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Old 12-28-2018, 03:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blainsbrains View Post
LOL, well I suppose ethanol is better than lead in the gasoline. The gas currently in my tank is fresh at 92 octane and with 1/2 can Royal Purple detergent.



I'm thinking given the car DID run ok for a few minutes and THEN died, it's a gummed injector. But I have nothing to lose to check the coil. Besides, I'm pretty savvy with electronics and prefer to test parts rather than replace them willy-nilly.



So what's the best way to check if the spark is up to snuff?
with the car running simply pull a spark plug wire one at a time of course see if there's a spark jumping and make note of the idle change for each one. For the fuel injectors if they're accessible use a long screwdriver put the tip of it on the injector and the other end to your ear and listen for the noise of the injector firing.

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Old 12-28-2018, 11:18 PM   #12
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Injectors do NOT run for a few minutes then suddenly gum up to not work right, they pretty much are messed up or they are not. Spark check is worthless if the spark is weak instead of not there at all and a good way to blow out the ignition section of the electronic ignition (which is inside the PCM on these) because excess spark length can make the unit try to establish spark so hard it fails the spark unit. Missing is much more common, you get spark at a check but it is not strong enough to make the engine run right.

The quickest check anyway is to yank coil and look at it in bright sunlight for fine hairline cracks anywhere on it top or bottom. Find them and coil is junk. Moisture gets in to short the coil windings and then the engine misses. VERY common on these and the coils change as much as you change the oil sometimes, not really but it's almost that bad. The coil connector wiring must not be frayed or cracked either and again common. Past that the plug wires must be 5000 ohms or less per foot of length or they are bad and can do it too. DON'T run resistor plugs AND resistor wires, a bad combo that causes trouble.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:37 AM   #13
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@AMC

Thanks for the advice. I was thinking pulling spark plugs while the engine is running would do damage. I did that to a mustang years ago and wound up bricking it. I could have sworn that's what I thought happened, the spark backfed into the control module.

Ok, I'll remove remove the coil pack and give it a thorough inspection and I'll break out my Fluke and test the impedances.

BTW, what about that capacitor? I can check the connections and I can check it with my DMM but I have no idea what value it should be, like 1 uF?
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:49 AM   #14
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Didn't say anything about checking for spark strength. I was talking about seeing if there's any output at all. I have a spark strength tester were you adjust the gap to check for voltage output. Are you telling me that you don't ever check to see if a coil is dead on output? Takes all of 30 seconds to do. If a car won't even stay running it doesn't say hey this thing has a weak misfire that says cylinders aren't firing at all.

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Old 12-29-2018, 12:55 PM   #15
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@zacautomotive, I like the idea of the tester. I've seen those, it's a little plastic body with a screw to move the air gap apart. The side is graduated with KV tick marks. One side goes to the ignition coil and the other side gets grounded. Neat idea, thanks ;-)
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:15 PM   #16
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Zaca, not knocking you there at all and 100% correct on that last post, I DO do the exact same. Just wanted to point out that an absolute spark check is not the same as a partial spark check and most have no access to a spark intensity tester.

The rule of thumb I use is 3/16" for a checking gap and no more or ignition module damage. But you must hold that gap constant and the issue doing it in the real world. You can do the exact same with an old plug cleaned up and the gap spread way wider than ever used real world, the spark jumps that and consistent as well as cheap toolbox tool.

If plug is or has been fuel wet, or carboned black then the spark commonly jumps down the side of the plug porcelain and you think there is no spark when there might be a lot of it, and harder to see in daylight too. That fools a lot of people too.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:14 PM   #17
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@AMC

Thanks for the info. I'm an electronics tech so I really like the idea of the spark checker that has the KV marks on the side. I'm thinking to properly use one, I'd need to know the nominal voltage on the coil's secondary winding. I discovered I can buy one of those testers for a few bucks at AZ or AAP. So, could you please point me to the voltage specs?
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:28 AM   #18
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Cracked Coil

@ AMC

When I first looked at the coil pack, I didn't notice anything unusual. When I pulled it out to perform DMM testing, I hosed it down with brake cleaner. Once the dirt and oil was gone, then I noticed a couple of cracks.

You nailed that one. As an EE Tech, I rarely ever see units that have only one thing wrong. I'm going to replace the coil and see if there's anything else going on. With unburned gas going into the cat, who knows what else I'll find.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:55 PM   #19
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Man, those coils are simply crap. My belief is that they compacted that design just a bit too much and then the heat down beside head cooks the plastic similar to the way the positive battery cables (located very close to same area) cook in the last 4 inches on them. I open up any space I can in that channel there, the battery cover is gone and the cables run different to get more fan air in there (already 220 degrees at that).

After changing enough coils of several brands on my 2 cars I retroed back to Contour zetec coils, which are similar but having a Contour too I never failed a coil on that one. That coil though takes a bit of modding on the Focus coil bracket to fit it as it has bigger windings in it than the Focus one does and why Focus is smaller. Since going to Contour part I have not failed one yet.

Can't say I've seen any voltage specs on the coils and if they did they may well be suspect anyway as coil voltage is something that gets stretched all over the map of reality and the spark gauge will not be nearly dead accurate as to markings either. Doesn't matter as more airspace (gap) is good until you blow the module out trying to jump it.
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