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No spark


kaybyrd's Avatar
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06-02-03, 07:26 PM   #1  
No spark

5.7 liter 350, stroked to 383
heads reworked, ported and polished
HEI distributor
Accell 8mm wires
Accell header spark plugs
New torque converter.

This is my sons Camaro (the kind that makes me get gray hair knowing he's driving it). He just bought it. The problem is that it has no fire. Its getting gas and air, but no spark. We pulled the distributor and tested for the timing belt. It turns (rotor) when cranked. There are no cracks in the distributor cap, but know that it needs changing since where the spark plugs hook on to it is weak (they bend easily and wobble somewhat when wiggled).

What other things should we look for? At first we thought it was the scoop letting the distributor get wet, but its dry.

Thanks,

Kay

 
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06-02-03, 08:53 PM   #2  
If you get 12 volts to the distributor but not to the coil, then your electronic spark component in the distributor is bad. They were known to have that happen. There are plenty of old HEI distributors laying around. Just get another one that has the same number of wires, i.e. 4,5 or 7.

Since you mentioned the Accel parts, it leads me to wonder if someone just built this engine and added an HEI ignition where there was a conventional ignition before (you didn' t not mention the year or background of the car). If so, you should check to insure that the ballast resister has been removed from the coil circuit.

 
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06-02-03, 09:22 PM   #3  
I'll check with Lee on this stuff. I'm not familiar with too much on the car other than it goes really fast, and quick.

What is Accel? A racing brand, or just something cheap you pick up at AutoZone?

Kay

 
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06-02-03, 09:42 PM   #4  
Okay, kids back. Funny how they have a ton of errands to run when they're using your car!

He says that it is a 1981 Chevy Burlenetta? Camaro and the control module is for a 1981 Z28 350.

I will have to look up what a ballast register is to know what you are speaking of, and if its been removed or not.

Thanks!

Kay

Ps. Will post back what I find.

K.

 
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06-02-03, 09:58 PM   #5  
knuckles
There's not much to diagnosing an HEI system.

1. Check for battery power at the BATT terminal of the distributor. This terminal should have battery power whenever the ignition switch is in the ON position. No power = bad ignition switch or broken wire.

2. Connect a 12V test lamp to the BATTERY POSITIVE terminal. Probe the TACH terminal on the distributor as a helper attempts to start the engine. The test lamp should flash as the engine is cranked.

3. If the lamp flashes, the pickup coil and ignition module are OK. Inspect or replace the ignition coil, distributor cap and rotor.

4. No flash means the fault lies in the primary side of the ignition system. The ignition primary circuit consists of the ignition module and pickup coil.

5. To test the pickup coil, measure pickup coil output voltage (AC) when cranking. Voltage should be at least 1.5 VAC. If the pickup coil tests good, replace the module.

FYI, the HEI ignition system doesn't use a ballast resistor.

 
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06-02-03, 10:14 PM   #6  
Thanks for letting me know about the ballaster deal. I couldn't figure out what it was.

I'll check these things tomorrow while he's at work since its midnight here and pouring down rain.

I would hate to just go and replace things and not be sure what is the cause. Best for us to not put a bandaid on it, but to cure it instead. could just be a faulty part, then again...people sell their cars for a reason and not just because they need the money.

Kay

 
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06-03-03, 05:47 AM   #7  
Joe_F
A Camaro Berlinetta is a luxury model of a Camaro. It usually has a 305 in it or a V6. If it has a 350, it's been swapped. You can confirm this on a 1981 car. The 8th digit of the vin is an H if it's a 305 and an L if it's a 350.

Knuckles has you on the money with the HEI. It's the most reliable system out there.

 
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06-03-03, 06:02 AM   #8  
The 8th digit is an "L". I appreciate everyone's posts.

It will be later this afternoon before I can run any more tests on it since I have no one to help me with it. I'll have to wait on my son.

Thanks again! And I will post what we discover.

Kay

 
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06-04-03, 05:08 PM   #9  
We ended up replacing the distributor cap and rotor, and now she runs great again. A friend of his mentioned that he may have messed it up while towing another car? Is that possible?

Anyway, thank you for all the advice and reference information. I hope this doesn't happen again soon or he will have to look further into possible causes. All I know is that I have one really happy kid since this is his "baby" and his first real car one he bought by himself.

Kay

 
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06-05-03, 03:21 AM   #10  
Joe_F
I pushed a car recently with my 84 Olds 88 (my friend's Dodge Shadow), but I wouldn't be towing anything anytime soon with a GM F Body (Camaro/Firebird).

That's what tow trucks are for .

 
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06-05-03, 06:31 AM   #11  
Tow trucks. Hmmm. We did pull his car to the house with my husbands work truck.

I didn't find out that he had pulled the other boys car until we fixed his car. I honestly didn't realize that it could cause a problem like that with your vehicle.

Joe, why push and not pull? Less strain on the engine?

Kay

 
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06-05-03, 06:38 AM   #12  
Joe_F
Neither is very good for the vehicle. But this Dodge Shadow belonged to a good friend who helps me out with projects and is always there for me.

I even cracked one of my parking lamps doing this operation . My friend felt bad. No mind, I'll get one in the junkyard for $5.00---true beauty of old cars like this, yay .

With pushing, you can let off and on the "pushee" to give the car a bit of a break, and you can let it coast on its own (providing it has brakes...lol). I've pushed a ton of cars over the years.

Neither is very good because you are running the tranny dry (since the car doesn't run and the tranny isn't pumping fluid through the transmission), so I'd suggest a tow truck.

Also with these operations, there is more of a chance of damage to either vehicle. Spend $25.00 with Geico and get towing insurance. Well worth the money.

You'll NEVER see me pushing or towing one of my F body cars .

 
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06-05-03, 06:51 AM   #13  
When I break down I'm so frustrated that I call a tow truck anyway. This was the kids' car and he's trying live on his own. He didn't have any money, and I didn't offer. If he would have asked, I would have called one for him. Shoot, I paid for the parts so I wouldn't have to take him back and forth to work, LOL. He's living on his own now, but I still feed him lunch, sometimes supper. I can tell when its getting closer to payday: he comes by for a visit during lunch and/or supper time LOL.

I do pay his cellphone bill (yikes) because he wouldn't have a phone otherwise. That's a momma thing too though. Like to know that he can keep in touch if needed.

Kay

 
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06-05-03, 07:51 AM   #14  
Joe_F
Yup, moms are good for things like that . Yay mom!

I earn my keep around the house by keeping everything in perfect working order. Mom's home cooking rules. LOL .

However, the other expenses such as my cars, parts and the like are my own. Always have been .

 
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06-05-03, 08:29 AM   #15  
He wants this car to be his, and only his. He said that he would come by today after he got paid to reimsburse me for the parts. He's a good kid so I don't mind helping him. Never abuses it, and helps us when we need it (mowing, plumbing, heavy lifting, etc). Sometimes even treating his brother and sisters to a movie when I can't afford to take everyone, or out for lunch as an 'I love you' gift. Of course, after he takes me out for lunch he eats here for the rest of the week, but that's just fine with me

Kay

 
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