Can you remotely test for spark, when driving the car?

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-02-10, 07:57 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Can you remotely test for spark, when driving the car?

I know they have those clamp- over- the- plug- wire devices that flash when there is spark. Anything that can be hooked to plug wire(s) to run into the cabin to see if spark stays steady or comes and goes?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-02-10, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Canada (near The Motor City)
Posts: 598
Make, model, mileage...

Hook a timing light to it
 
  #3  
Old 09-02-10, 06:36 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Spark is *very* high voltage. So don't connect anything directly. High voltage will actually go through the insulation of a wire and through a glove! Insulation does not protect you.

Instead use a clamp on the wire timing light. Tape the trigger on the timing light so it is always on. And have it sticking out of the hood so you can see it.

BTW - I was at Harbor Freight today and saw some very low cost automotive testing stuff. You of course get what you pay for, so don't expect too much.

Anyway I saw some "noid lights" there. I did not look at the price or read what all they can be used for (I doubt for spark?). Anyway that may be a low cost testing tool you might be able to use to monitor other things...
 
  #4  
Old 09-02-10, 07:46 PM
ASE MASTER's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 560
ecman51,

(Question) Can you remotely test for spark, when driving the car?

Confirming spark delivery on a moving vehicle is easy. On the other hand, confirming spark delivery to all the plugs, on a moving vehicle, well that’s a little different. Why does my gut tell me we’re talking about your 6 cylinder Chrysler here?

Two cylinders or twenty-four cylinders, it doesn’t matter. I’ve read your questions and responses, and I can tell you’re a smart man. Below is a picture of a standard “In Line Spark Tester”. Sooooooo, I’d like to hear how you would confirm spark delivery to all the plugs on a moving vehicle?



 
  #5  
Old 09-03-10, 04:27 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,528
Master - At driving speeds wouldn't the flicker of the light be too rapid to detect anything other than complete spark failure?
 
  #6  
Old 09-03-10, 01:25 PM
ASE MASTER's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 560
(Question) At driving speeds wouldn't the flicker of the light be too rapid to detect anything other than complete spark failure?


Good point tow guy.

True in most cases, but not all. Depends on vehicle, type of ignition system and amount of ignition voltage generated.

Furthermore I took it to the next level.

Thinking ahead. So posted an image of a tester that uses a “Neon filled Gas Tube” as opposed to an “LED” (Lisle 20610).

Flashes and still visible at high rpm.

Tip for you and ecman51. Test at night.
 
  #7  
Old 09-03-10, 04:31 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by 2granddaughters View Post
Make, model, mileage...

Hook a timing light to it
1. Dodge, Spirit, 146K

2. Sounds like a good plan. Bill said so also.

And Sam was right. Yes it is about my Dodge 6 cylinder. We already know that it is not the primary voltage to the coil failing as I have THAT voltage being run into my cabin on my voltmeter. That(meter) never even skips a beat when the bucking starts. Now I want to test the high voltage on the coil. Trouble is, the problem goes away when I pull the car over. It only does it spordically while driving.(You know something - this in itself might be some sort of clue. The fact it never stumbles idling, nor shuts off) Therefore, if I can monitor the high voltage, then I can eliminate the spark and move on to only concentrate on the fuel. it probably IS the fuel, but if I can easily eliminate park from the equation, then I wil move on.
 
  #8  
Old 09-03-10, 04:36 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by Bill190 View Post
Spark is *very* high voltage.
I know all about it. You are talking to a human lightening rod, of sorts. It all started in grade school touching my tongue to 9v batteries.

BTW - I was at Harbor Freight today and saw some very low cost automotive testing stuff.
I practically live at places where they sell stuff for people who work with their hands. I will go there tomorrow!
 
  #9  
Old 09-03-10, 04:43 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by ASE MASTER View Post
........, I’d like to hear how you would confirm spark delivery to all the plugs on a moving vehicle?
I'm being asked to figure out the very question I asked. Why should I get a headache over trying to figure out a plan of attack when I can simply ask some of you motorhead colleages here what you would do? Sometimes certain things do not dawn on us. I have owned a timing light (when cars had carbs and points), and it has been years since I used one and the clever thought to use one did not cross my mind. It pays to get opinions and put collective heads together.
 
  #10  
Old 09-03-10, 05:10 PM
ASE MASTER's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 560
Ok ladies,

Any takers on why the timing light idea won’t work?
 
  #11  
Old 09-05-10, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: North Central Indiana
Posts: 905
check fire

I am not up on this late model stuff but shouln't the computer throw a code if you have a misfire?
 
  #12  
Old 09-05-10, 04:36 PM
NEsportsfan's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Insanity
Posts: 361
Could it be a loose spark plug? That kind of thing can cause a sporadic headache.
 
  #13  
Old 09-07-10, 04:45 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by NEsportsfan View Post
Could it be a loose spark plug? That kind of thing can cause a sporadic headache.
No. The engine does not run rough when my problem occurs. It is exactly like having a powerful high compression car in 1st gear, and leaving it in first gear, while you repeatedly tromp on the gas pedal and leave off and tromp again, etc., etc.
 
  #14  
Old 09-07-10, 04:48 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by ASE MASTER View Post
Ok ladies,

Any takers on why the timing light idea won’t work?
I have to presume that when the rpm's get so high, the thing won't flash anymore. Right? If so, why not?
 
  #15  
Old 09-07-10, 11:15 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Actually I've only used a timing light at idle speed. So I don't know?

I know with other lights, when blinking them fast, they appear to be on steady...
 
  #16  
Old 09-09-10, 05:01 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by Bill190 View Post
Actually I've only used a timing light at idle speed. So I don't know?

I know with other lights, when blinking them fast, they appear to be on steady...

That would have been my thinking - about being on steady. If on steady, then that indicate spark, one would think. Let's see what ASE (Sam) has to say.
 
  #17  
Old 09-09-10, 05:30 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Well I just went out and tried this...

Connected my timing light, started the engine, then revved it up about twice idle speed. The light just blinked faster.
 
  #18  
Old 09-10-10, 05:20 AM
ASE MASTER's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 560
Gentlemen,

By hooking up a timing light, and revving the engine at idle you’re not going to get the answer to the original question. Just as a reminder the question was:

How can spark delivery be confirmed to all the plugs on a moving vehicle? (In this case a 6 cylinder vehicle).

Let’s define moving as 40 to 60 mph. The operative word here is moving. An “In Line Spark Tester” attached to each of the six plugs, shows that spark is reaching all the plugs at idle. Well, that’s at idle. Could a:

Distributor issue
Rotor issue
Cap issue
Ignition cable issue
Wiring issue
Coil issue
Module issue
Sensor issue
ECM issue
Voltage issue

Cause the same car (that has spark at all 6 plugs at idle), loose additional spark when driven at roadway speeds?

The answer is yes?
So how do we check for this?


Six timing lights cannot be used, because at roadway speeds the bulb in the timing light will flash so fast that it will give the illusion of being on steady, and would be so faint that it won’t be visible. Furthermore a timing light is not an in line spark tester. The image of the “In Line Spark” tester I posted ( Lisle 20610 Inline Spark Tester) uses a “Gas Filled Neon Tube” in place of a standard timing light bulb or LED. Neon gas is much brighter than a standard timing light bulb or LED. The fact that its neon means that it’s not affected as greatly by ignition pulse/voltage, so it’s easier to see.


Soooooooooooooo

Attach 6 of the of the above mentioned testers.

Remove the hood so you can see the testers, or extend the wires on the testers so they reach onto the passenger seat.

Run your test at night.

Beer 4U2
 
  #19  
Old 09-10-10, 07:10 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,287
"No. The engine does not run rough when my problem occurs. It is exactly like having a powerful high compression car in 1st gear, and leaving it in first gear, while you repeatedly tromp on the gas pedal and leave off and tromp again, etc., etc."

Kind of fits the definition of SURGE.

Loose or leaking air duct
Vacuum lines kinked or leaking
Dirty or plugged in line fuel filter
EGR problem
Bad or shorting spark plug wires
 
  #20  
Old 09-10-10, 10:09 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
For *this* specific problem... What I had in mind was a simple test to find the general area of trouble. One area of trouble could be you are losing spark to *all* the spark plugs.

And an easy test for that using tools you may have on hand would to to monitor just one spark plug.

If one wire continued to spark while the problem occured and you have a regular distributor cap/ rotor, then probably the others are sparking as well.

If that test passed, I would next monitor one fuel injector to see if it was losing power.

If that passed, THEN I would go about monitoring every single spark plug and every single fuel injector.

Many times with troubleshooting I can monitor a general area and catch a problem. However there have been a few times where I needed to monitor absolutely everything to find the trouble.
 
  #21  
Old 09-10-10, 02:10 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
I feel like I have to keep reitterating this: The car loses all power (yet I have the 12 volts to the primary + and - of the coil at all times). It is not going down to 5, 4 or 3 cylinders working. When it goes out, I can press on the gas pedal and nothing is there, and then suddenly in 1/2 second to 2 seconds, VAROOM it takes off again like a bat out of H and then suddenly no power gain. Then VAROOM again. And that is only when it does it.

For the last 3 days, it has not really bucked to the extent described. On a scale of 1-10, it might buck as a 1, and even to maybe a lesser fraction number, where sometimes it feels only like the brake pedal is being slightly depressed, but isn't. It can be so subtle that even a mechanic might not notice it. But I do, as I have a feel for the power the car has. I have a feel for how hard I need to normally push down on the gas pedal to go at speed X.

When it does buck as a 10, it can do this so violently it can jerk me back and forth in my seat! It feels like the car could jerk apart, if it continued for a more indefinite time period.

And there is never a misfire or backfire. Never. Not even once -ever.

It is not a continous or worsening problem either, as one might expect, if say the large inline fuel filter were getting more and more plugged. I can have either that braking feeling start to occur, and it may or may not ever lead to bucking. In either case, when full power is restored in about 2 - 6 blocks of this mayhem, I can race up a hill with unrestricted flow/power.

I wonder if any service bulletins are out on such a problem as this, on a 92 Spirit with the 6 cylinder?
 
  #22  
Old 09-10-10, 05:45 PM
ASE MASTER's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 560
ecman51,

(Quote) I feel like I have to keep reiterating this:

I'd like to reiterate something as well. In no shape, way or form, am I saying that your “bucking” issue is spark related. I’ve maintained from the beginning (and still do) that the bucking is due to the fact that “Fuel Pressure and Volume” are being compromised. My last post simply answers the question of;

How to confirm spark delivery to all the plugs in a moving vehicle.

As a matter of fact, If you read between the lines of you last answer, you’ll see, that (in your own words and way) you confirm an issue with “Fuel Pressure and Volume” as the cause for the bucking.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'