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RIP, Lead Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 5591
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician, L1 Adv Level, Ca Smog License, Chrysler Aftermarket Training.
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78 dodge: problem getting spark i have done every thing

Resolved Question:

i have a 78 dodge w150 318s/b i haveing problem getting spark i have done every thing
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  RIP replied 9 years ago.

Hi, welcome to Just Answer.

Sounds like you either have a faulty Pickup Coil inside the distributor, an air gap adjustment, or a faulty Distributor. Be sure you have 12 volts to the ignition coil as well...we don't want to overlook a bad ignition switch or power supply problem. below are the procedures on the Pickup Coil.

1972-83 MODELS


Air Gap


See Figures 1, 2 and 3

  1. Raise the hood or engine compartment lid.

  2. Remove the distributor cap.

  3. Align one reluctor tooth with the pole piece pickup coil. If the truck is equipped with an automatic transmission, bump the starter motor using the key. If it is equipped with a manual transmission, place the truck in 3rd or 4th gear and roll the truck until the tooth is aligned.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 1: Air gap adjustment on a single pickup distributor


Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 2: Single pickup distributor-1972-86 V8 engines


Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 3: Single pickup distributor with Electronic Spark Advance (ESA)-V8 engines


  1. Loosen the pickup adjusting screw. On 1972-76 models, insert a 0.008 in. (0.20mm) feeler gauge. On 1977 and later models, insert a 0.006 in. (0.15mm), feeler gauge. The gauge should not fit into the gap. Do not try to force it in.

  2. Apply vacuum to the vacuum unit and crank the engine. The pickup pole should not hit the reluctor teeth. If it does hit, readjust the gap. If it only hits on one side, the distributor shaft is probably bent and must be replaced.

  3. Install the distributor cap.



See Figures 4 and 5

In the dual pickup distributor, the start pickup is identified by a two-prong male connector. The run pickup is identified by a male and a female plug.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 4: Air gap adjustment on a dual pickup distributor


Start Pickup:

To adjust the air gap on the start pickup, follow the previous procedure for single pickup distributors.

Run Pickup:

  1. Align one reluctor tooth with the pickup coil tooth.

  2. Loosen the pickup coil hold-down screw.

  3. Insert a non-magnetic feeler gauge 0.012 in. (0.4mm) between the reluctor tooth and the pickup coil tooth.

  4. Adjust the air gap so that contact is made between the reluctor tooth, feeler gauge and pickup coil tooth.

  5. Tighten the hold-down screw.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 5: Dual pickup distributor-1981-86 6-cylinder engines


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