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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to get some of my thoughts out about the job I did recently. My 1997 Formula, with 194k miles shut down during a drive a couple weeks ago. A friend of mine towed it back, and we diagnosed that I had lost my cap and rotor. It looked like all signals were getting to the Opti, but it wasn't firing right. No codes on the computer. Time for a tear down to the Optispark. I was nervous. I have done anything this deep on my own before. Always had a lot of supervision on stuff I have done to this car before, but this time, my dad was busy. I would be flying solo.

For the most part, the job went pretty well. Tear down was pretty straight forward, and I had the Opti off and broken down on the first day! While I had the water pump off, I ran a barb into it, and a hose off of the barb. The water pump is pretty new, so in the unlikely event that it fails, it will drip and leak down a tube, and not onto my Optispark. When I broke the Opti apart, and removed the cap, the failure was obvious. The rotor screws had completely backed out, and were lying in the open. In addition, the locating pin for the rotor its self had snapped in the main hub. Because of this, the rotor was just sitting, unsupported. I had to remove the remaining plastic from the hub. But this also caused another problem. I had to re-seat the optical disk and the spacer. The first time, I actually mixed up the order, and I ended up having to go back into the Opti, and set them properly. Thankfully, alignment was fairly easy. It is only possible to have optical disk and spacer snap on the hub one way. They can just be layered incorrectly. Got everything back together, and got it back onto the car over the next day.

When it came time, the car fired up, but it wasn't quite right. I ended up mixing up the 6 and 8 plugs on the Optispark side. Got under the car and switched them around, and the car wouldn't start anymore. It would crank, but not fire. My dad ended up having some free time, and looked over my work. We were going back through the troubleshooting when I found why it wouldn't fire. The Optispark harness had a broken clip, and separated. Plugged that back in, and the car fired up. Ran MUCH better too, with the plug wires in the proper order.

This is the biggest job I have gotten done. You guys can do this, too! Pick up a wrench, and get dirty. This took me way to long, but I love this car, and I am going to do all I can to keep it running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Turns out the saga wasn't quite done. I toom the car for a quick test run, and it would mis and sputter above 4500 rom, but below that, it ran great.

I got the car home, got the bird up on stands, and started looking around while the car was idling. Things were smooth, running well. I reached down down to double check the coil wire. Before I could touch it, I had to move the harness a bit. When I did, the car sputtered and started running rough. Another wiggle shut the car down. My dad and I started probing further, and found that I had a bad connection at the ICM. We decided to replace the connection and a few inches of wire with a unit out of the junkyard.

Took it for a test drive, and things were great. Smooth idle, lots of power, and the car revd right up to 5700, and shifted smoothly into 2nd gear. Things are looking good for now. Just have to check for some oil leaks before I get back on the road!
 
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