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Aaronk227 11-24-2012 08:40 AM

MSD Ignition questions
Yesterday we began running a couple initial engine checks on our new toy to make sure it was all good to go. One of the things we did included disconnecting the plug wire from the coil to the distributor cap and cranking the engine. During this test the coil arc'd to the firewall, but we didn't think anything of it.

After we were all done with tinkering, we went to the start the car and there is nothing coming out of the msd 6-btm box. We followed the instructions on MSD's website and have determined that the box is not working.

My question is, is it possible that this arc could have somehow shorted this box out? Is there some sort of fuse or reset switch anywhere? We are just a little shocked that this component could have gone bad so easily.

vinniekq2 11-24-2012 08:57 AM

the power has to go somewhere. I fried an ignition once myself,lucky for me the dealer replaced it for me. Same thing applies to small engines, if the ignition is not properly handled during tests they burn out.

blwilliams 11-24-2012 08:59 AM

I suppose anything is possible.
Kind of sucks for it to go bad like that.
How long did you crank engine over with the coil arching to the firewall? I have had the same happen (arch) on occasion but for very short intervals with out a problem.
Any chance you had a non filtered battery charger hooked up to your battery while you were cranking?
I believe all of the newer MSD's have a diode in the primary 12 volt circuit to prevent burn out from unfiltered DC voltage, but possibly not.
Is this a new or used box?
Best of success getting your problem fixed.

gearheadslife 11-24-2012 09:09 AM

40000+ volts to ground..
I'd think ya that hurt it..

Aaronk227 11-24-2012 09:25 AM

It was only about a three second crank. There is no power going to the coil from the orange wire coming out of the MSD box, and when you try to crank it there is no spark from the coil. Any other troubleshooting ideas? Is there a way to bypass the box to see if the engine starts then?

gearheadslife 11-24-2012 09:39 AM

if the box is out of warranty.. open it.. it might have fuse on the board..
you might get lucky..
you getting a pulse out of the pickup in dissy

Aaronk227 11-24-2012 10:04 AM

Is it a good idea to open up the box? I've read other forums where people have suggested not doing that..

cdminter59 11-24-2012 10:27 AM

MSD Ignition Help!
The MSD ignition box has a fuse inside. I had a 6AL box that somehow blew the fuse when I was swapping motors. I called MSD and they told me where to send it for repairs. They checked it out for me and replaced the fuse, I think they charged me $35.00.

malc 11-24-2012 12:45 PM

The internals of the box are dipped in something to protect them from moisture and vibration, there is nothing in there that you can replace or repair.

Installation Instructions.

blwilliams 11-24-2012 08:33 PM

40,000 volts to ground.
Sounds like what is happening at the spark plug.
I believe your box should have a white wire as well as a a green and purple with a plug to go in to your distributor or crank trigger. White wire is for a points style distributor.
Blake and orange are to the distributor, small red wire to switched ign source. 10 gauge red and black to a direct 12 volt battery source.
I will presume your ignition is wired per the above.
Hook up a spark plug to the coil wire and toggle the 12 volt switch source on and off. If your box and coil are good you will get a spark.
I do not believe you will see 12 volts at the coil.
If no spark, verify 12 volts at the 10 gauge wires.
Try subbing a known good coil. Continue to toggle the on off switch to the box. If still no spark, pretty good chance something happened to your MSD box.
Any chance you can get a MSD tester to try.
Like already stated, I don't think there are any parts inside that the average guy can replace or test.
Send it in to MSD or tech west for repairs.
While searching for the techwest web site I found this link: It might be of some help to you.
Best of luck in finding your problem.

Greg T 11-24-2012 09:51 PM

Should have grounded the coil wire, NOT removed it. The excess gap caused a huge load on the box. The larger the gap the harder everything has to work. Ground the high tension lead to the fram or engine block when cranking.

cdminter59 11-25-2012 09:48 AM

MSD Ignition Help!

Originally Posted by Aaronk227 (Post 1615166)
It was only about a three second crank. There is no power going to the coil from the orange wire coming out of the MSD box, and when you try to crank it there is no spark from the coil. Any other troubleshooting ideas? Is there a way to bypass the box to see if the engine starts then?

Did you check the small red wire for 12+ volts? Is there a red LED light lit on the box with the key on? The small red wire should be going from the box to the ignition switch. It turns the box on and off. BTW what is the year, make, and model for the car? If it a newer car check the fuse box to see if ignition fuse is blown.

malc 11-25-2012 11:03 AM

The box has to be wired as MSD say, especially the 12 volt feed and ground.
I ran dedicated wires for my box right to the battery in the rear of my car.
Nothing else takes power or is grounded from those wires.

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