Cranking But No Spark and No Electrical Power - 1971 Dart

frumharlem

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Good afternoon,
I have been struggling to resolve and issue since doing a bunch of maintenance to my car. I have read a few posts and will try my best to avoid the pitfalls in my question :)

Facts:
Before Recent Maintenance
1. My car was running and starting fine, before the maintenance work.
2. My car is an automatic 727 floor shift (conversion) 318 motor.
3. I have ran an MSD Coil, MSD Distributor and MSD 6AL for about 2 years, just fine.
4. I still have the Ballast in place (but after reading many posts, I am not sure I need it. The MSD Distributor is not the fancy E series with the Rev Limit computer. It is also not the Ready To Run one (because I already have the 6AL box). It is the 2 wire model 8534.

What Recent Maintenance Was Done
I did a lot ..front suspension, better headers (Doug's not TTS), and most importantly I rebuilt the steering column as well as replaced the Firewall Bulkhead wire connector. The last two are where I am pretty sure the issue is.

Steering Column Rebuild: New ignition lock cylinder, new Ignition Switch, new signal cam and wires
The Firewall Bulkhead connection is simply the exact same plastic bulkhead. I replaced most of the metal connectors with PICO brand male and female connectors same connectors. I already had an in-line fuse on the large red wire. However, it had signs of a little stress and was getting loose. So, that was really why I changed it out. Also, I had mysterious in-line 15 Amp fuse blowing at random times.
I also eliminated putting the sprocket looking steering wheel lock and the little toggle pin that catches that gear looking steering wheel lock back in.

Since reinstalling the steering column and snapping in the Bulkhead clip, I have the following issue:

The starter cranks: Normal speed not weak, but never starts. I can smell fuel, so I am getting gas to carb. No headlights or any other lights work.

I checked the Ignition Switch connector wires. I am getting power at all times on the Yellow and Black Wire (on both sides of the adapter/connector. I mean from the column as well as on the "out" "other end of connector". So I know the pins connect. However, as I trace the same yellow wire over to the Wiper switch side of the column, I see a relay or flasher, but the yellow wire no longer has power (in any key position).
It also does not seem to have power at the Bulkhead connection on wither side (cabin or engine bay).

My MSD 6AL light does not come on at all with key in any position.

My starter relay only has power on the "big Stud". The same yellow wire on the spade (I believe it is the same yellow wire as inside the car) also does not have any power off the starter solenoid.
So, it seems that the only energized wire is that Yellow wire coming off the ignition switch. No power on the Black, Blue, Orange or Brown.

I am stumped...
Any help is greatly appreciated.
I looked and found troubleshoot videos for the Coil, Ballast, Starter Solenoid, and the 6AL box, but nothing on how to tell if an issue is your ignition switch or other ignition piece.
 

coloradodave

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About the ballast resistor: The MSD 6AL requires 12 volts to the coil, so you need to eliminate the ballast. Connect the two (or 3) wires that were on the ballast to the small RED wire from the MSD box. Good luck with your problem.
 

Fran Blacker

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No headlights start at bulkhead connector. Headlight don't go through steering column. Check to see if connector push out of BH connector under dash. After that steering column plug and other parts in column.
 

frumharlem

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Ballast.JPG
About the ballast resistor: The MSD 6AL requires 12 volts to the coil, so you need to eliminate the ballast. Connect the two (or 3) wires that were on the ballast to the small RED wire from the MSD box. Good luck with your problem.


Thank you for this information. I will make that change. I saw videos of people using a GM boomerang looking ignition gizmo too, but I think that is only necessary if you have an old distributor.

Can you tell me what happens by not eliminating the ballast, in my situation? I ask because, like I said, I have been driving with the ballast connected for over 2 years. I am not disputing your advice, I just want to understand if the ballast is just unnecessary or could it have been doing something damaging?
 
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frumharlem

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No headlights start at bulkhead connector. Headlight don't go through steering column. Check to see if connector push out of BH connector under dash. After that steering column plug and other parts in column.

Thank you for clarifying this. Last night I spend time under the dash. I am a little over 6ft tall, so I literally was upside down with my leg over the headrest.

I am starting to think that the brand new ignition switch, that I purchased on Ebay, may be defective! I traced my (non factory) in-line fuse on the motor side, that goes through the bulkhead ( middle of the 3 clips, top right location). It has power of course. On the other side in cabin, that wire is the Yellow black stripe (I think it has a stripe) and that wire has power. It goes above and over steering column and I do not believe it ties into the Ignition Yellow wire, that is the only wire I have power at. Also, that ignition yellow has power at all times and all key positions.
 

frumharlem

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I wanted to elaborate on my initial post by adding pics. I am not 100% sure if I have a mistakenly disconnected Black wire with yellow stripe at coil or MSD. I only have 2 wires in total on the coil (1 on Pos and 1 on Neg).

I also only have power at my Starter relay on one terminal (the bolt). As I said earlier when I turn key the starter does crank as I would expect it.
Starter Relay.JPG
Coil Wire.JPG
Ballast.JPG
 

frumharlem

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If you go to mymopar.com tools & Referance you can download a Service manual.
http://www.mymopar.com/index.php?pid=31

Thank you. I have that, and the body manual.
But, the electrical diagrams are not as intuitive to me. I tells me where wires are, but I don't know what should and should not have power, when and what it mean if it doesn't or does have power.

The picture in the Service Manual did show a Ground Wire for the Column. I never saw one, when I took it apart. But, again the car was running for 2 years. So, I have to imagine if it needed a ground it had one.
I did order a new ignition switch and will swap that later today. I noticed in the picture at time of purchase, that this new switch has a separate Black and a separate Red wire, that is not in the harness clip. the one off Ebay had all the wires in the clip. Is the black one supposed to be grounded to the metal dash?
 
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coloradodave

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View attachment 958785


Thank you for this information. I will make that change. I saw videos of people using a GM boomerang looking ignition gizmo too, but I think that is only necessary if you have an old distributor.

Can you tell me what happens by not eliminating the ballast, in my situation? I ask because, like I said, I have been driving with the ballast connected for over 2 years. I am not disputing your advice, I just want to understand if the ballast is just unnecessary or could it have been doing something damaging?

By not eliminating the ballast it won't hurt anything. It only means that the ignition is not receiving a full 12 volts, unless, of course, the red MSD wire is connected to the ignition switch side of the ballast. MSD.com has wiring diagrams for installation and checking. The 'boomerang' thing you saw is an HEI conversion and doesn't apply to your situation. I think I would move your electric choke wire to a different 12 volt switched source. I don't mean to be crappy, but the wiring I'm seeing in your pictures looks like a fire waiting to happen. IMO, a new engine harness might help straighten things out for you...
 

frumharlem

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Success! I changed out the Ignition Switch and She is starting!

However, now I have a new issue. The engine was popping and backfiring badly! It turned out to be that I had the plug wires mixed up, when I put them back together. Now that they are re-arranged correctly again, it won't start and I get fire pops from the carburetor, when I pump the gas pedal in an attempt to get it started.

It cannot be timing because nothing I did changed that, at it was driving for 2 year just fine.
When redoing to plugs, I did knock the distributor cap, and I thought I pushed it back on all the way. I am going back out to double check that it is on tight. But wondering if it could be anything else?
The spark plugs are brand new also.
 

Fran Blacker

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Probably still have 2 wires wrong. 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 Cw
 

frumharlem

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I did that and may have had one in wrong location. But, after doing that it won't start at all and just shoots fire out the carb. I went and bought a new MSD Blaster 2 Coil, thinking maybe that is the issue. But, I swapped the new one and still won't start and still shooting fire.
I took the firing order that you shared right out of the manual.
Screen Shot 2020-06-04 at 9.56.07 PM.png
 

frumharlem

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THANK YOU for this MSD specific diagram. I mistakenly took ALL the wires from the left side of the Ballast and combined them with the thin red wire from the MSD box. Looking at your picture, I was only supposed to mate the BLUE wire off the Voltage regulator below the Ballast to the thin red MSD. I did that, but still not starting and backfires from carb.
It is almost like the timing is off really badly, but that make ZERO sense, because I didn't loosen the Distributor.

My headlights also stopped working. I have 3 blue wires and one thicker black wire that was on the left blade of the ballast, and now just cut. I don't know where they need to go and if they are possibly the feed to headlights.
Also, there are two wires coming from the voltage regulator plug. One is the Blue, that is in your MSD picture. The other is Green. I have no clue what that goes to.
CABD45DC-F988-499A-BBFE-A0BDD3F4C66C_1_201_a.jpeg
 
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