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1990 Ford E-150 Questions

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It goes onto drive and reverse normal, however when you pull off it will not shift gears
Battery dies and i have to get a jump to start it!! Never have any problem with lights getting deam or alternater is bad!!
Fuel gauge is not working and I'm trying to diagnose the problem
So the smoke was from just in front of battery near silonoid (?) 3 post, insulated circular switch, that is mounted on the front wall of the van forward of the batterey.
There are two other things mounted near that which are a flat square 2.5inx 2.5inx3/4in, and the other is a 1
5 inbox shaped item... the smoke came from that area...
Also not sure where the fuse box is located.
Also smells like unburned gas. Black smoke from exhaust. Then some days it runs fine. Running real rich. The fact it goes away then comes back is wierd
started when engine cool but after running and hot it would not start. Now even with engine cool will not start, can smell gas and pumps are working.
the truck is not driven every day, some time sits for week or longer.
the battery light is on the dash, the alternator indicates that it is charging but will not run with the disconnected.
I changed the Instrument panel volt. reg. Problem still exists. I did notice input to cooling temp gauge has ground wire exiting that has been spliced and connected to steering column bracket.
just replace the harness it was in bad shape can't find a fuse or relay to reset please help
Thing runs decent but kills a battery while goin down the road lights flicker but it runs at an idle with positive cablw off of battery so that tells me the alternator is workn or it would die rite?
I changed the distributor cap and rotor,spark plugs and wires. Before I did all that it was running
I'm putting in a engine watch way does crank go and how should I set timing and distributor

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