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beatnavy's Avatar
 
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What Now??? Oh, no spark...

My '72 1.7L has been starting right up and generally running well (save for chasing consistent idling, eliminating minor, residual vacuum leaks, etc.). Well, Friday it was running fine and I noticed I had a flat tire just as I was pulling into the driveway. Better than out on the highway, I thought. Shut the car down. Changed the flat. It rained moderately that night. Next day, when I went out to start the car it cranked fine but didn't start. Definitely fuel, I can smell it. After a few minutes it was obvious I didn't have spark.

The points, rotor, and cap were replaced last winter. When I was having starter trouble issues last month I replaced the tranny ground strap and cleaned connection points well. Last month I also removed and serviced the dizzy and cleaned and greased everything inside.

I ran through the ignition troubleshooting article here on Pelican (Article), and what here's what I seem to get:

1. Coil seems ok. In fact I swapped it out with a different, older coil off of a 1.8L engine I just dropped from my other project. I have 12V at positive coil terminal with negative terminal grounded. When I yank that wire away with the distributor center wire taped near the fan housing, I get a spark. Ok, that's good.

2. Next test: rotated engine until points were closed, and I get 12 volts at negative coil terminal. Ok, so according to the article, my problem is either either the points are burned up, the little braided wire that connects the breaker plate to ground inside the distributor is broken, or the ground strap from the back of the gearbox to the chassis is open.

I cleaned up the points (which showed minor scoring, I think), and based on the picture below, I'm guessing dizzy ground braid.



I think I also probably put too much dizzy grease on it when I serviced it last month. So I took it apart, cleaned it up, and tried to solder the ground wire better (I know from other posts this is a sketchy fix at best - solder doesn't seem to hold, and I'm not great at soldering). I also cleaned up the dizzy from the 1.8L and think the advance plates and ground strap are in good shape on that one. I thought, why not put those advance plates in my other dizzy, I think they're the same part, right? Well, maybe not. They didn't seem to want to go in, and I am reluctant to force them in.

So I put the old advance plates back in the dizzy (now cleaned and with an attempt to connect the ground strap with solder) and tried the tests again. Same results. No love, no spark.

So, my questions:

1. Based on the picture above, is best guess a bad ground braid?

2. I tested the continuity between the ground strap and advance plates and the negative battery terminal, and I get maybe one ohm. Wouldn't that suggest it's good?

3. Should I be able to swap out advance plates from the 1.8L's dizzy into the 1.7L?

4. What else am I missing?

Thanks in advance, as always, for everyone's patience and help.

Here's the picture of the 1.7L dizzy after cleanup (and attempt at soldering ground strap):

Old 06-22-2014, 08:55 AM
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So this evening I installed new contact plates and points. Nothing! I switched out the old condenser from the spare dizzy I have. Nada.

Could I have a bad ground at tranny? But if that was the case, I wouldn't expect the starter to crank.

Is there something else I should be looking at? This is driving me crazy! I'll take any suggestions including, have a drink. (Have a drink? Ok, sounds like a good idea.).
Old 06-24-2014, 03:06 PM
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I can only think about when I had a similar problem,replaced with Ignitor and had a smooth easy starting motor and a small noticeable increase in throttle response.
These systems have a good tolerence to a worn distributer and go well but you need to make sure your dizzy has a free moving advance plate otherwise you are wasting your time/money,go there cause its cheap and relieves the sleepless nights and alot of future BS on the way,cheers.
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1985 944 2.7 motor,1989 VW Corrado 16v,57 project plastic speedster t4 power,1992 mk3 Golf,2005 a4 b7 qt avant 3.0 tdi,1987 mk2 Golf GTI,1973 914,2.2t to go in.
Past cars, 17 aircooled VW's and lots of BMW's
KP 13/3/1959-21/11/2014 RIP my best friend.
Old 06-24-2014, 11:13 PM
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Thanks Porschetub. I'm pretty much at my wits end at this point. Tried swapping out cap and rotor. Cleaned out everything under the plates. I was wondering what the felt-looking strap is in the picture below (left of arrow).

Maybe it is time to go the Ignitor route. Not sure what else to do at this point

Old 06-25-2014, 04:08 PM
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Problem solved. It is with some sheepishness I report that the coil wiring was reversed. I swear I didn't change it, and somehow the car was running with the way the PO had it hooked up. Did it end up shorting the condenser or something? I finally got it running by finally checking a real coil wiring diagram and swapping in a new (3rd) condenser I had available. The lesson is (I guess): when at wits end, go back to fundamentals. And have a drink. And then another.
Old 06-26-2014, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatnavy View Post
Problem solved. It is with some sheepishness I report that the coil wiring was reversed. I swear I didn't change it, and somehow the car was running with the way the PO had it hooked up. Did it end up shorting the condenser or something? I finally got it running by finally checking a real coil wiring diagram and swapping in a new (3rd) condenser I had available. The lesson is (I guess): when at wits end, go back to fundamentals. And have a drink. And then another.
Good result,I find in the heat of the situation/problem you tend to forget what and when you did stuff,it just adds another variable to an otherwise PITA problem.
When I fitted my Hotspark kit to my 034 on the 1800 I cranked for ages only to see the rotor sitting on the bench.
Good to see you cleaned out your dizzy,amazing how dirty they get inside and how the crud can stick up the advance weights and points plate,make sure you put a few drops of oil in the felt plug in the top of the shaft also...important.
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1985 944 2.7 motor,1989 VW Corrado 16v,57 project plastic speedster t4 power,1992 mk3 Golf,2005 a4 b7 qt avant 3.0 tdi,1987 mk2 Golf GTI,1973 914,2.2t to go in.
Past cars, 17 aircooled VW's and lots of BMW's
KP 13/3/1959-21/11/2014 RIP my best friend.
Old 07-03-2014, 01:45 PM
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Heh. I just did that a few weeks ago at Parade. I was setting the dwell, and was buttoning the distributor up and putting my tools away when I realized that I was still holding the rotor in my hand...

--DD
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave at Pelican Parts View Post
Heh. I just did that a few weeks ago at Parade. I was setting the dwell, and was buttoning the distributor up and putting my tools away when I realized that I was still holding the rotor in my hand...

--DD

Thats funny cause it has happened to all of us I quess,some don't admit it,good one Dave.
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1985 944 2.7 motor,1989 VW Corrado 16v,57 project plastic speedster t4 power,1992 mk3 Golf,2005 a4 b7 qt avant 3.0 tdi,1987 mk2 Golf GTI,1973 914,2.2t to go in.
Past cars, 17 aircooled VW's and lots of BMW's
KP 13/3/1959-21/11/2014 RIP my best friend.
Old 07-07-2014, 10:54 PM
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