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No Spark Troubleshoot- Factory Points Or Electronic Ignition?


Hokie09
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I dropped in a motor pulled from another car which did not come with coil and distributor, so I used the coil and distributor originally in my car pre-swap.  Engine is in and car is turning over, but no spark.  I get 12V from the wiring harness feeding the coil, but once I plug in to the coil I only have 10V.  I put a jumper from the battery straight to the coil which gave me 12.8V, but still no spark.  I checked to ensure good ground.

 

The coil I'm assuming is aftermarket...it is smooth aluminum no letters, labels, nothing, but worked fine in the car pre-swap.  The distributor cap and rotor look new, but was fitted with an electronic ignition which has nothing to distinguish it.  Again this worked well pre-swap.

 

My buddy is a mechanic and troubleshooting over the phone thinks that the aftermarket electronic ignition may be the culprit.  He seems to be of the opinion that they are more or less junk and people only buy it because they don't know how to adjust the original points-based system.  It's possible I bumped the distributor putting the engine back in, and maybe I broke something?  Anyone know of a way I can check an electronic ignition to see if the sensor is working...resistance values or anything?

 

If I'm going to be replacing the distributor/coil, should I just rebuild the existing distributor with new points and condenser, shop for an entire new distributor, or install new aftermarket electronic ignition?  Looking for some opinions.

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1.   Where are you not getting spark?  At the plugs?  If so, did you check the cap to make sure the little spring-loaded carbon button that contacts the rotor is in place and moves up and down when you press it?  At the cap?  Did you crank over the engine while holding the high tension wire pulled from the dizzy's center hole near the valve cover.  If no spark there,

 

2.  Are you sure you have the dizzy aligned properly--with the #1 cyl at TDC the rotor should point to the notch on the edge of the dizzy body (visible when the cap is removed).  If the dizzy is properly aligned...

 

3.  Did you try another coil?  A 12v coil should fire on 10v--not as well as 12, but you still should get spark.

 

4.  How about the low tension wire between the dizzy and the coil..is it OK and connected?

 

Let us know whatcha find.

 

mike

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Mike,

 

I'm not getting spark at the plugs.  All wires seem to be in good shape and carrying the proper voltage to the coil.  I get power up to the high tension wire feeding the distributor, but nothing after.  The cap looks nearly new, and the carbon button is in place, moves up and down freely.

 

I began this fiasco aligning everything at TDC, but even if I'm off I should find spark somewhere.  The OE parts are cheap enough so I have a new coil, points and condenser coming for $60 so I can convert back to OE instead of this "hot ignition" and try from there.

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From your description, it sounds like the problem is with your Points replacement module.  Didja check it to make sure there are no loose/frayed wires, and if there's supposed to be something on the rotor shaft it's in place? 

 

Let us know if going back to points cures the problem.

 

cheers

mike

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Hokie09,

The Bosch Red coil often came in a silver housing.  So, don't assume you have a junk coil, could be a good Red coil with the labels worn off/missing (mine is missing most of it).  Take it off and and look around, you may find a Bosch logo marking somewhere.  Some of the blue coils also came with Silver housing so take some measurements to see which one it is.

 

The electronic points replacement can give you a better experience than the points.  If it was working before, check to see if you have it hooked up correctly - there are 2 wires from the module.  What are they connected to?  On the Hotspark system, the wires are red and black.  The red is connected to the +12V side of the coil and the black to the - (tach connection) side of the coil.  I've read that if you hook it up in reverse you can damage the sensor.

 

Byas

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I labeled and took a picture of the wiring before removing it so I am certain I put it back the right way.  I checked it probably 20 times because that was my assumption that I screwed up.

 

I haven't researched it very much but it seems the electronic ignition is fairly popular.  But if it is sensitive to banging around maybe I broke it.  I don't recall being rough with it but I know I didn't baby it.

 

Parts will be in tomorrow, hopefully I'll have time to give it a shot and report back.

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Got the car running today. Replaced the coil with factory Bosch blue and no change. Converted electric ignition back to original points and car fired right up no trouble. So something definitely made the electric ignition fail I'm assuming I bumped the distributor and it got ruined somehow. Thanks everyone for the input!

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I fried my first Pertronix because my coil and resistor were mismatched. Had to switch back to points and understand the problem. There are several posts on how if the series resistance is too low, the current is too high and fries the Pertronix. Once I put in the correct coil/resister combo (and for a Bosch Red coil, there's a red resistor), I bought another Pertronix (because I freaking HATE setting dwell :^), put it in, and it's been fine.

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