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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

81 Ford

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Ellis Kinney

11-20-2023 07:02:32

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1981 F-100, bought it new. Lately it has lost power while driving and INSTANTLY started again, just enough to feel a bump. Not sure what to check first, it is a high mileage vehicle, so everything is an option I guess. I have been told it is probably an ignition switch worn out. IDEAS? Thanks Ellis

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11-23-2023 05:22:11

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 Re: 81 Ford in reply to Ellis Kinney, 11-20-2023 07:02:32  
Anything to do with electrical is suspect. The most common issue is the ignition control module they had issues with them from day one!!!. I always had a spare Module on board either under the seat are setting beside the old one under the hood.
I have had a few I chased around the world!

One had a rub thru on a wire it finally stalled and would not start by luck it caught my eye I should have caught it sooner but it was a F600 you had to stand on a ladder to work on it.

The other I drove thousands of miles it ended up a spark plug wire was not hooked up to one of the distributor cap terminals well, high KV would overheat the ignition coil. This was another I should have caught fast.
I have seen every part of the ignition system FAIL! its gotten worst as they age. The worst part is all the parts you will find are cheap junk. The replacement part may fail before you can get it out of the driveway. BTDT a few times.
I am down to working on 2 of these old systems (one is mine)I turn all that show up down I am not gonna lose my arse on another : ) life is good. There is a young guy on Youtube that explains this system well I will have to look for it.

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11-23-2023 05:12:53

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 Re: 81 Ford in reply to Ellis Kinney, 11-20-2023 07:02:32  
fuel filter?

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11-22-2023 21:23:00

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 Re: 81 Ford in reply to Ellis Kinney, 11-20-2023 07:02:32  
Check the small coil to distributor wire. They flex a lot, especially where it goes into the distributor.

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11-20-2023 13:28:05

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 Re: 81 Ford in reply to Ellis Kinney, 11-20-2023 07:02:32  
All sorts of things it COULD be, but ignition switch and battery cables are two good places to start looking. Having a large bunch of keys or other heavy objects on the key chain can also cause that problem, especially as the vehicle ages. Give everything the 'wiggle test' and see if you can isolate it.

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