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Old 08-23-2011, 04:25 PM
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Dodge 318 keeps eating pickup coils

Hello everyone

I have what seems to be a very strange problem and have spent much time searching the web for help but so far have came up with nothing.

I have a 76 Dodge W100 with a 318 that I use for snow plowing and running around in the woods so it doesn't get used much.

One day I was using it and it died, and wouldn't restart, no spark so I tried swapping the ballast resistor with a good spare and still no spark so then I swapped the ignition box with a good spare one, again no spark, then I tried swapping coil with a good spare one, still no spark!

So I figured the only thing left is the distributor so I swapped it out with another one I had and it started.

I ran it about 5 times after and it ran good so I thought the problem was solved, then it sat for a few months and when I went to start it, once again no spark.

So this time I bought a new pickup coil and put it in the distributor and it ran for about 10 minutes and then it died and wouldn't restart, so I got another new pickup coil and put it in and it started but I shut it off right away so it wouldn't kill the pickup coil again.

Anybody have any idea what would cause the pickup coils to keep dying?? I can't find where anyone else ever had this problem.

I ordered a new reluctor and am going to install it but not sure if its going to be any help.

I guess if this pickup coil dies I will just convert to points, I'm at my wits end with this thing!

Thanks for any help

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Old 08-23-2011, 05:58 PM
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are you gapping it correctly? did you test the pickup with an ohmeter to determine is was burnt out?
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:52 PM
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Yes they are gapped correctly, I didn't test the first two that went out but I tested the last one and it is reading 317 ohms, from what I've read it should be over 500?
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:30 PM
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not sure. 317 doesnt sound out of line but you need to check a dependable source for the spec.
I am thinking the reluctor may have an issue, maybe it is weak or almost de magnetized.
However, Those systems were noted for wiring issues, mostly at the connector for the module, also the pins on the module can become loose inside the module and create an intermittent connection causing an intermittent running of the motor.
I would check over the harness real good and at the ballst resistor also. they can break inside and cause a very similar issue.I dont think you are haveing a pickup problem,I think your problem lies in the wiring the module pin/connections or the ballast resistor.I would start at the ballast.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:19 PM
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I agree with LATech in that it's a wiring issue.
Vintage Ford Duraspark pickup coils are known to 'fail',
and it's always the wiring that breaks inside the insulation.
The wire break is in the area of the harness that flexes when
the vacuum advance moves the mounting plate.

These failures occur when the engine heats up and the
insulation expands, thereby pulling the broken wires apart.

That would explain why the new pu coil worked for only 10
minutes.....just enough time for the wiring harness to expand...
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