1992 Mazda 3

Electrical problem
1992 Mazda 3 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic

My daughters car was not running well so I gave it a badly needed minor tune up including plugs, rotor, cap. Wires seemed ok. After wards I started the car and it ran wonderfully for about 30 seconds after which it stopped and would not start again. I traced the problem to no spark from the coil and replaced the coil. Same issue again, the car started ran for about 30 seconds and quit, restarted again and ran for about ten seconds and quit. Again there is no spark from the coil. Tested wire to coil only one of the two has power.
please help

as update, car started this morning and ran smoothly until I cracked the throttle. Car then stopped running and I haven't been able to start again.
December 6, 2008.

Hello -

Need a little more specific on the car. Looks like part is missing. You have Mazda 3. Do you mean a 323? If so is it just a 323 or an SE?

Next, I understand it is a 4cyl but there are several. Please let me know the engine size in liter, one of my choices is by cc's only. So that would be helpful to add that if you can. But at least the size in liter.

How many miles are on the car?

Next, try to start the car in neutral and see what happens.

Next, if it is drivable, please go to Auto Zone (AZ) or O'Reilly's (OR) and for FREE they can pull the codes to the car. If it still will not start you can use the tool check out and bring it home and pull the codes. Most important: Once they check your codes, if they find something and you don't get it fixed and need to get back with us, please make sure you tell us exactly what the code was, number and all. Example, if the code was E0568 O2 Sensor bad. Then make sure you give us all of that.

Then to make sure I understand. The car turns over but never fires off.

If you can provide the above we can start looking at a few things.

Dec 7, 2008.
Hi, Thanks for your response. It's an MX3 with a 1.6l 4 cyl automatic, 126,000 kms on it. At first light this morning I went out and tried it in N and it started momentarily again. I put it in P and it stutterd a bit
Again, Thanks, look foreward to hearing back from you.

Dec 7, 2008.
Hello Craig

If I understand you correctly you only replaced the one coil....

I have attached a check out you can do for the coils....I would check both. It is possible to get a bad one.

I know you replaced the wires....but please ensure the resistance on them is within limits.

SPARK PLUG WIRE RESISTANCE 16 K ohms per 3.28 ft (1 m)

I know I said to go to AZ or OR to check for codes....that was a mistake on my part since this is a 1992. Do you know how to short the TEN and GRN pins to check for codes?


CAUTION: To reduce the hazard of fire or explosion, ensure that no fuel leaks exist before conducting this test. Do not check for spark near the battery.

Disconnect ignition coil lead from distributor.
With insulated pliers, hold end approximately 0.20 - 0.39 in (5 - 10 mm) from ground and crank engine.
Verify that a strong blue spark jumps the gap.
If there is no spark, check for battery voltage at the coil positive terminal with ignition switch "ON."
If there is no voltage, check main fuse, ignition switch. Repair the problem as required.

Check primary resistance across coil terminals as indicated on image. 0.81 - 0.99 ohms
Check secondary resistance as indicated on image. 10 - 16K ohms
Check insulation resistance between primary positive terminal and coil case. 10M ohms min.
Replace coil if it does not test as specified.

Dec 7, 2008.
Hi and thanks for the response, I will check coil and wires but I do not know how to get the codes. Is there somewhere I can look it up?

Dec 7, 2008.
Hello Craig

I have attached the info for you.

The Diagnosis Connector, located in the engine compartment near the left strut tower, is used to activate and access on-board diagnostic information. ECU trouble codes can be obtained via the connector with Mazda SST #49 H018 9A1 or aftermarket "Scan" tool configured to properly interface with Mazda electronics.

Without these special tools, installing a jumper wire between terminals "TEN" and "GND" causes the malfunction indicator light (MIL) on the dash to flash any trouble codes stored in ECU memory.

I am going to explain it here also.

I have attached how you check for codes. See if it makes sense to you. The big thing.....DO NOT START THE CAR!

You basically put as a jumper wire or paper clip and jump from the GND pin to the TEN pin. Jump them together.

You then turn the car on to where JUST the lights on the dash come on ONLY.....DO NOT START THE CAR!

Watch your check engine light.

The first flash is the first number and the second flash it the second number. So you sit with paper and pencil and count the flashes. It will flash the same number 3 times and then go to the next if there is one. It should always start with 12. So for 12 it will be:

Flash (1) pause flash, flash (2), longer pause.... Flash (1) pause flash, flash (2), longer pause.... Flash (1) pause flash, flash (2), longer pause....

Now from this point on watch and count the other numbers. Say it is 31. It would be:

Flash, Flash, Flash (3) pause flash (1) longer pause.... Flash, Flash, Flash (3) pause flash (1) longer pause.... Flash, Flash, Flash (3) pause flash (1) longer pause....that would be code 31.

The second you see it repeating it self, then turn the car off and immediately remove the paper clip or jumper wire so you don't forget.

Again - I can not stress enough......DO NOT START THE CAR.

Try that and let me know what the codes are.

Dec 7, 2008.
Hi, Thanks again, I did the jump connection and the engine light just came on for about twenty seconds then went off and stayed off.

Dec 8, 2008.
Hi Craig

Well, just so I understand. By my new pic, you did take a wire or paper clip and one end was in the GND and the other was in the TEN. And it had a good connection?

Then you turned the key on and the dash lights came on the MIL light just sat there for about 20 seconds and went off?

Well there is either a problem with that or there wasn't a good connection.

Okay, did you have a chance to check the coils out (even though you replaced the one) with the check I attached? If so, what did you find?

If one of the two coils did not have power. Is the one that didn't have power, is that the new on or old one?

You might check the plug wires. If the plug wires that have spark are on the same coil, switch coils with the wires. If the problem moves it's the coil.

Dec 8, 2008.
Sorry Craig

Here is the pic The red arrows is what you wired together?

Dec 8, 2008.