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Old 12-14-2011, 12:40 PM   #1
Paul P
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MSD coil problem found and solved

I bought an MSD coil for my ZX3. I know it is not needed as per many posts. I did find out why after some period of time they really perform poorly. The aluminum standoffs that are included with the coil are a problem. If you think about it going from the steel coil core that needs to be grounded to the aluminum standoffs to the steel bracket to the aluminum head it is not a good setup.
Steel-aluminum-steel-aluminum is not a good ground path with galvanic action taking place here it is all bad. What I did was put some stainless standoffs in place of the aluminum ones that the coil comes with. Problem solved. Another good thing to use is the copper antiseize compound from Permatex. It provides good conductivity and protects against galvanic degradation of the parts. I decided that instead of bitching to MSD that their coil didn't work I'd try to see why it went from great to poor. Sure enough someone there wasn't thinking about the consequences of mixing aluminum and steel. Just thought I would point this out. I do have a note on my RMA about this. Maybe they will change the standoffs who knows.
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Last edited by Paul P; 12-16-2011 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:25 PM   #2
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thanks for the tip
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:55 PM   #3
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So what your saying is, they aren't. Worth it?

Sent from my kindlefire.

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Old 12-27-2011, 09:19 PM   #4
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Good know, I was thinking the same thing on the SD coil. Though it doesn't need to be grounded to work from my experiences. My coil bracket broke and was just hanging there and it ran fine. Though it did start funny which lead me to look under the hood only to find it hanging there. Picked it up while it was running and no change in the way it was running. Though it may run like crap if I drove with it like that for sure. All the more reason why I want to upgrade to COP, that and it looks awesome.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:22 PM   #5
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Wouldn't it be grounded through the bolt and not the stand offs and grounding itself to the coil bracket and then to the head?



Oh I don't run any stand off's on my SD coil, just set it in the bracket and snugged the bolts down.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:03 AM   #6
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This is really a tip for those who have the MSD or even other aftermarket coils in their cars. It will perform better with less aluminum to steel mixed in the ground path. Electricity always follows the path of least resistance. The bolts are not the necessarily the best path to ground. In my case the aluminum standoffs that came with the coil have rust bonded to the end of them from the dis similar metals eating each other.

Providing a good ground for anything in the cars of today is a must. You said the coil was operating without being grounded and if you think about it the power/control plug was providing the ground and is probably not what you want.

They are worth it if installed correctly. It is a slight improvement likely due to the better spark plug leads used with this coil. You can however purchase the 8.5mm superconductor wires for the stock coil MSD 32949 to yield the same results.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul P View Post
You said the coil was operating without being grounded and if you think about it the power/control plug was providing the ground and is probably not what you want.
What makes you think the body of the coil pack needs to be grounded?
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC_ZX3 View Post
What makes you think the body of the coil pack needs to be grounded?
Agreed. AFAIK, a coil shouldn't be grounded through its body.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul P View Post
...and if you think about it the power/control plug was providing the ground and is probably not what you want.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul P View Post
There are some coil types that need that core grounded. This is one of them.
No external grounding is required. The ECU controls the grounding.
You likely made better electrical contact with the coil pack connector or plug leads when removing/installing the coil pack and that cured whatever problem you were having.

blk/grn to ECU pin 52 switched ground /coil
blk/org to ECU pin 26 switched ground /coil
grn/blu to central junction box (power)

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Old 12-30-2011, 09:37 PM   #10
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Don't ground yours then. You can do what you want. There are some coil types that need that core grounded. This is one of them. One of similar design is a GM HEI where that core ground is important. If it is corroded the spark will be very weak. It makes a difference. Just thought I would share this tested true experience on the site.
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