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No spark from dist to plugs, Got spark from coil to dist but…

Customer Question
No spark from dist...

No spark from dist to plugs

Mechanic's Assistant: Sometimes things that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix. The Marine Mechanic I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Tell me a bit more about what's going on so the Marine Mechanic can help you best.

Got spark from coil to dist but not further down the line

Mechanic's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Marine Mechanic should know?

Mercruiser 0L012408

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Boat
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
1/18/2018
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago
Jason
Jason, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 17,017
Experience: Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.
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Hello my name is ***** ***** am I speaking with? I read what you wrote. There are right ways and wrong ways to check for spark, how exactly are you checking for spark? Are you using a timing light, some kind of spark checking tool, a KV meter, or are you just grounding a plug to the block? Have you done any kind of testing, or replaced any parts yet?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Im checking with a spark tool
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Got it. Now have you done any kind of testing or troubleshooting on your own yet, or replaced any parts?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Rather text, so i can go back and recheck procedure in case i forget something
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I replaced cap and rotor and tested ignition coil for resistance, checked good, and still swapped ignition coil with starboard engine and nothing
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Injectors pumping fuel as expected
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Did you replace the plug wires? Or test the resistance of the main wire between the cap and coil?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Swapped main wire from stbd engine and nothing
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Okay so you have twins? If yes, is the other engine running?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
stbd engine runs perfect
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

A​re you near the boat now so we can take the cap and rotor off the starboard engine and throw it on the port?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
i can do that but as i said before cap and rotor are new from yesterday, still want me to swap?
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Y​es definitely. With Chinese manufacturing defective parts happen all the time, especially defective distributor caps. Are you able to do this now?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
give me a few minutes and i will report back
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Okay let me know how you make out.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok done, want me to fire it up?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Doesnt start
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No spark from dist to plugs
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Can you explain to me what kind of spark checking tool you have? More importantly, do you have a timing light?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Its called in line spark plug tester
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
i have a timing light
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Does it have an adjustable gap that you can adjust in and out, in order to get the spark to jump that gap, or is it more like a neon type of tester? Do you have your timing light with you now?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
i have timing light with me
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Hook up the light to the coil wire. (leave the other end of the coil wire connected to the distributor cap) Crank the engine over. The timing light should flash roughly 4 times per revolution of the engine. Does the light flash that 4 times per revolution, just once or twice, or not flash at all?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Let me get rhis clear, timing light has wires to coneect to battery, those leave disconnected and the wire that is supose to connect to spark plug wire connect to coil wire, right?
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

There are 2 different types of timing lights, self powered and non self powered. If your timing light needs to be connected to a battery to work (IE it does not have it's own internal battery) then you would need to hook the alligator clips up to the battery in order to power up the light itself. After that, you take the timing lights pickup clamp and clamp that to the coil wire. The pickup clamp is directional and it will have an arrow on it. That arrow should be pointing towards the distributor, and not towards the coil. Does that make sense.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Coil wire connected on both ends?
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Yes

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I dont get any light but my timing light device is not reliable its a super cheap version
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Okay throw the timing light on the opposite engine. If the light flashes on the opposite engine then you really don't have spark on this engine. If the timing light does not flash on the opposite engine, then the timing light is going to be a problem. Lets see what happens and see if the light works properly or not.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
We need to discard timing light, not lightning as suposed
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Can you get your hands on another one? We are basically at a standstill without one.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Probably tomorrow, but as i explained before there is a rapid spark on coil to dist wire, but nothing coming out of dist terminals for spark plug wires
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Well your spark tester, does it have an adjustable gap to it? Can you set the gap to 1/2 an inch or so in order to get the spark to jump that gap? Or is it more like a neon type of tester?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
https://www.ebay.com/i/371684333508?chn=ps&ul_ref=http%253A%252F%252Frover.ebay.com%252Frover%252F1%252F711-117182-37290-0%252F2%253Fmpre%253Dhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.ebay.com%25252Fi%25252F371684333508%25253Fchn%25253Dps%2526itemid%253D371684333508%2526targetid%253D376183965041%2526device%253Dm%2526adtype%253Dpla%2526googleloc%253D1015116%2526poi%253D%2526campaignid%253D962373765%2526adgroupid%253D46238024325%2526rlsatarget%253Dpla-376183965041%2526abcId%253D1129816%2526merchantid%253D118851610%2526gclid%253DEAIaIQobChMIlaKk36Ti2AIVwiOBCh2hFguzEAQYBiABEgIZbfD_BwE%2526srcrot%253D711-117182-37290-0%2526rvr_id%253D1419214933765
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

I see it. Those are for lawnmowers and small engines, they are not designed for engines like yours. Those types of testers will flash and make it appear that there is spark output when really the spark output is to weak to fire the spark plug. What you need is either a good timing light, or a spark tester that has an adjustable gap. Click this link, this is an adjustable gap type tester - https://www.amazon.com/Thexton-THE404-Spark-Tester/dp/B0002STSBM That is what you would need. (or a timing light)

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Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

I'm kind of hanging here waiting on you. Are you still here?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Im getting the right tool and will get back to you tomoroow when im at marina
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Okay keep me posted.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok i have a adjustable spark tester, let me know how to proceed
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

G​ood morning. What you want to do is set the gap on that tester to 7/16ths of an inch (the gap between the electrode). Hook 1 end up to the ignition coil output wire, and the other end to ground. Crank the engine over. You want to see if you have even and consistent spark that jumps that gap. You also want to see if that spark is hot and blue, light a lightning bolt. Or if it looks weak and has more of an orange or yellow color to it.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No spark, nothing, not even when i close the gap
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Okay so you really do not have spark then. Give me a few and I will upload the troubleshooting procedure for that ignition system for you.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Injectors dont spray fuel either
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Okay yesterday you wrote "Injectors pumping fuel as expected" Was that a mistake on your part?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No mistake, they were spraying fuel as expected, dont know what happened now, no spark, no fuel...
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Fuses look fine
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Now i have only one injector spraying fuel
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

T​he way the ignition system and fuel injection system works is inside of the distributor there is a pickup coil. That pickup coil sends a signal to the ignition module. The ignition module then sends a pulse to the engine computer, and tells the computer to activate the injectors. The module also sends a pulse to the ignition coil, telling that to turn on and off. So if you have both no fuel and no spark, that can be caused by 1 of 3 things. Either the pickup coil is bad, the ignition module is bad (and this is the most likely issue) or there is a mechanical problem and the distributor isn't actually turning when the engine is cranking over. Start by making sure the rotor is actually spinning when the engine is cranking. If it is, then test the pickup coil with a multimeter. The pickup coil is a pass or fail test, and it will either be good or it will not be. If it is not good, you replace it and retest. If it is good, then the next step is replacing the ignition module. The modules themselves are not testable, so what you do is test around it and rule it in or out by deduction. What you do not want to do is you do not want to swap the module over from the other engine. There is thermal transfer paste on the bottom of that module. If you remove the module and do not re apply thermal paste when you stick it on the other engine, the module will end up burning up. I am attaching a file for you, it will show how to test the pickup coil. The ignition system on your engine is actually made by GM, and not Mercruiser. the ignition system is called a Delco EST ignition system. The file I am sending you is actually out of a Volvo manual. Basically GM writes a troubleshooting guide for this ignition system, Mercruiser writes their own version of that guide, and Volvo does the same. Out of the 3 guides the Volvo one is the easiest one to understand so that is the one I send out to customers. The file will show up at the bottom of this response as a link you can click on to save/print out at home. Give it a read, and if you have any further questions on the issue just let me know. I think that should do it. But I work for tips so I do want to make sure you are happy with my service before you go. If you had a further or more specific question on the issue by all means feel free to ask. If not, Just in case you do not understand the way the website works (and some folks do not). You do have to put forth a positive rating in order for it to credit me for helping you. When ratings are not done, the website simply keeps your deposit and they will not credit me. The ratings box is located at the top of the screen. To rate, you must select the star you wish and also confirm it. Please let me know if you run into any problems or errors when trying to do it. If you do have a problem, or if you can not see the ratings box which is at the top of the screen. Please reply back "I rate Jason's service _______" and fill in the blank.

Questions do not close out, so if you have to come back later on with follow up questions to the issue you still can even after doing a rating.

Thank you
Jason

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Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

I looks like you read my answer and left without selecting a rating for my service, responding back, or simply taking a minute to thank me. Was there something else?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I still have a dead engine
Marine Mechanic: Jason, Marine Mechanic replied 4 months ago

Okay.... So what other questions did you have for me?

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Satisfied Customers: 17,017
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Experience: Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.

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