
T No power to the MAF Sensor 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 0
D For Sale 1993 Ford Mustang LX Convertible 2.3L NE Wisconsin Fox Body Mustangs For Sale (1979-93) 0
Blown88GT Fox Modified 1988 Ford Mustang SSP 5.0 1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk- 1
My92cashtrap Paint and Body EP Ford bright red...where to buy? 1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk- 2
B 2001 ford mustang/anti theft problem 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 2
H For Sale 2001 ford mustang gt procharged $14,000 SN95 Mustangs For Sale (1994-04) 0
J 2001 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT Convertible Fuel Smell help 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 2
General karthief Electrical Ford crate 5.0 engine in a 65 stang / alternater problem Classic Mustang Specific Tech 0
R Engine Ford Explorer GT40 intake and heads Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech 11
G New guy from Long Island first ford project in 35 years The Welcome Wagon 2
M Windshield wipers only work on high. Washer fluid not working. 2010 - 2014 Specific Tech 0
Misti 2000 Ford Mustang GT 4.6 - Rear Differential 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 12
J 2001 ford mustang v6 misfire and running lean 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 2
U 2001 ford mustang v6 3.8l shutting off on me SN95 V6 Mustang Tech 4
C Drivetrain Rear Differential Noise 1994 - 1995 Specific Tech 6
T Fan not turning on 1983 3.8 Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech 0
A Wrench Light Mustang GT 2005 - 2009 Specific Tech 6
S 2001 Ford Mustang front seats 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 0
M 1968 ford mustang coupe engine swap budget 1965 - 1973 Classic Mustangs -General/Talk- 2
ryansgts 2000 gt e85 conversion? 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 0
B P0024 Timing Over Advanced; 2012 Ford 5.0 Coyote 2005 - 2014 S-197 Mustang -General/Talk- 7
Misti 2000 Ford Mustang Gt 4.6 - Waterpump 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 4
H My 93 Ford Mustang won’t crank it has fuel but won’t crank Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech 3
W Engine 2000 ford mustang gt SN95 4.6L Mustang Tech 2
Misti 2000 Ford Mustang Gt 4.6 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 2
S 2000 Mustang V6 wont start SN95 V6 Mustang Tech 1
Noobz347 New Ford Window Stickers 1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk- 0
2000xp8 Ford offering 87-89 window stickers. 1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk- 30
Mstng93SSP SOLD SOLD Used ford 3:73 Gears $50 Drivetrain Parts 0
C For Sale Moser 8.8 Complete Rear End Drivetrain Parts 0
T-BONE93 SOLD 47lb ford performance injectors Engine and Power Adder 11
gwirex 1999 Ford Mustang GT 35th Anniversary Limited Edition build plate 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 9
2 New to Stangnet forum The Welcome Wagon 1
M Ford Mexican Mustang 302 Motor For Sale 70-74' with Airtubes Engine and Power Adder 0
F For Sale 2015 - 2019 Ford Performance Racing (FPR) Rear Cowl Extension Brace S550 Mustangs for Sale (2015+) 3
G Electrical A bit off topic, but a FORD truck issue.... Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech 1
wicked93gs 1966 Mustang Coupe: Ford 3.7L swap 1965 - 1973 Classic Mustangs -General/Talk- 10
kjohnson1 For Sale 1987-1993 Ford Mustang Coupe Sedan Notchback Opal Grey Cloth Rear Seats Interior Exterior Parts 2
C Gauges on 2000 gt slow to work after starting 1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk- 6
M Ford Contour/Mercury Cougar Dual Fans Other Auto Tech 1
R For Sale 2011 Ford Mustang GT S197 Mustangs For Sale (2005-14) 0
Similar threads