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 > F53 460 Engine runs very poorly when heat soaked

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Gdetrailer

PA

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Joined: 01/05/2007

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Posted: 10/19/21 10:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wes Tausend wrote:

...

One more heat susceptible thing, not related to fuel, was the TFI
(Thick Film Ignition). Ford used it in the 80's and early 90's. I'm not sure if it was used on the 460 engines but it's highly probable.

The short story is I ran into this with a 1990 5.0 engine that worked fine previously, then sat around before it was installed in a hot-rod. The engine consistently ran poorly when hot and was even hard to start.

Usually the fix was to remove the module from it's mounting on the distributor and put new thermal paste between the module and a heat sink on the main distributor body itself. Apparently the thermal paste dried out from either time or inactive use.

Wes


From memory, if I remember correctly, there was two versions of the early TFI as it has been many yrs since I looked at these systems..

One version was the TFI was mounted directly to the distributor and the other version was a remote mounted version.

The distributor mounted version was typically used in cars and the remote mounted version was used on trucks.

I have worked on the distributor mounted version with frustrating results for a family member. Never ever got that engine to run correctly without it randomly stuttering to death at stop lights.. Changed every sensor, the distributor, coil, the TFI module twice, fuel pump, injectors and the ECM but yet the issue still persisted..

I did find there were some folks on the Internet that discovered part of the issue was grounding issues in the wiring harness, Ford doesn't use a central grounding point and many things are randomly grounded all over the vehicle. Grounding wires from various places in the wiring harness would corrode and fail causing all kinds of strange engine issues.. Family member sold the vehicle before I could try that.

I did briefly look at a pickup truck with poor idling, that is when I noticed on the trucks the TFI was mounted separate remotely from the distributor mounted to the wheel well liner, makes sense since a truck under heavy use generates considerably more heat than most autos..

RLS7201

Beautyful Downtown Gladstone, MO

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Posted: 10/19/21 02:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The F53 460 up to and including 1997 were EEC-IV OBD-1. The 460 F53s did not have to adhere to the 1996 OBD-2 rules.
The main reason the distributor mounted TFI had such a high failure rate was because of the radiator heat blowing directly on it.

Richard


95 Bounder 32H F53
460/528 stroker
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Wes Tausend

Bismarck, ND

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Posted: 10/19/21 03:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:

Wes Tausend wrote:

...

One more heat susceptible thing, not related to fuel, was the TFI
(Thick Film Ignition). Ford used it in the 80's and early 90's. I'm not sure if it was used on the 460 engines but it's highly probable.

The short story is I ran into this with a 1990 5.0 engine that worked fine previously, then sat around before it was installed in a hot-rod. The engine consistently ran poorly when hot and was even hard to start.

Usually the fix was to remove the module from it's mounting on the distributor and put new thermal paste between the module and a heat sink on the main distributor body itself. Apparently the thermal paste dried out from either time or inactive use.

Wes


From memory, if I remember correctly, there was two versions of the early TFI as it has been many yrs since I looked at these systems..

One version was the TFI was mounted directly to the distributor and the other version was a remote mounted version.

The distributor mounted version was typically used in cars and the remote mounted version was used on trucks.

I have worked on the distributor mounted version with frustrating results for a family member. Never ever got that engine to run correctly without it randomly stuttering to death at stop lights.. Changed every sensor, the distributor, coil, the TFI module twice, fuel pump, injectors and the ECM but yet the issue still persisted..

I did find there were some folks on the Internet that discovered part of the issue was grounding issues in the wiring harness, Ford doesn't use a central grounding point and many things are randomly grounded all over the vehicle. Grounding wires from various places in the wiring harness would corrode and fail causing all kinds of strange engine issues.. Family member sold the vehicle before I could try that.

I did briefly look at a pickup truck with poor idling, that is when I noticed on the trucks the TFI was mounted separate remotely from the distributor mounted to the wheel well liner, makes sense since a truck under heavy use generates considerably more heat than most autos..

Gdetrailer,

I believe the distributor problem was exceedingly common. The reasoning is the long story.

The hotrod was a Shelby sportscar replica. My buddy bought a finished car after seeing mine. His engine was giving him fits just like the OP here, especially in slow, hot parades. Gotten busy at work, my rig was still sitting unfinished and gathering dust, so I loaned him my unused distributor. Unfortunately my 'trial' distributor had exactly the same problem, although it had worked flawlessly in the Mustang it came from.

After pulling his hair out, my buddy finally discovered the distributor thermal paste problem (passed down from another hotrodder(s) who had also experienced the gremlin). From what I understand, it takes a special tool to remove the module from the distributor body, so he bought the tool along with some correct new thermal paste. That procedure fixed it right up for him, good as new to this day.

Some trivia...
I think he brought my defunct distributor back maybe a year later. I am not even sure where it is now. By then my employer had suddenly gotten busy and stayed that way for the next 15-20 years. It was a curse. They worked me 80 to 100+ hours a week, mostly out of town. I did little else but work and eventually lost hope in the car until it didn't matter. All I remember is working and sleeping for most of it. The long forlorn chassis project continues to gather dust up on a lift. It's a shame.

Wes


Days spent camping are not subtracted from one's total.
- 2000 Excursion V-10 - 2000 F-250 CC 7.3L V-8
- 2004 Cougar Keystone M-294 RLS, 6140# tare
- Hensley Arrow - Champion 4000w/3500w gen
- Linda, Wes and Quincy the Standard Brown Poodle
...

pilotanpia

North Idaho

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Joined: 10/02/2021

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Posted: 10/19/21 05:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RLS7201 wrote:

Gdetrailer wrote:

pilotanpia wrote:

MT BOB wrote:

Lots of F53-460 fuel pump problems, and threads,on the net.
2 things you can try,cheap and easy,replace the TFI and the fuel pump relay.
Other things to try- at your risk- when it acts up,1-loosen or remove the fuel cap
2- when it acts up, throw trans in neutral, turn off and restart engine.


I tried the TFI aka Ignition Module which is located on the front apron between the left headlight and radiator. So, not exposed to engine compartment heat. Bottom line, it did not resolve the issue.
Thank you.


TFI is only one part, there is the ECM (Engine Control Module) which is the "computer" or "brain" that controls ignition timing and fuel delivery to the engine. ECM has predefined fuel and ignition maps and uses a variety of external sensors (some which you have replaced) to determine timing and fuel delivery.. ECMs where often mounted in the engine compartment near the windshield, not sure where it is on a Chassis build.. Failing ECMs can affect engine performance..


ECM on OP's chassis is on the inside of the fire wall, just in front of the steering column. Not exposed to engine heat.

Richard



Richard,

As it turns out, I didn't replace the TFI Ignition Module. The module that is on there looks really dark gray or black. It says Motorcraft on it. The dialectric compound is dry and powdery. I will get a new TFI but not install it until I get the problem to come back. I will then, immediately replace it. If the problem goes away that should be my solution. Either way since you suggested that i use a new gray one, I'll just leave it in. After all, the one in there is 26 years old.

Richard, which brand do you recommend?

Donald

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

* This post was edited 10/19/21 06:03pm by pilotanpia *


Donald L.

Wes Tausend

Bismarck, ND

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Posted: 10/19/21 06:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pilotanpia wrote:

RLS7201 wrote:

Gdetrailer wrote:

pilotanpia wrote:

MT BOB wrote:

Lots of F53-460 fuel pump problems, and threads,on the net.
2 things you can try,cheap and easy,replace the TFI and the fuel pump relay.
Other things to try- at your risk- when it acts up,1-loosen or remove the fuel cap
2- when it acts up, throw trans in neutral, turn off and restart engine.


I tried the TFI aka Ignition Module which is located on the front apron between the left headlight and radiator. So, not exposed to engine compartment heat. Bottom line, it did not resolve the issue.
Thank you.


TFI is only one part, there is the ECM (Engine Control Module) which is the "computer" or "brain" that controls ignition timing and fuel delivery to the engine. ECM has predefined fuel and ignition maps and uses a variety of external sensors (some which you have replaced) to determine timing and fuel delivery.. ECMs where often mounted in the engine compartment near the windshield, not sure where it is on a Chassis build.. Failing ECMs can affect engine performance..


ECM on OP's chassis is on the inside of the fire wall, just in front of the steering column. Not exposed to engine heat.

Richard



Richard,

As it turns out, I didn't replace the TFI Ignition Module. The module that is on there looks really dark gray or black. It says Motorcraft on it. The dialectric compound is dry and powdery. I will get a new TFI but not install it until I get the problem to come back. I will then, immediately replace it. If the problem goes away that should be my solution. Either way since you suggested that i use a new gray one, I'll just leave it in. After all, the one in there is 26 years old.

Richard, which brand do you recommend?

Donald

Donald,

If you dare drive it with the doghouse removed, or quickly removeable, you might have a helper spray the TFI module with something like this coolant to quickly cool it when the RV acts up. This is much quicker and works like a charm. By the time you change out the part, whatever quit will have cooled off anyway. One caveat, make sure if you substitute, that it's non-flammable.

A full can may help if another part must be tested.

We used to do that all the time (very economically) back when consumer electronics weren't throw-away. Maybe 20% of electronic repairs were heat related and intermittent. Of course cheap raw refrigerant spray was common before the Ozone layer problem was recognized. [emoticon]

Wes

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