Primary ignition low voltage

Old 03-17-08, 02:27 PM
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Primary ignition low voltage

The fault code for my 1994 Opel Kadett translates to the primary ignition having low voltage. Okay, I know the message now, but where do I check where the low voltage problem is, and how do I rectify it? Thanks for any advice.
Old 03-17-08, 03:19 PM
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I know didley squat about Opels.

what I do know is that a manufacturers service manual is unbeatable. Our local library has an excellent stock with great coverage. You may want to see if you can locate one for your vehicle and have a long sit down and read.
Old 03-17-08, 04:15 PM
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got this from Google

Got this from Google but I could not have said it better myself.:

The ignition coil consist of two transformer windings that share a common magnetic core Ė primary and secondary windings. For an ignition coil, one end of the windings of both the primary and secondary are connected together. This point is connected to the battery. The other end of the primary is connected to the points within the distributor. Then the other end of the secondary is connected, via the distributor cap and rotor, to the spark plugs.

The sequence of the ignition firing begins with the points (or the contact breaker) closed. A current will flow from the battery, through the current limiting resistor, then through the coil primary and across the closed breaker points and the finally back to the battery. This current produces a magnetic field within the coilís core. This magnetic field will form the energy reservoir that will be used to drive the ignition spark.

As the engine turns, so does the cam inside the distributor. The points will ride on the cam so that as the engine turns and reaches the top of the engineís compression cycle, a high point in the cam will cause the breaker points to open. This will break the primary windingís circuit and it will stop the current flow through the breaker points.

If there is no steady current flow through the points, the magnetic field that is generated in the coil will immediately begin to collapse. This rapid decay of magnetic field induces a high voltage in the coilís secondary windings.

The ignition coilís secondary windings are connected to the distributor cap. A turning rotor that is located on top of the breaker cam within the distributor cap, connects the coilís secondary windings to one of several wires that lead to each spark plug. The, often over 1000 volts from the coilís secondary will cause a spark to form across the gap of the spark plug. This will then ignite the compressed air fuel mixture in the engine.
Old 03-17-08, 04:48 PM
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Do you have a voltmeter for testing current, and do you have any experience troubleshooting wiring problems with houses or cars?

If this was me, first I'd want to know if there were any real symptoms associated with the code I was getting.

Then I'd make sure my alternator was putting out.

Then I'd search for a coil and see if there was a primary wire hookup there. And test for voltage there when the car ran, or was even turned to "on".

Then determine what to do next depending on what readings I got.

You could also see if that car, with that engine, around that year, had any service bulletins out on such a code. Someone might say something like, "Well, 90% of the time we've seen where there is a failure in the ignition control module (or whatever)."


This is just some basic generic information I am passing along. I too know nothing what is under the hood of an Opel.
Old 03-17-08, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for your replies. I have a multimeter, and I suppose I have enough knowledge to test the volts etc. The car has a distributor, but no points. I will check the voltage on the coil to see if there is something amiss. My brother in-law told me I should check if all ground wires are clean and are making proper contact to the body of the car. I will post back on what I can find.

PS. I have a workshop manual, and read through the ignition part, but it does squat to tell me where to start troubleshooting low voltage problems, and keeps referring me back to the manufacturer...
Old 03-18-08, 12:22 PM
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check for low voltage right at the coil. there are probably 3 wires...2 little skinny ones and 1 big fat one. the skinny ones are the coil primary. now look closely right where they attach and see if you can see a little "plus" sign and a "minus" sign. if so, good. turn the key on and place your positive meter lead on the plus wire and the black lead on the battery ground. this is your primary ignition voltage reading. post back with results. and btw...what country are you in? i don't list opel in my service info system

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