Category Archive Symptoms of a bad msd ignition box


Symptoms of a bad msd ignition box

Ignition module failure is no joke because it often leaves you stranded. The complaint is the engine cranks normally, but does not start. The cause of an ignition control module failure is often associated with age and damage from heat buildup.

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The correction for this issue becomes the replacement of the failed component. Here in this brief article we'll talk about three popular generations of control modules known for a high failure rate. This article focuses on General Motors automobiles from the last 30 years. We start on covering vehicles from the mids and progress through the model year.

When I say high and dry I'm talking about a vehicle that cranks around, but will not fire up. Most of the original modules installed in Chevrolet distributors from the mids through the mids shared the same solid-state design. General Motors designed them to last for the life of the vehicle. However the 4. It's not uncommon the find a Chevrolet Silverado pickup from the early 90s with more thanmiles on the 5. The same can be said for the Chevrolet Blazer or S pickup truck that carries the 4.

These engines need ignition modules before they head to the junkyard. On a technical note, make sure you apply dielectric grease to the heat sink before you install the new part.

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We have more on that below. These old distributors let air in through the bottom and vent it through the top of the distributor cap. If these become clogged corrosion and heat buildup can cook the new module.

In General Motors redesign the ignition module discussed above. They used it on about 10 years worth of vehicles.

Troubleshooting Techniques

With that said, these parts didn't hold up as well or as long as the ignition modules from the previous generation. These parts found their way into the same V-8 and V-6 engines mentioned above. However, they now call them Vortec motors. Some popular vehicles with high sales figures carried these types of ignition modules. This also includes the pickup trucks and cargo vans. What's interesting about this common ignition module failure is the way it goes out.

When the second generation modules go bad the vehicle starts up and runs good until it gets hot. After the engine cools down the vehicle might restart and run fine until it gets hot again. This cycle happens over and over again until you replace the component. Intermittent malfunctions become hard to find, but the way this module fails is common knowledge around experienced mechanics. Sidebar: In some cases the Vortec plastic distributor fails before the ignition module.

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In the early 90s General Motors started to do away with the distributor, cap and rotor we all loved since the turn-of-the-century. GM decided they didn't need all those moving parts.

Now they would receive data from a crankshaft and camshaft position sensor and use this information to fire each plug directly. Hence, direct ignition became popular. On the V-6 engines like the and the series from General Motors, both used this early form of direct ignition.

Three coil packs sit on top of the ignition module. Each coil pack fires two spark plugs at precisely the right moment.Login or Sign Up.

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Troubleshooting Techniques

MSD 6AL dying? Previous 1 2 template Next. Posts Latest Activity. Page of 2. Filtered by:. Scott Liggett. September 16,PM. Every now and again, when I try to start the car, it spins like there is no spark.

You know how the engine seems to spin faster when there isn't spark to slow it down or fight the compression. At first, I thought I just flooded. But, the usual fixes to get a flooded engine started don't work. After a few minutes of sitting, the car will start right up. Also, my tach jumps about when I first start it up. After a couple minutes it starts to work normally. The tach is getting it's signal from the MSD. The HEI does not have a module in it. The box replaces that.Mostly I autocross race the car and recently I had a problem with an electric fuel pump.

After replacing the fuel pump and readjusting the flow levels, I took the car out for a test drive and about 5 miles from my house, the engine died. Is there a way to determine if it is the distributor, the 6A, or the coil?

symptoms of a bad msd ignition box

Any ideas? Too often, guys just jump to conclusions about what has failed and keep buying parts until the problem is repaired. If you take the time to perform a few simple tests, often you can identify the problem. The best way to do any diagnostics is to eliminate the most obvious issues first. We know that fuel is not your problem, so we can safely assume the engine is not getting any spark. You can check this by removing a spark plug wire and crank the engine over. Assuming no spark, the quickest way to narrow down the variables is by testing the CD box.

MSD supplies a white wire from the 6A box that triggers the box when using a points-triggered distributor. In your application, the white wire is not used. Simply remove the coil wire from the distributor and position it so that it will show a spark from the coil wire to ground on the engine.

Next turn the ignition to the on position but do not try and start the engine. Now temporarily ground the white wire to the engine. If there is a spark between the coil wire and the engine, then both the 6A box and the coil are working, which means the problem lies with the ignition pickup in the distributor. You can also perform this test by disconnecting the two-prong lead from the MSD distributor to the 6A box.

Using a paper clip, jump the two wires green and violet coming from the 6A box. If both the coil and 6A box are good, there will be a big healthy spark. The next step is to substitute a known good coil for the one in your car and perform the same test again.

If there is a spark, then you know the coil is the culprit. If there still is no spark, then it could be that the 6A box is the source of the problem. But you should check one more item before making that assumption. First you should check to see if there is actually 12 volts on the small red wire from switched ignition to the 6A box with the key on. If there is 12 volts to the 6A box, then the 6A amplifier is the culprit.

If you think the pickup is at fault, you can quickly test it with an hand-held multimeter. These meters are very inexpensive and will test for voltage, resistance ohmscontinuity, engine rpm, and many other features. Set the meter to test for ohms. When you connect the two leads together, the meter should read 0. Now connect the two multi-meter leads to the purple and orange wire that comes from the MSD distributor.

The meter should read between and ohms. Running through these tests should get you closer to locating the problem. Often the solution is really simple.

I discovered the ignition lead from the firewall to the positive side of the coil had four poorly-executed crimp connectors spliced into the wire.Forums New posts Search forums. Media New media Search media. Resources Latest reviews Search resources. Log in. Search Everywhere Threads This forum This thread.

symptoms of a bad msd ignition box

Search titles only. Search Advanced search…. Everywhere Threads This forum This thread. Search Advanced…. New posts. Search forums. Who has had their MSD Ignition go bad? Thread starter mattsclean90 Start date Jun 15, Install the app. JavaScript is disabled. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding.

You are using an out of date browser. It may not display this or other websites correctly. You should upgrade or use an alternative browser. May 3, 17 0 0. I just went to start my coupe and yet another MSD Digital 6 box has gone bad on me. I had one die on my car a couple years ago and now this one has kicked the bucket too. Just wondering who has had theirs die as well and I just needed to vent a little as well Ozz I think I have a problem here.

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Join Date Apr Posts I rechecked the usual timing and advance which was spot on. But still have rough idle and pinging as above. I have installed a new Mallory unilite distributor old one was 30 yrs old started car set timing ect.

I can reinstall with a different module but i was told after the fact that they go bad and cause the above issue? Im kinda at odds to put it in after the last problems. If I do install it ill need to get new wires aswell so ill wait. Im out on the carshow circuit during the summer months lol.

But with it connected idle is a bit rougher and ping on moderate acceleration. Any of the following can occur with the motor is run lean or poor octane. Air leaks in vacuum lines, intake manifold gaskets, carburetor gaskets or fuel injection intake plumbing downstream of the throttle can all admit extra air into the engine and lean out the fuel mixture. A carburetor calibrated for high altitude driving will run too lean if driven at a lower elevation.

Altitude changes are generally compensated for on computer cars by the barometric pressure sensor.

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Copper core plugs are less likely to cause detonation than standard spark plugs. If resetting the timing to stock specifications does not help, retarding timing a couple of degrees may be necessary to eliminate knock. Generalized answers are not gonna help due to the fact that Ive already checked all the above. If you dont know then say you dont know! Some people on here are actually mechanics that know their way around engines deserve a bit more than just generalized answers.

Harry Coon I believe I have answered you question multiple ways. There are numerous variables that affect the quality of the combustion in the combustion chamber ranging from fuel, the condition of the spark plugs and wires, driving habits, air flow, temperatures, even the design of the head and intake manifold can work against complete combustion.

When you have a high energy spark from an MSD, you can be assured that the fuel mixture is going to be fully combusted to generate the most performance possible. Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last Jump to page:.Login to Your Account. Remember Me? Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last Jump to page: Results 1 to 10 of Thread: Coils going bad. Thread Tools Show Printable Version. Coils going bad mustang stroker vortech YS makes rwhp by rpms. I gap my NGK plugs at a tight I have my battery in the trunk and the negative runs to the rear bumper mount.

The ignition box is grounded to the frame rail.

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The block is grounded from the timing cover to the frame rail. The back of the drivers side cylinder head is grounded to the firewall with a ground strap.

symptoms of a bad msd ignition box

I've had an ignition box same 6BTM go bad and a total of three coils go bad. First the stock coil, then the blaster coil went out, then another blaster coil. I put on a stock replacement coil from autozone. Why the problems? Any suggestions? No ideas? Over views and no opinions as to why I'm having msd failure??? I can send them in if you want to diagnose. The last coil didn't have miles on it during the power tour.

I did at three stops. In fact the last coil that went out was a blaster that you guys gave to me in Chattanooga. I pulled in my driveway and cut the car off to unload. Went back out to start it and it wouldn't start until I put another coil on it. So I guess that coil had about miles on it.

The coil I got in Birmingham not Chattanooga was the street fire coil.

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The coil on the car before that was a blaster Right now I'm using a stock replacement coil from auto zone. Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last Jump to page:.

About us Holley has been the undisputed leader in fuel systems for over years. Join us. All right reserved.To some, wiring a vehicle or working on your ignition system can be a very daunting task. The circuits are updated with efficient components that help the ignition produce more power while drawing less current! In fact, the Digital 6AL delivers over volts to the coil with up to mJ of spark energy for every firing!

Instead of constantly fighting this battle or paying someone to work on your ignition, many misfires can be solved by looking back at the basics of an ignition system. The fact the ignition system operates with a high-output spark thousands of times in a minute is something most of us take for granted — Todd Ryden.

Every Ignition Has Two Sides. This process of changing low voltage to high voltage, called induction, takes place in the coil. From there, the high-voltage spark is transferred to the distributor and on to a spark plug wire which must deliver the spark to the cylinder that is coming up on the compression stroke.

The primary side is the parts or components that deal with converting low voltage from the battery to the high voltage. MSD explained to help better understand an ignition system it is easier to break it down in two sides — a primary and a secondary side. As you can see from the above diagram the coil is the only component that performs functions in both the primary and secondary side of the ignition. The spark plug wire that connects the coil to the center terminal is where the ignition system starts to perform the secondary side of the ignition system.

The secondary side occurs when the voltage is converted to sometimes as high as 20, volts within the coil and then delivered to the distributor.

From here the voltage will be delivered to each individual spark plug with a high enough voltage to jump the spark plug gap at the perfect time and cause combustion.

Signs Of A Msd Ignition

The coil is responsible for receiving volts and then delivering an output of 15, — 20, volts depending on your application. Within a coil, you will find two sets of windings made up of insulated wires that surround an iron or similar metal core. These primary and secondary windings are responsible for creating the extremely high voltage that it takes to jump the spark plug gap.

So how do the windings and core take volts and turn it into 15, volts or more? MSD explained in-depth just how this occurs: In a typical factory-style inductive ignition, current from the battery flows through the thicker primary windings when the switching device points or magnetic pickups is closed. This creates a magnetic field that builds strength thanks to the help of the iron core. When the switching device opens the trigger signal the flow of current is broken and this magnetic field collapses over to the thousands of secondary windings.

This process is called inductance.

symptoms of a bad msd ignition box

The ignition system only works if the spark jumps the spark plug gap at the perfect time. This is why it is so crucial to check the timing of our engines to ensure that the spark jumps the spark plug gap at the exact moment to achieve the ideal combustion event for the engine. If you are new to ignition systems and understanding timing, we need to define a few terms that you will see in the next few paragraphs about the timing of an engine.

In theory, timing is easy to understand — the spark has to be delivered from the distributor at the perfect time to achieve maximum combustion and more importantly, the most amount of horsepower. As the piston starts to travel faster on each compression stroke, the spark has to occur sooner to keep up with the demands of the engine.

At this point, the fuel mixture is ignited beginning the combustion process. The act of combustion remains fairly constant but because the piston is traveling at a much higher speed, the initiation of the combustion process needs to occur sooner.

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Meztijind Posted on10:12 pm - Oct 2, 2012

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