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Lvl50Hornist

A bit of a puzzle: 1988 Gl-Wagon problems

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Hey everyone! Long time reader, first time poster! I own an '88 Gl Wagon that's been very very kind to me for the last three years. She and I have been through a lot, including an engine swap, and I think she's finally stumped me. 

 

Four nights ago, I was picking a friend up from work after a hot day of her runnin' really well, and after having her parked for all of a half-hour, I came out, and she wouldn't start. 

She cranks normally, but won't start. 

I've tried two different coils, plugs, plug wires, distributors(and caps.) Narrowed it down to somewhere around the coil, or 'before' in the signal path. Both coils are good, but they aren't getting the signal from the ECU(I think.) I've done everything short of replacing the ECU, that I can come up with. 

 

Any ideas/confirmation before I have to go out and get a replacement ECU?

Feel free to grill me. :)

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The ignitor is grounded by its mounting to the coil bracket.  The coil bracket is grounded to the body... but sometimes this grounding is flakey, so running a separate ground to the bracket ensures that this is not causing your problem.

 

How are you determining that you have no spark? From one of the plug leads or from the wire between coil and distributor cap?

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How about fuel? I am assumin gyou have SPFI?   Plug the green test connectors together, turn on the ignition but don't start, and listen for the fuel pump to cycle.

 

If it doesn't, it could be the relay or the ECU.  You should hear the relay clicking under the dash.  Sometimes the relay clicks, but the contacts don't connect.  If it doesn't click, it could be the relay or the ECU.  The relay is cheaper,  but a pain to replace.

 

I have been fighting a bad relay or ECU since September.  I hate intermittent faults.

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From what you have stated about the diagnosis you have have done it seems to indicate you have proven that spark isn't getting to the plugs. If that is the case then you need to verify that 12 volts is getting to the minus side of the coil while cranking the engine. If the correct voltage isn't getting to that point then you need to check the fuses in the dash. Make sure fuses 5, 11, and maybe 12 are getting voltage to them. Whenever there is an ignition problem power to the system is the first thing that needs to be checked.

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There is no spark at the plugs, nor at the distributor cap, nor is there electricity coming from the coil.

Not getting 12V at the negative side of the coil while cranking.

Checked the fuses, they're all fine. Fuel pump runs fine with the test connectors together, and the key ON.

Didn't hear the relay clicking though. Might be my ears. Where exactly is the relay?

 

By the by, thank you for the help. this is causing some serious stress in my family.  :D

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I'd go with the Ecu then, save your self some time and go and get a used one off a low mile subi at you pullit you save in boring. Espeshily if you in Gresham nice and close.

 

if you had crossed any wires at any point there's the chance of frying it.

 

-Prwa

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Does the Distributer rotor spin while cranking? Or even the fusible links?

Edited by Prwa101

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  • You should have 12 volts on both coil terminals(+/-),w/key on. Do you?

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Does the Distributer rotor spin while cranking? Or even the fusible links?

Distributor spins. What exactly are you asking about the fusible links?

 

 

 

 

  • You should have 12 volts on both coil terminals(+/-),w/key on. Do you?

I do not have it on both terminals. It is coming in, bit isn't going through the negative side.

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I also think distributor has to ground to block a coroded diss could cause this sounds like lost signal to tell ecu to fire injector timing belt ?

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If you can hear it running, all is good with the fuel pump.  The relay is under the dash, and the sound of the pump often drowns out the click.

 

You tried 2 different coils, but there seems to be something wrong there if you don't get spark, and don't see 12 V on both sides of the coil when energized, not running. Try measuring the coil resistance, both low voltage and high voltage sides.  Do both, and compare.  Measure a 3rd one if you can borrow one.

Edited by robm

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Main relay also called the ignition relay try that, should be next to the fuel pump relay if I remember right

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Igniter is responsible for power to the coil.

 

It's attached at the bottome of the coil bracket. I don't remember the Pinout as I'm 400miles from home but I do remember when looking at the igniter standing at the driver side fender, the plug coming from the front of the car has two wires, the one to the right is power, left is signal from ecu, there is also a round plug with a 2 inch lead to the igniter, you should also so 12v on one of those connections

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Be certain you are getting fuel. 

 

I agree the ignition amplifier on the coil bracket may be toast. IT may start again after it sits a moment. I have seen it intermittently fail mostly on cold snap weather.

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I was a vw guy befor subarus but can you just run switched 12volt to the coil? And try to start it... I don't see why it wouldn't work... just run a jumper from pos on the batt to the minus on the coil and see it it fires up... I doubt the ecu will like it but it should fire nontheless....

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have had two loyales towed in with the main realy had come slightly unpluged the wire harness hangs on realy tends to work loose make shure is pluged in all the way

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I was a vw guy befor subarus but can you just run switched 12volt to the coil? And try to start it... I don't see why it wouldn't work... just run a jumper from pos on the batt to the minus on the coil and see it it fires up... I doubt the ecu will like it but it should fire nontheless....

 

That would work with a carbed EA82, but not an FI.  Could actually damage the ECU.

 

I don't understand how you can have 12v to the POS of coil, but not to the NEG.....they are 2 ends of a long "coiled" wire?  There must be something missed in the testing there.

 

I'm thinking it could be the distrubutor?

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