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1966 mustang dies immediately

Guest 09horsegamo

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Guest 09horsegamo

1966 Mustang dies immediately

hello everyone , I have a 1966 mustang 289 2 barrel automatic, and I been having the same problem with it. I been driving it and within miles it just shuts off instantly,I tried to restart it but it just turns like its not getting fuel, I thought it was the carburetor so I had it rebuild by a credible shop in Escondido California, I replaced the distributor cap and wire, the ignition coil aswell. I took it for a drive today and with 10 minutes it just die. there is been a couple of times when it dies when I put it on gear. engine temperature is normal when it happens but after just leaving sitting for a day and try to restart it sometimes it starts and sometimes it doesn't. I touched the ignition when driving for a bit once it dies the coil feels pretty hot, I don't if this is normal, but this issue is driving crazy. first time it happened it shut off like 3 times on my way to work. but once I came to stop sign it completely die. it was bugging down one day so I look at the carburetor and one of the injectors wasn't spraying fuel , after sitting for about 8 hrs I took it back home by playing with both gas and brake pedal this is when I decided to get the carburetor rebuilt, and replace coil and wires and spark plugs. I took it out for a spin I kept it in park for a bit to see if it die nothing happened, so I put it on drive and I drove it or a bit I came to a stop to and put it in park for a bit then I try to put it in drive and it just completely die I tried to restart it, engine turned, but it didn't start so I had to push it back. sorry this post is long, I just don't what's wrong.

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Even though you changed out the coil, I believe that is the problem. I experienced that same problem and it was the coil. The coil would heat up in about ten minutes and the car would die. Wait ten minutes and it would start right up again. Try another one or check your coil connections.

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Been there and experienced that.

It started out as quitting and starting fairly easily and went downhill in a hurry to the point it wouldn't start period.

It was the fuel pump.

Luckily the previous owner had a translucent filter between the pump and carb so I could SEE what was going on.

I replaced the pump with one with an integral filter but left the plastic filter in the line.

You might want to sign up there as well >>> http://forums.vintage-mustang.com/vintage-mustang-forum/

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Guest 09horsegamo

thanks for the advices, I took it to an old school local mechanic, he checked the distributor and told me that the points in the distributor were barely open. he adjusted and told me that I should be good for about two weeks or so and that I needed to replace the distributor do to the fact that is going bad, I took it for a spin and drove it for about 30 minutes. and it didn't shut off at all, so it seems that was the problem. and as for to the coil been hot. I checked the coil connections and they all seem fine.

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You've come to the right place - there are a lot of very savvy mechanics on this forum who can help you out.

First of all, don't spend any money replacing parts until you can diagnose the problem really well. When a car dies on you instantly, that's a clue. It's probably electrical. A fuel problem means you sputter and stop. An electric fuel pump can stop working, but you usually get a few warning signs. It usually gets worse and worse until it completely dies.

The bad coil is a likely culprit. Fortunately, you can replace it fairly cheaply so it's worth a gamble.

The carb is not a suspect. Bad carbs let you sputter but don't instantly stop you.

My guess is something electrical that gets hot after 10-15 minutes and shorts out. Coil or something in the distributor. But don't buy a new distributor until you do some more investigating. Check your wiring.

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I vote for coil.

Here's a very good write up. http://www.jackscars.net/coil_failure.html

. An easy way I would check for this condition would be to keep a spray bottle of ice cold water handy. As soon as the motor dies and doesn't restart, spray the hot coil to cool it off and then see if the motor starts. If it does, you may have found the culprit. Do this a few times to be sure.

If your mechanic found that your points are barely opening, I suppose an extremely worn distributor shaft and bushings could cause your problem. Unclip the distributor cap and grab the rotor and see if there seems to be excessive slop there. Rotate the engine so that the distributor cam lobe has the points open at there highest point and see how much wobble is in the shaft and how much the point gab changes. Like I keep telling my wife ......, "don't spend any money".

Edited by Larry W (see edit history)
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We went through this exact same thing with my wife's 1966 Mustang GT convertible last summer. Sometimes it would run fine, sometimes it would just kick over and die without warning. No correlation to temperature, speed, what I had for breakfast, nothing. Just running fine, then dead by the side of the road. The killer thing was that turning the ignition off and back on would usually fire the car and much of the time it would just run like nothing happened. Frustrating as hell, I'll tell you what.

So I started replacing parts. My list includes:


plugs/points/cap/rotor/plug wires

after that did nothing to improve matters, I switched to Pertronix. Car now starts INSTANTLY but the problem persisted

fuel pump

fuel filter

gas tank

rebuild carburetor

new wiring harness

new tachometer (just before it would die, the tach would twich, so I thought maybe there was a short in there)

second Pertronix unit after I bypassed the tach incorrectly and fried the first one

new ignition switch (actually, three new ignition switches--the quality of these reproduction parts is crapola)

new resistor wire (pink wire from ignition to coil)

second new coil

STILL the problem continued. Car ran spectacularly except when it would sputter and die. Wife terrified to drive the car. Own it for 12 months, put 22 miles on it. Give up and push it into back corner of shop and try to forget it.

Anyway, to make a long story longer, we eventually took it to a professional mechanic. He kept the car for a month, driving it home and to lunch and around town to replicate the problem and try to diagnose it. He found a few frayed wires and replaced them, adjusted the carburetor, reset the timing, and a bunch of other things that MIGHT have been the problem. I think he put more than 400 miles on the car chasing the problem.

So one night he's driving home and it dies and won't restart. He jumps it by bypassing the ignition and shooting a straight 12-volts into the coil from the starter solenoid. After driving for a few minutes, he sees smoke coming out of the cowl vents. That jumper wire was frying itself as he watched.

The problem and ultimate solution?

Starter solenoid. It was sticking, but only enough to divert some ignition power to ground so eventually it would just die without enough energy to fire the plugs. Cycling the ignition switch would "reset" the solenoid in most cases and that's why it was usually well-behaved immediately afterwards. $17 bought a new solenoid at NAPA.

To sum up: $1400 in new parts, $2200 in diagnostic time, more than a year of frustration, all for a $17 fix that took three minutes to install.

Why do I do this again?

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Guest 09horsegamo

It hasn't been replaced in about a year or so,. like Matt said before buying any parts, I will make sure to do a good inspection in the car , I checked the distributor, and it seems that it needs to be replaced.

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