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94Loyale

1994 Loyale, No Spark

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Hey guys, this is my first post on here. I've been into older subaru's for a couple years now, and its just hard to find a good source of knowledge on them. I know these cars pretty well, but this problem has me lost, and it's going to snow very soon. My 1994 Loyale has no spark right now, so far I have swapped on a brand new coil, brand new distributor, and I've swapped the ECU with a known good one. I've checked all the fuses and I have power to the coil. But I have no spark from the coil. I'm open to any ideas. The night before, I had been driving it home and the motor died a few times randomly (This is while driving,any speed from 10 to 60mph,randomly), but as soon as you pushed the clutch in, it would go back to idle, then if you left the clutch back out it was fine. The next morning I tried to start it, and there was no spark. I could really use some help right now, if anyone has any ideas! I also checked over the wires and couldn't seem to find any breaks in them or anything. Thanks alot in advance!

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Welcome Aboard!

 

It might be a foolish Idea, but I Suggest to Check the Fusible Links, those are the Main Power Imput for Everythin´ ... Located on the Black Box, near the Water / Coolant Reservoir Tank.

 

Good Luck! :burnout:

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Wow, thanks alot for the responses already! :) This dizzy is definately spinning, I have checked that. And the timing belts were recently changed, about 15k ago. As for the fusible links, I'll have to check them out! Hopefully I can get to them tomorrow, I've been that sick for the past few days I've barely moved. I really appreciate all the responses already though, you guys are a huge help!

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You may need to replace the ignitor on the coil bracket (actually, it's part of the bracket). These do sometimes fail. Also - you are using an OEM coil right? Nothing else is as reliable, and some of the Subaru ignition parts are sensitive to coil's that are outside their normal resistance range (IE: "High Performance" coils).

 

Before you go and change that though, make SURE the coil bracket - the part that clamps the coil to the engine bay - has GOOD, SOLID ground. Clean the bolts that hold it to the body. If the coil bracket is not grounded the coil will never fire.

 

Also make sure there is power to the ignitor, and if you like you can go here for more information on the SPFI system than you probably will ever want to know - pay no attention that it's not for your engine - I wrote it as a guide to swapping the SPFI to the older EA81, but the relavance is clear as it details the operation of the entire system and there's schematics for all the wiring:

 

http://home.comcast.net/~trilinear/EA81_SPFI.html

 

GD

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Before you go and change that though, make SURE the coil bracket - the part that clamps the coil to the engine bay - has GOOD, SOLID ground. Clean the bolts that hold it to the body. If the coil bracket is not grounded the coil will never fire.

 

+10 on this one!

 

from the intermittent problems you described from the night before i would defintely be checking this carefully!!

Had a similar situation with my 89 GL wagon once - took a few days to find the problem but it was the bracket ground...

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are you sure the distributor and ECU are loyable ECU's? not all EA82 ECU's are compatible for swapping.

 

reiterating what others have said with some details: check the fusible links first. at this point it's probably best to pull them out and make sure they are good, they can look good but be disintegrated inside. there's only one that would caues your problem...memory is vague right now but i think it's the second one from the front...just a guess (i think it's the black one..maybe red, if they are in the proper stock configuration).

 

make sure the ignition coil bracket is grounded properly. a loose bolt holding it to the drivers side strut tower or significant rust there could be a bad thing.

 

ignitor coil that GD mentioned is a common one as well, it's part of the bracket, i do not know how to test it though but sounds like you have easy access to parts!

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i would definitly check the ground on the coil mount, like heartless said a few threads up .and all other grounds. intermittent problems as you describe when it actually failed wile driving. are usally a ground problem, if it were a t belt or other mec. failure it would have just died instantainuosly

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Well then, I'll definitely check out the grounds when I feel good enough to go outside. It's pretty damn cold out right now. The parts are definitely for the Loyale though, like the distributor,coil, and ECU. The ECU was a spare that was given to me with the car, the coil is an oem replacement, and the distributor is a remanned with a new crank angle sensor. I think you guys are probably correct with the ground problem, or possibly even the igniter. If it does happen to be the igniter, anyone has an idea where to get one?

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I suggest you get a test light probe to check things out with. This takes the guesswork out of the search for trouble.

 

By placing the probe tip on the minus side of the coil while cranking the engine you should see it pulse on and off as the ignition system makes the coil spark. Most likely you will see just a steady light indicating that there is a problem with the ignition system. I would guess the ignitor is the trouble. If you have no light at all be sure fuse #5 is good. If the horn works then it is ok.

 

You can also check the coil ground using the light. Place the probe tip on a good clean metal spot on the coil body with the ignition ON. If the ground is good then the light will not turn on.

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If it does happen to be the igniter, anyone has an idea where to get one?

Junkyard. Meanwhile, another suggestion: try a known good high tension lead (the wire from the coil tower to the distributor). If this wire fails, you're in a no or bad spark condition.

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Bill, thanks for the idea, but I did try another coil wire to see if that would help. But no luck, can't be that easy for me :rolleyes: I'm going to go out and try some of the suggestions today, hopefully I'll have some luck. On the good side, I have 4 junkyards, all within 10 minutes, loaded with old subarus, so I shouldnt have a problem finding an igniter. The one has a whole bunch of the older 2 door hatches, I guess I can dream right? :)

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Ok guys, I got 4 igniters at the junkyard for $4, and I'm really doubting all of them are bad :-\ None of them made a difference. I tried hooking my voltmeter to the negative side of the coil while cranking it, here's what I got. With the key on (and jumping the car at the same time) I got 13.5 volts, when I crank it, it goes down to a solid 8.5 to 8.7. Any ideas from that? Electronics really are not my specialty :-\

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Sir Loyale, this part is also know as the "ignition ampilifier"

 

Is this the part you bought four of for four dollars?

 

igamp.jpg

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That is a good deal.

Just make sure the bracket is well grounded

(as mentioned) when testing.

 

This power transistor uses the ground in doing it's

amplification of the ECU signal.

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Positive on the links, fuses, and cables, thanks for the idea though! As for the ground, I've been trying with that, but don't seem to have luck either way. I'm going to run back outside with a light and give it another shot. :-\ Starting to get frustrated though.

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Since your meter showed a steady voltage the problem would seem to be either with the wiring between the disty and the ECU or the ECU itself. Check to see if the ECU is flashing any codes, like for the ignition pulse system.

 

We need to verify that voltage is getting to the following areas to see if there is proper power getting to the system. The fuses that are key here is the green fusible link along with fuses 5, 11, and 12.

 

On the ECU, check pins 27, 29, 38, and 41 with the key in the RUN position and make sure 12 volts is getting to them. Power to pins 29 and 41 tie to the ignition relay so it may be a problem. Also check that pin 18 is getting 12 volts while trying to START the car. Check the blk/wht wire on the coil and see that it has 12 volts in the Run position.

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Does the check engine light turn on when the key is in the "on" position? I had some similar troubles and it turned out to be a bad connection under the dash that would cause the car to seemingly randomly stop running. It would sometimes crank and not start when this happened, and I would wiggle the wires under the dash until the CEL came on, then it would start and run fine. (The person who bought it from me was a little more motivated and figured out the problem was a connector that came loose.)

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Those are both great ideas, thanks guys! I'm going to get on those tomorrow, hopefully it doesn't rain on me.

 

Cougar, I am definitely getting the 12 volts to the b/w on the coil, I had checked that before. Another thing I did, I'm not sure if it will make a difference or not, but on my spare ECU, I took it apart and inspected the circuit board for any broken circuits, loose solder, etc.. and couldn't find anything wrong. I figured it couldn't hurt. Now here's another question, if there is a problem in the circuit wiring between the disty and the ecu. I really have no idea where it would be because most of it is hidden. GeneralDisorder provided me with a really nice wiring diagram on the SPFI system. So it seems that there is 2 wires between the disty and the ecu. If there is a problem somewhere in there, would it be easier just to run 2 new wires through the firewall? Or is it not a good idea to splice out of the harness? Like I said, electronics aren't my best friend or anything. I really do appreciate you guys walking me through this, it means alot to me to have people as knowledgeable as all of you posting in here to help me out! :)

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Revbill, The check engine light is on when the key is turned to the run position. However, now that you bring it up, the car would occasionally not start. Sometimes you would have to crank it for a while, turn the key off, and repeat like 3 times before it would fire up. One day it wouldn't fire up at all in the morning, but when I got home from work and tried it, it fired as soon as you cranked it. Every time it would do this, it was definitely a spark issue, because it was getting fuel. I don't know if this can help us figure out the problem or not.

 

Another thing is this too, kind of off the wall, but interesting. My previous Subaru to this one was an '88 GL. I bought it off a guy who was working at an older Subaru dealer around here (sadly they no longer will touch the old ones, they were the ones to go to a year ago, the owner really knew his stuff) But anyway, the guy wasn't too clear on what was done, but he said when you turned the key to start normally, it wouldn't get any spark. He said it was a common problem on these wagons and that they had wired a push button starter onto it, that utilized the ignition system from a legacy (not the coil packs and distributor less system, but something else?). I didn't get into specifics with him because I was just happy to find a nice GL that ran great, and I didn't plan on messing with it if it worked. Figured I'd throw that out there if anyone knows what he meant, I still don't.

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By using a ohmmeter you can usually tell if the wiring between two different points is ok.

 

You say there is only two wires between the ECU and the ignitor. The info I looked at showed 4 wires.

 

The comment you made about the push button starter switch may have been a sustitute starter switch because the inhibitor switch (neutral safety switch) was bad or another part of the starter circuit.

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Cougar, nice to see your awake too :) The igniter in the car only has 2 wires that plug onto it 1 from the ECU,1 from the keyed power, I believe a white/yellow and black/white. Could be wrong on the colors right now, its late. And then 2 that go out to the coil. Now that I'm thinking of it though, I'm pretty sure I only had a reading on power, but not the signal wire from the ECU. I'll have to go out and confirm this tomorrow, but I think that was the case. Since I just studied the diagram a little harder, I'm understanding what I'm working with a little better.

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Well, I'm definitely going to check all the pins you instructed me to look at tomorrow morning. I'm not sure if your looking at the .PDF service manual that was on GeneralDisorder's link, but that is what I'm going by. According to that, I would also want to check pin 52 while cranking. Because that would be sending the signal to the Igniter. I'll check that tomorrow too, and see if I'm getting any juice from the ECU. If there is a signal coming out, then there must be a problem somewhere in between there, and the igniter. I'd imagine I'll be looking for some kind of a pulse, and maybe not a steady voltage. This is probably a really dumb question, but should everything have around 12 volts if there is power going through it, or will the voltage vary depending on what component I'm testing?

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