Car put me down......again. What now?

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
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Cuba, AL
Ok, I need to get some input. I'm tired of getting input....lol. I like to help others with their cars. I posted a thread in June about getting my car decent to drive. I had 10 or so items that very much needed to be done. This post, unfortunately, is not one of those items. Just when I was almost thru the important ones on that list you guessed it. Another put me down on the side of the road problem.

Three or four years ago I rebuilt my OEM distributor with a new PIP and new TIF. It lasted until about six months ago then started its crap again.

Y'all know I do not need one more thing on my plate right now...car or otherwise. I'm dealing with a family member that's ill and causing me great stress, huge lack of finances, and an old car that is driving me crazy. I try to post and encourage others about fixing their cars and knowing there's going to be some things come up. I am just the lucky soul that gets to have something come up every single week. No, I'm not joking. That, on its own, is difficult to deal with...even someone with money to constantly fix something would hate it. I hate leaving the house and never knowing if I'll be stranded. No, I can't afford AAA and honestly never even met anyone that has that. No one I know in my neck of the woods does anyway. My goal with the other thread was to fix the car to a point that it's just decent transportation. I don't want a simple trip to the next town to be a potential journey.

Back to today's problem. The car starts as it always has. Sometimes the shut-offs don't happen for a week. Then normally while on the interstate going 70mph it just hiccups once, twice or a few times. Sometimes it completely stops running. I always leave it in gear with the clutch out. When it decides to come back on it does and I keep rolling. Sometimes it takes me all the way down to 30mph to come back on. Many times there's an 18 wheeler behind me or a line of cars. If it doesn't come right back on I have to hit the emergency lane on the side of the interstate. This went on for a month or so. I was hoping it would totally die so I could be sure that whatever I did fixed it. Two weeks ago I finally decided that I'd go ahead and swap distributors. I have a couple of extra factory distributors so I grabbed a '90 one that's still got the factory PIP/TIF in place and put it in the car. Of course, the shutting off on the road went away and I could actually feel the difference in the two sets of electronics. The car seemed to run a bit smoother. Two weeks go by and I'm on my way home yesterday evening and I felt a stumble. I closed my eyes (while driving!) and told myself I did not feel that. Didn't matter. Five minutes later it started shutting off and then back on the rest of the way home.

Things I have come to notice..... When it shuts off I do not lose dash lights or gauges. As a matter of fact, nothing on the dash indicates anything different. It may buck and stumble a few times in a row or just once. All this has always been what I consider the PIP going bad. I still think that's what it is. If for example, it was a loose wire in some random spot that just lost electrical connection, the dash light or gauges would flicker or something. I do believe I'm just losing the fire. I've tried one of the Spectra Premium Distributors (FD17 from Oreilly $87) and it was the most flimsy piece of junk I've ever seen. I took it back after setting the timing and the whole thing flexing in my hand like plastic. When I rebuilt the distributor a few years ago I put the best PIP that NAPA had in there. I'm sick of things not lasting. My factory one lasted almost the whole time I've had the car. I can't get one to last 5 years now. I've replaced the ignition switch just a couple years ago. If the ignition was cutting out though the gauges on the dash would show it.

I have one other factory distributor with the factory PIP still in it that I can try. Not sure if that's worth it or not. This is just getting old. I'm almost back to my OTHER thread from a while back about giving up on the car and parking it for good. I don't have the money to do hardly any repairs on the car much less get another car. And of course the mustang is due tires in the next few months if not sooner. Never ends. Yes, I'm very discouraged. I've spent the last 5 or 6 years replacing almost every part on the car in hopes of getting it dependable.

New parts over that time: (think about all this added together and how much trouble I'm STILL having)
-New A/C system (compressor, drier, accumulator, condenser, etc....all parts)
-New cooling system (radiator, thermostat, hoses, heater core, fan blades, fan clutch, water pump, etc...
-New 130 amp alternator upgrade with wiring kit, battery, all grounds checked and replaced if needed
-New steering system (new Unisteer Kit w/ manual rack, ends, solid steering shaft...all parts new) Only done because I could not get the power steering to stop leaking.
-numerous other things like power windows motors, door lock actuators (lots), weatherstripping, new mufflers, new gaskets on the timing cover/water pump/thermostat, all new factory steel pulleys, new speedo cable, new coil, new wire and plugs, etc.

I have also added approximately 917,365 quarts of oil. The car is now using 1.5 quarts of oil every 750-800 miles on the dot. I don't even have to think about it anymore....750 miles comes I know in 50 more miles it's oil time. (oil is for another day so just fyi) I was working on a fix for the oil then the dang thing started shutting off again. Don't need oil if it won't run!!!

Anything y'all can post I'll be glad to read. It's just sad to me that I've put such an enormous amount of parts in the car and it's just as bad as when I started. And for the record, I put the best stuff I could find in most cases. Motorcraft heater core (this after 3 junk LMR ones), Bosch 130amp alternator, etc, etc. Still no luck. I've replaced almost everything except the actual long block and transmission! And I had the engine that's in there rebuilt a few years ago.

Shutting off...that's the immediate problem that I need to fix.
 
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stanglx2002

Mod Dude
Jul 7, 2005
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I hate that you are running into a large amount of issues and stress, which I can totally understand. I just went through the same item of the car not running and died at work deciding it wasn't going to run again. Spend (3) days getting it back on the road thinking the entire time that it is ignition related. There is now a completely new ignition and it wasnt the ignition at all.

I do recommend to start out with the little things. My issue all came down to the fuel filter being clogged. It was just replaced less than 2 years ago, so I can only believe that it was a bad batch of gas. I drove my car to work that day and started it at lunch before it decided not to start again at all. Pull the filter as it only takes 15 minutes to replace it.
 

Potomus Pete

Active Member
Mar 7, 2019
162
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Sarasota Florida
That shutting down stuff is heartbreaking, Just you talking about it sends shivers up my back. I spent one month with the car in the garage . Reading ,testing, more reading. Replacing parts , nothing was happening. These cars are not good daily drivers . I never leave my house without my phone . I dont what to say but hang in there. At least your not the guy with the headgasket problem , and water in the oilpan. These cars really should be a hobby , not a daily driver. At least in my opinion. Hang in there brother ............You also have a really good looking car, if that one in your profile is yours...
 
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Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
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Cuba, AL
These cars are not good daily drivers .
YES....very true
Hang in there brother ............You also have a really good looking car, if that one in your profile is yours...
Thanks man. I'm trying to hang. It was good looking at one point. Paint is completely gone now but yes that is an older pic of it. When the paint starts to go it really hits the road quick.
 

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
83
53
Cuba, AL
I hate that you are running into a large amount of issues and stress, which I can totally understand. I just went through the same item of the car not running and died at work deciding it wasn't going to run again. Spend (3) days getting it back on the road thinking the entire time that it is ignition related. There is now a completely new ignition and it wasnt the ignition at all.

I do recommend to start out with the little things. My issue all came down to the fuel filter being clogged. It was just replaced less than 2 years ago, so I can only believe that it was a bad batch of gas. I drove my car to work that day and started it at lunch before it decided not to start again at all. Pull the filter as it only takes 15 minutes to replace it.
In my glob of parts, I left a bunch off....I've replaced the fuel filter. Got in the habit of replacing that early on and have kept it up. Thanks for the support.
 
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Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
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Cuba, AL
In typical fashion, I've worn myself out mentally today looking up every conceivable option available to me. Here's what I found.

Advance Auto
Driveworks #22068 $22.99 1 yr warranty
BWD #ME48P $32.99 3 yr warranty
BWD #ME48 $35.99 lifetime warranty (not in store-need info)

Napa
Mileage Plus MP711SB $25.99
Echlin ECH MP711 $39.99
(knowing Napa no warranty)

OReilly
Standard Ignition STD LX222 $37.99 Lifetime warranty NEXT DAY
MasterPro Ignition 2-6187 $30.99 1 yr warranty IN STOCK
Motorcraft DU30C $73.99 2 yr warranty ORDER

Summit Racing
Standard Ignition STD LX222 $30.99 + $9.99 shipping (special order 10 day back order) not happening

RockAuto
Standard Ignition STD LX222 $24.79+$2.99 shipping+tax=$29.76 (Sept 18th delivery..8 days)

Ebay
BMP DU30 $17.99 shipped be here in 3 days

OReilly - Complete Distributor
And as mentioned above there's the Spectra Premium Distributor from OReilly. Complete with new TFI and PIP, cap and rotor with Lifetime replacement. $86.99 in stock. I just hate the thing....and it's way more money than just the PIP....but that would give me lifetime (supposedly) on the PIP and TFI. Tempting.
 
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Potomus Pete

Active Member
Mar 7, 2019
162
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55
Sarasota Florida
What do you think it is PIP stuff or fuel related. I find that is sometimes or most of the time its something that I did that is loose or gone bad. I also have replaced everything that could go bad
 

Mustang5L5

Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
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What’s the condition of your coil? Ever been replaced?

I hear you on hating fixing stuff. Nothing makes me more angry than vehicle repairs all the time. Mods are fun, replacing worn parts is not.

For what it’s worth, every time I leave my driveway I do worry about the dreaded PIP/TFI giving out finally. Mine is original.
 
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96pushrod

Advanced Member
May 15, 2018
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In typical fashion, I've worn myself out mentally today looking up every conceivable option available to me. Here's what I found.

Advance Auto
Driveworks #22068 $22.99 1 yr warranty
BWD #ME48P $32.99 3 yr warranty
BWD #ME48 $35.99 lifetime warranty (not in store-need info)

Napa
Mileage Plus MP711SB $25.99
Echlin ECH MP711 $39.99
(knowing Napa no warranty)

OReilly
Standard Ignition STD LX222 $37.99 Lifetime warranty NEXT DAY
MasterPro Ignition 2-6187 $30.99 1 yr warranty IN STOCK
Motorcraft DU30C $73.99 2 yr warranty ORDER

Summit Racing
Standard Ignition STD LX222 $30.99 + $9.99 shipping (special order 10 day back order) not happening

RockAuto
Standard Ignition STD LX222 $24.79+$2.99 shipping+tax=$29.76 (Sept 18th delivery..8 days)

Ebay
BMP DU30 $17.99 shipped be here in 3 days

OReilly - Complete Distributor
And as mentioned above there's the Spectra Premium Distributor from OReilly. Complete with new TFI and PIP, cap and rotor with Lifetime replacement. $86.99 in stock. I just hate the thing....and it's way more money than just the PIP....but that would give me lifetime (supposedly) on the PIP and TFI. Tempting.
FWIW I just put a spectra premium into a 85 f350 with a 460 and it’s worked fine, definitely didn’t seem flimsy or anything. We also put the same brand into a 89 5.0 fox about a year ago and everything has been good so far (granted it’s not a daily). Tough to argue with a lifetime warranty. Make sure you keep that receipt somewhere safe, If you decide to go that route.
 

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
83
53
Cuba, AL
What’s the condition of your coil? Ever been replaced?

I hear you on hating fixing stuff. Nothing makes me more angry than vehicle repairs all the time. Mods are fun, replacing worn parts is not.

For what it’s worth, every time I leave my driveway I do worry about the dreaded PIP/TFI giving out finally. Mine is original.
Yeah I replaced the coil last year. Good to know I'm not the only person that worries about those two electronics. That might make me feel better.....not sure yet...lol.
 

HotFox

10 Year Member
Jan 5, 2009
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SE Michigan
I hear you man! Didn't this car leave you stranded on the road like 2-3 years ago? I thought you replaced the distributor then? I guess if I were in your shoes I would consider throwing in the towel. I have read on here that some of these cars just are cursed or have problems. I believe that the carb on my 92 is because the previous owner picked the car up from owner before him cheap because they were pulling there hair out with the EFI. I found a old sheet and it did indead had have EFI with PMS. Anyway I am not saying you need to pull the EFI and go carb. Enjoy what you have, be able to jump in it and take it for a ride without worry of breaking down and not be a slave to wrenching on it.
Scott
 
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Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
83
53
Cuba, AL
I hear you man! Didn't this car leave you stranded on the road like 2-3 years ago? I thought you replaced the distributor then? I guess if I were in your shoes I would consider throwing in the towel. I have read on here that some of these cars just are cursed or have problems. I believe that the carb on my 92 is because the previous owner picked the car up from owner before him cheap because they were pulling there hair out with the EFI. I found a old sheet and it did indead had have EFI with PMS. Anyway I am not saying you need to pull the EFI and go carb. Enjoy what you have, be able to jump in it and take it for a ride without worry of breaking down and not be a slave to wrenching on it.
Scott
It didn't strand me or anything. But yes I've gone thru this before. I paid $13,400 brand new in '88 so I've gotten my money's worth...lol. Overall it has almost 400k miles. That's really only on the body though. I got 248k on the original engine before pulling it to put a built one in. It was still running fine even then. I won't ever pull the EFI no matter what. Thanks for the words Scott.
 

stanglx2002

Mod Dude
Jul 7, 2005
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Are you 100% sure its the distributor? This does sound like a classic case of the ignition switch. I just replaced mine again this past weekend as it was starting to separate a little bit. I didnt want to have a future issue personally on mine.

Easy to check them to see if they are coming apart or not. I have had them do funny (not hahaha funny either) things before like turn signals not work, or stop running while driving, or just no start bc it broke in half.
 
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Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
83
53
Cuba, AL
Are you 100% sure its the distributor? This does sound like a classic case of the ignition switch. I just replaced mine again this past weekend as it was starting to separate a little bit. I didnt want to have a future issue personally on mine.

Easy to check them to see if they are coming apart or not. I have had them do funny (not hahaha funny either) things before like turn signals not work, or stop running while driving, or just no start bc it broke in half.
Here's my reasoning on that. If the ignition switch breaks contact the lights and gauges move flash or something. They don't at all. I watch the dash when this happens and nothing even tells you the car is off. I also rebuilt the distributor last time this happened and it fixed it for a few years. It was doing this almost daily a couple weeks ago when I popped in this extra distributor and it went away for two weeks. Doesn't that sound convincing?

I'm about to head over to O'Reilly and get one of the complete distributors so type fast if you want to change my mind y'all....lol. I can't just get this for the heck of it. I only need to spend money on the actual fix.
 

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
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Cuba, AL
Can you take a look at this part?


Do you see a noticeable gap forming between the metal and plastic? Was yours replaced in the recall years ago or have you changed it since?
Well...I'll have to get stuff out and check it but I think I'll go do that now. First though, do you honestly think it could be losing ignition and not affect the dash lighting or gauges at all? I don't see how that's possible. And I'd have look on my chart to be 100% but I'm pretty sure I replace that switch because I remember taking one apart to look at the inside.
 

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
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Cuba, AL
20190911_110231.jpg


Took the column wrap off. Grabbed the connector and there's zero movement between the two halves. What do ya think?
 

stanglx2002

Mod Dude
Jul 7, 2005
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The ignition switch has multiple contacts on it so it doesnt mean that you would get a flash of your lights. As I mentioned, I had one go out and it only effected the turn signals. The test it do as mentioned above to see if there is a gap between the metal and plastic housings. You also should not be able to push the two half together in/out.
 

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
571
284
83
53
Cuba, AL
The ignition switch has multiple contacts on it so it doesnt mean that you would get a flash of your lights. As I mentioned, I had one go out and it only effected the turn signals. The test it do as mentioned above to see if there is a gap between the metal and plastic housings. You also should not be able to push the two half together in/out.
No movement at all.