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Jerry, Master Mechanic
Category: Car
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Experience:  ASE master, 30+ years. All makes and models. Trouble shooter, shop forman, service manager
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1985 monte carlo: its getting gas..same problem..ignition module..carb

Resolved Question:

i own a 1985 monte carlo it will not start its getting gas but i dont think its getting fire i have had the same problem twice within the last year and had the ignition module in the distributor replaced twice could my problem be the distributor itself it has a 350 c.i. with a 4bbl carb
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Jerry replied 9 years ago.

Hello Shipp and welcome to Just, Super mechanic here. About your Monte Carlo.

The major cause of a failled ignition module is that it gets over worked, (like us, lol) If there are any worn parts of the ignition system like distributor cap, rotor, wires, spark plugs and even the coil itself. That will give a much less of a module life.

At this point what you will want to do is, first make sure there is power at the distributor's red wire, (the big one) if there is then you can take the cap off, with the wires still attached, fllip it over and run a test light from the battery positive (+) to the inside wire that goes to the pick up coil. (green?) try on both.

Each time you remove the test light you should hear a spark inside the cap. If not then the module is bad. If you do then the pick up coil is bad. Check the wires going to the pick up, as sometimes they tend to break. However, there is a possibility that the coil itself is bad and you would have to check it. Here is how.

If the trouble has been narrowed down to the units within the distributor, the following tests can help pinpoint the defective component. An ohmmeter with both high and low ranges should be used. These tests are made with the cap assembly removed (on internal-coil distributor caps) and the battery wire disconnected. If a tachometer is connected to the TACH terminal, disconnect it before making these tests.

  1. Connect an ohmmeter between the TACH and BAT terminals in the distributor cap. The primary coil resistance should be less than 1&omega.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. 5: Testing an external HEI coil, Test 1: uses the high scale setting and the reading should be very high or infinite. Test 2: uses the low setting and the reading should be very low or zero. Test 3: uses the high scale, the reading should NOT be infinite.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 6: Testing an internal HEI coil, Test 1: measures the primary coil resistance. Test 2: shows the secondary resistance connection.

  • To check the coil secondary resistance, connect an ohmmeter between the rotor button and BAT terminal. Note the reading. Connect the ohmmeter between the rotor button and the TACH terminal. Note the reading. The resistance in both cases should be between 6,000 and 30,000&omega. Be sure to test between the rotor button and both the BAT and TACH terminals.

  • Replace the coil only if the readings in Step 1 and Step 2 are infinite.

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