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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
My Bronco wouldn't start this morning and I tracked it down to a no-spark issue.

I've been having driving problems with it recently (it'd occassionally surge under acceleration) and then yesterday, it began driving erratically and then died. When I tried to start it, it bucked and backfired. I eventually tracked that down to a sheared pin on the distributor, went and got a new one, fired it back up, and was able to drive around yesterday to work/store/school, etc.

This morning, it fired once, started to run, sputtered, and then died. After that, it cranked and cranked, but wouldn't even begin to try to fire. It had plenty of fuel and air, so I pulled and grounded a spark plug, and then cranked it again. There wasn't even a hint of spark on the spark plug.
First thing I checked was the new distributor, but the shaft was nice and tight, and all the connections were good.

Unfortunately, this distributor isn't kept in stock, so it'll take a few days to get a new one, but it was a A1Cardone with Motorcraft stamped on it, so it looked a like a good, quality unit. I'd also just hate to assume that's it, wait a few days, and then it still doesn't start.

Any ideas on what else it might be? It's about a 15 mile round trip on my bike to work/school, which I can do, but it's really time consuming and it's below freezing out, and I really need my Bronco up and running.

Ideas?
 

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Did you leave the key on perhaps? The coil could be bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you mean, did I leave it on overnight? (If so, no).

I figured it was either the coil, ignition module, or the distributor, but didn't know what particular symptoms they portray when they go out. Some'll still run, just poorly. Didn't know if one thing in particular would just cut spark more than another.
 

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Do you mean, did I leave it on overnight? (If so, no).
Sometimes leaving the key on for 10 or 20 minutes will burn up a module. Let's say someone turns the key on to power up the radio while they are detailing their truck. it can burn up the coil or the module.

When I come across a bad module, I heat them up in the oven and remove the guts. Snip the wires, and rewire in a GM ignition module like the 4 pin one in the picture. The GM module is a bit more forgiving than the duraspark module and is cheaper. Can't tell that it is better, just cheaper and certainly easier to find in a parts store.
This one pictured is still on my table not finished yet. The old duraspark case acts as a heat sink, but also makes the conversion a plug and play unit.



If you like to tinker and like saving money, this is a nice swap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the idea. I've seen that before, and looks like a really cool idea.

I've been planning on a DUI distributor for a while, and was actually just about to pull the trigger on one, but was hoping to be driving my vehicle until then. :toothless

My wife's Bronco has the stock DuraSpark II ignition as well, so maybe I'll give that HEI mod a try and put it in hers.


I'm thinking it is the module. The symptoms I read on line about a dying coil don't match what I've been experiencing the last few weeks with my engine, so I don't think it's that.

I'll just start pulling parts off of hers and putting them on mine and see what fires it up. She just works 8 - 5 and I 9:30 - 7:30, so there's only a small window in the evenings when both are parked outside, so I was wanting to try to pinpoint an issue before hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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I have had the pickup in the distributor go bad and cause a no start no spark condition before. You can change this without pulling the distributor out of the engine. There is also a decent procedure on how to troubleshoot this in the Haynes manual, its how I found the pickup bad, also how I found a tach wire grounding out the coil once as well
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If the pickup is bad, it only lasted a day, since I put the distributor in on Monday (due to a sheared distributor pin). But I've been having driving problems for a month or so now.
Guess we'll see.
 

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I haven't had good luck with the quality of Cardone rebuilds. You might be better served rebuilding your original distributor (that's what I did).
 

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How did you go about doing that? I imagine putting in your own pickup coil and installing a higher quality pin for the gear?
 

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I prefer this one:

Thanks, that's a great diagram. I imagine some HEI modules are better than others. What's a good brand?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Retrace all the wires and hook a meter up
The whole system is plug and play, so not really anything that wouldn't be hooked up. It worked and then didn't so it should still be all together.

As for a meter, are you referring to checking the coil?


Not really sure what your post is all about. :shrug
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Looks like the coil went kaput. I put the distributor and ignition module in from my wife's Bronco and no difference.

I didn't try the coil because they're different styles, but I did a resistance test on mine.

Primary coil:
Between the + and - post: 0.12 ohms. They say it should be between 0.7 and 1.7.

Secondary coil:
Between the - and center post: 7500 ohms. They say it should be between 7500 and 10500.


The primary test was WAY off, which confirms my suspicions. I'll know for sure if/when I get another. The DUI ignition is on its way, so I may just wait for that.



What are the chances of my coil dying at the same time I shear a distributor pin?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Okay, not only did the distributor shear a pin, and the coil died, but the starter relay was dead too. What are the chances?

Either way, I put a new starter relay in, the new all-in-one DUI ignition in with their LiveWires. Gapped it to 0.055, and it fired to life. My Bronco has never driven this well in all the 10 years I've owned it. I keep waiting for work to be over so I can go out and drive it around.
 
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