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Old 07-22-2015, 05:17 PM   #1
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Question 90 Chieftain Ford won't start

My Chieftain (Ford 460) ran one night (with some skipping) and wouldn't start the next day. Here's what I've verified:

Injector pulse (checked with noid light on a few different plugs)
Spark (bright white when grounding a plug) (wet plugs by the way)
Checked timing at 10btdc and moved it back and forth a little with no effect.
Fuel pump is running (it's new and I can hear it turn on and off with key) and pressure at the rail seems good (squirts out the valve strongly when opened).

It cranks and fires occasionally, throttle position doesn't seem to matter.

What else can I check?

It sat for 20 years and only has 28k miles on it. I replaced fuel pump sending unit module this spring, and spark plugs and fuel filter.
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:11 PM   #2
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Is this engine ECM controlled? If so, by moving the distributor, you may of upset the pulse timing to the injectors. Distributor needs to go back where you found it and locked down.

A FI engine doesn't work on timing with the distributor like the old carburetor/electronic ignition engines did.

Also does this model have a crank timing sensor. If so, this may of gone out and ECM not being able to sense where the crank is on the timing, it won't let the engine run correctly.

It's possible that the crank timing sensor is mounted on the rear of engine to sense the timing marks off the flywheel teeth. Need to check here also, or ask a Ford Service.

I can't think of the sensors, but it controls the cold start like a choke, and there's also the Idle speed sensor.

Also check the battery to see if it's giving the correct starting voltage(12.50+ at rest) and that the Alternator is putting back the charge to the battery after starting (14.50 and falling to 13.25) after some time with no load on alternator--everything off except engine running.

A bad battery or alternator on any FI engine and it upsets all the electronics of running.

Just some things to look for.
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:37 PM   #3
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I've always been a Chevy guy - on a 90 chevy it would be a throttle body engine - one thing you haven't mentioned was checking cap and rotary button - if its original I bet it's corroded bad and could stand being replaced - small rusty spot on rotary button will make one run stupid

Worth a try - pabell
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:34 AM   #4
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This is a computer controlled engine, yes. No crank sensor or cam sensors apparently, though. That's all done through ignition module on the distributor I guess. Module is new; cap and rotor are old; but the spark looks good on the plugs I've pulled.

I did swap starting battery with another good one, with no change. I can't test running voltage from alternator until I get to running...
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:07 AM   #5
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We have an 89 Ford van with 5l motor so likely similar.

Timing is controlled by distributor and is set for 10 degrees advance and is delayed by computer.

There is a plug called pip that you remove to disconnect computer to set timing.

Computer controlled fuel.

If plugs wet then fuel is getting there but no fire.

First things first!

Get a Haynes manual on either your chassis or an E350 van as it should be close.

Locate the pip connector, it should be just a little plug in near the distributor in the cable from distributor.

Pull it out and then try to start it.

If it runs then set timing while like this.

Next locate engine computer and remove cable plug and clean the connections.


BTDT....
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:03 AM   #6
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Is that the same as the SPOUT connector, you pull it out to set base timing? I know where that is and can try starting with it pulled. All I'm getting today is really slow cranking, like something's out of time.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:30 PM   #7
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OK a lot has happened. We pulled valve cover to see what was going on. One bent pushrod visible and another pushrod gone from sight. Pulled timing chain cover and everything looks perfect with timing. Finally lifted intake tonight and there's also a bent and tossed pushrod on the other side. I've got replacement pushrods on the way, but what would be the underlying cause of this? Do I need new lifters? Compression tests pretty high all around, and it seems like all the other valves are moving fine.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:38 PM   #8
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Push rod bends when it is pushed against something like a valve resting on a piston...

Timing chain good so should be good.

Get a bore camera that will fit spark plug hole and look inside to see if top of piston has dents.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:17 PM   #9
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I think a Ford 460 is an "open chamber" type engine. Meaning if everything goes out of wack, no valve will hit the top of a piston. I know on a '72 Lincoln I owned w/460 it had open chamber when a timing chain broke.

Now, what will cause bent pushrods?

A stuck lifter.
Longer than needed pushrods.
Pushrods that aren't adjusted properly to the valve lash and piston hits valve, which either bends valve head or bends pushrod OR both.
Aftermarket Cam that creates too high of lift for stock pushrods.
Too high RPM's for stock engine parts to handle.
Old, weak parts.
Oil not getting to parts properly and seize up.

These are just some of things that will cause bent pushrods, and many of the problems I listed don't apply for a stock engine/parts.

What are the remedies to fix? Find what caused problem.

You know you need new pushrods, I would also get a complete set of new lifters also, as the old lifters are probably gummed up from old oil/varnish and will need taken apart to repair---not worth it to keep old lifters when a new set of lifters are $50 or less for stock.

Make sure the Cam Lobes are not galled(scratched/damaged) on the surface. If it is, you need to replace with new cam.

Make sure with new hydraulic lifters you drop lifters into fresh can of oil to displace all the air(pump up w/oil) before installing into engine. Rattle City if you don't.

Some pushrods have no adjustments needed. Others you may need to adjust a couple lock nuts on the pushrod, or adjust the valve open/close lash on the rocker itself. I don't remember how the 460 is done.
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:18 AM   #10
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You said this has sit 20 years is that correct? If so did you try starting it on old gas? If so my guess is you have some stuck valves from very old varnished fuel. If this is what happened you need to clean the fuel system of all old gas. Pull the heads and clean up the valves (they probably are glue into place now) and replace any damaged items.

Wet plugs and bent push tubes and your statement about sitting kind of add up to stuck valves.
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Old 08-01-2015, 06:27 AM   #11
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You pulled it down this far so it is the perfect time to do a leak down test. More then likely you will find a lot of valve leakage from frozen valves. If so pull the heads and have them rebuilt. There is no reason to put it all back together just to have to pull it apart again.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:02 PM   #12
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Update: The fuel system has been replaced already from tank cleanout, new pump/ module, and filter. Today I put new injectors in too.

I have new lifters and pushrods now, and I'm waiting on break-in oil to start putting the new ones in. I'm taking the risk of leaving heads on to save the expense. Slow going project, I'll keep y'all posted, thanks for the input.
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Old 08-19-2015, 12:26 PM   #13
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You need to make sure none of the valves are stuck. That's probably what bent the push rods.
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Old 08-19-2015, 10:33 PM   #14
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It's possible that it was Hydro Locked. This happens when liquid (water/fuel) accumulates in excess in a cylinder and then when the engine is cranked over, the cylinder on an exhaust stroke compresses the liquid to the density that the exhaust valve can't overcome it. Something has to give and the push rod gets sacrificed.
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