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SOHC - 2.3L & 2.5L Lima Engines Discussions and Topics specific to the Lima 4 cylinder engines

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Old 10-26-2014
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Timing 2.3L EFI

I have a 1985 2.3L EFI ( 4 speed automatic. Running rough, stalling at idle, losing power at highwya speed. Ran the Ford Code reader and it show NO error codes for KOEO, error codes 34 and 41 for KOER. In re-reading the code reader manual it seems to suggest that the KOER test codes may not be valid if the timing is off. I hooked up a timing light and it is running at 12-14 degrees BTC with SPOAT disconnected and jumps to 24-26 with the SPOUT disonnected.

When the Code Reader runs the Engine Timing Check it pushes the timing to 30+ BTC.

Timing spec for this engine is 10 degrees BTDC. I have a couple of questions
1) Are the KOER test results valid with the timing as is or should I first correct the timing.
2) Based on all I have read is it true the only way to adjust the timing on this engine is by proper alignment of the Cam shaft and crank pulleys? Essentially change the timing belt?
3) Several online posts and manuals I have looked at indicate there is a removeable inspection cover on the timing belt cover which allows you to check the timing mark alignment. Not so for my engine. Was this only true for later models. My manufacture date on the timing cover is August 1984.
4) If I need to replace the timing cover does the OEM FORD shop manual cover this procedure well (any vintage shop manual owners out there?) I don't mind buying one if it would be a help and this is a long term project vehicle for me.

Last edited by swingjunkie; 10-28-2014 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 10-27-2014
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'83-'88 Lima engines(Ford 2.0l/2.3l) have distributors, you can adjust spark timing by rotating it.

Crank/Cam timing belt and marks are for timing valves and pistons, if they are out of time then you would have hard cold starts from low compression, and general sluggishness at all RPMs.

The parts in the TFI ignition system in your '85 will fail if you run it long enough, coil needs replacing, distributor cap/rotor and wires all wear out over time.
TFI module as well.

Very good read on TFI here: Ford EEC-IV/TFI-IV Electronic Engine Control Troubleshooting


From the age of the vehicle and symptoms, I would also check for exhaust for blockages, mufflers and Cats can collapse internally, if exhaust can't exit easily then new air/fuel can't come in, so you get stalls and lack of power.

Last edited by RonD; 10-27-2014 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 10-27-2014
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Ron,

You say the distributor can be rotated to adjust the timing. The Chilton manual states "With the TFI-IV system no ignition timing adjustment is possible and none should be attempted". In looking at the distributor it does not appear to have a hold down bolt as the carbureted engines do. Haynes says something similar "2.3L engines come equipped with an internally mounted TFI-IV ignition module and no distributor calibration is required". It goes on to describe the adjustment process of loosening the hold down bolt and rotating the distributor but the pictured engine is the carbureted system not the EFI engine.

Thanks for the pointer to the TFI writeup. That is good information. and I can use that to test the ignition system.

I did just change the muffler and tailpipe as they both had holes in them. The vehicle has 47k miles and was driven only short distances and not much at that. It's been driven 2000 miles in the last nine years. I did not change the catalytic converter. I suppose it's possible that it is rotted as well.

Thanks for your suggestions and the link to the TFI writeup.
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Old 10-27-2014
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Sorry if it was incorrect information, I haven't worked on the Ranger 2.3l TFI/EFI engine.
But........I have worked on other Ranger TFI engines, and the distributor has to be moved to set base timing because computer can't do that, it needs to be "told" when #1 is at TDC, and then bases the spark and injector timing on that.

Normal procedure is to disable spark out(SPOUT) set base timing at 10deg BTDC by rotating distributor with engine idling, then enable SPOUT.

How is distributor held in place on the '85 2.3l engine, it has to be removable?
Does it have some kind of detent so it can't be rotated?
I just can't see them machining 10deg BTDC into block and distributor housing, or why they would want to??


Yes, the newer ignition systems, distributorless, don't have user adjustable timing, they use a CKP(crank position) sensor located behind the main crank pulley which "tells" the computer TDC of #1 piston.
CPS(cam position sensor) is used for fuel injector timing.
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Old 10-28-2014
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Hello Ron,

I don't necessarily believe your information is wrong, it's just different than what the Haynes and Chilton manual has to say. I dug a little deeper last evening and indeed there is a hold down fork on the distributor. It's just buried directly under the PCV valve line.

I will go ahead and try adjusting timing as you suggest and let you know how it goes.

I found the TFI writeup useful and walked through part of the checks it suggest last evening. This engine has the distributor mounted TFI, and the connections were pristine when I opened it up. SPOUT wire insulation is intact and in good condition. The TFI writeup references a TFI tester. I left off there, as I am not so equipped. Not sure how common this piece of kit is?

Anyway, thanks again and I will post after attempting timing adjustment.
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Old 10-28-2014
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Ok, Timing adjusted. Thanks Ron for your council on this. Could they make that hold down bolt any more difficult to get to? Set to 10 degrees BTDC per spec but this does not cure the problem. I still have the hesitation on acceleration, and Old Blue will just die at idle after running a bit. I did not venture out to the highway to test if it starts dropping power at highway speed.

Before adjusting the timing to spec, the codes from the KOER test were 41, and 34. The 41 indicates HEGO(HO2S) sensor voltage low/system lean. On further inspection there is a brand new HEGO sensor installed. 34 indicates EGR control circuit fault OR...Defective EGR pressure transducer sensor. The EGR valve looks to be the original equipment. 47k miles and 29 years of age.

Suggestions for next steps appreciated.
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Old 04-05-2016
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1994 ranger 2.3L 2wd (Timing?)

Okay guys I have a 94 ranger 2.3L
Recently replaced all 4 pistons and rings, and all top end gaskets.
Put the engine back in and hooked bac up but still having trouble getting it to start.
I was getting some backfire and suction instead of discharge from the exhaust, which lead me to believe the timing was still off. So I have redone the timing multiple times, lined up all factory marks on all pulleys as well as TDC on the crankshaft and also #1 piston. I was able to eliminate the backfiring but still getting suction from the exhaust. I have been told that I need to TDC the intake side as well as the exhaust side. If this is true how do I go about doing so??? And also, do the wires from each. coil pack have to go to a certain side? Or does it not matter? What are some other things to look for? Is there anything specific that I maybe missing that needs to be done? HELP PLEASE!!

Last edited by GreenC93; 04-05-2016 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 04-06-2016
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Crank cam timing is pretty straight forward.
#1 TDC is also #4 TDC on the crank, then cam is what decides Valve timing for #1 or #4 to be on compression stroke or exhaust stroke, they are always opposite, same as #2 and #3

The cam gear only goes on to cam a certain way, a pin lines it up, there are a few manufacture marks on the cam gear and then the timing mark.
The crank just has its key way for timing mark, I think it is straight up when #1/#4 is at TDC.

1994 2.3l is a Single over head cam(SOHC), you only need to time exhaust and intake when you have a Dual over head cam(DOHC), 2.3l Duratec has that, not your 2.3l Lima

Exhaust side coil is used when starting engine, intake side coil isn't.

Good large diagram here of timing marks: https://motogurumag.com/image/khFEoX/
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