• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Spark In no Spark Out!

72 Satellite

Well-Known Member
Local time
3:43 AM
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Messages
216
Reaction score
187
Location
18040
2 days ago I'm cruising along and suddenly the engine dies. The first couple attempts at restart produced very weak and short firing. After that, no firing what so ever.

Troubleshooting results so far

-Battery (Redtop New) 12.6 V
-Alternator (Tuff Stuff 130 amp New) 12.3 V
-Ignition Box (MSD 6AL New) Spark Test = OK
-Coil (MSD Blaster2 New) P = 1.2 ohms/S = 4.94k
-Coil Spark Test to ground = Good & Strong
-Distributor (MSD #8546) Mag P'up = 555 ohms
-Cap/Rotor = Seen Worse/Carbon Ball still there/minor Carbon & Corrosion
-Distributor Shaft =Spins Good While Cranking
-Plug Wires = OK
-Plug Wire Spark Test to ground = No Good
-Plugs = Clean

After latest call to MSD, the tech says to send the Distributor in for repair. He says the "Internal Ground" is probably bad. Says it's around $60 to fix.

I've done some searching on similar Ignition problems, and have seen ZERO mentions of this. Most of the "Spark in and no Spark out" scenarios were Cap/Rotor related from what I've read. I do have a new set coming tomorrow to rule that out.

Have any of you guys ever heard of or experienced a bad internal ground on a dizzy before? Thanks for any and all help.

Rib

20220310_140605.jpg 20220309_092708.jpg 20220309_090719.jpg 20220309_092606.jpg 20220309_092638.jpg 20220309_090700.jpg
 
After sitting overnight, did you try to start it again? (just to rule out any hot temp issues). I had that happen before with an oil filled coil. It ran strong when cold, but after warming up the engine would stall, especially when applying throttle. Turned out to be a cracked coil housing and would only show symptoms when hot.

How did you confirm the plug wires were good? I would try another set of plug wires just to rule that out.

I did have a distributor go bad on an old honda before. I don't know if it was the internal ground. It would spin fine and the cap and rotor were good, but would not fire the spark. This occurred suddenly while driving and the mechanic diagnosed it. Do you have another distributor you could try?
 
After sitting overnight, did you try to start it again? (just to rule out any hot temp issues). I had that happen before with an oil filled coil. It ran strong when cold, but after warming up the engine would stall, especially when applying throttle. Turned out to be a cracked coil housing and would only show symptoms when hot.

How did you confirm the plug wires were good? I would try another set of plug wires just to rule that out.

I did have a distributor go bad on an old honda before. I don't know if it was the internal ground. It would spin fine and the cap and rotor were good, but would not fire the spark. This occurred suddenly while driving and the mechanic diagnosed it. Do you have another distributor you could try?

Yes I tried several times the next day to no avail.

I haven't actually tested the Plug Wires, they have less than 5k miles and are pretty stout. I've visually checked the ends/connectors, and they all look good. I don't have a spare Distributor or set of wires handy. I do have a good spare Coil that I tried, but no luck.
 
Based on your test results....
1. spark test good at coil
2. spark test bad at plug wire
3. wires good (& I assume the coil/cap wire is good since you used that in your spark test at coil, right?)
4. you've got electronic ignition, so it ain't the points
5. pickup tests good
must be cap or rotor.....one or the other, assuming all your tests are correct (I'm assuming your pickup test of 555 ohms means it's good (?), correct?) Basically, spark into distributor, no spark out....pickup, cap or rotor....or the pickup lead, but you tested that already doing your coil spark test by grounding it, correct?)....cap or rotor
 
Based on your test results....
1. spark test good at coil
2. spark test bad at plug wire
3. wires good (& I assume the coil/cap wire is good since you used that in your spark test at coil, right?)
4. you've got electronic ignition, so it ain't the points
5. pickup tests good
must be cap or rotor.....one or the other, assuming all your tests are correct (I'm assuming your pickup test of 555 ohms means it's good (?), correct?) Basically, spark into distributor, no spark out....pickup, cap or rotor....or the pickup lead, but you tested that already doing your coil spark test by grounding it, correct?)....cap or rotor
But what about the 2 wires connecting the distributor? How do you test that?
Rotor is cheap though - worth a try.
 
However you tested the coil, do the same only plug the coil into the dist cap and test whichever plug wire the rotor is pointing to. You have the distributor out - ground it and rotate it by hand and see if you get spark to ground at any of the wires.
 
Rotor is burned and has carbon tracking so I would replace. I would also replace the cap as well. It is possible that the rotor button in the cap is burned out. It is hard to test, and it happened to me. My old Prestolite distributor cap had a removable button with a spring under it, and I had the same problem so I wrapped some tin foil around the carbon button and ordered a new one from Year One, problem solved.
 
Just went through this. Spark into cap nada out. Bad Pertronics coil. Did not have the KV for the rest of the Ckt. QC has gone to ****. 1.5 ohm rated coil reads 2.5 Houston We have a Problem.
 
Based on your test results....
1. spark test good at coil
2. spark test bad at plug wire
3. wires good (& I assume the coil/cap wire is good since you used that in your spark test at coil, right?)
4. you've got electronic ignition, so it ain't the points
5. pickup tests good
must be cap or rotor.....one or the other, assuming all your tests are correct (I'm assuming your pickup test of 555 ohms means it's good (?), correct?) Basically, spark into distributor, no spark out....pickup, cap or rotor....or the pickup lead, but you tested that already doing your coil spark test by grounding it, correct?)....cap or rotor

Yes I tested the pickup, and it's within spec @ 555 ohms. I'm confident all the plug wires are good, but will test each one tommorow since I'm waiting on my new Cap & Rotor.
 
Rotor is bad. See the arc blow hole in the bottom of the rotor in the 4th picture. The spark is "internally grounding" to the stud holding the natural colored advance spring, (5th picture).
 
Rotor is burned and has carbon tracking so I would replace. I would also replace the cap as well. It is possible that the rotor button in the cap is burned out. It is hard to test, and it happened to me. My old Prestolite distributor cap had a removable button with a spring under it, and I had the same problem so I wrapped some tin foil around the carbon button and ordered a new one from Year One, problem solved.

My new Cap & Rotor should be arriving tomorrow so we'll see. If that's not it, I guess I'll be sending it in to MSD for them to repair.
 
Just went through this. Spark into cap nada out. Bad Pertronics coil. Did not have the KV for the rest of the Ckt. QC has gone to ****. 1.5 ohm rated coil reads 2.5 Houston We have a Problem.

My Primary side reading was 1.2 ohms, not 2.5.

1.5 is still high, but I tried another Coil I know is good with the same results.
 
Rotor is bad. See the arc blow hole in the bottom of the rotor in the 4th picture. The spark is "internally grounding" to the stud holding the natural colored advance spring, (5th picture).

Outstanding diagnosis sir, I sure as heck hope you're correct, it certainly makes sense! It would be awesome to not have to send it to MSD for "repair".

So would the Carbon ball failing cause it to seek the stud for ground??

Thanks again, this site is the best.
 
So would the Carbon ball failing cause it to seek the stud for ground??

I feel the insulation qualities of the rotor (red Bakelite or whatever) failed or maybe a small crack developed in that area. The screw/stud that attaches the contacts to the rotor is there.
 
You basically already did that
But what about the 2 wires connecting the distributor? How do you test that?
Rotor is cheap though - worth a try.
You basically already tested the two wires going into the distributor. Those 2 wires..with the funky one terminal exposed plug? The way I tests the coil is to disconnect the center wire at the cap (coil wire), stick a phillips screwdriver in the end of the wire & place the screwdriver very close (but not touching)...maybe 1/8" away from a good ground. Unplug that funky distributor plug. Turn ignition key to "on". Temporarily ground the exposed terminal of that funky distributor plug connector (THE ENGINE WIRING SIDE). Every time you ground it, a spark should jump at your screwdriver across that 1/8" gap you set.

That tests spark all the way up to the distributor. You have spark into the distributor by running that test. No spark out of the distributor (grounding a spark plug & cranking engine). Therefore, the problem is in the distributor. Pickup, cap or rotor. Pickup is good. Cap or rotor must be bad and @Russ T Plymouths has some crazy good diagnostic skills! damn
Oh, you tested the pickup lead wires when measuring resistance of the pickup
 
Last edited:
Thanks for all the input, ideas etc. Weather should be good enough tomorrow for me to test the new Rotor & Cap combo. Hopefully I'll have a positive update tomorrow.
 
Must have been a negative update.
 
Must have been a negative update.

Sorry for the update delay, the Cap & Rotor took a little longer to arrive than expected.

Attempts with new Cap & Rotor were negative. First impression is that the failed Rotor, grounding internally to the Distributor, may have indeed damaged it.

Tomorrow I'll be verifying new Rotor position vs #1 TDC, before proceeding. It's possible I changed that relationship after cranking & having the Distributor in & out. Once I verify TDC @ #1, I'll try again. If it's still a no go, I have a brand new #8546 MSD Dizzy I'll be bringing home after work tomorrow. I sure hope to resolve this issue asap, it's been brutally frustrating to say the least.

Has anyone else damaged their Distributor due to a failed Rotor like this??

Rob
 
Auto Transport Service
Back
Top