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Unread 02-13-2010, 07:48 PM   #1
Electrican
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1980 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Burleson TX
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1980 CJ7 Ignition NO Spark

New to the forum and jeeps. My 1980 CJ7 6CYL for some reason has lost spark. It was running fine and then i installed all new guages and interior and new battery and now it wont start up. I have replaced the coil, starter solenoid and nothing. I took the high wire off the coil and held it to ground and the only spark i get is when you turn the key from run to off. The jeep was trying to fire up when you turn the key from start to off. Could this be a ignition module problem? It was running fine until i did the guage installation but i did not change ANY wiring under the hood. Any help would be appreciated.

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Unread 02-14-2010, 08:07 AM   #2
JeepHammer
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1973 CJ5 
 
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I've posted this several times, but I'll go over it again for you.

If you left the ignition switch in the 'Run' position without engine running, then you probably cooked the ignition module.
It's a quirk of the DuraSpark ignition that you CAN NOT leave the key switch in the 'RUN' position when the engine IS NOT running, or you will overheat both module and coil.
...........................

Buy yourself a $6 test light from the parts store.
Get the kind with a BULB, not LEDs.

Connect your test light to the NEGATIVE terminal of the battery.
Probe the Positive terminal of the battery to see if you have a good connection, and to see what a 'Bright' light looks like.

Unhook the coil connector from the coil.
PROBE THE COIL CONNECTOR TERMINALS.

First with the key in the 'Run' position,
Then with the key switch in the 'Crank' or 'Start' position.
This will test BOTH electrical supply circuits to the ignition coil.

You should get a 'Dim' light when in the 'Run' position.
You should get a 'Bright' light when the engine is 'Cranking'.

If you DO NOT get a 'Dim' light when they key switch is in the 'Run' position,
Then you have something wrong, like a blown fuse, wire hooked up in the wrong place, ect.

If you DO NOT get a 'Bright' light when the engine is cranking, then you have an Issue with the wire between the starter relay 'I' (Ignition) terminal and the ignition coil.
..........

This should tell you if the ignition issue is on the POWER SUPPLY side, like the Fuse, Ignition Switch, bulkhead connector on the firewall, or wiring delivering power to the ignition module/coil...

OR,
Read/Test on to find out if the 'Issue' is with the ignition module, coil, distributor or engine wiring harness.
..........

Connect the wire of your test light to the POSITIVE battery terminal, and probe the Negative terminal.
Again to test your connections.

Probe the 'Green' wire terminal of the coil connector.
With key in 'RUN' position, you should get a strong, steady 'Bright' light.

Crank the engine, and you should get a even 'Flashing' of the light.

If you don't get the steady light when key switch is in 'Run' position,
You have a problem with ignition module 'Ground' circuit.

IF you don't get a 'Flashing' light when cranking the engine,
You could have issues with a few things,
1. No trigger signal from the distributor,
Bad trigger, corroded connections from distributor to module.
2. No power to module. I'll cover testing module power later.
3. Fried module. This is VERY common with these Jeep/Motorcraft ignitions since you MUST NOT leave the ignition switch in the 'Run' position if you don't have the engine running.

............

The module 'Grounds' though the distributor housing.
It is the 'Black' wire circuit between module and distributor.
Lack of sufficient ground is responsible for engine misfires ('Missing'/'Rough Running', not firing random cylinders when running) and a host of other issues like modules melting down.

Adding a dedicated ground wire to the 'Black' wire (harness side) will stop a bunch of these problems.
..............

Testing the module power circuits is fairly easy,
You find a SOLID ground, connect the test light to it,
And probe the HARNESS side of the module 2 wire connector.

One wire will be large and RED, and it will connect to the module 'Red' wire.
You should get power here (Bright Light) when the key switch is in the 'Run' position.

One wire will be 'Blue' and it connects to the module 'White' wire.
You should get power here when the engine is 'Cranking' and should go 'Dead' when the cranking stops.

This will tell you if the power supply to the module is the issue, or if it's wiring in the engine bay (opposed to wiring issues under the dash) or components of the actual ignition under the hood.
-------------------------

Ignition modules fail with amazing regularity,
DO not buy the 'Cheap' version at the parts store.
Ask for 'Borg Warner' components when you get replacements, and that will help, but often won't 'Cure' getting dead parts off the shelf at the parts store.

Post your results IN DETAIL, and we can help you narrow down any obscure test results you find.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
Electrican
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Thanks JeepHammer here is where i am now.

With the coil wire unhooked i have "Bright Light" on red wire with key in run position. Same "Bright Light" with key in start 'cranking' position on red wire. On the green wire terminal i have "Bright Light" at run and cranking position. No 'flashing' was present in any position.

Somthing i havent figured out is there is no "resistor" installed on the red wire. However there is a wire that is spliced on the "big" red wire that comes through firewall and down to ign. module harness and and is spliced just before the positive coil terminal wire. Is this normal or posably the resistance wire??

I also continued on testing the module power circuits. The large red (which has the soldered connection going to the positive coil wire and then to the ign. module harness) is getting "Bright Light" when key is in run position. The Blue wire that connects to white wire through harness is "Bright Light" when engine is cranking and goes dead when cranking stops.

I also done some additional troubleshooting and probing and checked the black wire at the distributor harness connector to ground and was showing continuity. Also while in the same connector the other two wires had the same continuity to ground. Again this was tested at the distributor harness connector. Is this normal to have continuity to all three wires?

Since the ignition module was in stock and only $20 at our local auto store i picked on up and installed and i have the same problems as before. (will be replacing with a Borg when they get in stock)

Still i am having the same problems as before and so far have replaced the coil, starter solenoid and ing. module. I have checked for spark several times and places and the ONLY time i get any kind of spark is from the center coil wire when the key is turned from "run" position to "off" position. There is no spark at all while cranking engine from the middle "spark plug wire" (dont know what that wire is called).

Need some more input and ideas as i am stumped why this "just" started doing this.

Thanks
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Unread 02-15-2010, 05:38 AM   #4
Mike Romain
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Did you add or modify or change the/a tach?
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Unread 02-15-2010, 06:17 AM   #5
Electrican
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No i dont have a tach.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 06:40 AM   #6
Mike Romain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
No i dont have a tach.
OK, just a thought. I would be suspecting something wrong from your ground description.

I would pull the plug on the distributor and check there. the black wire should have a ground path going into the distributor, neither orange nor purple should have a ground path.

The resistance between the orange and purple should be 400-800 ohms with 600 being usual. This is the test for the distributor pickup.

The fat red wire from the coil up to the bulkhead is your ballast resistor wire. Having power at the coil with the key in run means it is ok.

No pulses on the green wire is bad news, means either the pickup in the distributor or the module is likely bad. Using the key in 'run' with no engine on while testing those new gauges might have been enough to fry the module if the pickup still tests ok.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 07:03 AM   #7
Electrican
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So to check the resistance between the orange and purple at the distributor connector do i need to unhook any of the spark plug wires or high coil wire. I just want to make sure so i get correct test results.

I cant recall if i checked the green wire for pulses after changing the module out. I will check that out and see.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 07:19 AM   #8
JeepHammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
Thanks JeepHammer here is where i am now.

With the coil wire unhooked i have "Bright Light" on red wire with key in run position.
Not normal, since you have a 'Bright Light', that means the resistor wire is removed or bypassed, but you already figrued that out.

This is VERY hard on the module.
The resistor wire is there to keep too much current from hitting the switching transistor in the module (Via the ignition coil)
Without it, the module doesn't live long.

Consider a module that will take full power, like a HEI type module.
Look here for wiring diagrams and instructions,
LINK: http://www.junkyardgenius.com/ignition/jeep/HEI01.html


Quote:
Same "Bright Light" with key in start 'cranking' position on red wire.
On the green wire terminal i have "Bright Light" at run and cranking position.
No 'flashing' was present in any position.
That *USUALLY* means the module is cooked.
You can remove it and take it to the discount stores to have it tested.

If it comes back the module is 'BAD',
Then stick it in the oven at about 150 degrees for about 30 minutes to soften up the potting material,
Pry out the 'Guts', and use the housing for your "HEI Hybrid" connections using an HEI style module in the case of the DuraSpark module.
"Stealth HEI" is what we call this, and John Strenk had a really good idea when he came up with this!

You WILL loose the 'Hot/Hard Start' circuit the DuraSpark module has, so make sure you Initial Timing is reasonable and you shouldn't have any problems with this.

Quote:
Somthing i havent figured out is there is no "resistor" installed on the red wire.
However there is a wire that is spliced on the "big" red wire that comes through firewall and down to ign. module harness and and is spliced just before the positive coil terminal wire.
Is this normal or posably the resistance wire??
It's the resistor wire more than likely, or a wire that someone has spliced in to replace the resistor wire.

Your 'Ignition' power wire comes though the fire wall,
Then a Factory Splice splits the current off in three directions.
One goes to the module, the 'Red' wire.
One goes to the 'Excite' wire on the alternator. (small, stiff 'Brown' resistor wire)
One is the resistor wire that goes to the ignition coil.

Since you have access to the 'Splice',
You can use a Volt/Ohm meter set to 10 or 20 Ohms and test both ends of the resistor wire.
It should show up at 1.35 Ohms ('Ω' symbol on the meter) if it's still in place and working.

If you get less than ABOUT 1.35 Ohms, the resistor wire has probably been replaced.
If you intend to use the factory module, then you can add a ceramic resistor of about the same value to the line on the way to the coil.

If you get quite a bit more than 1.35 Ohms, the resistor wire has probably partly cooked and needs replaced *IF* you keep a 'Factory' module in place.
*IF* you don't intend to keep the factory module, you can replace a bad resistor wire with a straight run of primarily wire with no ill effects.

You need a resistor to keep the factory DuraSpark module alive.

Quote:
I also continued on testing the module power circuits.
The large red (which has the soldered connection going to the positive coil wire and then to the ign. module harness) is getting "Bright Light" when key is in run position.

The Blue wire that connects to white wire through harness is "Bright Light" when engine is cranking and goes dead when cranking stops.
Both normal.
Red is the 'Run' circuit, Blue is the 'Crank', 'Staring' or 'Hard Start' circuit that retards timing about 8 degrees when you are cranking the engine.

Quote:
I also done some additional troubleshooting and probing and checked the black wire at the distributor harness connector to ground and was showing continuity.
Showing a 'Ground' and supplying an ADEQUATE 'Ground' are two different things.
Good to know the wire is working, but the distributor often isn't supplying the circuit with ADEQUATE 'Ground' for the primary ignition circuit.

Moving parts, oil reside, ect. collect up on the base of the distributor, and it often doesn't supply adequate 'Ground' to the primary ignition system.

Splicing in a DEDICATED electrical 'Ground' to the primary system often stops a lot of 'Issues'.

If you are going to do this, splice into the HARNESS so you can change modules & distributor triggers without problems.
--------------------------

Quote:
Also while in the same connector the other two wires had the same continuity to ground.
Again this was tested at the distributor harness connector. Is this normal to have continuity to all three wires?
If you used the test light to do that, then you cooked the signal receiving transistors in the module.
They are only designed for about 1 volt, and a 12 volt test light will kill them.

12 volts run through the distributor stator will kill it also,
That's why I tell people to use a multi-meter for checking distributor stator resistance,
And for checking stator continuity to ground.
(Checking for stator 'Grounding', which should NOT happen)

Stator should show somewhere between 400 & 800 Ohms,
With about 625 being 'Normal' from most stators.

Quote:
Since the ignition module was in stock and only $20 at our local auto store i picked on up and installed and i have the same problems as before. (will be replacing with a Borg when they get in stock)
You would not believe how many stock modules of the $20-$30 variety are junk right off the shelf!
That's why John Strenk came up with the 'Stealth HEI' design, because you can't get a reasonable DuraSpark replacment anymore.

I tell people to get a Borg Warner module because they have a life time warranty, so when they fail (and they WILL fail) they can get a new one without further expense.

The dedicated ground wire will help keep ANY of the DuraSpark modules alive,
And making sure they don't get false triggers from induction in the wiring harness will help keep them alive.


Quote:
Still i am having the same problems as before and so far have replaced the coil, starter solenoid and ing. module.
I have checked for spark several times and places and the ONLY time i get any kind of spark is from the center coil wire when the key is turned from "run" position to "off" position.
There is no spark at all while cranking engine from the middle "spark plug wire" (dont know what that wire is called).
COIL WIRE is what the high voltage wire from coil to center of distributor cap is called...

Have your modules (you have two now) tested at the local autoparts stores.
They test for free, and this will tell you if they are working or not.

*IF* the modules ARE working,
Then it's time to investigate why they aren't being triggered correctly...

If the module is VERIFIED 'Working',
Then it almost has to be the distributor 'Trigger',
Or the wiring between distributor and module someplace.

You need a Volt-Ohm meter (Wally World, about $20) to test the 'Trigger' in the distributor.
(and once you learn to use a Multi-Meter, you will never know how you did without one!)

Try this diagram for testing the distributor trigger,
LINK: http://www.civilianjeep.info/Ignitio...tor/test04.gif

And this is the entire wiring harness drawn out so you can figure out where things go in context.
This will let you find both ends of every wire in the ignition system so you can test them...
LINK: http://www.civilianjeep.info/Ignitio...tor/test02.gif


Quote:
Need some more input and ideas as i am stumped why this "just" started doing this.
The vehicle is 25+ years old, and things don't throw up a flag when they are ready to die!
Leaving the key on with engine not running, moving wires in brittle connectors, corrosion ect. all play into things when you work on one of these old beasts...

I tell people to take their connectors apart, clean them, and put dielectric grease in them when they are 'Messing' with something for a reason!

You ALWAYS have to be on the lookout for loose bolts, cracked wires, corrosion, ect. since most of us are working on vehicles with little or no maintinance since they were built! (ain't Previous Owners Grand? ).

Don't feel 'LOST'...
I'll work with you until we figure this thing out!
I've done this MANY times before right here on this forum,
And I'm not going anywhere unless I loose internet service!

Electronics isn't something they teach in most schools,
But I have a pretty firm grasp on the wiring of Jeeps,
So I'll work with you until we get this thing figured out!

It's not 'PASS/FAIL', it's plugging away until we get it figured out!
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Unread 02-15-2010, 08:22 AM   #9
Mike Romain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
So to check the resistance between the orange and purple at the distributor connector do i need to unhook any of the spark plug wires or high coil wire. I just want to make sure so i get correct test results.

I cant recall if i checked the green wire for pulses after changing the module out. I will check that out and see.
No, just check the ohms between the orange and purple wires to make sure the pickup didin't up and die.

I had one up and die 'during' the nutter bypass which is killing the computer on the later ones, what a pain that was to figure out seeing as I just rewired the ignition system so figured I must have done 'something' wrong......
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89 YJ Renegade. BBD Carbed 4.0 HO. Locked front and rear with 33x9.5 BFG AT's
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Unread 02-15-2010, 08:30 PM   #10
Electrican
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OK here is where im at now. I think i am making progress here.
I ohmed out the resistor wire at each soldered connection end and it is showing 1.6ohms which i think should be good. Is that a normal range or a little high?

I also ohmed out the orange and purple wire on the distributor harness end and it was showing around 625ohms.

Now the good and bad. While i was testing the distributor harness I noticed the wires coming out of the housing were showing and the insulation was "mushy" feeling and did not look normal. Well i investigated a little further and took the cap off and one wire had already been pinched and taped up. Both the wires had the same mushy felling and insulation started peeling off leaving exposed wires in the distributor cap. I taped up the wires with electrcial tape to see if this had any effect and put cap back on. I tried to see if i had spark (while cranking) through the coil wire to engine ground and it did. So i put the coil wire back on the distributor and tried to start Jeep. It STARTED right up and ran like nothing was ever wrong!! (the good)

Now seeing i was getting somewhere about a hour later i tried to start again and NOTHING!!

I know the intergrity of the pick up coil is in question and was a TEMPORARY fix and will get replaced. Do you think this is my problem being after i temporarly fixed the problem and it started and now it wont start? At this point im just not confident that this is the problem.

I have located just the replacement pick up coil or i can get a whole new distributor. What are your suggestions?

Also while looking inside the distributor I was trying to figure out how to get the pick up coil out. It looks like to me there is a "impeller" looking thing with two pins in it that has to come off. How do you remove this part? Is there any illustrations that can help me dissamble this?

Thanks for your help so far and I THINK I am almost there (just not sure).
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Unread 02-16-2010, 08:30 AM   #11
JeepHammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrican View Post
OK here is where im at now. I think i am making progress here.
I ohmed out the resistor wire at each soldered connection end and it is showing 1.6ohms which i think should be good. Is that a normal range or a little high?
Slightly above factory specifications for the resistor wire, but terminals, splices, all add resistance so you are Just FINE with resistance reading.
I often use a 2.0 or 2.5 Ohm resistor in line when I have a contrary module that likes to melt down.
I know it's not the 'Proper' fix, but it keeps those cheap modules some customers insist on buying alive...

YOU DO have a resistor wire in the circuit as the factory module REQUIRES to have.

Quote:
I also ohmed out the orange and purple wire on the distributor harness end and it was showing around 625ohms.
That is EXACTLY what most of them come up with if they are of reasonable quality.

Did you check between each terminal and the distributor body? (See if the stator is grounded out someplace inside?)

Quote:
Now the good and bad.
While i was testing the distributor harness I noticed the wires coming out of the housing were showing and the insulation was "mushy" feeling and did not look normal.

Well i investigated a little further and took the cap off and one wire had already been pinched and taped up. Both the wires had the same mushy felling and insulation started peeling off leaving exposed wires in the distributor cap.

I taped up the wires with electrcial tape to see if this had any effect and put cap back on.

I tried to see if i had spark (while cranking) through the coil wire to engine ground and it did.
So i put the coil wire back on the distributor and tried to start Jeep.
It STARTED right up and ran like nothing was ever wrong!! (the good)

Now seeing i was getting somewhere about a hour later i tried to start again and NOTHING!!
Sounds like you just made connection somewhere at the distributor... Moving broken or grounded wires around will often get you a 'Temporary' connection, but with vibration, ect. that connection can be lost again.

Sounds like it's time for a new Stator for your distributor.

Quote:
I know the intergrity of the pick up coil is in question and was a TEMPORARY fix and will get replaced.
If there is ANY question, AND THERE IS!, replace that STATOR (Trigger)!

Quote:
Do you think this is my problem being after i temporarly fixed the problem and it started and now it wont start? At this point im just not confident that this is the problem.
I can't tell you for sure since I don't have my hands on the vehicle, but I'm SURE you should change that stator!

Quote:
I have located just the replacement pick up coil or i can get a whole new distributor. What are your suggestions?
Depends on the price,
You DO NOT have to remove the distributor to take that advance plate/stator off the distributor.

In an I-6, it's a two screw change.
In a V-8, it's a little more complicated, you have to pull a 'C' clip, but it's still VERY much easier to change than pulling the distributor.



----------------------

Quote:
Also while looking inside the distributor I was trying to figure out how to get the pick up coil out. It looks like to me there is a "impeller" looking thing with two pins in it that has to come off. How do you remove this part? Is there any illustrations that can help me dissamble this?
That 'Impeller' looking thing is the 'RELUCTOR'.
You MUST mark the roll pin hole used before you remove it!
There is a VERY small roll pin holding that reluctor in place on the advance head, and you have to MARK THE CORRECT SLOT ON THE RELUCTOR! BEFORE you remove it!



I'm aware this is a V-8 distributor, but the advance head slot and reluctor pin groove will both be on the I-6 unit.

---------------------------------------

Once you mark the correct roll pin slot on the reluctor,
You pull STRAIGHT UP on the reluctor and it will slide off the top of the shaft.

If you have to PRY ON THE RELUCTOR, MAKE SURE YOU PRY ON THE BASE CIRCLE OF THE RELUCTOR, NEXT TO THE ADVANCE HEAD!

DO NOT EVER PRY ON THE 'ARMS' OF THE RELUCTOR OR YOU WILL DAMAGE IT!


Try and keep track of the small roll pin when the reluctor comes up.
I usually stick it to the magnet on the stator for safe keeping...



---------------------------------

With an I-6 distributor, there are TWO advance plate screws holding the vacuum advance plate and stator down to the distributor body.



It all removes as one piece once those two screws are removed.
-------------------------------

There is a 'Craftsman' punch wedged between advance plate and the distributor body in this one.
The idea is to show the advance plate arm & bushing hovering over the vacuum advance arm.
Make sure you get advance plate arm connected to the vacuum advance arm!



Take note of where the vacuum advance arm connects to the advance plate, and make sure you get that connection correct when you reassemble with the replacment.
-------------------------------------

Like I said,
MARK & Pull the reluctor stright up and off.
Then it's a two screw change out of the stator/advance plate,
Don't forget to get the vacuum advance hooked up,
Put the screws back in,
Put the reluctor back on in the CORRECT slots,
Push the roll pin into place....

And you are done!
Put the rotor & Cap back on and plug the distributor into the harness.

Quote:
Thanks for your help so far and I THINK I am almost there (just not sure).
I'd say you are on the downhill slide...
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Unread 02-17-2010, 01:19 PM   #12
Electrican
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Location: Burleson TX
Posts: 38
Well i changed the pick up coil and i am back to running.

JeepHammer, thanks for all your help.
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Unread 03-13-2010, 03:29 PM   #13
ccawadew
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Hi, I'm having the same issue. I probe the green wire on the ignition coil and the only light I get is a flash when turning key back from 'cranking' to 'run'. I've run all tests suggested. Ignition module has been tested and is fine. Replaced the pickup coil. Checked grounds and added the suggested ones. Still nothing on the green wire. Any other suggestions?
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Unread 03-13-2010, 04:47 PM   #14
JeepHammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccawadew View Post
Hi, I'm having the same issue. I probe the green wire on the ignition coil and the only light I get is a flash when turning key back from 'cranking' to 'run'. I've run all tests suggested. Ignition module has been tested and is fine. Replaced the pickup coil. Checked grounds and added the suggested ones. Still nothing on the green wire. Any other suggestions?

How many of the tests did you do?


When you tested the 'Green' wire for ground though the module, did you get a constant 'Bright' light?
Or did you just test it for 'Flashing'?
If not, then the module isn't getting a ground.

Did you test for power at the module connector on both the 'Red' and 'Blue' wires?

If you aren't getting 'Flashing' on the 'Green' wire when cranking,
I would have the module tested.
Replacment modules are often junk right out of the box.
Has happened a BUNCH of times to all of us, so have that module tested.
The discount stores will do it for free...

If the module testes 'Good',
Then it's time to start checking wiring.

If you are getting power to the module at the 'Red'/'Blue' wires from harness to module,
Either the signal from the distributor isn't getting to the module, or the module isn't getting the coil switched 'On/Off' to trigger the coil...

Probably would be good to know what year of vehicle you are working on, and what engine it has...
Can't tell if there is a 'Computer' involved or not when we don't know year/engine and if it's stock, or someone has messed with the wiring.
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Unread 03-13-2010, 05:29 PM   #15
ccawadew
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Fayetteville, NC
Posts: 6
Sorry, I have an '85 with a 258. It is stock, although the wiring has certainly been buggered with plenty. But the jeep was running fine for a year or so and quit working last fall.

The ignition module has been tested and works.

I've tested the module power circuits. Red gets power when key is in 'Run' position and Blue gets power only when key is in 'Cranking' position.

I've tested resistance between orange and purple on the distributor and am getting 600 ohms.

I added a dedicated ground to the black wire on the harness side of the distributor.

I put in a new Stator.

I tested the red terminal of the coil and am getting a 'Dim' light when in 'Run' and a bright light when 'Cranking'

I tested the green terminal of the coil and am getting nothing when in 'Run' and nothing when 'Cranking'.
I get one quick flash of light when switching the key back from 'Cranking' to 'Run'.

I do appreciate your help with this. I have been printing every thread that has covered this in the past and done as much trouble shooting as I can to no avail. I have traced every wire that connects to the coil, distributor, and ignition module and have found nothing loose, broken, or frayed.

Again thanks for the help.
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