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Old 12-30-2013, 11:34 AM
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Default Jeep had to be towed for the first time in 13 years

Well, my 88 YJ died on me while going down the highway at 55mph. There was no warning, the 4.2L engine just shut down. My Jeep is "Nuttered," with an MC2100, hei module, "TFI upgrade" (E core coil, dist cap, base and rotor from a ford 300). I had a buddy bring me an ignition module, its a 4 pin hei, and that did nothing to help. It would start and run for a couple seconds then quit and not run again until it cooled down a slight bit but not for more than a few seconds. I checked for fuel in the float bowl, it has plenty and the jets squirt when the throttle is applied. It has a new fuel pump, well its a few months old anyway. I had it towed to the house and parked it in the garage over night. The next day, it started and let me drive it around the block. I went in and replaced the fairly new coil (Ford E core) with a new one. Drove it around the block, parked it in the garage, revved up to about 2500 rpms and it just died again, no stumble or anything. I checked spark on the number one wire with a screw driver. Nothing. I cranked the engine a few more times and it started sparking reddish orange in color. So I started it and it died again, checked spark, nothing, let it cool for a minute, then it sparks... I repeated this until I gave up but it was always the same sequence of events. I am using a bolt on the fender as a ground for the spark.
So that is where I am now. Confused. I replaced the distributor about two years ago, replaced the coil and fuel pump a few months ago and the coil again today. The module is new as of yesterday.
Could this be distributor related? something to do with the pick up? I will replace the distributor but would rather not if I don't have to.
Thanks for any responses.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:46 PM
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Well, we know it's an ignition problem, so that narrows it down. And it's probably not a primary ignition problem, but you should confirm that. Have a volt meter connected at the coil and at your ground bolt on the fender, then watch it while you start it up and watch it die. If the voltage there stays at or above twelve volts it's not the problem.

It sure sounds like a pickup to me. That would explain the relatively short time between start up and failure. Pickups can be heat sensitive, and the inside of the distributor will warm up fairly quickly.

My '78 still has everything original in the ignition system except for cap, rotor and wires, so I've never had to research intermittent ignition woes. Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:55 PM
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Yessir, the pick up was the culprit! I had bought a new distributor with the idea that, if I needed to replace it, I could do so under warranty. So that's what I ended up doing. Thanks for the reply!
Next issue to tackle is the oil blowing by the filler cap on the valve cover...only thing I can think of is a backed up pcv system. Any ideas on how to evacuate the pressure a little more efficiently? Without replacing rings and/or valve seals...
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:20 AM
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At one time I had a problem on my 258 where blowby was making its way up into the distributor, condensing inside the cap and causing misfiring. I tried to cure it by making a plastic manifold that put two PCV valves in parallel. It didn't seem to do any harm, but didn't solve the problem either, which turned out to be caused by a crack in the vacuum advance diaphragm, which was actually sucking blowby in past the distributor shaft seal.

The standard test for a PCV valve is to shake it. If it rattles it's assumed to be OK. If yours has passed that test you might try replacing it anyway. If that doesn't cure your problem you'll either need to replace rings, put on an old fashioned road draft tube, or put up with it.
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