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Old 12-09-2010, 06:01 PM
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No Power from Coil to Distributor

Okay, so I replaced starter, cap, rotor, points, coil, plugs, wires on my 1973 K20 Chevrolet 350 points ignition. It ran before I did all this, and now it won't start. I've done a fair amount of research but haven't found an answer. Here is what I've done so far:

1) Engine cranks great. Battery is low but I hooked it up to a charger w/a quick start so I'm getting a good, healthy crank.

2) Yellow wire from starter 'R' to (+) on ignition coil

3) Black wire from distributor to (-) on coil and the external condensor to (-) as well.

4) I am getting no spark. I tested the coil at Autozone, resistance is within specs.

5) I put the key in the 'on' position to check for power from the switch to the coil. I attached the voltage tester on the (+) side of the coil, grounded it to the manifold, it lights up to 12V, meaning I'm getting power to it.

6) I disconnected the coil-to-distributor wire and had my wife (haha) crank the engine and put the distributor end of the wire close to the firewall, then brake booster to check for spark, but nothing.

As far as I can tell, this means I am not getting power from the coil to the distributor. Anyone have any idea what is going on? I'm stumped on this. For whatever it is worth, I'm getting a healthy dose of fuel to the carb, but no spark.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for this first stage of the build up, but this is a big bump so far.

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Old 12-09-2010, 06:17 PM
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You have verified juice when in the "on" key position. However, you may need to verify that you have juice when the key is turned further to the "crank" position.
The crank position bypasses the resistor to get full 12v to the coil for starting.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cape Cod Bob
You have verified juice when in the "on" key position. However, you may need to verify that you have juice when the key is turned further to the "crank" position.
The crank position bypasses the resistor to get full 12v to the coil for starting.

Ahh...thank you. I will try that.


Anyone else?
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cape Cod Bob
You have verified juice when in the "on" key position. However, you may need to verify that you have juice when the key is turned further to the "crank" position.
The crank position bypasses the resistor to get full 12v to the coil for starting.

Wait a second, (and please excuse my ignorance), when you say in the crank position, do you mean while the engine is being cranked? I tested it in the 'on' position (you can hear the blower motor turning), but not while the engine is being cranked.

Thanks.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:00 AM
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[QUOTE=6) I disconnected the coil-to-distributor wire and had my wife (haha) crank the engine and put the distributor end of the wire close to the firewall, then brake booster to check for spark, but nothing.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for this first stage of the build up, but this is a big bump so far. [/QUOTE]

The wire I think you are talking about goes into the distributor and is just a path to ground, when checked it should be checked using the OHM scale.

How it works; that wire from the - post on the coil to the distributor will read open when the points are open and ground or continuity when the points are closed. Meter lead positive to the wire and meter lead - to ground.

The voltage path is from the ignition switch too the + poll of the coil; through the coil out the - poll and then too the points.

The points are providing the ground to that circuit opening and closing making the coil produce the high voltage as the field rises and collapses to create high voltage for a spark.

The coil is a step up transformer and a transformer only works with AC voltage. The on and off of the circuit that the points are creating is actually a 1/2 wave AC circuit.

So remove the wire on the - post of the coil let it hang; set the meter to 12 volts; hook up the meter lead positive to the - post of the coil; the meter lead - to ground; turn on the ignition you will see 12V; go to start same 12V .

No 12Vs at start problem solved correct that.

OBTW if using alligator clips you could set the meter on the windshield and watch the readings from the front seat.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:09 AM
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Pull The Dist. Cap & Verify The Points Are Opening & Closing . Many Sets Are Not '"pre- Adjusted" Close Enough To Work. Dave
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PancakesandSausage
Okay, so I replaced starter, cap, rotor, points, coil, plugs, wires on my 1973 K20 Chevrolet 350 points ignition. It ran before I did all this, and now it won't start. I've done a fair amount of research but haven't found an answer. Here is what I've done so far:

1) Engine cranks great. Battery is low but I hooked it up to a charger w/a quick start so I'm getting a good, healthy crank.

2) Yellow wire from starter 'R' to (+) on ignition coil

3) Black wire from distributor to (-) on coil and the external condensor to (-) as well.

4) I am getting no spark. I tested the coil at Autozone, resistance is within specs.

5) I put the key in the 'on' position to check for power from the switch to the coil. I attached the voltage tester on the (+) side of the coil, grounded it to the manifold, it lights up to 12V, meaning I'm getting power to it.

6) I disconnected the coil-to-distributor wire and had my wife (haha) crank the engine and put the distributor end of the wire close to the firewall, then brake booster to check for spark, but nothing.

As far as I can tell, this means I am not getting power from the coil to the distributor. Anyone have any idea what is going on? I'm stumped on this. For whatever it is worth, I'm getting a healthy dose of fuel to the carb, but no spark.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for this first stage of the build up, but this is a big bump so far.
The yellow wire from the starter needs to be on th "I" terminal for ignition.
Not on the "S" terminal that you misquoted as the "R" terminal. If there is any doubt the yellow wire to the dizzy has to go to the terminal of the starter that is closest to the engine itself. (the clearest way to explain it)
That is why there is no power while cranking. The circuit may not have power at all. I would suspect that hooking the yellow to the "S" would backfeed from the coil wich is hot in run and would keep the starter energized. You should look for a missing connection to a fusible link at the starter or to check if one is burnt open.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:15 AM
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First of all, thank you so much for the detailed responses. I've been coming to this site for a while and have learned a great deal, I really appreciate everyones' kindness.


Quote:
Originally Posted by latech
The yellow wire from the starter needs to be on th "I" terminal for ignition.
Not on the "S" terminal that you misquoted as the "R" terminal. If there is any doubt the yellow wire to the dizzy has to go to the terminal of the starter that is closest to the engine itself. (the clearest way to explain it)
That is why there is no power while cranking. The circuit may not have power at all. I would suspect that hooking the yellow to the "S" would backfeed from the coil wich is hot in run and would keep the starter energized. You should look for a missing connection to a fusible link at the starter or to check if one is burnt open.
There are 2 smaller posts on the starter. The one furthest from the engine has an "R", the large middle one for the (+) from the battery, and the one closest to the engine with an "S". As far as I know, the yellow wire from the (+) post on the coil should go to the "R" post--the one furthest from the engine. The "S" post closest to the engine has the purple wire coming from the harness. Could it be that I totally botched the wires? I will check this when I get home. Also, I did replace the two fusible links on the 2 wires that come into the large post n the starter even though they did not actually need replacement, they were just old.

That being said, it is my understanding that even if the wires are attached to the wrong posts on the starter, the starter will still crank the engine and the engine will still run, no? If my connections are right, all "points" to a severely mis-adjusted set of points. I will have to pull the cap and check them. I didn't realize I would not get spark from the coil to the distributor if the points would never close or never open.

Thanks again, folks.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:24 PM
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Not being smart, just speaking from a different angle. The best place for points is the trash. I would bypass all the various power issues when dealing with points by just finding a 12 volt wire that`s ignition controlled and install a HEI. The HEI does everything better than points, not only more sparking power, but there`s no points or dwell to adjust or worry about.
You could also keep your distributor and just buy a pertonix points to HEI conversion unit.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PancakesandSausage
First of all, thank you so much for the detailed responses. I've been coming to this site for a while and have learned a great deal, I really appreciate everyones' kindness.





There are 2 smaller posts on the starter. The one furthest from the engine has an "R", the large middle one for the (+) from the battery, and the one closest to the engine with an "S". As far as I know, the yellow wire from the (+) post on the coil should go to the "R" post--the one furthest from the engine. The "S" post closest to the engine has the purple wire coming from the harness. Could it be that I totally botched the wires? I will check this when I get home. Also, I did replace the two fusible links on the 2 wires that come into the large post n the starter even though they did not actually need replacement, they were just old.

That being said, it is my understanding that even if the wires are attached to the wrong posts on the starter, the starter will still crank the engine and the engine will still run, no? If my connections are right, all "points" to a severely mis-adjusted set of points. I will have to pull the cap and check them. I didn't realize I would not get spark from the coil to the distributor if the points would never close or never open.

Thanks again, folks.
Sorry bout that, didnt mean to beat you up on the lettering there.
The big purple wire should go to the little post furthest away from the engine and the yellow is the ignition bypass to the coil it goes to the one closest to the engine. The yellow wire energizes when cranking the starter to bypass the resistance wire in the harness from the switch. GM uses resistance wire whereas chrysler uses a ballast.(the ceramic thingie on the firewall) ford also uses a resistance wire.
While cranking the power for the coil comes straight from that big wire on the starter via the solenoid internal connection to the yellow wire, then to the coil. Once the starter is not cranking the engine over, the power for the coil comes through the ignition switch and passes through the resistance wire then to the coil. This is supply all available power to the coil to aid in ease of starting the engine.
Sounds like a wire or two crossed and maybe the points arent opening either.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
Not being smart, just speaking from a different angle. The best place for points is the trash. I would bypass all the various power issues when dealing with points by just finding a 12 volt wire that`s ignition controlled and install a HEI. The HEI does everything better than points, not only more sparking power, but there`s no points or dwell to adjust or worry about.
You could also keep your distributor and just buy a pertonix points to HEI conversion unit.

You're absolutely right. With all the money I've spent on the coil ($40!), the points ($30!), condenser, and rotor, I could have just purchased a new Summit HEI unit(!!!). I actually went ahead and did that last night. Parts on these older systems have skyrocketed since the last time I worked on them.

I will eventually install that HEI, but at this point, I cannot let these points beat me. I will get this thing running.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latech
Sorry bout that, didnt mean to beat you up on the lettering there.
The big purple wire should go to the little post furthest away from the engine and the yellow is the ignition bypass to the coil it goes to the one closest to the engine. The yellow wire energizes when cranking the starter to bypass the resistance wire in the harness from the switch. GM uses resistance wire whereas chrysler uses a ballast.(the ceramic thingie on the firewall) ford also uses a resistance wire.
While cranking the power for the coil comes straight from that big wire on the starter via the solenoid internal connection to the yellow wire, then to the coil. Once the starter is not cranking the engine over, the power for the coil comes through the ignition switch and passes through the resistance wire then to the coil. This is supply all available power to the coil to aid in ease of starting the engine.
Sounds like a wire or two crossed and maybe the points arent opening either.
No, no--on the contrary, I appreciate your input. I appreciate ANY input anyone has to offer. I will give that a shot tonight/tomorrow a.m. It has to be a simple solution.
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latech
The yellow wire from the starter needs to be on th "I" terminal for ignition.
Not on the "S" terminal that you misquoted as the "R" terminal. If there is any doubt the yellow wire to the dizzy has to go to the terminal of the starter that is closest to the engine itself. (the clearest way to explain it)
That is why there is no power while cranking. The circuit may not have power at all. I would suspect that hooking the yellow to the "S" would backfeed from the coil wich is hot in run and would keep the starter energized. You should look for a missing connection to a fusible link at the starter or to check if one is burnt open.

You are correct.

Here is a wiring schematic for a '69 Nova, which is common across GM models in that era.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 1969 Nova.pdf (180.3 KB, 187 views)
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:21 PM
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I wrote a wiki article on troubleshooting points style ignition.
Follow it and you will find the issue
It is located here
Troubleshooting
__________________
Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity



Chet
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:47 PM
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the points

Since you are now going to Hei (smart) instead of points, then you need to do a little wiring. The wire that powered your distrib(pos side) runs about 8 volts when the car is running to avoid burning the points and the wire coming from the R term(left of solonoid) to the coil is a power booster wire to increase the coil to 12v when starting only. So you will need a full 12v for Hei all the time, which means ditching both other wires to coil and running a new wire usually 10/12 gauge to the new Hei which is a switched wire, ignition only. Some people try to use the 2 old wires and find the motor breaks up at higher revs, which is due to voltage only being 8 volts when running. Hope this helps for later when installing the Hei.
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