No Spark

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No Spark

Postby XVC375 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:48 pm

Hi all.

I'm mindful this is going to sound a little 'amateur hour' but I'm really foxed as to what this problem could be....

My A35 was running beautifully for much of last week but decided to get in a right flap last Friday. Whilst on a very short 'trip round the block' to secure a better parking space she suddenly spluttered and stalled. She fired-up immediately, but it was clear she was not running on all cylinders (engine sounded like a bag of spanners and the engine block shaking).

Next day, no joy in starting. I did a spark test and there was no spark obvious at the plugs.

To try and remedy the situation the following have been carried out:

1) Spark plugs checked (all fine and correct colour)
2) Distributor wiring checked (no obvious issues)
3) New replacement coil fitted
4) New replacement 'Powerspark' electronic ignition module fitted (to replace existing of same type)
5) New rotor arm fitted
6) Iginition switch bypassed by attaching wire from +ve on battery to +ve on coil
7) Battery charged (all that cranking drained it somewhat!)

Needless to say she is not exhibiting any signs of life, though the engine turns freely enough. I know it's not a fuel issue as the plugs are wet after cranking and it doesn't look as though anything is seized in the block as there was drfinite air pressure from the spark plug holes on cranking when the plugs were removed for testing.

Sorry for such a lengthy post, but I'm really stumped.

Any help appreciated!

Dan
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Re: No Spark

Postby Hurtzberg » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:16 pm

A chap arrived at an a35 meet with similar symptoms.
It would crank fine but no spark.
His earth lead had fallen off the back of the block.
Andrew

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Re: No Spark

Postby XVC375 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:26 pm

Hurtzberg wrote:A chap arrived at an a35 meet with similar symptoms.
It would crank fine but no spark.
His earth lead had fallen off the back of the block.


Thanks for this - will check it out. It is certainly possible given the sudden nature of the breakdown!
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Re: No Spark

Postby Duncan » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:41 am

Hurtzberg wrote:A chap arrived at an a35 meet with similar symptoms.
It would crank fine but no spark.
His earth lead had fallen off the back of the block.


I would have thought it would struggle to crank if the block had no earth?

Is it worth checking that the rotor is actually going round during cranking?, can't recall where but I've heard of someone having trouble with it not.
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Re: No Spark

Postby gazza82 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:38 am

Dan, I take it the car has been converted to negative earth given you were connecting +ve to +ve .. and the Accuspark module is -ve earth compatible?

I would put contact breakers back for a while as it's easier to see if you have power, etc. And you can flick them open and closed to simulate the engine turning which should show a spark at the coil lead.

You haven't mentioned the distributor cap. Are the contacts clean and is the small carbon contact in the centre still there! I had one fall out when working on my mate's Mini!! Took us a while to spot that one.

If a car dies suddenly, it is usually electrics. Once the small lead between the contact breakers and base plate on my distributor gave up the ghost and I lost power completely. That took some finding (even harder than the dizzy cap contact!!) (And on a narrow bendy road going up a hill!! I was not popular with the locals!!)

Spluttering and misfiring is usually fuel related. Although it could be condenser or coil related as these tend to "break down" rather than fail suddenly.
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Re: No Spark

Postby XVC375 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:25 pm

Thanks Gazza

Yes, the electronic ignition is -ve earth and electronic ignition module is compatible.

I have checked distributor cap - all seems fine. It was only replaced a month or so ago when one of the HT lead screws sheared off the old one!

It may indeed turn out to be fuel related as the car didn't die suddenly and only stalled when I came to a standstill. It also fired up straight away but not on all cylinders.

I'm sure it'll be something simple! :shock:

Dan
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Re: No Spark

Postby philipangus » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:11 pm

Hi

Buy one of these to test for spark at the plugs.

https://www.screwfix.com/p/laser-ht-lea ... pack/61411
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Re: No Spark

Postby David Swain » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:08 pm

I had problems with that little wire inside the distributor cap, that Gazza mentions in His post above, worth a check. :?
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Re: No Spark

Postby XVC375 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:25 pm

Thank you for all the advice.

A productive day spent on diagnosing the issues. The result?

1) Electronic ignition had failed

2) When converted to points, she fired up but not running on all cylinders. A spark plug check revealed likely issue is blown head gasket, confirmed by milky oil and deposits on the oil filler cap

3) I was right to replace the coil as the old one started leaking (!). It was only 6 months old....

Needless to say, a new gasket set and electronic 25D distributor is on its way (to replace my elderly DM2).

I am hopeful that there's no lasting damage as the engine has hardly been run since misbehaving.

Would welcome your thoughts on the following:

1) Any experience on the use of head gasket treatments?

2) I am assuming an oil change is going to be required post-gasket fix?

Thanks

Dan
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Re: No Spark

Postby A40FARINAGURU » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:32 pm

XVC375 wrote:Thank you for all the advice.

A productive day spent on diagnosing the issues. The result?

1) Electronic ignition had failed

2) When converted to points, she fired up but not running on all cylinders. A spark plug check revealed likely issue is blown head gasket, confirmed by milky oil and deposits on the oil filler cap

3) I was right to replace the coil as the old one started leaking (!). It was only 6 months old....

Needless to say, a new gasket set and electronic 25D distributor is on its way (to replace my elderly DM2).

I am hopeful that there's no lasting damage as the engine has hardly been run since misbehaving.

Would welcome your thoughts on the following:

1) Any experience on the use of head gasket treatments?

2) I am assuming an oil change is going to be required post-gasket fix?

Thanks

Dan

the milky oil deposits on the oil filler cap does not denote blown head gasket, 9 times out of 10 that is due to condensation within the engine due to short runs when the engine doesn't get up to full temp, double check spark etc before taking the head off for no reason
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Re: No Spark

Postby gazza82 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:41 pm

And for questions 1 & 2:

1) Snake-oil. Just fit a good quality gasket
2) Yes.

But check carefully as Nick says. This cold weather can decieve.
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Re: No Spark

Postby Alan » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:34 am

have to say its the 1st time ive heard of an electronic module failing.... had mine in for years and no trouble.
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Re: No Spark

Postby splott » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:36 pm

I’d check the compression and the spark with a make shift spark tester (bit of wood and 2 screws, see how good the spark is at distances more than the normal spark gaps before subjecting it to head removal.

Having said that, many years ago my metro 1ltr started leaking water from the head gasket. I picked up a gasket in motor factors in Bath while shopping, drove it home and swapped it in about an hour, so not the end of the world.

I’ve never played with electronic ignition, but pretty sure it’s essentially a magnet on a rotating ring and a hall effect sensor, all in all very solid state. It might not like reverse polarity very much.

Clearly something is amiss, but I’d be surprised if it all went wrong together.
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Re: No Spark

Postby exminiman » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:08 pm

Hurtzberg wrote:A chap arrived at an a35 meet with similar symptoms.
It would crank fine but no spark.
His earth lead had fallen off the back of the block.


:iagree: Does does sound like could be an earth issue.... :whistle:
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Re: No Spark

Postby XVC375 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:12 pm

Alan wrote:have to say its the 1st time ive heard of an electronic module failing.... had mine in for years and no trouble.


Certainly early versions could suffer from a lack of heat dissipation and apparently the use of copper HT leads have known to cause premature failure due to lack of resistance in these leads compared with silicon types. I know there is some debate on the latter point as some manufacturers to not mention using the alternative of silicon leads whilst Powerspark recommends it..... :?
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