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It sounds like the ignition module(ICM) has gone bad. When it's going out the tach needle will act erratic. It's one of the most common no-start and stalling problems. It's inside the distributor housing, I have included instructions for replacing it. Click on the blue text to go to a parts site for the price.
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You didn't mention that?
So have you checked the ignition module? Tested it?
It's what controls spark or switches the coil.
Guess I am out of suggestions then, sorry. I will opt-out.
Different expert here...
What exact engine do you have?
Do you have a voltmeter or can you get one?
Sorry for the delay...
I wasnt sure when you would be back. Are you still near the car?
Ok, turn on the key. At the distributors wire connector see if the yellow with black stripe wire has 12 volts to ground or the engine block.
Okay you have a bad part in that distributor. Its either the module or the coil. It cant be anything else.
Right but not true int his case. YOu have power so it only can be a defective module or distributor causing no spark. Or in a rare case if the rotor does not turn when cranking the engine, you have a broken timing belt.
The ECU cant be the problem. The distributor is self contained in making a spark. ITs probably a bad module from the start. Have it tested or try another one.
The only test is to see if its getting power which you did. Power + no spark means bad distributor. Try getting a fully rebuilt distributor thats been tested.
Any code thats 0 is a bad ecu in most cases.
What exact engine do you have? Is it a vtech?
Yes a bad ecm can inhibit spark. Its not very common but very possible.
Based on your info, the ecm is not firing the module.
Well he didnt know it was a vtech and i didnt until now. A vtech gets its spark from the ecu so thats why i am agreeing to the ecu being bad. The vtech part has changed my answer.
Its specific to the year because of the timing tables stored in the ecm.