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david craig
david craig,
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 573
Experience:  owner/mechanic at 3D Automotive
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It was hesitating from a start and now it won't start.

Customer Question

It was hesitating from a start and now it won't start. fairly sure it's getting fuel so I was looking for a safe way to test the coil.
JA: Has the vehicle turned into a gas hog? And how does it start -- same as usual?
Customer: it was getting 21 miles to the gallon to not bad for a 30 year old car never had a problem starting until it stalled in my driveway and hasn't started since.
JA: What is the model/year of your Pontiac?
Customer: 1985 Fiero 2.5 duke with 5-speed
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Yes I want to fix it myself. So far I was checking the fuel system when it died completely the injector had a nice cone shaped spray and I can hear the pump kick on when the key is turned. Opened the air filter to let it breath. WHile it was still running I disconnected the O2 sensor to check it in closed loop mode and when I first got the car I checked the timing.
JA: Anything else you think the mechanic should know?
Customer: It has an Idle air control valve code in the ecm but I think it comes from engine breaking with the VSS not sending.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  david craig replied 2 months ago.

Hi Im Dave,

. The easiest thing to do, is to take off the distributor cap (don't disconnect the plug wires) and look at the metal contacts on the inside. If they are covered with corrosion (flaky white stuff), then take a screwdriver and scrape it off. Note that if it is very corroded, it may mean the contacts are too worn and need replacing. If your cap needs replacing, your wires probably do too. But you can test a few other things for free, before you spend the $20-$30 for a new cap, rotor, and set of wires.

One of the most common causes of ignition problems on the Fiero is the ignition module. Many parts stores will test it for free, or you can buy a $30 tester that will do it for you.

If you don't have anywhere handy that will test it for free, disconnect the wire leading from the coil, at the distributor. Set it so that it is next to something metal, like one of the nuts on top of the strut tower. Have someone crank the car, while you watch (not too closely!). You should see an arc of electricity from the wire to the metal. If not, your coil is not firing. This means either your coil is bad, or your ignition module is bad.

If it did arc, then check the individual spark plug wires in the same way. You should see a nice blue arc every time. If you get a good spark on some wires, and not on others, replace the wires. Then re-test. If you get the same results, replace the distributor cap and rotor.

If the hold-down bolt on the distributor is missing or if you have removed the distributor, it may have become turned enough so that the timing is too far off to start the car. You will have to set the timing to fix it. If the distributor was removed, you may have to re-time the engine.

Expert:  david craig replied 2 months ago.

do you still need assistance?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No your answer was what I expected. I was just hoping for a coil test method that didn't require sparking against the chassis.
Expert:  david craig replied 2 months ago.

theres really no danger in that way. just be careful....

Expert:  david craig replied 2 months ago.

any progress ??

Expert:  david craig replied 2 months ago.

please rate my service as it is the only way I get credit for my assistance. thanks and have a good day........

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