First thing, credit where credit is due. My thanks to ProbeTalk and
all of their posters, especially 'Chris' and 'hudek' for replying to my posts. And Joe Bialy who came up with
this wonderful upgrade/fix and Kuki who's
plan I most closely followed.
Until Nov. 10th, 2004 that is. Exactly 10 years and 10 days later(weird huh?) at 63,378 miles. On that day I was cruising along at 40mph when the engine suddenly died, I coasted to a stop. One of the issues the car has is a slow oil leak from the head gaskets that eventually gets in the spark plug wells and wrecks the plug wires. I had replaced them about 3 years ago.
So I get out and wiggle them around a bit. Get back in, try to start it a few times and it eventually starts. I go about 1/2 mile and it happens again. Repeat same procedure 1 more time before I get home.
Crap, this is not good. Well, maybe it's time for new sports car. About $25k-30k for a new comparable one. But maybe I'll upgrade and finally get that Porsche Deb is always telling me to get, ~$100k.
Nah, I love this car and there has to be an easy fix for this. It runs great 99% of the time. So I do the web search and find ProbeTalk. The solution sounds a little wacky, but it could work. And it's cheap, $20. Basically it involves bypassing the Ford/Mazda part that is failing with a GM Part... Kinda like an alien infusion.
I talked to my cousin Rob, who is a real mechanic(I don't even play one on TV or the Internet). He agreed that this could be the fix. As he said, "it's either a spark problem or a fuel problem". So I recruit my mom to do the test. I drive around for a few minutes until it fails. I jump out and pull the plug wire, put in one that I just replaced and hold it against the block while she tries to start it. No Spark.
(heavy sigh) Not really wanting to deal with this, I call the local Ford dealer. The Probe engines were made by Mazda so he doesn't really have an answer right away. A few minutes later he explains all that to me and says the parts alone will cost $854!!! Before labor!! And by his tone, I knew he did not have them in stock. I need this car running now.
I thought I might need to get under the air intake, so I removed that(easy) and started splicing in and cutting wires(scary) per Kuki's schematic. The part thats failing is located down in this block.
I got it all wired up. Since I was still rather skeptical about this fix(I just cut off the thing that produces spark and
makes the engine run), I needed to test it first. Note the Chassis Ground and that the blue wire is 14 Ga. The rest is 16 Ga.
To my mild suprise and Bons complete amazment, it started!
I found a heatsink in my collection(I really do have a collection, I know it's sad) that fit perfectly. I had to cut off a few fins.
I applied the included heatsink grease to ensure a good thermal contact and scraped the surface with an emory board
to ensure a good electrical contact.
Saved at least $1000 counting labor.
A few notes to the ProbeTalk community.
Other useful links for Probe Ignitor problems