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Lou P.
Lou P., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 3663
Experience:  Have been working on Ford GM and Chrysler for 15+ years and ASE master certified.
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83 ford f150: 4wd..the Ignition switch module..distributor..coil

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I have a 83 ford f150 4wd 6 cylinder. It is not getting any spark. I have taken the Ignition switch module (the thing on the distributor) off and had it tested and it is ok, as well as replaced the coil (which was bad). It will try to turn over but is not sparking. What else can I try? Thanks

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX i will do my best to help you.


how do you know the coil was bad?????

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
We removed it and had it tested at Auto Zone. So we bought a new one and replaced it. We removed the ignition switch with a tool we had to buy and had it tested and it tested just fine. Thanks.
ok try this, take the ignition wire from the coil and plug it straight into a spark plug and lay the plug on the engine. so the wire will go straight from the coil to the plug we are gonna test to see if the caoil is at least firing.let me know,
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I plugged a screwdriver into the coil wire and tried to arc it against the spark plug and it didn't work. Does this tell you anything? I just don't want to short it out.

yes there is no power to the coil. turn the key on and test the wires going into the coil one should have constant power.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok! Thanks. This is the wife. Husband is at work but I will tell him in abt 8 hrs when he gets home. will you be online then? Let me know.....Laughing I am betting that one of them does not. If it doesn't is it a fuse, or is there something that we can do? And, do we test it with a meter? If so, what setting should the meter be on? He may know all this crap but Just in case. Thanks! you will get a big tip on this I promise..
ok you can test with a meter for battery voltage at the connector for the coil. meter should be set to dc volts. whatever the battery reads is what the coild connector should read. then you could check for a fuse labled IGN or ECM.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Ok. There is power. on the beige/yellow line. same voltage as the battery.


But, when he took the cap off the distributor the "rotor"-round thing on top- is not spinning. He thinks that may be the problem. Could that be it?


If so is this something he could fix himself? and is it worth it. thanks.

ok see if it is spinning while the engine is cranking. ???


can he spin the rotor by hand????? the distributor may be broken or the timing chain might be broken.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You can spin it by hand and it doesn't soon when the motor is turning over..

ok you need to remove the distributor and cehk for the teeth on the bottom to make sure theyre not ground off. heres how it looks. its a general ford picture so dont worry if its not exactly like yours but they all function the same.



you want to make sure that when you turn the rotor or the gear here at the bottom that the rotor and gear turn together, they are connected on the same shaft so they should be identical when turning. the part numbered 12171 is what makes the coild fire when the engine is turning. so if the shaft is not turning then if wont allow the coil to fire.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
do i have to take the whole distributor to do that? and if i do, when I put it back in, I have heard that if I don't get it in the exact same spot it won't run. (mines electronic ignition- i am sure you know) what should I do?
yes you have to remove the distributor. the best way it to align the crank pulley mark with top dead center on the timing tab. then with white out mark the rotor with a line and the distributor with a line to match them up later. then you want to make a line from the baso of the distributor to teh engine so you know where to line up the distributor to the engine. so you can just make a line straight from the rotor to the distributor to the engine that way when it goes back in you know where to set is. i recommend top dead center only because if the marks rub off or something to that effect you are already set to TDC so you can set timing from there.
Lou P. and other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
ok. this is beyond me. I don't know how to put it on TDC and all that. I just don't have the tools. No timing light. etc. Any idea what to tell a mechanic that I am going to have to hire to do without getting screwed? I don't want him to do what i have already done.

well you did all the grunt work. only 2 things will cause your problem of a rotor not turning.

1. a worn gear on the bottom of the distributor and broken distributor shaft

2. the timing chain on the engine is so loose it will not turn the camshaft (thats what the gear from the distributor turn with) and rotate the rotor. so you have a great deal of diagnosis done all you need is someone to remove the distributor and see what is going on in there.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Awesome, here's hoping.. Thanks for your help and we will probably be back.. this is the wife... my husband has had this damn truck forever and will not just let it die. 400,000 miles, dies every five or six months, but it is his "truck." OMG! Sent you tip when we accepted. Thanks again!! :)
oh man thanks for the tip!!. tell hubby drop the ford and get a chevy and the next question you have is on me!!!!!! Lol. you rock have a good one. Lou.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
thanks.. I HAVE BEEN trying that angle for ages! All our friends have the heavy chevys and he won't even go there.. I have an expedition and love it... but its new... :) men and their stupid trucks. Thanks again! :)
hmmmm . you ever need another hubby look me up.... you rock ...... minus the ford you drive but hey noones perfect.. Tongue out so good luck to you guys and the ford and hope it all works out and for some reason i did not recieve the bonus. it doesnt show. but no worries im glad to help. Lou.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
hahaha lol...i come with ford expidetion..02 taurus prior to that and mustang (yuck) prior to that...(90's).... prior to that it was all hondas/vw's....YUCK. this truck has just been hell... I know the page kind of freaked and i didn't get to leave all the feedback i wanted to... it cut me short.. any way I can change it??? I feel bad now...
not that i know of i dont have access to what your screens look like i have never asked my own question. sorry. i appreciate the feedback and dont know what else you could have needed to add i didnt fix anything for ya!!!!!!. no need to feel bad a new camaro will cheer you up!!!!!. next time there might be a ACCEPT , DECLINE , and MARRY ME link. Lol. anyways take careCustomer!!!!!! you are by far my favoriteest customer for sure. Lou.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

oh gee thanks! you are too kind! :) I am sorry it didnt come through though... we asked you a bunch of dumb questions! thanks for all your help and maybe if he doesn't give up on this damn truck, i will give up on him and take you up on your offer! live and learn?? :)

lol, take care.Lou.
hey just wondering how the truck and hubby is doing??