97 cougar 3.8 start up issue - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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97 cougar 3.8 start up issue

hey guys looking for some advice. my stepdad got a 97 cougar with 3.8 motor. couple months ago it began to take longer for the fuel pressure to build up in order to start the motor. this has been getting worse and taking longer to build up as time goes by.

he installed a new fuel pump on that didnt change anything so he installed a new fuel regulator. the problem has not gone away or got any better.

when you start the car you have to have the key in the on position and wait for the fuel pressure to build which sometimes takes as long as 5minutes.

also I dont know if this would be related to this issue but when the key is turned to the on position with the engine off waiting for the fuel pressure to build, the electric fan will kick on and stay on but shut off right when the fuel pressure is completely built up

if anyone has any suggestions that could help Id greatly appreciate it.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 11:15 AM
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Probably something simple like the fuel FILTER. If you've replaced the pump and the regulator I'd try the filter.

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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the fuel filter has been replaced also. sorry i forgot to mention that
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 01:11 PM
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97's are known for weird EEC problems; the fan coming on is a symptom of an EEC issue.

I guess it would be causing probs with the fuel pump, but IDK.

If you have access to another 3.8l EEC, I'd try that.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 01:40 PM
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When the key is turned on, but the engine is not started, the fuel pump will only run for a few seconds, so if the fuel pressure hasn’t built up by then, it won’t get any better no matter how long you leave the key on. The fan being on when the key is turned on is indicative of a failed EEC, or possibly the EEC not getting power. If it runs fine once started, and doesn’t die on the road, then the EEC itself is probably fine, and it is most likely a power issue. I believe the 96/97 3.8 cars have a separate EEC relay, so I would start by replacing that.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 03:43 PM
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Almost 24 years for a relay is a really good relay. That makes sense.


I realize all my relays are original...

When my fuel pump on my 97 started going out, you could hear it struggling; I'd turn the key off, and on, and off, and sometimes it would start fine.

I was really lucky it lasted long enough to get to the house the last time; It kept dying, but would restart after a few tries.

If you replaced it with a Cheap pump, it could still have problems.



Like Mikey said, the pump only runs for a few seconds; if you're not getting pressure until a few seconds after it's run, then you might have a crimped line or something.

Look at the fuel line near the filter location; one of my "buddies" helped me out with one by jacking the car up with the jack on the fuel line.
Maybe it's restricted.

I had to replace the line.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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He will check that out once hes back from the race track. Also when he pushes the Schrader valve fuel squirts out the way it should. My dad was thinking maybe the gas is just getting sent back to the tank instead of building pressure.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 02:13 PM
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Well if fuel sprays out of the schraeder valve, then it has fuel pressure.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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yes thats what id think but the car wont start for 5 to 10 mins with the key turned to the on position. this whole time you can hear the fuel pump and for some reason the electric cooling fan will turn on too as soon as key in on. even with a cold motor.

once the fuel pump and electric fan go off the car will start.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 09:32 PM
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Constant fan running with the key on means one of 3 things. Either the EEC is failed, the EEC is not getting proper power and ground, or your coolant temperature sensor is unplugged. At this point I can pretty much guarantee that your no start issue has nothing to do with fuel pressure.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 06:53 AM
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What MadMikeyL says.

Triple check ALL power connections, including the ground connections, and both ends of both battery cables.

If they're factory, you may have "green rot" inside the rubber down inside the cable, too.

RwP

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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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ok i appreciate the advice. ill let my dad know to check these areas. today he said he checked for spark and said he wasnt getting any when the engine was cold
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-01-2019, 07:46 AM
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As already indicated, it is a bad PCM. I've had the same problem and symptoms. I would look for one on here, these junkyards will ship it. Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-01-2019, 09:20 AM
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What is the code on your PCM? I may have one in my shop, and there is a 97 3.8 Bird at the yard here.

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-02-2019, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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I think its a bad pcm now too. Now the cougar wont start and got no spark.

when you say the code on the pcm do you mean obd2 codes?
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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-02-2019, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtavares0701 View Post
when you say the code on the pcm do you mean obd2 codes?
No, the catch code.

See, for instance, Ford: Information we need (READ ME) « Moates Support for an explanation and info on how to find it.

RwP

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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-02-2019, 05:12 PM
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No, there's a 4 letter/number code.

It's on the EEC itself.

It's also on a sticker on the passenger side, under the hood where the hood gasket is.

Open the hood, and look where the shock tower meets the hood hinge; there's a rubber gasket that seals the underhood are from the windshield.

The sticker is just under the edge of it.

Cougars here are MBE2 or MBE3; Tbirds are FTE1, FTE2, or FTE3.

I am running three MBE2 code Computers; my FTE1 code computer failed.


https://forums.tccoa.com/12-eec-tuni...something.html


If it weren't all fucked up by shittybucket, here's a pic from the datalogging thread:

https://forums.tccoa.com/12-eec-tuni...-tutorial.html

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-03-2019, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Im waiting to hear back from my dad about what code he has on his pcm. how much did you want for the pcm you have at your shop?
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-03-2019, 06:23 PM
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You can also get a refurbished engine computer.

When mine went bad I went through two used ones that ended up being bad. One from ebay and one from a reputable seller of parts for our cars. I gave up and bought one from Cardone and no problems since. I wasn't aware refurbished computers were available or I would have went that way in the beginning.

You just need the emission code for the rebuild computer, its on the door sticker.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...computer),2896

96 Cougar Sport - T45 Swapped
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the help guys. Ill keep you guys updated on progress. Im just relaying info for my dad since he isnt much of a computer guy.
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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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would a ecu out of a 97 3.8 mustang work? would be a lot faster to get a mustang ecu from pick and pull or another salvage yard out here.

ml2-309 is big letters rcx5 so im guessing its the mle 2 ecu
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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 06:05 PM
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I just looked up the connector views on both ECMs. The only differences I find are the Mustang ECM has no provision for a high speed fan, only the low speed, and there is an input to the Tbird ECM for AC pressure that is not there on the Mustang ECM. So it will "work" in the sense of it will start and run the car, but you would likely need to wire in a separate relay for the high speed fan and have it triggered by the AC. Or you could just wire up only the high speed fan to work, and forget about the low speed. Either way, some modification would be required.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks mike for looking into that for me. Do you know if a 1996 tbird/cougar 3.8 pcm would work?
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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 06:52 AM
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Yes, 96 and 97 are interchangeable

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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problem solved it was the ecu. someone on tccoa Facebook sold me a working ecu and all is good. thanks for the help
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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 09:36 AM
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Nice!

If this is a car you plan to keep, I would pick up a spare and carry it with you on long trips.

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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do the 97 4.6s have the same issue with bad pcm?
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old Today, 09:49 AM
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no comment.

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old Today, 12:00 PM
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Lol.

Yes, they do.

My Tbird's 97 EEC died in the transmission section; I'm running MBE2 EEC's in all three cars now.

They fail too, from what I've read.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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