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Engine Dead?


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Hi guys,

sorry to bust in only when i need help, but here i am:)

standard 2.0i would sort of hiccup, or run strange when throttle was in mid range,

it was like it refused to accelerate sometimes, then i give it full throttle and it goes berserk.

i neglected the problem as i thought it was clogged injectors and didn't happen all the time.

but, finally it gave up, 150 miles from home:(

now for the strange part of the storry:

cassette player was on, when it was dying, over the music came this strange noise from the speakers, like heavy buzz.

after that starter couldn't even turn the engine, with the spark plugs out it could barely turn it a bit.

im really puzzled with that strange noise. could it be electrical problem, ecu? i really wouldn't like to tow it back home and find it's just a short circuit somewhere, so if anybody has any clue i would greatly appreciate it.

i thought i ask here before i start searching for new engine...


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Start by checking your earths and battery / alternator.

There does not appear to be any sign of mechanical failure from the description. They are stiff to turn by hand even with plugs out.

If battery charged and earths good (including engine earth strap not just battery earth lead) and it still won't turn with or without plugs you have problems

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God bless your words!

didn't expect reply this quick.

battery is fine, alternator also, although i do remember earth wire on engine being totally corroded...

there is another earth on other side of engine, like ribbon. the corroded one was red insulated, it goes to starter maybe, could it be???

thank you man, i feel so much better now :)

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Hi Mathew, with the plugs out you should be able to turn the engine without too much effort with 19mm spanner on the bottom pully nut, very stiff and i'd try some oil down the cylinder bores, if you get it turning over again on the starter make sure it's got good oil pressure before putting the plugs back.

as for the missfire,from what you discribed coupled with the radio interferance i strongly suspect an ignition fault, a new set of plugs and leads might not go amiss.

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The ribbon or braided wire is the earth wire, the red insulated one is normally the power supply to the starter motor. (unless someones added extra wires)

If either of them look corroded at the ends i would disconnect the battery then remove the wires one at a time and clean the ends with sandpaper or a file then refit

With that done try it again, a little corrosion on the contacts can make a big difference to the power supply.

If there's no change then connect a single jump lead between the battery earth and the engine block

Make sure its a good clean metal contact to the engine, i normally clamp it to the starter motor to block bolt

Then try turning the engine over.

If it starts your engine earth isn't up to the job anymore

With the braided earth straps they can look ok but be corroded inside so they don't flow current well

Easiest thing at that point is to replace it with a new one. I normally add a 2nd earth to the engine in a different location as earth issues are common

Infact i just had a clio in that wouldn't start, engine earth was the braided type and looked ok visually but i stuck a jump lead on as above and it started straight away.

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I don´t know if you have this issue on the right hand driven cars in the UK but here in Denmark (lhd cars) the big + wire from the battery run right behind the cylinderhead. Here the wire can rub up and down on the head when driving and after a long time the insulation can actually break and make a short cut !

One of my old Manta B´s did this and it also completely died. When i put ign on there was no lights in anything in the dashboard. Completely dead. This car as yours had also had some problems when driving. I taped up the big + cable and it could run with no problems after that..

The original earth wire to the engine block can (i belive its a flat copper wire with no insulation) can also break and die..

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OK, so tomorrow i'll take with me:

3 ignition coils

3 alternators

2 starters

2 big + wires from battery to starter

1 ecu and injection wiring loom

1 voltage regulator

2 ignition coil wirings

2 distributors

battery charger

and a whole bunch of distributor caps, spark plugs, leads, rellays, fuses, also multimeter and tools.

These are all used spares that's why i'll take more than i need, just in case...

First i'll try turning engine with 19mm spanner, then i'll check all wires and connections, after that i'll just improvise...

Thank you all very much, you're a great help! Will report how it went.

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Also, as Monzta said on lhd cars, + lead rubbing against cylinder head might be a common problem.

I remember almost being stranded in Germany some ten years ago in my other manta because of that same issue.

I wouldn't even notice what went wrong if the big + lead wasn't already insulated with ton of electric tape and it cut right through the tape again :o

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