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Thread: 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

  1. #1

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    I've reported this before.

    Drove car in heavy freeway stop and go traffic yesterday. Car is a fully restored 55 Tbird, AOD transmission, 292 engine with Atomic unit.

    Car tended to stall each time that I was forced to stop on freeway. The only way that I could keep it running was to keep one foot on accelerator and other on brake.

    And of course each time it did stall, I was forced to put in to park and then crank engine during restart attempt. Often tended not to want to restart and leaving me vulnerable to being crashed into.

    This is extremely dangerous,,,I refuse to allow my wife to drive the car as she would not be able to deal with this.

    Will it take a few fatal accidents before the NHTSA investigates this and just as with GM and their recent multibillion dollar fine spat with NHTSA will this be resolved?

    I recently downloaded and installed most recent software releases. If anything the problem has worsened as stalling is more often.

    I am a quite car wise guy with several classic cars that I upgrade, maintain and show and at one time was quite active in auto racing.

    Symptoms are:

    1. At idle, the engine often appears to be searching for a happy idle speed. Often tach will drop to 400 rpm and up to 1,200 rpm or so.

    2. Upon stepping on brake will fall to 400 or 500 rpm, at times will stabilize and other times will fall to zero with of course a stalled engine.

    3. At times will require excessive cranking before re-starting and of course in heavy traffic where not only risk of accident, but annoying other drivers. At other times car has stalled when pulling out of a driveway unto the street in the face of oncoming traffic and at another time while executing a u-turn in the face of traffic.

    4. Car now does have a MSD ignition system that is tied into the Atomic.

    5. Timing is set to where there can be very slight pinging when car is under load going up a steep hill. Very minor, but cannot advance anymore.

    6. Considering pulling the entire unit and installing a 600 cfm carb. Been dealing with this issue for a year now and basically unable to drive the car and am quite discouraged.

    Being forced to stop with one foot on the gas and keeping rpm's up and the other on the brake,,,or throwing car into neutral is no way to enjoy the car. One never knows what to expect.

    Perhaps a recall may be in order.

  2. #2

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    What is your IAC count showing on the handheld. It sounds to me like it might not be getting enough air to idle.

  3. #3

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    What are you settings? Is the Atomic controlling timing? (I suspect not)

    Typically when this problem has been found there are one of two things that cures it. 1. is ensuring that the Atomic controls timing. It can use IAC and Timing to ensure it reaches your settings for idle control. If the IAC cannot reach it alone and you are not allowing the Atomic to control timing, it does the best it can but IAC tends to be a bit over compensating on one side and slow to compensate on the other. This ends up providing a surge or stall condition. When coupled with the ability to control timing it adds a more subtle adjustment to overcompensate for the shortcomings of IAC.

    Or 2. the IAC motor could be faulty.

    Have you contacted a technician yet?

  4. #4

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    Having a very tough and discouraging time.

    1. When I applied most recent June 9th update(why the update issue dates are not posted with release levels are beyond my understanding), the handheld unit gave no sign that anything at all had occurred. Nothing, nada. No requirement to input prior data. The only way that I know(and of this I am not certain either) was by displaying firmware version level on handheld and comparing it to what the update screen said it should be. They do match, so I guess that I am current.

    As a tech who spent some 35 years in the large scale IBM mainframe operating system world, I could write a complete novel on what is done improperly on MSD's website and their almost completely ineptness in documentation.....Example how to find and download installation manual,,,,I finally found it on Speedway Motors website. Only later I stumbled upon it on MSD's site,,,,likely could not find it again.

    How much this most likely costs MSD in tech support calls and frustrated customers is likely a very substantial amount. I know for myself that I would never recommend the product to any of my friends after my experiences.

    2. I did have a borrowed(from another car of mine) a MSD 6520 that I tried to use for timing. Did appear to do nothing to improve stalling and 'hunting' issues so re-installed on my 70 Challenger. I do not wish to spend more moneys to buy another MSD ignition system.

    3. The 55 Tbird is currently running a Mallory Electronic Distributor. Must do so as the tach for this car is cable driven,,,,not electronic,,,,Mallory has such a distributor to service this car, as far as I can find, MSD does not.

    4. As best I can tell, all is hooked up using MSD's diagram for a "Ready to Run Distributor",,,,,took some time to understand what the hell that meant,,,finally figured that this diagram would apply to Mallory dizzy and a regular coil.

    5. Car does have Air Conditioning and orange wire running to it,,,but seems not to prevent AC drag from slowing engine idle when turning it on.

    6. Today I did reset both throttle blade adjustments to zero,,,all closed,,,and then turned both to 1/2 turn after contact. Any more caused idle to jump to some 1,200 rpm in neutral, which is unacceptable.

    7. Drove car for 10 minutes, seemed to be performing well, no stall or fluctuations in idle,,,feeling pretty good. Slowed to make a left turn in front of uncoming traffic, engine died and power steering was gone.

    8. Re-started car,,,,after several starts and stalling it finally held. Drove car home, parked in driveway,,,,idled for about 5 or 10 minutes ok,,,,suddenly idle went 1,500 RPM fell to 500, back up again, down to almost zero rpm, recovered again to some 500 and then to zero and died.

    Settings are: Ford Y block at 292 CI, 8 Cylinder, cam=street stock, fuel pump PWM with regulator, air pump=no, fan 1=188. A/F targets idle=14.8,,,I have played around with different settings,,,cruise =14.4, wot=12.8, nitrousff, boost=14.0.

    Initial timing onMallory dizzy is set at 12 degree advance, all in at 35 degree, no vacuum advance.

    Diagnostics say all OK.

    Car running readings.

    1. IAC at start is about 35 very rapidly falling to zero.

    2. Idle in neutral is about 900, in gear is at 500. Again AOD Ford 4 speed overdrive automatic.

    3. A/F ratio at idle bounce about 14.5 to 15.0

    4. Map,,,about 8.99

    Right now in driveway, start car, car dies, restart several times, eventually settles into an idle,,,,but not too happy,,,after a few minutes stalls again.

    Odd that it did run well for some 20 minutes earlier today(however as noted above finally stalled as per usual,,,,this is really frightening as I had begun to relax and then making left turn, engine died) with same settings, but now will not at all.

    The only time that I've had an experience with any automobile product that came close to this in frustration and hours spent working on it was with a certain very well known company that sells air suspension systems for resto mods. After some 15 sofware upgrades over a couple of years,,,replacing uncounted air shocks, ecu's etc.,,,finally working well.

    I purchased this Tbird at a Mecum auction with this MSD Atomic installed. Car is an over the top restoration by likely the finest T-Bird restoratation shop in the USA(no not Mitner),,,,the quality of everything including the installation of this MSD Atomic is beyond reproach,,,,it just however is not ready for primetime.

    I've many hours dealing with this on my own,,,,giving up now, seeking help. I did call MSD tech a year ago, realized that likely reading from a script and did not follow up.

    Will call again now that I have more info

    Yes, likely will be told to purchase another MSD 6 Al and likely a distributor and live without a tach. Not ready to do that,,,,will be cheaper and likely better to replace the MSD Atomic with a 600 CFM Edelbrock or Holley carb. As noted earlier would not trust this car with my wife driving it,,,,as it can be a scary ride for myself,,,and I ride motorcycles on Calyfornua freeways.

    Thank you for any thoughts that I should now check out.

    Documentation not clear on how I can get a proper IAC count without increasing idle to unrealistic level. Would this all depend upon having Atomic control timing? AS noted my IAC is zero some 10 seconds after fresh start.

  5. #5

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    OK, so with that description I would say you have a failing or failed IAC motor. It sounds like it is either stuck at one level and can only adjust higher or it is just simply not working.

    MSD techs can certainly tell better than I. I can say that your experience with the phone techs is nothing like what I have had. I can only hope it was just a bad day for whoever you talked to last.

    Sounds like you have a real nice car too. Can you post a couple of pictures?

  6. #6

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    A couple of things I would try in your situation.

    1. Your engine is a 292 in a restored T-bird so I doubt the cam is too radical. I would set the cam setting to "Mild" and I think you'll see some improvement in engine manners.

    2. From what I've experienced and read, you really should attempt to get the IAC dialed in. I think your idle discrepancies (when in gear and out plus the lack of change when AC kicks in) would perhaps sort out once the IAC is functioning properly.

    Something I think alot of people neglect to do is to reset the factory defaults when making changes. This erases all of the "learned" garbage that just multiplies over time with additional changes. I don't know what changes dictate the time to reset but it can't hurt if your engine is running crappy anyway.

  7. #7

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    Why does forum not remember me. I must log on each time I wish to post

    Connecting cord on handheld not long enough to allow handheld to be handheld when sitting in or driving car. Is a longer cord available. MSD ecu is under hood.

    How to reset unit to all factory settings and clear all out. As noted in my earlier posting, when I applied current software "fixes",,,,I got no info on handheld that anything had transpired,,,,but firmware display does show that July 9th upgrade is in??????

    Enclosed if they upload ok is a few shots of the car, along with a Grand Daughter that loves these old cars,,,,cares not a wit about new Ferrari's and such.

    Car was restored by out of Ohio.

    What is ICA motor, how is damaged and how is it repaired? Is there such a document such as a full operations manual of this Atomic and how it works. Would be of great help in de-bugging if such existed.

    Any issues with running a Mallory electronic distributor with MSD 6520 ECU for Atomic controlled timing. Again, cannot use MSD distributor as need cable tach drive. Again I tried this by removing 6520 from challenger,,,but seemed not to help,,,,I know that MSD suggests in their manual locking out distributor timing and replacing rotor with special one. No info on how to do this with Mallory dizzy.

    Attached files

  8. #8

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    Here's a link where you can download the manual in pdf format:

    I didn't realize how hard it was to find that information. The manual doesn't answer all questions but may help with some.

    Your Mallory distributor may tie your hands with respect to having the EFI control your timing but if you need the tach drive, there may be nothing else available. Might have to be content with the distributor working as original.

  9. #9
    msdtech1955 Guest

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    side note ...we do make a distributor for that 292..

    p/n 8383

    now back to the questions:

    Latitude: 31.730125
    Longitude: -106.29673

  10. #10
    msdtech1955 Guest

    Default 55 Tbird, AOD Transmission, Stalling at stopping

    post your name and a day time phone number.

    ( or shoot an email to the below address)

    get by your car, and hand held ready

    and we will go , step by step.


    Latitude: 31.730125
    Longitude: -106.29673

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