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Old 10-22-2018, 09:53 PM
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Hi Guys,
Last Sat did not go as planned. We were headed to the final cruise at a local cruise night spot when my car decided to just turn over but not start. I had back surgery back in July, and was finally able to get into the car a couple of weeks ago...the car has been hibernating since last Thanksgiving. The first 2 outings, the car started and ran great no issues at all. This time I did not give it enough gas , it started but shut off, tried again, same thing. So I tried again with much more gas, absolutely no hint of starting, just lots of cranking. Thought it might be flooded, so cranked it some more with the throttle wide open, still nothing. Then tried some starting fluid, still nothing. I gave up and started some quick trouble shooting,. I have fuel at the carb. I put an inline tester at the spark plug and have no spark while cranking. I gave up at that point and went to the show. Yesterday morning I started doing a little research and testing. I have an MSD 6al box, MSD dizzy, MSD Blaster2 coil. Using a digital multimeter, testing for ohms primary windings , I am getting .7 ohms neg to pos terminal at coil. Secondary windings from good ground on firewall to coil output is 5040 0hms. I was following a you tube video and par that video, these numbers are good for the MSD coil. The next thing was turn the key to the on position, and test for volts at the coil pos terminal. It should have battery voltage but I am only showing about 3 volts and the test light shows nothing. I am showing voltage at solenoid on firewall and the brown wire coming off it. The continuity tester show all the glass fuses to be good So next I was going to take out the ignition switch so I could try testing the lugs and follow the power. I could not get that stupid bezel off to save my life. I had the same issues as this guy, How 2 Loosen Ignition switch??
I did the needle-nose and pliers routine, I tried taping it up and using vise grips, finally I sprayed some PB blaster, took and smaller screw driver and small hammer and tried to free it up that way...no luck. All I manage to do was mess up my water temp gage, the needle fell out of its mount. I have no idea why, I certainly was not hitting the bezel that hard, but all the needles were moving with each rap of the hammer. Certainly no more vibration than taking a vehicle off-road, which I would think these gages should handle. Anyways, I will fix that once I get the car started and prepped up for Winter storage. Certainly not a good way to end my 30 mile season, LOL. I bought another type of spark tester tonight and I think next is try and trace ign power path with the test light and volt meter. From what I understand from the guy at Autozone, it goes from the battery, to the MSD box, to the Dizzy, to the coil. I also still need to get the ign switch out! I assumed it is regular treads and I was going in the CCW direction?
Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I want to get all the important info in. Any ideas from our experts would be appreciated. God how I hate electrical!
Thanks...Dave
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Old 10-23-2018, 03:13 AM
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David,

If you have a 6AL, there is not 12v at the ignition coil, there is some 480v with the engine running, since you have a CD ignition, not inductive ignition.

The coil primary terminals are more dangerous in a CD ignition.

After reading your opening statement, I wasn't surprised to see you have a MSD ignition fault.

Now, onto some testing.

Can you disconnect your mag trigger harness at the distributor, remove the coil wire from the distributor, set up the coil wire with 1/2 inch gap to ground.

Get yourself a paperclip, form a horseshoe.

Then ignition key on, bridge the mag harness that goes towards the 6AL module in rapid on/offs. Does spark jump across your 1/2 gap?

Gary
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:49 AM
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Buy a Lucas bezel removal tool. I bought one from Moss Motors, Ltd.
TOOL SET, SWITCH BEZEL REMOVAL...part#384-960...$29.99...on sale for
$21.99.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:04 PM
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Dave, you do not need to remove your ignition switch, the terminals are easily reachable from under the dash. But, if you feel the need to remove it, it's pretty easy to just make a "two prong" tool that fits the two slots around the switch. It just unscrews and your ignition switch is very easy to change out. I did mine about ten years ago and it was a ten minute job. That said, a "no spark" condition with the MSD box is the easiest to diagnose no start condition there is. Don't take any VOM measurements, don't jump to any conclusions, just follow these instructions: https://www.holley.com/support/troub...ng_techniques/ The hardest part is just figuring out whether you're using a white wire trigger or the purple/green trigger. It's either going to be: 1) a bad magnetic pickup; 2) a bad coil; 3) a bad MSD box; 4) a bad distributor cap/rotor; 5) a bad 12v feed to the box.
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Old 10-23-2018, 04:30 PM
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Thanks for adding the trouble-shooting link Patrick.

Good to see it states the differences as to why no 12v at the coil.
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaz64 View Post
Thanks for adding the trouble-shooting link Patrick.

Good to see it states the differences as to why no 12v at the coil.
Ahhh, the good ol' days when you could charge up a 400v capacitor and then playfully toss it to a friend and yell "catch!"
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
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Ahhh, the good ol' days when you could charge up a 400v capacitor and then playfully toss it to a friend and yell "catch!"
Yes, seen that at college, , about 38 years ago for me.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaz64 View Post
David,

If you have a 6AL, there is not 12v at the ignition coil, there is some 480v with the engine running, since you have a CD ignition, not inductive ignition.

The coil primary terminals are more dangerous in a CD ignition.

After reading your opening statement, I wasn't surprised to see you have a MSD ignition fault.

Now, onto some testing.

Can you disconnect your mag trigger harness at the distributor, remove the coil wire from the distributor, set up the coil wire with 1/2 inch gap to ground.

Get yourself a paperclip, form a horseshoe.

Then ignition key on, bridge the mag harness that goes towards the 6AL module in rapid on/offs. Does spark jump across your 1/2 gap?

Gary
Hi Gary,
Just a little over my head here.What is a CD ignition? What opening statement are you referring to? Why are you not surprised?
As far as your testing goes, it unfortunately has to wait. I am leaving for 1 week vacation Sat morning and running around all this week. No time for the Cobra until I return end of next week. I will gather research info and hit it hard when I return end of next week. I will have to get a diagram I can identify the parts you are referring to.
Thanks
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kit Coyle View Post
Buy a Lucas bezel removal tool. I bought one from Moss Motors, Ltd.
TOOL SET, SWITCH BEZEL REMOVAL...part#384-960...$29.99...on sale for
$21.99.
One or our local ERA forum members had made one for his Cobra 13 years ago. I am picking it up tomorrow. I will just break the bezel free in case I have to test or replace it, and then return it.
Thank you for the tool info
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
Dave, you do not need to remove your ignition switch, the terminals are easily reachable from under the dash. But, if you feel the need to remove it, it's pretty easy to just make a "two prong" tool that fits the two slots around the switch. It just unscrews and your ignition switch is very easy to change out. I did mine about ten years ago and it was a ten minute job. That said, a "no spark" condition with the MSD box is the easiest to diagnose no start condition there is. Don't take any VOM measurements, don't jump to any conclusions, just follow these instructions: https://www.holley.com/support/troub...ng_techniques/ The hardest part is just figuring out whether you're using a white wire trigger or the purple/green trigger. It's either going to be: 1) a bad magnetic pickup; 2) a bad coil; 3) a bad MSD box; 4) a bad distributor cap/rotor; 5) a bad 12v feed to the box.
Pat, I am only 12 weeks post op from back surgery/fusion. I would rather be safe than sorry. I am still pretty stiff and sore. Even if I removed the seat it would be a challenge. I figured it would be much easier just popping it out of the hole and testing it ad tracing wires in the hanging down position. As I said, this bezel was not moving more than an 1/8". I remember changing the switch in my first Cobra, as you said, piece of cake!
Great link, I also found it late last night. I will be doing all of these things. I might get a little time Thursday morning, but probably not.I feel better because you are making this sound much easier and less scarier. By the way, I have that purple/green trigger connector.
As I said, I hate electrical.
As usual Pat, your vast knowledge is always so helpful...THANKS.
I will report back on my progress
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davids2toys View Post
Hi Gary,
Just a little over my head here.What is a CD ignition?
Capacitor Discharge. Electrical is not my strong suit so instead here is a link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capaci...harge_ignition
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Old 10-24-2018, 07:20 AM
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Pat, I am only 12 weeks post op from back surgery/fusion. I would rather be safe than sorry. I am still pretty stiff and sore.
The beauty of the MSD box and the ERA wiring harness is that you can check voltage/continuity without always having to crawl under the dash or under the car to get to the spot that you think needs testing -- which pretty much sucks when your back hurts. For example, you can check your ignition switch, for the most part, over at your starter solenoid (which is really easy to reach), because of the way ERA wires in the little red and orange trigger and tach wires. When the MSD box is over the passenger's feet, you would think that the little red and orange trigger/tach wires would just run two feet directly over to the ignition switch and tach, but it usually doesn't. It goes out through the firewall, around the block, and up to the wiring harness by the distributor. This is because the harness also has to support "legacy" ignitions that feed 12v+ to the coil. The ballast resistor connections along that line are just fused together, but you still have the offshoot of that connection heading off to the starter solenoid. The long and the short of that means three things: 1) You can hotwire and start up an ERA/MSD car with a two inch piece of wire and an aluminum foil gum wrapper; 2) a misbehaving starter solenoid can actually keep your car running even when you remove the key from the ignition; and, more importantly, 3) You can check the continuity and function of your MSD ignition system without having to bend your back much at all. I'll lead you through it when you're ready, but it's really, really, really easy to do.

Last edited by patrickt; 10-24-2018 at 09:31 AM.. Reason: Clarity on the colors.
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:00 AM
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Here's a handy little diagram from ERA's site on how the MSD is wired in to the harness. If you look up at the top of the picture you see connection #40, which normally goes to an old style 12v coil. The white wire would normally go to the positive side of the coil and is coming from the ignition switch. It may be reduced by a ballast resistor in an original set up, but it is now connected directly to the little red wire of the MSD box. The orange wire goes to the negative side of the coil and is your tachometer feed. This white wire is the same white wire that you see attached to the "I" side of the starter solenoid (but the picture doesn't show that). This makes it very easy to check whether your ignition switch is working and whether you're providing 12v+ "turn on the box voltage" to the MSD box. Just turn your ignition key "ON" and if the accessories light up then you know the "ACC" portion of your ignition switch is operating. Then measure the voltage at the "I" terminal of your solenoid. If you have 12v+, then you know the "IGN" portion of your switch is operating and the box is being turned on, and if you get 12v+ at the "S" terminal of your solenoid, when turning the key to the cranking position, then you know your "ST" portion of the switch is working fine. Of course, if you hear your engine cranking then you don't even have to take that last measurement. Short of a broken wire, that's all there is to it. The next step is to just follow the trouble shooting steps that MSD lays out. There is no magic to this, no voodoo, no tricks. It's not even that hard. You can do this.
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Old 10-24-2018, 07:09 PM
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Are you ready to do the mag pickup test for spark with a paperclip?

As Patrick has mentioned, very easy to do.

Gary
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Old 10-24-2018, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DanEC View Post
Capacitor Discharge. Electrical is not my strong suit so instead here is a link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capaci...harge_ignition
Interesting, thanks
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Old 10-24-2018, 09:57 PM
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Are you ready to do the mag pickup test for spark with a paperclip?

As Patrick has mentioned, very easy to do.

Gary
Ok Gary and Pat, this is where I am at.
Just came in from the Cobra and caught the last inning of the World series game. I used the homemade bezel removal tool from my buddy Art, Holy S***, that bezel was on super tight!!! I had to use Vice grips and really sock it down. It is broken free now and that is what I wanted. The tool is in my car ready to be returned to its lawful owner.
I did the first part of the test with the jumper wire and I got killer blue spark jumping the 1/2 inch gap! You're right, it was super easy. It says if I get this nice spark my Ignition is good. I left everything all hooked up and hooked the pigtail back together. Then I turned the key on, remote cranked the engine. No spark out of the coil wire. I am thinking I should be getting the same spark as I got with the jumper test? I think maybe they meant if you get the spark with the jumper test, the Ignition BOX is good, not the whole ignition system?
I also pulled the cap and took a couple of pics. I see nothing earth shattering inside You will see rust on the magnetic pickup, it has been there for years. I actually bought a new one in 2014 when I replaced the cap, rotor, and wires. At that time, the MSD tech said the rust will not affect performance and to only replace it when it fails...so it has been just sitting on the shelf.
So for now I guess I will study the pics and info Pat posted. I'm ready Pat, lead me thru it...LOL
For some reason the pics will not upload, all I am getting is "uploading please wait"!!!
I will try again after this text is posted
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Old 10-24-2018, 10:06 PM
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separate ign pics
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Old 10-25-2018, 03:33 AM
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Hi David,

The paperclip has proved the rest of ignition system etc is good.
The fault is in the distributor.
The mag pickup is faulty, or the shaft is not turning.

Can you measure the resistance of the pickup across the orange/black and purple/black?

Should be about 400-700 ohms.

Outside of this the pickup is shorted or open.

Gary
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Old 10-25-2018, 06:08 AM
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Hi David,


The mag pickup is faulty, or the shaft is not turning.
Gaz is correct. For your final test, with the distributor cap off, crank the engine and observe the rotor spinning around while you crank. Assuming the rotor was spinning, remove it and whack the magnetic pickup sharply a couple of times with the handle end of the screwdriver. Then put everything back together and see if she starts.
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Old 10-25-2018, 06:54 AM
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OK, I will do one thing at a time. I set the meter to Ohms (auto), and measured across the pickup coming from the dist, those are the wires you are suggesting right? My reading is erratic and keeps rising. In mega-ohms it start around .710 and just keeps going up the longer I keep the probes on the wire metal ends. I stopped testing it at 1.022. On line conversion of .710 mega-ohms is 710000 ohms. Does this big number real mean 710 ohms? I told you electricity is not my strong suite.
On my last test last night, after I tested for spark, I left everything all hooked up and hooked the pigtail back together. Then I turned the key on, remote cranked the engine. No spark out of the coil wire. I am thinking I should be getting the same spark as I got with the jumper test? Should I be? I am thinking because I do not have time at the moment, and don't want to bring fuel and actually running it into the equation, that I could do what Pat said by rapping the pick-up and just test it this way instead of actually starting it up. Pat, where exactly should I hit it?
Also, is there anyway I can re-attach the Water temp needle in the gage? I still can't believe it fell off
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