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Projects No spark from coil, no start

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mister E., May 4, 2018.

    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 557


    Vicky along with a bunch of us have been giving some solid advise here.

    And yes could we be losing the positive at the coil from the ( foot) starter switch when starting ?

    As that wire should have power at all times the ignition is on.

    You need to learn to walk before you can run. I think we are all taking it for granted the op is not 50 years old with 60 years of car knowledge.

    As I stated and a few other make your own ignition circuit as Vicky and some others have laid out going right off the battery.

    As the wiring you are dealing with is shit, and confusing at best.

    It’s a points ignition system really should not take more then 30 minutes to diagnose what the issue is
    There is 2 things and 4 stuffs to figure out.

    Drag this thing home so you can take your time with it. Sounds like where it is the truck has a curfew
  2. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,143

    from Alabama


    Knowns or " Shoulds".......

    Switch should receive battery hot.
    Switched ignition hot to ballast.
    Switched ignition hot from ballast to + coil.
    Coil - to distributor.
    Thus the simple ignition circuit.

    I have no idea what ignition switch was used in a 58 Chevy truck. I assume a simple switch since it has the foot starter. Even if it has a "car" switch with a start ,or a replacement start matter as long as it's wired correctly.
    The main problem with a start switch is accidental ignition hot off the "start" poll. If that's the will only be hot when the key is held in start.....unlikely.

    Ignition hot should be wired to the "on" poll of the switch.....not Start.

    Some of his photos show the green wire wired on Both Sides of the coil! the same time?? another image shows both green wires on one side, the red negative to the distributor on the other.

    Apparently both green wires go into the cab to points the key?
    A green wire is shown coming from a taped up harness into the ballast. Out of the ballast is another green wire......Are these the same wires? This needs to be found out.

    This needs to be traced from battery hot to switch.....switch to ballast......ballast to +coil.

    Me thinks someone made a wrong turn in Albuquerque.

    PS......Someone may have tried to by pass the ballast thus the two wires? Or......Someone may have thought they needed a wire from......?
    Again, those green wires need to be traced and one of them eliminated.
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 557


    C’mon!!!!! Lol
    That can’t be real?!?!

    I’m a known unknown, in the unknown, unknown category!
  4. Oh you bet your sweet pattutie that's real
    F-ONE likes this.
  5. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,207

    from So Cal

    Oh man, I know I laughed reading this thread more than I should. Wow. I realize everyone is trying to be helpful, but damn, not all advise is good advise, I'm just sayin..... the OP obviously doesn't have a clue how a basic ignition system works. Trying to diagnose or troubleshoot a system when you haven't the slightest idea of the theory of operation is not a good idea. Some of you are doing your best to help, but my God, this is ridiculous, you're talking 10 feet over his head. To the OP, dude, just stop and do some reading. I'm sorry, I don't intend to be mean r rude, and I know this forum is a good resource for help and advice, and I post questions too, cause there's a lot I don't know, but you would've been far ahead of the game by this point by just doing a google search on basic ignition systems, 30 minutes of reading would've saved you hours of stressful work and heartache. You say you can't get to it till Tuesday, spend the night tonight reading. Come back to this thread after you've figured out how the system works, and the above posts will start to make sense.
    egads likes this.
  6. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 124


    This is where I made a major goof. I mistakenly assumed MISTER E. has a 1958 Apache truck that had no spark. Because...

    "Hello, newb here. I'm working on a 1958 apache that has sat for a few years and it is getting the dreaded no spark out coil routine!
    Have changed the coil twice with same results. Also the ballast resistor was split in 2 so replaced it. Still no difference.
    I am new to working on these beautiful trucks, but have always wanted one since I was a kid. So part of My dream has come true lol.
    Anyway, its a straight six, starter button on the floor, with ignition/ key switch on dash. Manual transmission, looks to be a 1 ton chassis with heavy spring setup in rear.
    So here is My question, how do I get spark from coil? I know I need new battery terminals and cables since the originals are severely corroded and I'm sure there is a lot that I will probably have to do. But I would really love to get the ol girl up and running asap.
    Any help is much appreciated. Thank you in advance."
    All the clues are there...and I'm a newbie also to HAMB. Most all suggestions are good, and F-One will love this story. Years ago a friend ran a business behind my company, and he had a Ford dump truck.
    His brother borrows it one day, it came back an hour later towed in by a large tow truck. I go around back because I hear all this commotion, a guy trying to push dump truck into a bay with a tractor , only just tearing up asphalt trying to push it uphill. So I suggested why not drive it in? The brother says you can't because all the wiring is burned up, smoke rolled out from under dash. Yes...but why not drive it in? I can get it running in 2 minutes and you can drive it in. Finally truck owner says nothing to lose...try it!
    I popped hood, I always carried a few tools in my pockets so I ran a clip lead battery + to coil +, then small screwdriver jumped solenoid on fenderwell, ign. to battery. It cranked, I worked linkage gave it a little gas, fired right up. "Now you can drive it in" I said, which they did.
    I wasn't trying to be a wiseacre, but that brother drove off in his car mad...hasn't spoken to me since.
    My point is just like others here said it's a simple circuit! Ignition switched power to coil + through that resistor. Coil negative to distributor. That's it!
    The floor starter switch make it easier to should have power going to that ballast resistor only when key is on.
    Other side of ballast to coil +.
    Set point gap .019" (points open by dist. lobe) or 30 degrees dwell if you have dwell meter.
    If you're anywhere near a Harbor Freight pick up one of those free digital vom' s. Or borrow an ohm meter. With key off be sure you have NO voltage at resistor or coil terminals. Check with lowest resistance scale (200 ohm scale on harbor freight meter) distributor (coil --) , then just open/close points. Closed should be close to zero from there to a good ground. Barely hit starter until points are should read infinity with distributor wire disconnected to ground.

    Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk... Gary from Virginia
    F-ONE likes this.
  7. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 1,682


    I knew that....or did I?
    Truck64 likes this.
  8. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,036


    hahaha what if he never turned the ignition switch on when he stomped the starter PLUS its not wired correctly?
  9. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 124


    Just read Blues4U...right!
    It's very simple. Coil is at heart of system, had three terminals. An autotransformer, so a few turns of wire side+ & -- small bolt terminals...then hundreds of turns of wire going up to the center tower.
    Battery "hot" + to +. Then the negative-- side the point contacts to ground.
    Points closed, coil builds up energy, points open...pow! 20 to 30,000 volts out of tower.
    That's it! Your truck has a ballast resistor, ignition switch one side, coil + other.
    A condenser (capacitor) across points.
    Coil hv tower out to cap center. Rotor button turns to fire plugs 1-5-3-6-2-4.
    (I believe I'm right on all this :)

    Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk... Gary from Virginia
  10. Run a jumper wire from the Batt to the coil and it should start, I got a bad new coil once, ck that and the dist cap coil wire and rotor. At least you are still using points, that's a plus, no electronic B/S to deal with. You don't need the condenser on the coil, it's only to stop radio static.
    Mister E. likes this.
  11. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,068


    You really think he knows what the heel is?

    I'm glad that I'm one of those that can figure points ignition issues out pretty quickly, and would hate to be in the OP's shoes. In this thread there are perfect instructions on how to resolve the issue, blended in with a lot of confusion. Today is Tuesday, which is when he said he'd be able to work on it again. Hopefully he is able to sort through the turdbag wiring on the truck and get it going.

    If @Mister E. would tell us where he is, someone in the area would likely be willing to help.
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  12. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 1,781

    from Here

    I'm surprised sometimes how many people (who should know better) insist that the metal case of the ignition coil must be grounded in order to work.
  13. karl share
    Joined: Nov 5, 2015
    Posts: 41

    karl share

    Pull coil lead out of dist cap and hang on to it while some one cranks over motor :p;)
    Vanness likes this.
  14. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 124


    Only while taking a leak.

    Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk... Gary from Virginia
  15. It's Tuesday
    Truck64 likes this.
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 557


    Taco Tuesday ?

    Mister e should be giving us some news right about meow!
    Mister E. likes this.
  17. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 12,182

    Staff Member

    I wonder if we scared him off with too much "help"
  18. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

    Hey folks,
    I'm here today and found some wires that were either fried from a short, or melted together from sittimg in the sun and baked for howerver long.

    A y way, I am replacing wires and marking them as I go.

    One wire in particular tho was not connected to anything but traces back to the ignition key switch. (PURPLE ) in color... Where under the hood does this wire attach? To what?
    So far I have replaced all the others and 2 of them were to the resistor , so i replaced both of those.

    Now am testing for current as I go. As the resistor was dead all the time with NO JUICE / current flowing to or through it.

    But what I need now is to know where the purple wire from the ignition switch goes.
  19. I wonder too. By the time I saw the thread I thought there were too many trying to help a person that seems to have less than a firm grasp on electrical / ignition systems. Please take no offence Mr. E. Sometimes it's better to have less info than more. Good that people are willing to help though.
    Vanness and Mister E. like this.
  20. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

    Photo attatched

    Attached Files:

  21. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,245

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    The purple wire is usually used to electrically activate the starter. If you have the foot activated starter, it won't be used.
  22. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

    I take no offense in anybody or too many anybody's trying to help. Sorry I wasn't around. I am only able to get here to work on her from Tuesday to saturday.
    So if I missed anything, dont think I am ignoring anyone. I just don't get here as often as I'd like.

    And ya I'm only 43, and electric ignition are not My strong suit!

    I am best with a wrench in My hand or screw driver or gaskets etc. Electrical is a b*tch!!
    rjones35 likes this.
  23. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

    I am located in Missoula, Mt.

    Sorry, only just saw this. Scrolling back to see what I've missed.
  24. Dave Downs
    Joined: Oct 25, 2005
    Posts: 832

    Dave Downs
    from S.E. Penna

  25. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

  26. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

    And @ Karl share, only after you do first!
    My momma didn't raise no dummy!! Lol
    karl share and VANDENPLAS like this.
  27. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

    Diagnosed today faulty key ignition.
    Have to wait for new one hopefully tomorrow or next day.

    Will post more tomorrow am done for today. thanks all
  28. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 124


    One wire in particular tho was not connected to anything but traces back to the ignition key switch. (PURPLE ) in color... Where under the hood does this wire attach? To what?
    So far I have replaced all the others and 2 of them were to the resistor , so i replaced both of those.

    Now am testing for current as I go. As the resistor was dead all the time with NO JUICE / current flowing to or through it.

    This time, one at a time please!!!!!
    The "no juice to the resistor" is the major problem. Keep it simple, follow these steps and it's running.
    If you have a bunch of added wires, disconnect the battery then take those wires loose. Tape the ends for now.

    1) with light or meter with key on there will be a wire coming from ignition switch that should have power. Key on...power, power.
    2) this connects to one side of resistor
    3) battery, key on, you should have power on both sides of resistor. Key power.
    4) other side of resistor a wire to coil + positive side.
    5) with light or meter check for a wire either at starter solenoid or that floor starter switch. What you want is a power lead wire (14 or 12 gauge is fine) so that while cranking it has power. This goes to the coil +or resistor side that goes to coil +.
    Refer to the diagram attached, I marked it ST.

    At this point note! You DO not want any wires running through the firewall without a grommet. All wires need to be away from anything sharp or hot (exhaust). With each step it's best to disconnect the battery , when finished connect properly and tight.

    6) a wire from coil -- negative to distributor.
    7) cap off, set point gap .019". Watch as cranking be sure they open and close.
    8) be sure you have a condenser in distributor and rotor button.
    9) bump starter until points are closed
    10) test light on coil +, light on with key on.
    11) test light on coil -- , light should be off
    12) have coil tower center lead connected to a spark plug laying on a good ground.
    13) open points while light still on -- side, light should come on (open points with something insulated, small screwdriver, etc.) Each time you open points, plug should fire..."pop!".
    14) now key on, push starter button, plug should fire.
    15) turn key off (you'll burn points up if left on too long, engine not running.
    16) now all plugs in, coil tower lead to distributor cap center, cap on...start it up! ignition.jpg

    Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk... Gary from Virginia
    Mister E. likes this.
  29. Mister E.
    Joined: May 4, 2018
    Posts: 51

    Mister E.

    Cool, will have to wait til tomorrow to go any further.

    I will keep ya all up to date as best I can.
    And thank you everyone for trying to help Me with getting this rig going.
    I appreciate all the information and all of you. Even the wise a$$es (well maybe) lol

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