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AaronMillsap

Is my distributor DEAD????

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ok so I installed a new ignition box on my 2002 which has a 318 motor and distributor. I can get spark from my coil by testing it, but i can not get spark to the plugs!!! Is my dist. dead and is there a way to test the dist. I pulled this distributor from a junk yard, so i guess it could be bad.

also where could i find a new or working 318 dist.

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No.

The distributer has little to do with spark delivery. What does the rotor look like? Sometimes rotors can get little bitty cracks that transmit the spark from the coil to the shaft of the distributer instead of the relative plug.

Is there a rotor in there? I've been there done that.

John

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Guest Anonymous

Do you know how a distributor works? If so, what part do you think is defective? Does the distributor turn? Is something mechanically broken? If you can't answer these questions, I would suggest you take the time to learn more about the care, function and feeding of your ignition system. This is very basic stuff.

good luck

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Everything below presumes the engine was running previously and has suddenly refused to start...and of course you know that a 318 dizzy turns backwards from a 2002 dizzy...

1. Remove coil wire from dizzy cap--hold near valve cover and have someone crank the engine over--if a spark jumps from the coil wire to ground, the coil wire is good.

2. Pop dizzy cap--make sure there's a rotor (yeah, I've done that too) and carefully check cap and rotor for carbon tracks (real fine black lines that are actually cracks in the plastic with carbon in 'em). They will cause spark grounding. Also check the carbon button in the center of the dizzy cap's underside. It should be spring loaded--and it's what transmits spark from the coil to the rotor. If it doesn't move then it isn't contacting the rotor. Substitute another cap and rotor if you have 'em and then try.

3. Check the points--are they burned, pitted or otherwise trashed? Turn engine over slowly either by bumping or rolling back and forth in 4th gear to see if the points are opening and closing, and that the gap is correct (.015-.016 IIRC) If so, try with the ign on. You should see a spark as the points open. No spark, no fire at the plugs.

4. While it's highly unlikely that all four plug wires/connectors have failed simultaneously, it never hurts to try another set..and make sure your plugs are in good shape...

If these don't solve the problem, then report back and we'll do some more head scratching...

mike

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Guest Anonymous

Mike, were there many 318 distributors equipped with points?

Your advice, as always, is sound. But much of it is lost without knowing a few basics. Here, a primer with pictures as found in Chiltons or Clymer or Haynes makes much sense.

Distributors wear, the drive gear or shaft might shear, and it is possible with enough abuse, a distributor may cause an internal short and/or fail to distribute a spark to each cylinder. Strange things happen when a coil designed for a pointless system is used with points or vice versa. A loose condenser or even a coil with reversed polarity can make it seem like a distributor is broke.

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Guest Anonymous
Everything below presumes the engine was running previously and has suddenly refused to start...and of course you know that a 318 dizzy turns backwards from a 2002 dizzy...mike

He said he changed the ignition "box" from a 318. How does he know that isn't the problem? Wonder why it was changed? The permanent magnet triggers in distributors rarely go bad as they are not subject to wear like the advance mechanisms. Inoperable advance ah, should still produce a spark at each plug though.

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318s had a regular point type dizzy, similar to the one used on the E21 M10...perhaps not?

mike

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Everything below presumes the engine was running previously and has suddenly refused to start...and of course you know that a 318 dizzy turns backwards from a 2002 dizzy...

1. Remove coil wire from dizzy cap--hold near valve cover and have someone crank the engine over--if a spark jumps from the coil wire to ground, the coil wire is good.

2. Pop dizzy cap--make sure there's a rotor (yeah, I've done that too) and carefully check cap and rotor for carbon tracks (real fine black lines that are actually cracks in the plastic with carbon in 'em). They will cause spark grounding. Also check the carbon button in the center of the dizzy cap's underside. It should be spring loaded--and it's what transmits spark from the coil to the rotor. If it doesn't move then it isn't contacting the rotor. Substitute another cap and rotor if you have 'em and then try.

3. Check the points--are they burned, pitted or otherwise trashed? Turn engine over slowly either by bumping or rolling back and forth in 4th gear to see if the points are opening and closing, and that the gap is correct (.015-.016 IIRC) If so, try with the ign on. You should see a spark as the points open. No spark, no fire at the plugs.

4. While it's highly unlikely that all four plug wires/connectors have failed simultaneously, it never hurts to try another set..and make sure your plugs are in good shape...

If these don't solve the problem, then report back and we'll do some more head scratching...

mike

ok i replaced all the plugs and cap and rotor but still nothing. also the distributor is a magnetic one. also i get spark from the coil wire if i cross the wires that plug in to the dist from the ignition box.... if i keep those wires connected to the dist and check the coil wire i get nothing.....

this is getting old

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Guest Anonymous
ok i replaced all the plugs and cap and rotor but still nothing. also the distributor is a magnetic one. also i get spark from the coil wire if i cross the wires that plug in to the dist from the ignition box.... if i keep those wires connected to the dist and check the coil wire i get nothing.....this is getting old

It might help if you explained exactly what you replaced and why you replaced it. Was your engine running before you replaced things?

You mention a "318 box" but you do not explain that is working properly and how you determined this. Checking for a spark is different for a point equipped system. If you are checking for a spark with a modern electronic ignition, as you imply you have, you risk damaging the equipment, and in particular the box. Crossing wires seems illogical unless you have rewired things and are hoping by a process of chance to get things right.

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