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No Spark/No Start issue- 1974 Corolla - 2TC -


MoeJZ
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1974 Corolla / TE-21 / Peanut 

2TC Engine / 4 spd 

Issue :

After driving around the day before it no longer wants to start. 

What does it do ? : 

Cranks , Has electricity everywhere it needs, No blown fuses , good battery and cables. Has fresh gasoline and a new working fuel pump and filter. 

What have I done so far after the issue started?

1. Converted to  electronic ignition ( problem started prior to this )

2. New OEM rated coil and resistor ( I verified with other coil and same issue )

3 Spark plug wires

5. Verified/inspected Cap and Rotors (OHM meter and resistance checks as well as continuity)

6 . Tested each and every electrical circuit ( I used the search information here and followed all advices already)

7. Coil has power during cranking ( +positive terminal )

8. Coil has full circuit power at -Negative terminal after out from Distributor side.

9. Battery voltage noted during cranking, lowered voltage noted after resistor 

10. Tested Spark at each plug and wire including directly from coil. ( No SPARK )

11. The distributer spins normally from my visual check. The rotor spins around as the motor is cranking. it is still the OEM distributor.

12, Verified fuel is being pumped by removing the hose and cranking the motor. 

Can anyone please provide a bit of additional insight to this problem?

I've gone through the wiring schematics, rechecked the above list of items 3 or 4 times and answered the same questions on some other forums over and over again. 

I am at a dead end trying to figure this out so hopefully somebody can help out , please. I'll gladly send you money for a drink if your suggestion fixes this :)

Thanks - Moe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"10. Tested Spark at each plug and wire including directly from coil. ( No SPARK ) "

 

You could-

Disconnect the coil negative, run the high-voltage wire from the coil to the dizzy onto a spark plug earthed out on the body, then earth the coil neg with a  wire that you tap on and off an earth a few times.  That will cause the coil to fire and a spark to jump across your spark plug.  Even better, you could turn the engine by hand to line the rotor up with a spark plug, use that plug lead with a plug in it lying on the motor and short the coil out as above.

That checks out your whole system except the module in the dizzy that shorts the coil negative out.  I expect that is where the problem lies, as you've thoroughly checked out everything else.   One check would be to grab an aerosol can of refrigerant used to check electronic components and spray it over the modules inside the dizzy, although it does seem like its time for a new electronic setup in the distributor.

You could check any clearances in the dizzy module, if its a hall effect magnetic one there will be a few thou gap between the arms and the sensor, but I think its unlikely that is your problem.

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If I was you, I would put the points dizzy back in and solve your issue.  Check the low tension wire from negative coil to the distributor isn't broken, or earthed at the distributor end.  Then check the wire from that inside the distributor to the trigger unit (or points if you put that back).  This is what triggers the coil to actually send current to the plugs.  If that circuit fails, no trigger.

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On 8/31/2021 at 9:05 PM, altezzaclub said:

"10. Tested Spark at each plug and wire including directly from coil. ( No SPARK ) "

 

You could-

Disconnect the coil negative, run the high-voltage wire from the coil to the dizzy onto a spark plug earthed out on the body, then earth the coil neg with a  wire that you tap on and off an earth a few times.  That will cause the coil to fire and a spark to jump across your spark plug.  Even better, you could turn the engine by hand to line the rotor up with a spark plug, use that plug lead with a plug in it lying on the motor and short the coil out as above.

That checks out your whole system except the module in the dizzy that shorts the coil negative out.  I expect that is where the problem lies, as you've thoroughly checked out everything else.   One check would be to grab an aerosol can of refrigerant used to check electronic components and spray it over the modules inside the dizzy, although it does seem like its time for a new electronic setup in the distributor.

You could check any clearances in the dizzy module, if its a hall effect magnetic one there will be a few thou gap between the arms and the sensor, but I think its unlikely that is your problem.

Thank you very much for the response. I will try the spark the way you suggested. 

What I noticed with a spark plug testers is this : When I connect the plug tester in line with the high voltage coil wire and the cap, and as soon as I turn the ignition on, I see the light in the tester light up for a second, however that is it. It goes off after that or non existent during cranking. 

 

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On 9/1/2021 at 4:54 AM, parrot said:

If I was you, I would put the points dizzy back in and solve your issue.  Check the low tension wire from negative coil to the distributor isn't broken, or earthed at the distributor end.  Then check the wire from that inside the distributor to the trigger unit (or points if you put that back).  This is what triggers the coil to actually send current to the plugs.  If that circuit fails, no trigger.

Thank you for the response. This problem actually started while the points were in the dizzy. After troubleshooting, and no start, I decided to then convert to the electronic spark setup for ease and better performance, however the issue still exists. The wires are brand new and properly terminated as well. Continuity checks out as I've done all of those basic checks. I'll echeck everything regardless. 

Thanks. 

 

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"1. Converted to  electronic ignition ( problem started prior to this ) "

Ah- I didn't realise the significance of this until your reply above.  So, there's very little can go wrong in a points setup, as Parrot said power comes in from the coil negative (which you checked and has 12V) goes through the body to an insulated terminal that puts it into the points arm. Then it shorts out as the points close & the current flow causes the coil to surge. The condensor charges up and discharges as the points open & shut.

What can go wrong.. 

The wire breaks internally as it goes through the dizzy body, so power doesn't get to the points.

If its on a clip terminal there it can get loose. I've seen them where the motor works until you go around a corner and then it dies as the wire sways.

The short wire on the points breaks

The insulated terminal fails so power leaks away continually.

The points arm spring breaks so they float open and shut.

The screw holding the points loosens and you lose the points gap.

The condensor breaks down internally and bleeds power to earth, or its screw gets loose and it doesn't work.

You can check all this on the bench with the old dizzy in a vise. You can even hook the old coil up to it and have it fire a spark plug.

The new electronic dizzy is probably fine, although it depends on whether you replaced the wire from the coil negative to the new dizzy. The old wire might be dodgy, but if you fitted a new wire it means a real puzzle!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

We stopped in a special stage one time when the motor was cutting in and out & as navigator I leapt out to lift the bonnet and see what was wrong. The condensor (on the outside of the Datsun dizzy) had broken off its tab and was hanging on the wire, sparking as it swung against the dizzy. As it sparked the motor ran, when it swung free the motor died. That never made sense with my understanding of what a condensor does, so I looked it up right now, and its more complicated than I thought!

Technical Talk – Ignition Condensors

Basically the function of a condenser in a coil ignition circuit is to reduce the spark at the contact points as they open in the distributor and thus minimise burning and pitting of the points. Arcing is caused by the effect of self induction in the coil as the points interrupt the flow of current. The resultant collapse of the magnetic field produces a high voltage to be generated in the primary winding which then tends to flow across the points, thus causing burning or pitting. This current flows into the condenser and charges it as the points open.

The rapid collapse of the magnetic field produces this high voltage in the primary windings, which can be as high as 250 volts. This further charges the condenser and the consequent collapse of the field causes a high voltage to be induced in every turn of both primary and secondary windings. As the secondary winding has about 100 times the number of turns of the primary, the voltage can reach as high as 25000 volts. Normally this voltage is not reached as it is limited by various factors such as point gap, compression, engine revs. Etc. so only sufficient voltage is produced to produce a spark at the plug.

As the spark is produced at the plug gap the energy in the coil, stored in the form of magnetic flux, begins to drain from the coil through the secondary circuit thus sustaining the spark for a fraction of a second or several degrees of crankshaft revolution. During this interval the condenser discharges back through the primary winding producing an oscillation of the current flow in the primary circuit for the brief interval that is required for the primary circuit to return to a state of equilibrium. The condenser DOES NOT DISCHARGE UNTIL AFTER the spark has occurred at the spark plug.

This information was taken from a Delco Remy electrical equipment book.

http://www.austin7club.org/Ignition%20Condensors.htm

 

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Hi Moe,

Just read this thread from end to end, trying to work out where something has gone wrong, which is obviously out of the ordinary; as you seem to have tested every individual component, with no positive result, in terms of discovering the issues source.

I gather you drove the car around successfully, with a standard coil, ballast resistor & points, without issue.  Did the car ignition fail whilst you were driving, or did you park it overnight, & it just wouldn't start the next morning ?

If it failed, whilst you were driving it; were you "fanging" it at the time, or just sedately driving around ?

As part of the solving of the problem was fitting an electronic module in the distributor, (in place of the points), that may have exacerbated the issue, if that module was not installed properly.

I agree with the suggestion to replace the system to standard points; but I guess you have done that, & it still does not fire. As you are not getting a spark at all, we can assume it is not a fuel issue ?   Has this engine always been an easy starter, or has it been a difficult starter in the past.  What brand of electronic module did you fit to the the dizzy ?

Here are a few things I've come across in the years of solving this issue on standard ignition setups.

Insulator in the points assembly breaks down & although the points open & close, there is a constant s/c across them.

The fine spring behind the carbon bush in the dizzy cap, breaks creating a gap too big in the spark circuit, for a standard coil with ballast resistor to jump.

If HT leads between dizzy cap & spark plugs,, & centre dizzy cap to coil tower, are carbon track ones (for low noise interference into radio) then they are known to cause issues.

One of the best tests you can do, to see if the issue is LV, or a HT issue, is to try starting in in the pitch dark at night. If there are any HT issues with it breaking down inside leads/cap etc. you will see it clearly.  

There is one little issue, that could be causing this problem, that hasn't been mentioned as yet.  "Timing"  

Timing issues can be caused by breakages, such as a spring breaking or coming off inside the bob weighs advance / retard mechanical mechanism, in the bowels of the dizzy.  Another one, although rarer, is the pin retaining the gear to the bottom of the dizzy shaft breaking & rotating the gear around a bit, before jamming.  In K series engines, we have even had the pin locating the camshaft sprocket, to the camshaft proper; sheer & cause all sorts of issues like that.

I would take out all spark plugs, so it easy to turn over the engine, & check all the timing, at timing marks on the engine, & the alignment of the dizzy rotor button to the spark plug lead points etc. 

I wish you luck, & will be very interested when you eventually find the cause of your woes.

Cheers Banjo

 

 

 

  

 

 

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2 hours ago, altezzaclub said:

"1. Converted to  electronic ignition ( problem started prior to this ) "

Ah- I didn't realise the significance of this until your reply above.  So, there's very little can go wrong in a points setup, as Parrot said power comes in from the coil negative (which you checked and has 12V) goes through the body to an insulated terminal that puts it into the points arm. Then it shorts out as the points close & the current flow causes the coil to surge. The condensor charges up and discharges as the points open & shut.

What can go wrong.. 

The wire breaks internally as it goes through the dizzy body, so power doesn't get to the points.

If its on a clip terminal there it can get loose. I've seen them where the motor works until you go around a corner and then it dies as the wire sways.

The short wire on the points breaks

The insulated terminal fails so power leaks away continually.

The points arm spring breaks so they float open and shut.

The screw holding the points loosens and you lose the points gap.

The condensor breaks down internally and bleeds power to earth, or its screw gets loose and it doesn't work.

You can check all this on the bench with the old dizzy in a vise. You can even hook the old coil up to it and have it fire a spark plug.

The new electronic dizzy is probably fine, although it depends on whether you replaced the wire from the coil negative to the new dizzy. The old wire might be dodgy, but if you fitted a new wire it means a real puzzle!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

We stopped in a special stage one time when the motor was cutting in and out & as navigator I leapt out to lift the bonnet and see what was wrong. The condensor (on the outside of the Datsun dizzy) had broken off its tab and was hanging on the wire, sparking as it swung against the dizzy. As it sparked the motor ran, when it swung free the motor died. That never made sense with my understanding of what a condensor does, so I looked it up right now, and its more complicated than I thought!

Technical Talk – Ignition Condensors

Basically the function of a condenser in a coil ignition circuit is to reduce the spark at the contact points as they open in the distributor and thus minimise burning and pitting of the points. Arcing is caused by the effect of self induction in the coil as the points interrupt the flow of current. The resultant collapse of the magnetic field produces a high voltage to be generated in the primary winding which then tends to flow across the points, thus causing burning or pitting. This current flows into the condenser and charges it as the points open.

The rapid collapse of the magnetic field produces this high voltage in the primary windings, which can be as high as 250 volts. This further charges the condenser and the consequent collapse of the field causes a high voltage to be induced in every turn of both primary and secondary windings. As the secondary winding has about 100 times the number of turns of the primary, the voltage can reach as high as 25000 volts. Normally this voltage is not reached as it is limited by various factors such as point gap, compression, engine revs. Etc. so only sufficient voltage is produced to produce a spark at the plug.

As the spark is produced at the plug gap the energy in the coil, stored in the form of magnetic flux, begins to drain from the coil through the secondary circuit thus sustaining the spark for a fraction of a second or several degrees of crankshaft revolution. During this interval the condenser discharges back through the primary winding producing an oscillation of the current flow in the primary circuit for the brief interval that is required for the primary circuit to return to a state of equilibrium. The condenser DOES NOT DISCHARGE UNTIL AFTER the spark has occurred at the spark plug.

This information was taken from a Delco Remy electrical equipment book.

http://www.austin7club.org/Ignition Condensors.htm

 

Thank you for a detailed response. I've looked over all the things and to eliminate the wiring I did a bench test of the coil out of the car. 

I wired in the coil positive to the battery, the spark plug to the coil high voltage wire, and grounded the plug to the battery negative. 

From the coil negative terminal , i ran a wire and touched it to the spark plug body. 

I get the electric sparks where I touch the spark plug, however I DO NOT GET any spark at the spark plug electrodes at all. This is really stumping me. 

I tried the Old coil and wires, and I also tried with new coil and wires. Both are behaving same. 

I followed this process and exactly wired up like that. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Banjo said:

Hi Moe,

Just read this thread from end to end, trying to work out where something has gone wrong, which is obviously out of the ordinary; as you seem to have tested every individual component, with no positive result, in terms of discovering the issues source.

I gather you drove the car around successfully, with a standard coil, ballast resistor & points, without issue.  Did the car ignition fail whilst you were driving, or did you park it overnight, & it just wouldn't start the next morning ?

If it failed, whilst you were driving it; were you "fanging" it at the time, or just sedately driving around ?

As part of the solving of the problem was fitting an electronic module in the distributor, (in place of the points), that may have exacerbated the issue, if that module was not installed properly.

I agree with the suggestion to replace the system to standard points; but I guess you have done that, & it still does not fire. As you are not getting a spark at all, we can assume it is not a fuel issue ?   Has this engine always been an easy starter, or has it been a difficult starter in the past.  What brand of electronic module did you fit to the the dizzy ?

Here are a few things I've come across in the years of solving this issue on standard ignition setups.

Insulator in the points assembly breaks down & although the points open & close, there is a constant s/c across them.

The fine spring behind the carbon bush in the dizzy cap, breaks creating a gap too big in the spark circuit, for a standard coil with ballast resistor to jump.

If HT leads between dizzy cap & spark plugs,, & centre dizzy cap to coil tower, are carbon track ones (for low noise interference into radio) then they are known to cause issues.

One of the best tests you can do, to see if the issue is LV, or a HT issue, is to try starting in in the pitch dark at night. If there are any HT issues with it breaking down inside leads/cap etc. you will see it clearly.  

There is one little issue, that could be causing this problem, that hasn't been mentioned as yet.  "Timing"  

Timing issues can be caused by breakages, such as a spring breaking or coming off inside the bob weighs advance / retard mechanical mechanism, in the bowels of the dizzy.  Another one, although rarer, is the pin retaining the gear to the bottom of the dizzy shaft breaking & rotating the gear around a bit, before jamming.  In K series engines, we have even had the pin locating the camshaft sprocket, to the camshaft proper; sheer & cause all sorts of issues like that.

I would take out all spark plugs, so it easy to turn over the engine, & check all the timing, at timing marks on the engine, & the alignment of the dizzy rotor button to the spark plug lead points etc. 

I wish you luck, & will be very interested when you eventually find the cause of your woes.

Cheers Banjo

Thanks Banjo for your detailed reply. I'm going to get a 3rd coil to test and then proceed with your suggestions by pulling out the Distributor and checking the mechanicals. 

At this time after bench testing the coil itself , I'm getting no spark so I'm going to test a third one . I'll keep you all posted with what I end up doing to resolve this issue. All your feedbacks are appreciated. 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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Hi Moe,

               Although that being a poor utube video, you have connected it up correctly, out of the car to test the coil, according to the video.

There are only 4 items in your test setup.

1. The battery.   2.  The Ignition coil.   3.  The spark plug.  4.  The HT Lead between coil tower & the spark plug.

The battery is OK.  The ignition primary winding is working OK, as you are drawing current through it, when you touch the wire to the spark plug base (which is battery negative.

The problem is in the secondary (HV/HT side of the circuit.

If it was the spark plug, then the plug would have to be short circuit inside between centre electrode & outside case, or open circuit between, top of spark plug (where HT lead connects) & the centre electrode.   Substitue a brand new spark plug to check that is not the case. 

If is was the HT lead between the spark plug & coil, that is easily proven, by using a new or another HT lead.  They won't have all gone  O/C at the same time.

That only leaves the coil itself as the suspect.

With a multimeter, you can measure the primary & secondary resistances.  Primary resistance is very low.  (couple of ohms at the most between + & - terminals)  Secondary is very high as much as 10,000 ohms)

My guess is that the secondary winding of the ignition coil being open circuit, but I think you advised the coil was replaced with a new OEM one.

Cheers  Banjo

 

  

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Banjo @altezzaclub

Gentleman, I want to thank you very much for helping out with troubleshooting my cars issue. 

I was able to finally get it running today.

So when my car initially stopped running, I had assumed the points and condenser had gone out as per the symptoms. 

Instead of replacing like for like, I decided to upgrade and installed a Accuspark electric ignition system. 

However, this did not fix the no start/no spark problem.

After replacing the Coil, spark plug wires, almost all electrical connectors related to the ignition, new battery, rotor, cap, resistor etc, I was still having problems of no spark. 

Also removed and inspected the distributor and gears and changed  the grounding strap as well as updated to new additional grounds to the block and head. 

I then decided to change back to the point/condenser ( brand new ones of course) to get a baseline.

After a few cranks and testing for spark, this car is now running. I just need to reset my timing but it runs strong. 

I am suspecting that the Accuspark ignition was a DOA for me and will be checking in with the seller for a replacement. 

Thank you once again. Let me know if I can be of any future assistance for you guys from here in California :)

Moe 

 

 

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On 9/15/2021 at 5:31 AM, parrot said:

I doubt your accuspark is at fault.  Your issue was present before you fitted that.

Now you have it running properly, try refitting the accuspark.  Simple enough to take it off again if no good

Unfortunately, it is a bad unit. I retried after the car was running with new points and condenser. checked thebaseplate to make sure there was proper contact etc and nothing. Ill keep the point setup for now looks like. 

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