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Ignition Problem - SOS!

Let me first say that when it comes to most things involving electricty, I consisder myself to be the consumate dufus. That said, here's my problem:

Doing a simple tune-up, I replaced the points, condencer, rotor, cap and plugs. I set the points manualy at .016 and started the engine to check things on my analizer. The dewll meter read 53 degrees, so I shut it down, popped the cap, pulled the rotor, manually rotated the engine so the point rubbing block was on a high point on the cam, and opened the point gap another .002 to .018. Figuring that would be enough to bring my dwell angle under 50 degrees.

I buttoned her up, hit the ignition and she cranks but now I have no spark.

I decided to begin testing things at the coil. I removed all the connections from the pos. and neg. coil terminals, and then connected a jumper wire from the neg. coil terminal to a ground on the case. I then touched the probes from my miltimeter to the pos. coil terminal and the neg. terminal on the battery. I got a reading of 1.17 volts. My understanding is that I SHOULD have gotten a reading of somewhere near 12 volts.

Question 1: Did I perform this coil test correctly? (Dufus Factor)

Question 2: If I did, now what the hell do I do? (Dufus Factor)

The engine is a 1.7 with a 96mm big bore kit, and D-jet FI.

I just put the engine back in the car after a fresh rebuild over the winter, so my grounds are all clean and tight. I have checked and re-checked all the other connections and grounds in the engine compartment and can find nothing loose or broken. This has me stumped.

Thanks in advance for any advice or input you "Non- Dufus" electrical people can give me!

Don
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Old 04-06-2003, 08:07 AM
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0.002" is a whole lot of dwell angle. Try setting it back to 0.016" and see if you get spark again. If the dwell is 53 degrees, you can tweak tiny amounts to get it lower. But a measurable amount is likely going to be too much.

I personally would get a points replacement. I really hate messing with the points. They are very sensitive, foul too easily, and start wearing the instant they get used. Far nicer to have something you can set and forget...

--DD
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Old 04-06-2003, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave at Pelican Parts
0.002" is a whole lot of dwell angle. Try setting it back to 0.016" and see if you get spark again. If the dwell is 53 degrees, you can tweak tiny amounts to get it lower. But a measurable amount is likely going to be too much.

I personally would get a points replacement. I really hate messing with the points. They are very sensitive, foul too easily, and start wearing the instant they get used. Far nicer to have something you can set and forget...

--DD
to avoid an argument from other poster's( pick Breakerless system of your choice) but throw the points to Iraq!
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Old 04-06-2003, 09:58 AM
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Dave & Kenny hit the nail on the head in both respects. The points are a very touchy area so when adjusting them it is with very little movement to bring dwell to its proper place. I fiddled with mine constantly just 'cause I liked messing around... always trying to see if I could "get it better." After my timing mark started jumping around due to the dizzy getting a wee bit loose I installed Pertronics Electronic ignition. Talk about a world of difference. Good stuff man
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Old 04-06-2003, 10:21 AM
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I reset the points back to .016, rechecked all connections, but still no spark. I've changed points in cars for alot of years but never had this happen before, where it's running and then nothing.

I completely agree with everyones opinion on upgrading to an electronic pointless system. That's the plan for this year, but right now I'm in one of those financial crunches that comes along every so often, and just can't make the switch till the end of the month or so. It will be done though!

In the meantime, I still need to seek and destroy whatever is cuasing my current (no pun intented) problem. It was running last night!!
Thanks guys

Don
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Old 04-06-2003, 12:07 PM
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Don, I just thought of something. The same thing happened to me and I did everything you did too. I checked all the connections twice. As a last ditch effort I put in the old condensor and it took off! Apparently the new condensor got ruined some how and created a short so I had no spark. Try it, it can't hurt!
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Old 04-06-2003, 01:52 PM
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Bruce, I was going to try putting the old points and condencer back in, but you forgot my first statement "I am a Dufus".

I tossed em'.

You see I put all the ignition parts into the dizzy before I put the engine back in the car. Easier to access everything, you know. Never expecting any problems, I just chucked the stuff, Dufus style.

This was about a week or so ago. Last night I finally had time to fire her up and set everything. Lo and behold - problem!
I'll dig through the couch cushions tonight, should be able to find enough for a new condenser!

Did the "test method" I used on the coil sound correct? It seems odd that I had so little voltage through the coil.

Don
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Old 04-06-2003, 02:39 PM
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Hey Don, I've never done a test on the coil but I have read a post on here on "how to." I just can't say if that is correct or not. Sorry!
bruce
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Old 04-06-2003, 02:43 PM
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Thanks Bruce, I'm trying to avoid "throwing parts at the problem". I'm just not that confident in my abilities with electrical stuff. I have most of the tools, but just am not sure I'm using them properly to sort out the problems.

I'm never quite sure where to stick a probe or connect a wire to get the reading I'm looking for. If possible, I'd rather test before I replace.

Oh well, there's too much knowledge around here, someone will suggest something!

Don
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Old 04-06-2003, 03:44 PM
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As for the throwing parts at the problem all I can say is .."ya, I know"
Most of my problems started when I took out the 2.0 injectors and replaced them with the 1.7's that were supposed to be in there. After fixing all the vacuum leaks my problems began. It wasn't until I threw about $200 in various electrical thingys that I thought of puting the 2.0 injectors back in.
Has run perfect ever since! Talk about a dufus factor!!!
bruce
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Old 04-06-2003, 03:50 PM
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Hey Bruce, Good news and bad.

First, I knew my skills as a Packrat hadn't fallen off that much. I hardly ever throw anything away! (Drives my wife nuts, but "you just never know!) I dug around and found an old condenser that I saved. I know it's a good one but I relaced it a while back anyways.

I swapped it out for the one I just installed, but unfortunately, same result - no spark.

So I keep coming back to the coil. Unless someone out there can suggest another test I can try and the correct way to perform it.

Thanks,
Don
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Old 04-06-2003, 04:56 PM
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Since the car was working before you did the work on the points, I would suspect them and not the coil.

try this with the dist. cap off and the key on, rotate the engine till it stops with the points closed, take a screwdriver and push them open and watch for a small spark between the points. if there is none, bridge across the metal near the points (bypassing the points) and watch for the same thing. if you dont' get a spark with those tests, you could have a shorted condensor or bad wire/connection.

you could also set you multimeter for resistance, and measure the resistance between the two point brackets with points closed (should be 0) to make sure they are clean of oil/grease.

if you see the spark, then pull the coil center wire out and listen for a spark there.
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Old 04-06-2003, 05:41 PM
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Hardflex,
Did your test and got good spark at the points. I pulled the coil wire (from the cap, left it connected to the coil, correct?) no spark at coil wire.
If I'm understanding this right, (remember, Dufus here) should I be able to get a spark from the end of the coil wire with key on if I touch it to, say the engine tin?
Thanks for the help!
Don
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Old 04-06-2003, 06:29 PM
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when you test the coil wire for spark, you should leave a gap, say 1/2" between it and the ground point. if you touch it to ground, you won't see a spark at all.

some other tests to isolate the problem.-

take the coil wire off the positive coil connection, connect the multimeter pos wire to it, multimeter negative to a good ground. turn on the key, and read the volts. should be close to 12 volts.

(reaching back into memory 35 years to auto shop class here), switch the multimeter over to read resistance. when you touch between the pos and neg coil terminals, you should get about 4 ohms resistance between them. then touch between the center coil and either of the outer terminals, it should be infinite resistance, (in other words, no change when you touch the terminals at all.

touch the probes to the center wire of the condensor and its outer case. should be infinite resistance here too.

the theory behind the coil sparking is this- current flows thru pos and neg terminals creating a magnetic field, when the current stops flowing (points break) the magnetic field collapses, inducing the high voltage current in the center wire. therefore, anything that prevents current from flowing initially (no voltage at coil, broken path to ground, etc) or anything that keeps the current from stopping (grounded wire before points, shorted condensor, etc) can affect the spark from the coil.

that said, hook up the dwell meter again, and see what your reading is. if it's near specs, none of the above paragraph is a problem .

I'd be inclined to point at the condensor before the coil. I'm fuzzy as to the function of the condensor, (i think it amplifies the current breaking while softening the impact at the points?) Anybody on this part?

I hope I helped here.
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Old 04-07-2003, 05:19 AM
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Hardflex,
In my initial post, I describe what I did to test the coil voltage. Sounds like what you suggest, and at least I did that right. I get a reading of only 1.17 volts. I put in a different condenser that I know is good and get the same reading. That's why I keep thinking coil failure. But could something else be causing the low voltage at the coil? I'd like to avoid replacing the coil and still have the same problem.
Thanks for the help!! I think you've got me heading in the right direction.
Don
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Old 04-07-2003, 05:42 AM
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what you want to measure is the voltage coming in to the coil. What you described sounds more like voltage loss through the coil, if that. as i read it, you're not reading a live, hot positive lead anywhere.
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Old 04-07-2003, 09:11 AM
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Similar dufus story here. I unplugged the connector at the relay board on my 2.0 and when I plugged it back in it was off 1 nothch. I melted the points insulator and the wiring harness too.

Since you have no spark AND you just touched the thing, did you look at the connectors on the coil? Many times people disconnect them and put the wires on the wrong way. The condensor could be plugged into the wrong side and this seems likely in your case.

With a DMM you can easily check the continuity of the wires from the relay board to the distributor and see if the wires are OK. At the relay board use some emory paper to clean the contacts. Use a pocket knife / razor blade to gently open up the X in the connectors just a hairline.

I'm switching out my rustbucket guards red 2.0 for a newly painted signal orange 74' that will get my 2.0 engine (soon).

Joe C.
Old 04-07-2003, 10:30 AM
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SHE'S RUNNING AGAIN!

Thanks to all who offered suggestions and help to this poor "electrically challenged" dufus! None of them solved the problem, but I honestly did learn a few things listening to you guys.

I racked my brains all day at the office trying to fathom how I could go from running, to no spark, by adjusting the points. I even talked to a guy today who told me to try pulling the points out and dragging a business card between the contacts. Saying he's seen contacts get dirty from oily feeler gages, enough to keep them from working. I got home and tried that and it didn't work either.

Out of sheer frustration, I pulled a two year old set of points out of a box of "stuff" ran an emory board over the contacts, (this always makes my wife happy), put em' in, set em' - and that damn car fire up like it was lonesome for those old points!

So I guess I just got a bad set of points from Bosch.

We just got a late snowstorm today, so I won't be driving her for about a week, but at least she's running nice again.
Thanks again everyone!

Don
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Old 04-07-2003, 06:09 PM
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Way to go Don!!! Atta boys all around.
Don't that just make ya feel great?? when ya finger it out???

bruce
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Old 04-07-2003, 06:31 PM
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Sho Nuff!!
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Old 04-07-2003, 07:33 PM
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