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Author Topic: won't fire  (Read 2318 times)
0X01B8
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« on: June 13, 2009, 05:44:58 PM »

I've never once had a problem starting my car.  Today it cranked, and cranked, and cranked, and nothing.  I couldn't check for spark to well because I was alone.  I keep a spare ballast resistor in the console so I tried that and still nothing.  Gas at the carb - good.  Some quick resistance tests with an multimeter on the coil came back okay.  I had the car out about 3 weeks ago and it started up perfect and ran fine, as per usual.  Aside from some new firecore plug wires, the ignition system has been unchanged since I built the car in '92.  It's an orange box electronic ignition, and the coil is a stock piece.  Could one of these go bad with no warning whatsoever?

Coincidentally - I've been repairing a MacCollough weed trimmer (new fuel lines -- simple, basic stuff) and it wouldn't fire up either today, even though I had it running last week.   flame  I gave up on that, and then my lawn mower fired up on the first pull of the cord, which it never does.  I think there's some X-files shit going on in my garage.   laugh

Thanks

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mikepmcs
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 07:55:31 PM »

I couldn't check for spark to well because I was alone.  I keep a spare ballast resistor in the console so I tried that and still nothing.   It's an orange box electronic ignition, and the coil is a stock piece.  Could one of these go bad with no warning whatsoever?


Sure you can check for spark alone.  Either get a spark plug tester or just put a screwdriver to the solenoid near the bulkhead connector and turn it over that way(make sure you have the key in the run position and it's in park and chock the wheels just for good measure)

Answer to second question is yes as well. 

I'd go over everything once again starting with spark and then checking firing order(plug wire installation making sure number one is number one)  If you are unsure then pull the number one plug, put your finger over the hole and bump it over with the screwdriver method above until you feel the compression stroke(it will blow/push your finger with the air from the compression).  You will now be at TDC. Now look at the position of the rotor button and where it is in relation to the number one wire that you have installed on the cap.  Also, make sure your plug wires are all the way seated on the cap/coil/and the plugs themselves.  You really gotta work to get plug wires to seat correctly in  few places due to crappy clearance. If you have a new coil or another coil, throw that at it.
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Life isn't Father Knows Best anymore, it's a kick in the face on a saturday night with a steel toed grip kodiak work boot and a trip to the hospital all bloodied and bashed.....for reconstructive surgery. But, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right?
b5blue
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2009, 08:52:30 AM »

Is it getting gas?  popcrn
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mikepmcs
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2009, 09:38:12 AM »

original post says gas at carb is good.
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Life isn't Father Knows Best anymore, it's a kick in the face on a saturday night with a steel toed grip kodiak work boot and a trip to the hospital all bloodied and bashed.....for reconstructive surgery. But, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right?
b5blue
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2009, 10:18:45 AM »

00p's
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0X01B8
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2009, 12:09:39 PM »

Sure you can check for spark alone.  Either get a spark plug tester or just put a screwdriver to the solenoid near the bulkhead connector and turn it over that way(make sure you have the key in the run position and it's in park and chock the wheels just for good measure)

Thanks.  I forgot all about the screwdriver method.

What's a good way to check the spark?  Pull a plug, leave it wired up, and lay it up against the manifold for ground?  I don't feel like getting a shock.
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mikepmcs
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2009, 02:56:10 PM »

That will work.  You'll be fine.  You could hold it with those wires and you would be fine as well but no reason for it.  Lay it near a bolt or something(good ground) and make sure you have a strong spark. 
"You should be seeing a blue/white spark. If it's dull orange the ignition system is weak" (that is a direct quote from Ron)
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Life isn't Father Knows Best anymore, it's a kick in the face on a saturday night with a steel toed grip kodiak work boot and a trip to the hospital all bloodied and bashed.....for reconstructive surgery. But, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right?
TylerCharger69
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2009, 06:32:45 PM »

Probably that pesky orange box.  I've had to replace two of those. The orange ones don't seem to be too reliable.  I got a 17 dollar aftermarket piece from  Autozone (don't slap me...I know) and I haven't any troubles since.  The brand name of the part I have now is a Sorenson.  After the new build...It'll be MSD...so don't slap me!!!
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green69rt
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2009, 06:38:17 PM »

Just a quick thought because this happened to me, check the distributor hold down bolt.  One time mine worked loose and the distributor turned so far that the even though it made spark the timing was so far off it wouldn't start.
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GPULLER
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2009, 02:56:49 PM »

Probably that pesky orange box.  I've had to replace two of those. The orange ones don't seem to be too reliable.  I got a 17 dollar aftermarket piece from  Autozone (don't slap me...I know) and I haven't any troubles since.  The brand name of the part I have now is a Sorenson.  After the new build...It'll be MSD...so don't slap me!!!

 iagree
Seems about every two years I replace mine  (probably just jinxed myself).  Get a different one and it will start...almost guarantee.
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0X01B8
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2009, 04:36:12 PM »

It works again.

The coil wire appeared to be seated nice and tight at the coil and at the dist.  I pulled it and then worked the boot up on the wire and reseated the lead into the dist.  It didn't feel noticeably different, but whatever.  Then I pulled the #1 plug and wedged it between the manifold and valve cover for ground.  I didn't give it any gas whatsoever.  I turned the key and watched to see if it would spark.  The starter only cranked once and there was a horrendous crashing / back-fire sound, but no smell, or smoke, or anything.   Shocked  Leftover gas in the intake system from a couple days ago?  I ended that experiment right there.  One crank, one bang.  So, I put the plug back in, and it fired up on the first crank, and idled well, considering the motor was cold.

I'll recheck all the wires, even though they seem to fit tight.  I've learned to just do whatever Ron says, so I guess I'll add Mike to the list.  Checking the obvious seems like the obvious thing, but the wires seemed tight, I swear!    icon_smile_blackeye

-john
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mikepmcs
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2009, 05:22:37 PM »

John,
Glad it is sorted. 2thumbs

Just keep listening to RON.(most of the time i'm quoting something he has either said on a thread or told me in the past)  You'll see me post the WWRWD every now and again. It's not a joke, I try to ask myself what he and a few others would do to get it fixed and then I eventually ask them straight out. lol
I depend on all you guys/gals for information all the time and every now and then I get lucky and can pay back the favor.

I have a few rules I live by after 20 years as an aviation electronics tech and Naval Aircrewman... one of my biggest sayings is  "Last thing fixed, first thing broken"  right before i say "When there's doubt, there is no doubt"

Keep it simple is the only way to go!  cheers

Mike
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Life isn't Father Knows Best anymore, it's a kick in the face on a saturday night with a steel toed grip kodiak work boot and a trip to the hospital all bloodied and bashed.....for reconstructive surgery. But, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right?
0X01B8
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2009, 05:44:05 PM »

I know what you mean.  People ask me to help w/ their busted computers and I say "What was the last thing you did?  Install anything?  Download anything?  Touch anything?"  And then they say "no."  Then 10 minutes later they say "Well, I did do blah blah blah, but that's not it."  And then that's usually where the problem is found.
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