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Old 11-03-2010, 12:43 AM
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80 chevy without spark.

so, I hope I'm posting this in the right spot, but I have a 1980 chevy c20 that I have been trying to get to run for the past year. so to start I got it from a friend who blew out the th350 I put together a 71 383 010 used the 80's intake on it. the original 305 (maybe 307) was shot so I pulled an engine from a friends jimmy that he totaled.

So here's the problem. I put it all together using the stock hei dizzy, and bought new plugs, wires, rotor and cap. It started right up ran second try (first try I had forgotten to hook the ignition wire up to the starter) I did a rough tuning, and took it for a drive. I took it pretty easy (going 15 in a 10 mph zone) but once I hit the highway, (45 mph) it went 10 minutes and then suddenly died and wouldn't start. a friend towed me home, and then I found out my ignition module had died. I swapped a used one in, and sure enough It started up. I used dielectric grease on the bottom. After taking a drive it died maybe 5 minutes in. I then picked up a brand new delco module, liberally applied arctic silver to the bottom, and put it in. I drove the truck around a bit but after having put maybe 20 hours on it, It died. same thing, ignition module died. swapped out ignition switch and coil and then put in a new one. This time it took only 5 minutes while still idling.

I am a college student who pays for his own college, plus I work full time at minimum wage. This leaves me with little time and little cash. desperate, I decided to swap in the points dizzy I got with the motor. The motor ran great before, so I picked up new wires and a rotor. the swap went well for the most part ( i accidentally dropped the dizzy bolt in the hole so I had to pull the pan). I bolted the ballast resistor to the firewall, connected the pink cable to the drivers side of the ballast resistor. The other side I ran a 10 gauge wire to the + side of the coil, along with a 10 gauge wire to the R terminal on the starter. I hooked up the black dizzy wire to the - on the coil and then installed the rotor, cap, spark plugs, coil-to-dist wire, etc.

So I turned it over, and nothing. no spark. I tried manually adjusting the dwell, but I figured it shouldn't be too far off since it had been pulled running and hadn't been messed with. I double checked everything, made sure everything was the same position as the the HEI timing wise. I was slightly off but didn't seem to make a difference. So I swapped out the coils with another one I had, and it didn't make a difference.

Any ideas on what to try? The one thing I noticed while tracing wires I could get voltage off of the + side, but not the - side of the coil-Is this normal?

I'm practically broke right now due to college loan payment, so I have to try my best to keep costs low.

Is there something I did wrong? when cranking on the engine I do get spark from the points, but none to the plugs.

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Old 11-03-2010, 03:50 AM
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was your points spark healthy . If so id be suspicious of a faulty coil or coil lead not getting spark to any plugs .
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:52 AM
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was your points spark healthy . If so id be suspicious of a faulty coil or coil lead not getting spark to any plugs .
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:06 AM
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if you had healthy spark at your points then you are loosing spark between the points and the plugs . That narrows it down to coil, coil lead plug leads or plugs , dizzy cap or rotor . If you have no spark to any plugs then that narrows it down to rotor button , coil lead or coil . If you have spark to several plugs then cap , rotor , leads or plugs . Thats how id start to narrow down the symptoms
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Old 11-03-2010, 05:53 AM
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If I count correctly, you went through three ignition modules in about 20-25 minutes of total driving. I think there is some other wiring problem you need to find before you are going to keep this engine running reliably. Whatever problem was taking out the HEI modules may also be causing problems with the points distributor.

This article shows how to check your coil resistance on the points distributor.
http://www.secondchancegarage.com/pu...leshooting.cfm

I also found an article that said you can screw up HEI modules when the distributor does not ground properly through the hold-down, and the fix was to add a separate ground wire. Maybe you should try adding a ground wire between the distributor body and the engine, just to see if it helps.

Bruce
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:26 AM
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[QUOTE=slayerpker]
The one thing I noticed while tracing wires I could get voltage off of the + side, but not the - side of the coil-Is this normal?

the points were probably closed when you checked them, thats why you had no light from the test light. Also you said you had spark from the coil but not at the plugs.This could be a bad rotor or as 75gmc said a bad ground at the distributor.If you painted everything up real nice ,like the holdown on the distributor then it could be a bad ground.
Spark from the coil and not at the plugs could also be a week coil but you said you have allready changed that.
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:39 AM
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he said he has a HEI dist..

the last time i looked they dont' have points.. did i miss something??? CRS just may have kicked in for me...
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:18 PM
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its possible there might not be a good ground to the dist, I never checked. Also, just wondering, should I add a grounding strap to my coil also???

I swapped out the HEI for the points mainly because I thought that there may have been some sort of short in the assembly.
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:11 PM
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A bad or missing ground on the HEI module will cause them to burn out fairly quick, been there once before. Do yourself a favor and get rid of the point dizzy and re-install the HEI making sure the dizzy is grounded. Also, make sure the new module is grounded in some way, either through the wiring or the distributor.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:31 PM
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so I attached a ground wire to the dizzy and coil, but still nothing. burnt my eyebrows off a tho after accidentally touching the carb with a wire that was connected to the power block.
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerpker
so I attached a ground wire to the dizzy and coil, but still nothing. burnt my eyebrows off a tho after accidentally touching the carb with a wire that was connected to the power block.
Here are my suggestions:

1. Since you have the points dizzy installed, make sure the points are opening and closing correctly, check the gap on the points. It should be around .016 to start. Once you can get the motor to run, you can check it with a dwell meter and adjust them to about 32* dwell.
2. Have you (tested) by trying to bypass the ballast resistor and run 12v to the coil? From the way you have described the wiring, it seems that you are using a lower voltage through the resistor while trying to start it. I would run a wire from a source of 12v in the "start" position on the ignition to bypass the ballast resistor during startup. Also, check the ballast resistor, it may be bad.
3. Try installing another coil. I have seen these older coils fail at the drop of a hat.
4. Look at the inside of the cap for any apparent problems.
5. Check the coil wire for continuity
6. Make sure the rotor tab is making contact with the cap insert.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:12 PM
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so an update:

After tinkering for about 6 or 7 hours (instead of studying, but who cares about Mesopotamia anyways...)

I am finally getting spark, but I'm still having trouble getting it to fully fire. Right now it will start to fire with the engine turning, but it just isn't quite catching. I'm temporarily running a wire around the resistor, just in case I'm not getting enough return from the starter. I have adjusted the dizzy alot, but all it seems to be doing is throwing flames out the top of the carb and laughing at me...
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerpker
so an update:

After tinkering for about 6 or 7 hours (instead of studying, but who cares about Mesopotamia anyways...)

I am finally getting spark, but I'm still having trouble getting it to fully fire. Right now it will start to fire with the engine turning, but it just isn't quite catching. I'm temporarily running a wire around the resistor, just in case I'm not getting enough return from the starter. I have adjusted the dizzy alot, but all it seems to be doing is throwing flames out the top of the carb and laughing at me...
Throwing fire out the carb is a timing issue and maybe some point gap setting or both.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S10 Racer
Throwing fire out the carb is a timing issue and maybe some point gap setting or both.
yes, but its better then getting nothing....
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerpker
yes, but its better then getting nothing....
True. I was trying to help you diagnose why it was shooting fire out the carb.
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