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Thread: doesnt idle cold, hard start, IAC adjustment?

  1. #1
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    Default doesnt idle cold, hard start, IAC adjustment?

    hey everyone!

    I have my 1987 Tbird, 3.8 auto. i bought it from a guy who only put a mile or two of city driving on it a day, and didnt do any maintenance on it, save for maybe an oil change in the last 5 years. I got it home, changed the oil, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, air filter, fuel filter, and PCV valve. i also changed the IAC, because it was making a very loud buzzing noise.

    So, heres my issue.

    when i go to start the car cold ( like sitting overnight or sitting all day while at work) it takes several times to get it started, usually with me aiding it with the throttle. once i get it running, i need to give it some throttle to keep it running for a few minutes until i finally get it warmed up enough to drive it. once driving, it drives fine, cruises down the highway, and other than the occasional stall out, it drives fine. but not great.

    so, does anyone have any suggestions on where to look next? i noticed the the adjustable screw on the IAC bracket was recently cranked a whole bunch, so im sure the last owner screwed with it. is there a procedure to set it properly?

    any other suggestions? id love to get this thing running and driving reliably.

  2. #2
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    If your IAC is electrical (ICS) you will need a 5.5mm 7/32 drill bit.warm the car up switch off and put into test mode. ignition on do not start place the drill bit in the gap and adjust using the adjustment screw till the drill bit just fits without pushing in the contact sensor ignition off take out of test mode and fire up.i would also recommend pulling codes.

  3. #3
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    how do i put it into "test mode?"

    i did pull codes, none available, and i also tested fuel pressure.

  4. #4
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    When you pulled codes that is what I meant by test mode you can switch the ignition off once the ICS has retracted.i would run a compression test and check for play in your timing chain if you have no joy.
    Last edited by mr glee; 12-14-2016 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Info

  5. #5
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    Any codes?
    '88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 76mm C&L MAF, 30lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, 04 Cobra front arms, Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear arms, subframes.
    '11 Focus, '12 Mustang 3.7, '17 Accord EX-L V6

  6. #6
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    This. Codes tell you whats wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcassity
    I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
    Hooligans!
    1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
    1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
    1986 cougar.
    lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

  7. #7
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    No codes were stored, but i also saw no way to get into "test" mode. however, using the info you suggested, i was able to adjust the IAC to a somewhat closer vicinity to the correct position. Car now seems to fire up easier, it idles cold, and seems to run smooth through the powerband.

    i will see what cold start up is like tomorrow morning before work.

  8. #8
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    I use a papet clip to get "test mode".

    No codes mean the computer has no power.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcassity
    I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
    Hooligans!
    1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
    1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
    1986 cougar.
    lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

  9. #9
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    sounds like i need to check fuses, i know in newer cars, there is a fuse that powers the OBD port. however, since using a scanner on these involves an external power source, i would think that it wouldnt be the same issue.

    The car still has a cold start issue, its a bit grumpy and takes a few tries in the morning, but after it is warmed up for a good 2-3 minutes, it seems fine. idle has improved, drivability has improved. im thinking there is a bit more adjustment needed, but it is still a very good improvement.

    is it bad that i sit there, look at it and ponder "cant i just tear it all off, put on a regular intake and a motorcraft 2 barrel?" It would solve so many issues for me, it seems.

  10. #10
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    Ive never owned a carbed car, and they scare the hell out of me to be honest.

    The code reader just beeps unless you have a fancy expensive one. Everything you can do with a code reader you can do with a paperclip and a test light or volt meter.

    Id ditch the code reader personally.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcassity
    I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
    Hooligans!
    1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
    1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
    1986 cougar.
    lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

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