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Discussion Starter #1
My Acclaim sometimes wont start. For a little back history, my wife got a newer car and I took it off the road and it sat for over a year. I was saving it for my daughter for a first car. I put it back on the road and she was practicing driving with it. I started to smell gas fumes and pulled it in the garage. The rear fuel lines were rotten and seeping. I replaced the fuel lines from the firewall backward and I put a new tank and pump on it also. It was running fine for a short while before this problem popped up. There are no codes saved. I know I need to check for spark and fuel. I want to check the relays but I have no idea which one is which. There are 5 relays. 2 on the strut tower and 3 on the inner fender. Which ones are the ASD and fuel pump relay ? Yes and I flipped the spark plug wires to the other side in the distributor. The rotor looked ok. The grounds are intact but I am going to clean them. Any suggestions ?
 

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Do you mean that you replaced the fuel lines from the firewall BACKWARD, not forward?

Leaking fuel lines can prevent fuel pressure from building enough so that it won't start.

Does it crank but not start? Or not crank?
 

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Whoops ! I meant backward ! There are no fuel leaks now. I just cleaned the grounds at the block and firewall. It started up and ran fine a ltiile while ago . I shut it off and tried to restart and it wouldn't. Yes it does crank and it is firing. Seems to be more fuel related. Hope the new pump aint bad. I need to check the relay and wiring now.
 

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Is there any pattern to the no-start, as in only when cold or hot, or after driving a while?

There is a ground at the left fenderwell that is vital to the relays working. It goes from the negative battery post to the fenderwell behind the battery and computer. Check the whole length, making sure it's not corroded where the battery clamp meets the cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bob, I'm going to say more cold when it won't restart. My wife drove it to work one day and it almost didn't start for her 8 hours later. It's hard to say for sure though since we have not driven it much since putting it back on the road. It wouldn't start Friday morning after sitting all week. I tried for 10 or 15 minutes then walked away for a while, came back and it started. The darn relays aren't marked so I don't know which is which. I will look at that other ground this week.
 

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Below is a picture of the relays for a 1991 Spirit. In 1991, the ASD relay was also the fuel pump relay. However, I believe in 1994 a seperate fuel pump relay was added. If you don't have anti-lock brakes, one of those on the strut tower may be the fuel pump relay. Perhaps someone here has a 1994 FSM and they can look it up for you.

 

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one of my other cars recently had an intermittent no-start problem for about 12 months. it turned out to be poor (aftermarket) battery cable connectors (with an intermittent poor connection), combined with a dying battery.

in hindsight, if i recharged the (dying) battery, sometimes the car would start, because the full charge would compensate for the poor battery cable connection. but sometimes the battery cable connection was so poor, the car wouldnt start, even with a fully recharged battery.

i posted more details here:

http://forum.merkurclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=25318
 

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My '95 has the fuel pump relay on the strut tower, where the ABS relay is on that picture.
I had a heck of a time with my Spirit with something like this. Cranking but no start could be spark OR fuel-- pour a little bit of gasoline (like a tablespoon or two) down the TB and see if she starts. Ether, carb cleaner, they all work, you're trying to get something in there to turn the engine over on. If she won't turn over, no matter what you try, it's probably spark-related and could be a flaky Hall Effect sensor. If she turns over and then dies, it's fuel related. In that case, start on the electrical side. Pull the fuel pump relay and put 12V across the switched pins in the socket. You should hear the pump run and some whooshing noises from the TB and fuel lines as the fuel runs through them. If that doesn't give you anything, you can take the socket apart (there are small plastic clips holding the spade connectors in), clean the spade connectors, and pinch them a little with a pair of pliers to get a good, tight contact. If this still gives you nothing, check the bulkhead disconnect up behind the fuse panel to make sure the screw is tight. That did it for me. Then, probe the pump connector to see if you're getting 12V to the pump. Make sure all your connections are clean.
If you are getting voltage all the way back at the pump, or if it runs, check to make sure you're getting 12V on the coil leads to the fuel pump relay when the car is cranking. If you have voltage on the coil leads and the pump works, the fuel pump relay would be my first bet. However, it's a lot more likely that you disconnected something and forgot to reconnect it, set up the fuel lines wrong, etc. Case in point-- the bulkhead disconnect that I mentioned earlier was my fault-- I left the bolt loose. This gave me a "bad fuel pump" set of symptoms. Replaced the pump, broke fuel lines in the process. The problem became intermittent. Replaced the relay. Still intermittent. It was at the point where if I looked at the car the wrong way, no start. Went through to check everything that I touched, and I found that one bolt loose. Tightened it, and realized I could have saved $250+ and several weeks of aggravation by checking the "duh" things first...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update: It has been running fine until this morning. My daughter took it to her friends house and it would not restart. I did not hear the pump priming. Pulled the fuel pump relay and wiggled the wires and it started. I got it home and was able to remove the relay from its housing. It looks brand new. The contacts points are perfect. I cleaned all the connections and took a pick and squeezed the plug connectors together.I also checked the connector at the fuel pump and it seems to be good and tight. I'm going to run it and see if and when it happens again. If it does it again, I am going to check the computer connector.
 

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I wouldn't bother with the computer connector if wiggling the relay worked. The wires to the relay socket could be broken internally, or (more likely) could be pulling loose from the spade terminals inside the relay connector. Try spraying some tuner cleaner on the terminals and shoot some dielectric grease in there.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
I'm not sure that what I did caused it to start. I have also done nothing and go back to it later and it will restart. I'm trying to go through a process of elimination. I sort of wish it wouldn't restart so I can find the actual problem.
 

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Don't use di-electric grease on your contact points. It's an insulator and non conductive grease. I can't remember the proper grease name right now. Bob Lincoln will know! Help me out, Bob!!
 

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Yes, dielectric grease. It's suited for contacts that have a wiping action, such as spade terminals. It should not be used on contacts that mate just by surfaces touching, such as breaker points or internal relay contacts.
 

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I thought the same thing about dielectric grease a while back, Chuzz. I had heard about people having problems with it insulating things that aren't supposed to be insulated. But on second thought, the problems were with things like breaker points or distributor rotor tips.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It would't start this morning again, but started when I came home from work. I found the ground. It was almost covered under the edge of the battery tray. It was pretty crusty looking. I removed the battery and tray and cleaned the terminals with a wire wheel and the body of the car. It's starting every time at the moment. It's kind of rough with three working people and one running car at the moment. My Camry is in the body shop getting repaired after that deer commited suicide on my car.
 

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Is this the ground from negative battery post to left fenderwell?
 

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The problem with bundled wires like the harness that goes to the relays is that chances are good that wiggling one wiggles a whole bunch. It's real hard to determine which one was the issue that way,
...I can tell I've had a long day when sentences start coming out like that... I hope that made some sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yes, I know what you mean. I wish I had a power probe circuit tester. I have been looking at one on Amazon.
 

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Just as a bit of prevention, I would put dielectric grease on the ground that you wire-brushed. Oxidation, while not necessarily best for electrical conduction, protects the underlying metal from further damage. Removing that layer exposes the metal to corrosive agents like water and road salt, and causes accelerated corrosion for a short time while the metal builds up its oxide "callus" again. Dielectric grease on top of the ring terminal and on the now-exposed body panel will keep water and such from getting at the metal, and if the connection is already made, it won't interfere with it. You're essentially using it as a protective boot.
 
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