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Stumped on No Spark
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scigoat
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Stumped on No Spark Reply with quote

Just put my engine back in after a rebuild. Its turning over but no spark.

First question I have is how much should a volt meter read coming off the ignition coil into the distributer? I am getting 12v. Shouldn't the coil shoot out a higher reading?

I have a flamethrower distributor (electronic advance) that is practically brand new, as is the coil (also flamethrower). They worked before I pulled the engine.

But I am getting no spark in any of the wires - I checked all the wires with a timing gun and by holding them close to a ground. I even checked the all the nodes on the distributor with the voltmeter and got nothing. The rotor is spinning and in my opinion there is signs of contact happening underneath the cap. Is my distrib dead? Any suggestions would be helpful, I am stumped. I have a 71 dual port 1600.
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spotco2
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like the coil is wired wrong.
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scigoat
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What volt meter reading should I be getting from the coil when I take the reading at the end of the cable that goes to the distributor?
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2002sportside
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should not be using a voltmeter to test that lead.

You should test to see if there is proper voltage at the coil +, and if their is test the resistance of the coil windings. Is the dist hooked up right? The electrical ignitor may be fried...
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scigoat
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tested the positive stud on the coil, got 12v. not sure what you mean by resistance of coil wingdings?
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scigoat
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the distrib is hooked up right. Just to be clear the electrical igniter is in the distributor right?
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2002sportside
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you checked for spark coming out of the coil?

You might want to change out the electronic ignition for points and condensor. Could be dead.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, got spark from the distributer. Thanks for the help, I am going to pull out the electric ignition module from the distributer to see if its working.
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2002sportside
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edit.. if you have spark coming out of the coil, no need to test it.

Replace the ignitor with points and see if it goes away. You should have a spare just in case anyway. They do go bad and leave you stranded...
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scigoat
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks 4 the help sportside
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2002sportside
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let us know how it works out.

Not as probable, but it could be a cap and/or rotor issue too. If you have spares it's easy to rule out.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm searching for answers to a similar problem.
Engine running but a little hot, and I can hear some rattles, and I know the muffler is loose, so I pull the motor.
Tighten some tin screws, the fan, and install a new gasket on muffler.
Re-install motor.

Cranks & cranks, but no start.
No spark out of coil.
Do the Muir tests, and everything is else is good. Muir says "change coil".
So I use a "known good" coil that has been sitting on a shelf for 2 months.
No spark.
So I pull the coil from a running (not at that moment) engine & install.
No spark.
I swap out 009 w/ pertronix & install "known good" 009 w/ points.
No spark.
Change caps & rotors between dizzys.
No spark.

What have I missed?
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ashman40
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many volts are your reading at the (+) #15 terminal of coil? Less than around 10v and you may have a problem.
You should also check it while cranking the engine. The starter will draw current away and may leave you will insufficient power to the coil (this usually means you have a weak battery).

Check the primary side of the coil. Remove all wires from the coil. Test each terminal (+/-) for continuity to ground, there should be none. Check the resistance between (+) and (-). On a stock coil there should be around 3-ohms.

If you have a multimeter or test light, check that the points are closing and grounding. You can check this by disconnecting the (-) #1 (green)wire from coil and test it for continuity thru the distributor to ground when the points close. If not, you may have a bad ground wire in the distributor. But since you tried a "known good one" check the grounding strap to the tranny (this is where the distributor gets its ground from).

If you confirm grounding thru the points and distributor body then the next test is the coil.
Remove the cap & rotor so you can see the points. Rotate the engine clockwise until the points are open.
Remove the HT wire from the center of the distributor and using an insulated plier hold it near ground (to within a few mm of ground). With the ignition ON, rotate the engine until the points close and then open again. When they open, a spark should jump from the HT wire to ground. You can rock the engine back and forth between closing and opening the points. Each time a spark should be generated.
The above is a good test because it uses the same circuit as the distributor normally uses to fire the coil.
If you have electronic points don't leave the ignition ON for too long w/o the engine running.

Let us know how it goes.
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Air-Cooled Head
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ashman40 wrote:
How many volts are your reading at the (+) #15 terminal of coil? Less than around 10v and you may have a problem. You should also check it while cranking the engine.

11.4 w/ key on. 9.9 when cranking.

ashman40 wrote:
Check the primary side of the coil. Remove all wires from the coil. Test each terminal (+/-) for continuity to ground, there should be none.

None. Meter reads zero.
ashman40 wrote:
Check the resistance between (+) and (-). On a
stock coil there should be around 3-ohms.

I get 2.5 on both coils I tested.

ashman40 wrote:
If you have a multimeter or test light,

I have both.

ashman40 wrote:
check that the points are closing and grounding. You can check this by disconnecting the (-) #1 (green)wire from coil and test it for continuity thru the distributor to ground when the points close.

With the points closed, meter reads zero. When the points open, meter reads 12.
I also did this w/ test light. Light flashes when cranking.

ashman40 wrote:
If not, you may have a bad ground wire in the distributor. But since you tried a "known good one" check the grounding strap to the tranny (this is where the distributor gets its ground from).

I just so happened to check that last weekeknd when I re-installed the motor. It was there and tight then, and altho I didn't check it today, I'm guessing it didn't fall off from cranking.

ashman40 wrote:
If you confirm grounding thru the points and distributor body then the next test is the coil.
Remove the cap & rotor so you can see the points. Rotate the engine clockwise until the points are open.
Remove the HT wire from the center of the distributor and using an insulated plier hold it near ground (to within a few mm of ground). With the ignition ON, rotate the engine until the points close and then open again. When they open, a spark should jump from the HT wire to ground.

This is the method I used to determine that I have no spark. Also, the test light into the center of the coil confirms this.

ashman40 wrote:
If you have electronic points don't leave the ignition ON for too long w/o the engine running.

Been there, done that. Smile That's one of the reasons I swapped out the 009 w/ pertronix to the 009 w/ points.

As I said above, I've done every test I know about. I've swapped dizzys, caps & rotors between dizzys, 3 coils, and now, a V/R. I've tested the circuit at the ignition switch, the 15/54 wire that sends current to the coil, and power is getting to the coil. But nothing OUT OF the coil.
The only option that I haven't tried is replacing the electrical portion of the ignition switch. Think But it's on the agenda.

ashman40 wrote:
Let us know how it goes.


And now you know. Hopefully you can tell me something and I'll have a d'oh! moment. Right now, I'm Brick wall and very Mad
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just checking.... but are you running anything off your coil (+) wire besides your coil, carb solenoid and choke?

The wiring on my '75 is getting old. The voltage that reaches the coil is closer to 11v than to 12v (sometimes it would be in the 10's).
When I started to hang more things off this power source (timing light, tach for tuning, electronic points, etc) the voltage dropped even further to the point where the car wouldn't start. I measured <9v !

Run a wire from another 12v source as a test. Connect it directly to your coil (+) terminal. I have an alternator so its output goes directly to the battery... great source for constant 12v !
Or, if you still have the diagnostic test box in the upper left corner of the firewall you may be able to take power off the big (+) jack in there.

Try cranking your motor with your coil powered from this other 12v source.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ashman40 wrote:
Just checking.... but are you running anything off your coil (+) wire besides your coil, carb solenoid and choke?


Air-Cooled Head can't get to the computer right now but his reply is as follows:


Quote:
The only things on the coil are the condenser on #1 & 15/54 wire from the ignition on #15.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ashman40 wrote:

ashman40 wrote:
Check the primary side of the coil. Remove all wires from the coil. Test each terminal (+/-) for continuity to ground, there should be none.

None. Meter reads zero.


Ok, back up a second. Let's make sure we're all talking about the same things here.

This test is an OHM-meter test, NOT voltmeter. You always hook up an ohm-meter with the power removed.

When you turn your meter to ohm-mode, with the leads not touching anything or each other, you'll read "infinite", however that's displayed on your meter. Sometimes it's a one at the left of the display. If you touch the leads to each other, you'll see something like 0.5, which means that the leads themselves have .5 ohms total (that's on the lowest scale). If this test fails, then the ohm-meter is bad (a common problem).

Disconnect all the wires from the coil. Set the ohm-meter to the lowest scale. One probe on each primary connection (not the center one). This should read somewhere in the range of 2.5 to 3.0.

Set the meter to the 20k scale. One terminal touch one of the side terminals, the other touch the center. It should be something like 8.0 (8000 ohms).

Ohm-meter on lowest range again, touch one of the side terminals with on probe and with the other touch the engine block or some ground. It should remain reading "infinite"; if it reads ANYTHING else, then you have a short to ground in your coil.

(Sorry to be pedantic; but you said it reads "zero" when asked about continuity to ground. Reading zero means there's a short. If you meant "infinite" then I apologise.)

Quote:
ashman40 wrote:
If you confirm grounding thru the points and distributor body then the next test is the coil.
Remove the cap & rotor so you can see the points. Rotate the engine clockwise until the points are open.
Remove the HT wire from the center of the distributor and using an insulated plier hold it near ground (to within a few mm of ground). With the ignition ON, rotate the engine until the points close and then open again. When they open, a spark should jump from the HT wire to ground.

This is the method I used to determine that I have no spark. Also, the test light into the center of the coil confirms this.

You said here that you have no spark, but earlier you said

Quote:
yes, got spark from the distributer. Thanks for the help, I am going to pull out the electric ignition module from the distributer to see if its working.


Which implies you ARE getting spark. I'm confused.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gevmage wrote:
...Which implies you ARE getting spark. I'm confused.
Ditto. Makes me wonder if the rotor, cap button or coil wire are NFG.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gevmange, that was the original poster. I joined this conversation after he had his solution.

I mis-stated earlier. On my meter, infinity is a "1" on the far left of the dispaly. That is what I get, just selecting ohms.

With the lowest scale selected, 1 probe on a coil terminal, the other to ground, I get infinity; "1" in the far left of the display.

When I touch the probes together, I get 0.7.

On the lowest ohm selection, a probe on each coil terminal get 2.5.

With the 20K scale selected, 1 probe on either coil terminal and the other in the center, I get 9.16

ruffturn; 2 different dizzys were tried; 1 009 w/ Pertronix, 1 w/ points. I also had new, in box, cap & rotor in my spares kit. All cap/rotor/dizzy combos were tried. Same results w/ all.

I'm still stumped. Confused This stuff is NOT new to me. And I sure appreciate your suggestions.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After going over the thread once more I have a question for Air-Cooled Head.... are you using the same coil to distributor HT lead for all tests?
Have you tried measuring the resistance thru the HT wires? Maybe they are bad? You can run the coil test again using a regular wire w/ stripped ends in place of the center coil wire.
I don't have my Bentley handy but there is a max resistance thru the wires. If you are running solid core they should be very near zero.

With multiple coils and none working it sounds like there is a problem with the test conditions. Can you isolate one of your coils w/ a spare points/condensor grounding the (-) side and a direct lead to your battery on the (+) side. Doing this on a bench might be easier. And maybe use a battery from a different car.
Not trying to complicate things, just isolate parts and identify them as good/bad.

Did you get a chance to run the alternative 12v source test?
What you are experiencing sounds just like what I had last year. I was convinced it was the coil in my case too. I could not make my coil spark across more than a "hair's width" gap so I was sure it was bad. Turns out that w/o the condensor the spark is small (I was bench testing the coil). Also, my low voltage condition was just borderline for the min coil voltage.

In the end, I wired up a relay to provide alternator sourced 12v+ to the coil. I had to add a diode to the GEN light to prevent the relay from leaching power from the GEN light circuit and the engine running w/ the ignition OFF.
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