HELP!!! Car shut off and now won't start!!!


New Member
Feb 16, 2004
Somebody help me! I just filled the tank and was driving nice and easy when the car just shut off. Now it won't start. I replaced the coil and the distributor module. We ran testing on all the plugs and connections and there are no melted in-line fuses. We narrowed it down to that it isn't getting spark out of the coil. The coil is getting 12 volts, but won't send spark to the cap. Swapped coil wires and everything, no luck. Flat out no spark from the coil. Could it be the computer or that little starter selenoid? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks~
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As quoted by Jrichker, helped me get my car running :D

jrichker said:
As requested...

Here's a checklist:

Check battery, terminal connections, ground, starter relay switch (also known as solenoid) and starter in that order.

A voltmeter is handy if you are familiar with how to use it to find bad connections. Measure the voltage drop across a connection: more than .5 volts across a connection indicates a problem.

1.) Will the car start if it is jumped? Then clean battery terminals and check battery.

2.) Check the battery to engine block ground, and the ground behind the engine to the firewall.

3.) Then pull the small push on connector (red wire) off the starter relay (Looks like it is stuck on a screw) and jump it to the terminal that is connected to the battery. If it starts, the relay is good and your problem is in the rest of the circuit.

4.) Remember to check the ignition switch, neutral safety switch on auto trans and the clutch safety switch on manual trans cars. If they are good, then the relay is bad. See for 88-90 year cars

5.) Jump the big terminals on the starter relay next to the battery with a screwdriver - watch out for the sparks! If the engine cranks, the starter and power wiring is good. The starter relay is also known as a starter solenoid.

6.) The starter may be hung, loosen up the bolts that hold it on, and give it a good whack with a big hammer. Tighten up the bolts and try again.

7.) If that doesn't work, use a jumper cable from the positive lead on the battery direct to the starter post where the big wire from the relay connects. If it cranks then, it is the power wire from the relay gone bad. This will be hard to do, since there isn't much room to do it.

8.) Pull the starter and take it to Autozone or Pep Boys and have them test it. Starter fails test, then replace it. If you got this far, the starter is probably bad.
yep, coils go bad. there are several tests (primary/secondary voltage, etc). get a manual and a DMM and check it out. that is easier than us typin for half an hour, and possibly leaving something out.
good luck.
I replaced the whole distributor and TFI module. Now everything is new but the computer. I started up and drove great. Then I went up starts for about 30mins and tried to start and no go. Still have fuel. Pulled coil wire off and placed on a bolt and got it to arch. Put the wire back on the cap and it started, ran for 5 seconds and shut off. Tried to get it to arch again and no spark. Now still won't start at all. Will a bad computer cause it to be an intermintent problem? Thanks!

1.) TFI module on distributor has failed
2.) Coil is bad
3.) PIP (Hall effect sensor inside distributor) has failed.
4.) Computer power failed - ECC relay on top of computer is bad. Computer is located under passenger side kick panel and will skin up your hands and knuckles getting it out to get to the ECC relay. If the ECC relay is working properly, there will be 12 volts on one side of the IAB (idle air bypass) motor connector or on the red wires on the fuel injectors.
5.) Failed computer.

See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) & Stang&2Birds (website host)
Thanks jrichker for the post. Well everything in your last post has been tested except the computer stuff. I am towing it down to the shop tomorrow morning. If the relay is bad, does that only affect the fuel, or can it affect the spark? Could a bad computer cause no spark?
dude check the fuel pump cut of switch in the trunk ..i went around a corner fast the other day and my car died ...cranked and cranked and nothing i decided to try the reset switch fired right up ...just a thought ?
Well, we fixed it. Turns out that the remanned distributor that I bought worked for a bit then went out on me, so I got an old original distributor and put it in and now it starts and runs just fine. I'll only buy new parts from now on, no remanned stuff. Thanks everyone for the help.