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Ran boat from Fort Myers to Jupiter with no problem. Stopped…

Ran boat from Fort...

Ran boat from Fort Myers to Jupiter with no problem. Stopped for the night, left next morning made 3 miles and port engine shut down. pulled coil wire and no spark when turning engine over. came back to marina and replaced engine coil. started right up. left this morning and it did the same thing. i have ordered a new Distributor over night and will replace tomorrow.

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

This is(###) ###-####engines, electronic ignition.

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Answered in 2 hours by:
2/15/2018
Jason
Jason, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 17,481
Experience: Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.
Verified

H​ello my name is ***** ***** am I speaking with? I read what you wrote. Do you have a model or serial number on your engines so that I can properly identify exactly what engine, and which ignition system, you have on those engines?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
j ason, its a 454 Corvette, 1978 or 79, Distributor tag says Marine SAE - J1171 Prestolite,IDU 7801 the number after the one is either an 8 or B followed by 6 Y

G​ood morning. Unforunately those numbers don't tell me which ignition system you have. Can you take a picture of ignition coil and the distributor for me. On the distributor, can you take 2 pictures of that. 1 with the cap on, and 1 with the cap removed, so I can see what is on the inside of it.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Can you give me email address it won't let me attach to this

W​e don't work through email here. If you click this link and then scroll down to "other" it will explain how to upload pictures directly to the website. - http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/topics/142

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Okay I see it. That is what is called a Prestolite BID distributor. What kinds of questions did you have for me on the issue?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
PLEASE READ THE ORIGINAL QUESTION AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS STRING?

I ​did. There are no questions in there. Here is what I see;

"ran boat from Fort Myers to Jupiter with no problem. Stopped for the night, left next morning made 3 miles and port engine shut down. pulled coil wire and no spark when turning engine over. came back to marina and replaced engine coil. started right up. left this morning and it did the same thing. i have ordered a new Distributor over night and will replace tomorrow.

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

This is(###) ###-####engines, electronic ignition."

That's what I see. Is there some sort of question in there that I am not seeing?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I AM ASKING IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO CHECK WHILE WAITING FOR PART, OR DO YOU THINK I AM ON THE WRIGHT TRACK??

When the engine had no spark, d​id you check your voltages at the coil to make sure it was not a low voltage problem, or disconnect the tachometer to see if spark returned? (A failing tach can cause the ignition coil to short out)

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I had voltage to the coil but i did not disconnect the tach, I did not think about the tach. both tachs are only 1 year old, do you think i should disconnect the tach until i finish my trip? we have about 150 mile to go.

O​n this style of ignition system is if the tachometer is faulty it will short the coil and there will be no spark. Basically, if you brought this boat to me, what I would do is the following;

1. Duplicate the problem, and wait until there is no spark.

2. Disconnect the tach and see if spark returns. If it does, then the tach is bad. If it does not, then I move on to the next step.

3. Check the voltage at the ignition coil with both the key in the START and RUN positions. Voltage to the coil comes from 2 different places depending on what the engine is doing. When the engine is cranking over, but not yet actually started, the voltage comes from what is called a "bypass terminal", and this bypass terminal is part of the starter solenoid. When the engine is actively cranking over, voltage needs to be at least 10V. If it is lower than that, the main battery cables need to be checked for corrosion, and the voltage should be checked directly at the starter solenoid bypass terminal. The solenoid has electrical contacts inside of it, and just like any other electrical contact, they will eventually start to burn up, causing a low voltage issue. If voltage is good when the engine is cranking, next it needs to be checked with the key in the RUN position. Once the engine is up and running, and you let go of the key and allow the key to fall back to the RUN position, voltage to the coil now comes from the key switch. When running, voltage should now be 12V to 14V. It's the same thing with the key switch, if the contacts inside of that are starting to burn up, you can get low voltage to the coil. Does that all make sense to you.

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F​inally, if the voltages are all good, and if the tach is not the issue. The next step is to test the electrical resistance of the ignition coil. It should read in the 1 ohm ballpark across the primary windings (between the 2 small studs on the coil) and it should read roughly 10K ohms across the secondary windings (between the small negative stud and the center of the coil, where the spark plug wire connects). That will tell you if the coil is good or bad. It is a pass or fail test, and the coil will either pass or it will not. If it fails, it gets replaced and everything gets retested. If it passes, then on this system there is no other choice to replace the distributor as parts for the Prestolite BID system are no longer available. 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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It looks like you read my answer and then 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
jason, i ordered a complete distributor from west marine, suppose to be in by 3:00. i hope its the correct one. I am going to check the ohms on the new coil while waiting, i will do the review for you when we are done.

Okay

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I checked the ohms like you said on the new coil, between the two small terminals it reads 6.5 both ways. between the coil wire terminal and either small terminals it reads 9. I ohmed the coil wire it is 8 oms.
Which wire should the tach be connected to? it is connected to the positive side of coil.

The tach would be connected to the negative side of the coil.

I don't know what you mean by "between the coil wire terminal and either small terminals it reads 9​" Is that 900, 9000 or just 9 ohms? More importantly, when doing these types of tests the first step is always duplicating the problem first. Because the engine does not run, there is no way to duplicate the problem. It is common for these types of components to work when cold, fail when hot, and then work again once cold all due to expansion and contraction. When the boat runs the engine compartment gets up to about 180F or so. So what you can do to simulate that is set your oven as low as it will go. Throw the coil in there, and let it "bake" for an hour or so. Then, take it out, and before allowing it to cool down, re-take the measurments. The measurments will always vary a little bit between a hot and a cold coil, but they should not vary by more than about 15%. If they do, or you get some kind of open or short circuit, then the coil is confirmed bad. If the numbers more or less stay what they were when the coil was cold, then the coil is going to be good.

Jason
Jason, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 17,481
Experience: Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I just want you to know what is happening. the distributor i received has to have an external resistor, these engines do not have a resistor, i have one ordered for tomorrow and will install then.I am hoping it turns out to be the Tach. thanks for the tach advise, i think they have it connected to the positive side of the coil, the tach was working. I will check when i get the engine running.

H​mmm.... What did you end up getting for a distributor? Did you get a distributor for a points and condenser ignition system? Do you have any kind of link to the distributor that you purchased?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I bought the dist through Sierra,Its electronic just have to get coil with eternal resistor. suppose to be here tomorrow.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
jason, replaced distributor .and ignition coil. test drove boat and boat ran fine. if you want the part number that replaces them old Prestolite dist. Seirra #18-54042 West Marine #136262. it is a Mallory Ing System. Have to use a coil with internal resistor or add one in pos side. dont like to add the resistor in a gas boat so i went with the coil with internal resistor. thanks for you help, we should be on our way again tomorrow.

G​lad to hear it!

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