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Spark?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mack57, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. mack57
    Joined: Apr 17, 2013
    Posts: 176

    mack57
    Member

    Hi,
    How do I check if I've got spark? Car won't start. It's an '84 305. Stock other than an edelbrock carb. Help?


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  2. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,489

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Pull off a spark plug wire, plug in an old spark plug and lay it on the engine. If it sparks when you turn the key, and it is a good white spark, you are good. If it is kind of faint and yellow the engine still may start. No spark at all, you have some work to do.

    If you don't have a spare spark plug hold the end of the wire 1/8" or less from a metal part of the engine. You should see the spark. If you get a lifter, good news, the ignition is working.

    You may need to skin back the boot at the end of the wire, or if it won't slide, use a key in place of a spark plug.
     
  3. mack57
    Joined: Apr 17, 2013
    Posts: 176

    mack57
    Member

    No spark. So, moving up the line is their a way to test the hei?


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  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,244

    squirrel
    Member


  5. Commish
    Joined: Jan 9, 2010
    Posts: 379

    Commish
    Member
    from NW Ok

    Get a test light or meter, turn the key on and check to see if you have juice to the distributor, the big pink wire. If you do have voltage, pop the cap and look the rotor over carefully, they were bad about burning a pinpoint hole right down through the middle and shorting the ignition out.. If the rotor should look good, you could pull the module out, and take it to an auto parts store, they usually have a tester. That should get you started.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  6. LOL! :eek: A "lifter"... I've got to file that away for future reference. :rolleyes: But you probably don't want a "lifter" if you have a pacemaker. :oops:
     
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,244

    squirrel
    Member

    You've never heard of Johnson Lifters?
     
  8. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531

    aaggie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I clamped an HEI in my bench vise and hooked up a battery charger to the input terminal and grounded the other lead to the distributor body then stuck in an old plug wire and plug into the cap. I was holding the plug and just barely spun the drive gear. Now I know what a lifter is. I could also taste my fillings for awhile.
     
  9. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,489

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Sometimes they chew the gear or break the shaft and the rotor stops turning. I got caught by this once, replaced coil, module, etc, nothing worked because the distributor wasn't turning. I never noticed because I never turned the key with the cap off.

    Check that 12v is getting to the distributor, if not find out why. If the distributor is getting power but no sparks come out, the problem must be inside.

    The pickup moves back and forth because of the advance, after long years and miles the wire can break off from being bent back and forth a million times.

    If the cap, coil or module look burnt that is a clue.

    How old are the plugs? If they have 100,000 miles and are burnt out, the excess demand can burn out the distributor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  10. Get a friend to stick one finger in the end of a plug wire and lay his other hand on the block, spin it you'll know of you got spark immediately.

    or stick a plug in the spark plug wire and ground the plug and get someone else to spin it for you.
     
  11. woodz
    Joined: Feb 23, 2010
    Posts: 517

    woodz
    Member

    I had a friend in high school that would do that everytime we had a car that wouldnt start. We would pull off a plug wire and he would grab it and we would crank it over. If he screemed, we had spark. He had no problem doing this, did it everytime. He is now an electrician:)
     
  12. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,489

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Nicola Tesla worked with high voltages every day for years and he had a rule. Keep your left hand in your pocket, do everything with your right hand. You see if you get a bad shock and it goes through one hand to the other, it can stop your heart. If it goes up your right arm and down your right leg to the ground it won't kill you.

    This was a rule he enforced for everyone working in his laboratory. And, he lived to the age of 87, an incredible long life for someone born in 1856.
     
  13. Rusty
    87 is actually a pretty long life for any of us as well.

    I used to tell people that if they are around electricity that they should always try and keep the hand they are working with grounded. Maybe get burned but burned is better then dead.
     
  14. mack57
    Joined: Apr 17, 2013
    Posts: 176

    mack57
    Member

    Ok,
    After my hair stood on end lol!..... We have power!! Changed the cap/rotor & we are good to go! Thanks all!


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