Defective TFI?

Discussion in '1st Gen 1981-1990 CVH' started by UnexplodedCow, Oct 4, 2006.


  1. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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  2. jfarcas

    jfarcas FEOA Member

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    That's awesome, gives me a better understanding of why the TFI fails - and the symptoms I had last year were right-on with that article. I can see how it can be dangerous, too - my Scort wouold buck and die on the highway pretty severely until i just had to give it up.
  3. msleeper

    msleeper New Member

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    Yeah, my 1990 GT was covered under a similar class action suit brought in the state of Illinois. I don't think I was ever notified, probably because my car was originally purchased outside Chicago and I'm the second owner. But I came across it surfing the internet a number of years ago. Somehow I recall that my car was not elligible, due to a statute of limitations or the fact that my TFI never failed, not sure which.

    Recently I had my distributor out, cleaned up the mating surfaces and gobbed both sides up real good with some high-temp silicone grease. At this point I think the TFI failure is pretty well-known among our kind. You still get a lot of people posting about hot start failures in alt.autos.ford and TFI is usually always the cause.
  4. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    I'd never heard of the symptom, probably due to living in WV. But I figure it'll give me another project at least....get the TFI module off the distro and put it somewhere else, firewall perhaps, or even inside the car.
  5. 1lowscort

    1lowscort FEOA Member

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    yea, its a very common problem...i hate those damn tfi modules
  6. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    It's not really the TFI module itself that's the problem...it's where it's located. I also gave mine an inspection, and found out the maker never put any proper amount of grease on the back...just a dot. Granted it doesn't help with grounding at all, since silicone grease is an insulator. So I'm using some high end computer grade grease and an old processor heatsink mounted to the firewall, and then making a 3 wire extension to go to the pip module.
  7. 1lowscort

    1lowscort FEOA Member

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    that is true, but they still go out alot, and moving it is a good idea, might have to do that in the future, but until then i have 2 spares sitting around
  8. msleeper

    msleeper New Member

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    If you move the TFI make sure to properly size the wire guage between the TFI spade connectors and the distributor to avoid any heat or resistance issues. Not sure what the output voltage or current is that side of the TFI, can't be all that much but too long or thin a wire could be an issue.

    I put mine back on the distributor, at 163k I figure if it was going to fail it should have done so by now, factory original.
  9. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    I'm using 12 gauge stranded wire from an extension cord, so it's 3 conductor, and insulated already. I'm soldering most of the connections anyway, so I won't have to worry about a loose or bad connection. I figure that should be sufficient, even in high heat situations.
  10. 89Pony

    89Pony New Member

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    FWIW, that page mistakenly omits my 89 CFI Scort, but the official TFI Settlement site *does* list it. The only way to contact the Center for Auto Safety to notify them of their error, is to write a letter to them, though.

    The Haynes manual says to put dielectric grease between the module and distributor housing. If I recall correctly, heat sink grease's only purpose is to eliminate air pockets between 2 surfaces, because heat can't dissipate thru air very well.

    I think I'll remove my TFI module this weekend, clean the mating surfaces, and spread enough new heat sink grease to cover the entire mating area.

    My car *does* (rarely) stall but, if it's rolling and I just 'pop' the clutch, it starts right up again. It's never stalled to where I can't immediately restart it, so does that indicate that my TFI has probably never failed?

    Or, maybe I should call Ford and just buy a new one. I understand the replacements are designed to last the life of the car?

    thanks
  11. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    I still say keep them off the distributor, move them to the radiator, the firewall, wherever, but not on the engine.
  12. old86EXP

    old86EXP FEOA Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, one or two wires coming off of the TFI have a shield wrapped around them. It's made of foil and goes right back to the ECU. This is on my 86 EXP which has the HO motor so it maybe different on the CFI. Anyway I would think that you would want to extend that shield the rest of the way.

    -OLD86EXP
  13. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    I'm not extending the TFI to computer harness at all. I made a harness to go between the TFI and the PIP module. It just takes 3 wires. Turns out my extension cord was 2 conductor, oddly enough, so I used some rear defroster wire from a tempo. The problem I ran into was finding the right spade plugs to connect, and keeping them in place. I basically need a TFI shell, don't care about the innards. It can be a dead TFI for all I care, because it'd be used to mount to the distributor, then have the wires going through. It'd give me a mounting point.
  14. old86EXP

    old86EXP FEOA Member

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    Sorry Cow, your right I don't know what I was thinking when I posted that reply. Your only extending the 3 wires from the TFI. Some times I should just keep my mouth shut. :(
  15. UnexplodedCow

    UnexplodedCow FEOA Member

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    It's cool, man. Shielding probably wouldn't hurt on the extension anyway. At least it'd shield the wires from heat somewhat.

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