'94 Corolla - no spark

Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • 1994 TOYOTA COROLLA

94 Corolla 1.8L about 175,000 miles. I recently replaced the three belts and the alternator locking bolt. The battery was disconnected during this operation. After re-connecting the battery, the car would not start. Cranks fine, fuel to the cylinders, but no spark. Fuses OK, voltage to distributor OK.

In my haste to get the job finished, I re-connected the battery in reverse order which set off the alarm (factory). This is the only thing I can think of that relates to anything electric or electronic. Or am I the victim of an incredibly coincidental failure of the coil or ignitor?

TIA for any suggestions.

Steve K

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Sunday, October 7th, 2007 AT 10:40 AM

24 Replies

Tiny
FISHERMAN
  • MEMBER

[quote="electricsteve"]94 Corolla 1.8L about 175,000 miles. I recently replaced the three belts and the alternator locking bolt. The battery was disconnected during this operation. After re-connecting the battery, the car would not start. Cranks fine, fuel to the cylinders, but no spark. Fuses OK, voltage to distributor OK.

In my haste to get the job finished, I re-connected the battery in reverse order which set off the alarm (factory). This is the only thing I can think of that relates to anything electric or electronic. Or am I the victim of an incredibly coincidental failure of the coil or ignitor?

TIA for any suggestions.

Steve K[/quote

The alarm. It is working fine?

Some alarms have a relay that "cut" the ignition.
Some "cut" the starter.

The alarm module has an "all time" current input, thats why receives the inverse polarity.
Check the alarm fuses first.
Let us know.

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Sunday, October 7th, 2007 AT 2:48 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

[quote="fisherman"

The alarm. It is working fine?

Some alarms have a relay that "cut" the ignition.
Some "cut" the starter.

The alarm module has an "all time" current input, thats why receives the inverse polarity.
Check the alarm fuses first.
Let us know.[/Quote]

Thanks fisherman!

I had not noticed, but the blinking security system light on the console is not on when armed although the keyless entry works.

All accessible fuses check OK. The alarm module is under the driver's seat and hard to see. Is there a separate "hidden" fuse for the alarm?

Thanks for your time.

Steve K

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Sunday, October 7th, 2007 AT 4:27 PM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
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Hello Steve!

Looks like we are in the right track.

Now I was looking around to find the location of that fuse, but, I don t have enought privileges to have access to the mitchell books.
By any chance do you have the manual book of your car?
They should said where its that fuse.
Its not on the fuse panel.
Probably its in-line with a wire that goes directly from the fuse panel to the module.
Once that fuse its blown it "cut" the ignition.

I ll keep looking for the location, meanwhile can you follow the wires and see where they go?

Thanks Steve.

I ll keep in touch!

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Sunday, October 7th, 2007 AT 4:59 PM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
  • MEMBER

Well here we have (Courtesy of Mitchel) and Paul, the location of the security and Keyless entry components:


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/576_30961_toy_1_1.jpg



let me know if that matches with your vehicle..

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Monday, October 8th, 2007 AT 9:27 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

Thanks, fisherman. The diagram is close but the security ECU is under the driver's seat. Turns out my wife had it installed when she bought the care so it is a Toyota system, but I guess you could call it aftermarket?

I spent several hours today trouble shooting things. My previous statement was incorrect. The alarm system DOES work properly. I just don't, sometimes :oops. All lighting, radio, turn signals, etc. Work. I pulled the distributor cap and rotor and ohmed out the coil and it is OK. That leaves things I probably can't test so may have to tow it to the shop. I really feel stupid since this all happened after replacing belts!

I'll wait to see if there are any other ideas here in the next few days as this is our back-up car and having it out of service doesn't matter much right now. Then we'll have to decide whether to have it fixed or scrap it.

Thanks again, fisherman.

Steve

:oops: :oops: :oops:

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Monday, October 8th, 2007 AT 11:23 PM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
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Hey Steve !
Dont worry!

We can always get back and start over, well then.
How about the fuses?
Did you check all of them? I know you check them but.
(even the Main fuses)?
The ones inside the car and the ones under the hood on top of the left fender.
Could be a fuse.

We are going to start there

(its got a be electrical problem)
let me know and dont call the tow truck yet !

We are going to fix it!

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Monday, October 8th, 2007 AT 11:38 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

Fisherman

Thanks for the boost of optimism.

Fuses were among the first things I checked but just to be sure, I just checked them again. I even checked them with a continuity tester. All fuses and fusible links at each block.

Still no spark. Coil resistances check OK. There is 12V to the coil when the key is on. When I removed a plug to check spark, I did get fuel blowing out of the spark plug hole so the fuel system seems to function.

Any more thoughts?

Steve

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 11:38 AM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
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Hello Steve !!

Fuses Ok
Then check the resistance of the pick-up coil in the distributor should be around 140-180 ohms

Used instead of breaker points, the pick-up coil induces voltage in an electronic ignition system. It's a small electric generator that sends low voltage pulses to the ECU (electronic control unit) as the trigger wheel or reluctor teeth pass by. When the trigger wheel tooth approaches the pickup coil, the voltage builds. When the tooth moves away, the voltage decreases. The ECU senses the voltage changes and determines the proper time to switch the primary current to the coil on and off. This allows the coil to build the magnetic field in the primary windings and fire when the ECU cycles the current off.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/576_Ignition_system_4_cyl_1.gif



Then check the igniter..
You can connect a test light to the negative side of the coil and crank the car. The test light should light intermittently. This would indicate the igniter and coil are both Good..

Well let me know to continue with this troubleshooting..

(we are going to make it work... believe me!)

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+1
Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 12:15 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

OK, Fisherman. Here's what I find:

pick-up coil : 220 ohms (OK according to my book)

Test lamp glows with key on and blinks off while cranking.

I eagerly await your next suggestion!

Steve

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 1:32 PM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
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OK Steve.

Check for spark directly from the Coil pack and see if is sending the spark to the distributor.

Let Me Know.

I ll be around thinking
:)

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 1:42 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

Fisherman,

No spark from the coil contact. I clipped a short test lead to the contact and moved the other end toward a grounded bolt while the engine was being cranked. Started at 1/2" gap and moved in to closer than 1/16" gap. No joy.

Thanks for hanging in here with me.

Steve

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 7:07 PM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
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[quote="electricsteve"]Fisherman,

No spark from the coil contact. I clipped a short test lead to the contact and moved the other end toward a grounded bolt while the engine was being cranked. Started at 1/2" gap and moved in to closer than 1/16" gap. No joy.

Thanks for hanging in here with me.

Steve

[/quote

Hello Steve.
We are getting closer !

You have to check good the Ignition coil. Looks to me like its bad !

OK here are the especifications courtesy of Mitchell1:

IGNITION COIL RESISTANCE
Disconnect wiring from ignition coil so ignition coil is isolated from system. Using ohmmeter, check primary resistance between ignition coil positive (+) and negative (-) terminals. See Fig. 3.
Check secondary resistance between ignition coil positive (+) terminal and high tension terminal (coil wire tower).
Replace ignition coil if resistance is not within specification.

IGNITION COIL RESISTANCE

Primary : 1.11 - 1.75

Secondary : 9000 - 15,700

you just check the primary but not the secondary.

Let me know

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 8:03 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

Fisherman,

I made brief mention of checking the coil in a previous post. Both primary and secondary are within specification with primary wires disconnected.

Steve

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 8:38 PM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
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OK I thought that you just check the primary. :)

well. If the Igniter its good the pick-up coil is good and the "test light" gave us "pulses" we ran out of options but the ignition coil.

What do you think? :Oops:

Let me check the electric diagram.

Something else you said:
Test lamp glows with key on and blinks off while cranking. That means that the test light blinks "on-off"?

Let me know.

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 8:59 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

Yes, the test light is connected from the negative terminal of the coil to ground and glows with key on and then blinks while the engine cranks. The off "blinks" are shorter than the on time but I would expect that since the ignitor appears to ground the negative terminal when it wants a spark.

Steve

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 9:24 PM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
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Yes, the test light is connected from the negative terminal of the coil to ground and glows with key on and then blinks while the engine cranks. The off "blinks" are shorter than the on time but I would expect that since the ignitor appears to ground the negative terminal when it wants a spark.

Steve[/quote:7109e39f47]

Hey Steve.
The way I use the test light its with the (+) of the coil on one end and the negative side of the coil on the another.

That way if the igniter and the pick-up coil are both good the test light should be On-Off-On-Off (blinking when cranking but off when not cranked)

Let me Know. :)

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 AT 10:09 PM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

Fisherman,

The test lamp across the coil would blink on when the ignitor grounds the negative terminal. The test lamp from negative terminal to ground would do just the opposite. In either case, the ignitor seems to be grounding the (-) terminal of the coil as it should.

I may not be much of a shade-tree mechanic anymore but I've been designing electronics professionally for more than 40 years. Not a boast. Just want to let you know that I know my way around a voltmeter or test lamp.

That said, if the coil tests good, the pickup tests good, everything else on the car seems to work, and the ignitor seems to be trying to fire the coil, where the ((*&%(*&#) is the spark going?

And all this because I changed some belts:cry:

Steve

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2007 AT 12:01 AM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
  • MEMBER

[/quote:b2062ac07a]

Hello Steve.

I see that you re good with the voltmeter.

Hey. Have you tried to "cook the spark"?
I mean disconnecting the negative side of the coil (leave the positive that comes from the ignition) pulse a ground to the negative side of the coil and check for spark. (As you checked).

What can I said?

Just for those &*%& % belts! :) :)

(just kidding)

I bet you a diet coke that the problem its the coil pack.

:)

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2007 AT 9:04 AM
Tiny
ELECTRICSTEVE
  • MEMBER

Well, fisherman, it is looking like I owe you that diet coke or six. The only spark that was produced when I grounded the (-) terminal (disconnected from the ignitor) were the sparks from the test lead where I touched the (-) terminal.

It finally dawned on me! Since the primary and secondary share a common terminal but have very different resistances they could test OK with an ohmmeter even though they were shorted internally. That appears to be the case here. I put 12V across the primary and it appears on the HV terminal of the secondary.

Let me know if you agree.

Thanks,
Steve

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2007 AT 10:33 AM
Tiny
FISHERMAN
  • MEMBER

Quote / Well, fisherman, it is looking like I owe you that diet coke or six. The only spark that was produced when I grounded the (-) terminal (disconnected from the ignitor) were the sparks from the test lead where I touched the (-) terminal.

It finally dawned on me! Since the primary and secondary share a common terminal but have very different resistances they could test OK with an ohmmeter even though they were shorted internally. That appears to be the case here. I put 12V across the primary and it appears on the HV terminal of the secondary.

Let me know if you agree.

Thanks,
Steve quote

Hey Steve !

I saw that before (a couple off times.) The coils tested good but. No spark or weak spark.

Well I m almost tasting that ice-cold Diet coke ! :D

do you plan to buy that coil pack?

I want a hear that Brooooouummmm!

:)

We are Agree then?

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2007 AT 10:52 AM

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