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Old 12-29-2008, 07:02 PM
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HEI no spark help me please

I have finally got around to getting my 52 chevy started and i am having trouble getting spark. It has a new HEI distributor and the wiring harness is new. I dont really know where to start. I Am getting 12volt to the bat terminal of the distributor but that drops to about 9 when i am cranking. I changed the ignition module and changed to a old cap i had around, but still no luck. Any ideas where to go from hear?

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:08 PM
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Didn't forget the rotor button didya?

9 volts sounds a little low but it should still spark. Better re-check things.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadsled7
I have finally got around to getting my 52 chevy started and i am having trouble getting spark. It has a new HEI distributor and the wiring harness is new. I dont really know where to start. I Am getting 12volt to the bat terminal of the distributor but that drops to about 9 when i am cranking. I changed the ignition module and changed to a old cap i had around, but still no luck. Any ideas where to go from hear?
Man, there's nothing more frustrating than when new parts don't work.

I would start by verifying that there is no spark by pulling a plug wire and checking for spark at the plug. Also, pull a plug and check the gap. Just to be sure.

Check the rotor and the coil contact (like C-10 said). (manufacturing defect? You never know). Try to turn the rotor by hand - make sure everything feels as it should. You should be able to turn it a few degrees in one direction, then it should spring back to where it was.

Crank the engine with the distributor cap removed to prove the distributor is turning.

Disconnect the tach wire if it has one, and try to start the engine. Unlikely, but easy to check.

Disconnect the Batt wire from the HEI and run a temporary wire to power the distributor directly from the battery. Just to rule out any wiring problems.

Check your engine and battery ground connections. 9v while cranking is excessively low. It can mean one or more of the following things:
1. Weak battery
2. Poor grounds
3. Running a 6v starter on 12v.

Hope this helps, otherwise...
Go to Google and copy and paste the following into the search line:

site:http://www.hotrodders.com HEI no spark

I'm sure your answer is on this site somewhere.


Joe G.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:00 PM
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Sparky

How are you testing for spark? Any chance you have another HEI coil around?

You said this is a new HEI distributor? Brand name?

I KNOW this has nothing to do with this....but just to throw something out of left field .....this was originally a 6 volt car right? Was it recently converted to 12v? Generator or Alternator?
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:59 PM
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An HEI likes 12 volts, use a solinoid if you have to.
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:39 AM
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any solid state dist has a minumum DCV "turn on voltage" where it will operate...
determined by the "step down" transformer which converts 12V to 5VDC solid state for the module....

your problem is at the starter or cables, it shouldn't be pulling the voltage down to only 9V...
most/many HEI's don't do well for "turn on" with less than 10-11V...
when a starter is pulling the voltage down to only 9 it is telling you something is wrong in the starter system....

simple to test/prove:
hook up jumpers to a running car so there is 14V available to the starter while cranking and alot more amps,,,it will likely start and prove the ign is working fine....

next, just hook a batt cable from batt neg terminal to the body of the starter (or onto the alum bell housing close to it) and see if it starts,,,if it does you need to improve your cables and add more grounds supply for the starter....

last, take the starter motor to a store for a free test to determine if the windings insulation(!!!!) and/or brushes are shot causing it to pull to many amps....

Last edited by red65mustang; 12-30-2008 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:34 PM
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The HEI wants at least 11 volts to be happy. I would guess you either have a bad connection or you need a new battery or possibly your starter is bad and drawing the vlotage down to much. I would first check the cranking voltage at the battery and at the bat terminal of the HEI to see they are the same. If not you most likely have a bad connection or miswired harness. Do you know if your harness has a built in resistor wire, if so you could have something wired wrong so the resistor wire is being used for the feed while cranking.

The HEI does not require a resistor wire or balast resistor and should be feed full battery voltage all the time. You will burn up the module if you keep feeding it low voltage.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:00 AM
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good point Chet!!!!
(I totally missed that it is a 52' when I read the question,,, which would be points!!!)

simple test to determine if there is a ballast resistor on the ign key feed dropping the volts to 9:

run a jumper from the starter motor connect lug to the coil positive...

that makes a second parallel circuit with full batt volts to the dist while cranking,,,bypasses the dash harness...
(which is how points were wired with a second solonoid terminal marked "I" for ign which is "on" while cranking)

if it does start with the jumper,,,you do want to find and remove the ballast resistor or ballast resistor wire (usually hot pink and very soft) so that the HEI does get full volts and amps at all rpms....
(the alt output doesn't fully over power the resistor till around 2500rpms typically)

Last edited by red65mustang; 12-31-2008 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:18 PM
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Thanks for the input. I was searching around and found some info on my distributor. Its a Pro comp brand i found on ebay, i guess there has been issues with these. I put a different distributor in today and it works as should.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:45 PM
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Quality

I suspected the quality of the new distributor you put in. It's not the first time a new but cheap part didn't work.

I don't go cheap on electrical parts, or many other things for that matter ...you usually have to pay for quality...but someone once said: "I never regretted buying the very best".

Glad you got it running!

Steve
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