Inside of the distributor there is a sensor that sends out a signal to the ICM, which is then used to fire up the ignition coil that will create enough energy for the spark plugs. The ignition control module must control the timing of the spark so that it is able to occur exactly at the right cylinder and the perfect moment. If you would like to know more about the ignition process you can do so by reading our next post. The ICM location varies from make, to models and of course to the year the vehicle was built.
Before going ahead and look for it. Typically the Ignition Control Module is located inside of the distributor housing or mounted on the side of the engine compartment. Not to state the obvious, but once an engine module goes bad your vehicle will not run at all, but luckily you can fix that with the simplest of tools and in 3 easy to follow test. If there is no current being passed to the terminals sadly you will have to replace the entire ignition control module.
To check the spark plugs for current, you will grab your 12v test light and tap into your spark plugs terminals. If your test flickers constantly when you crank the engine then you can go ahead and note that your plugs are in good working conditions.
Now the problem is you will need to run a much more thorough test for the other components in your vehicle. No current? You have had no current, now what? I usually start by inspecting each wires for signs of break,burnt marks or any sorts of fraying these are usually the tell-tale signs.
If you are still getting an infinite reading off your DVOM then you can go ahead and conclude that your wires are faulty. Yes, You can definitely test an ignition control module and using a multimeter is one of the fastest way to do so. Step 1 : Check your ICM for current. Step 2 : Check your Spark Plugs ignition module for current. Step 3 : Isolate the problem. Read our post and use a multi meter. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
How-To Can you test an ignition control module? What does the ignition control module do? How do you test an ignition control module in GM? How do I know if my ignition control module is bad? Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.This page is for personal, non-commercial use. Modern vehicles are equipped with a variety of electronic sensors and modules to control the various engine functions necessary for the vehicle to run.
One of these components is the electronic spark control module, commonly referred to as the ESC module, or the ignition module. One of the specific functions of the ESC module is to advance or retard the timing of the ignition system, depending on the operation conditions.
Under heavy load, the module will advance the timing to increase power and will retard it at low throttle and cruising speeds in order to maximize efficiency.
The ESC module makes these changes automatically and smoothly, almost to the point where they are virtually unnoticeable to the driver. As the ESC module plays an important role in the operation of the engine, any problems with it can cause issues with the drivability and performance of the vehicle.
Usually a bad or failing ESC module will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue that should be serviced. One of the first symptoms of a problem with the ignition module are engine performance issues. If the ignition module fails or has any problems it can lead to performance issues with the vehicle, such as misfireshesitationloss of powerand even reduced fuel economy. Another symptom of a problematic ESC module is the engine stalling.
A faulty module may cause the engine to suddenly stall and be unable to start again. Sometimes the engine can still be restarted after a short period of time, usually after the module has been allowed to cool off.
Another common symptom of a faulty ESC module is a no start, or no spark condition.
The ESC module is one of the components that directly controls engine spark, so if it fails, it can leave the vehicle without spark. A vehicle without spark may still crank, but will not be able to start or run.
The ESC module is one of the most important components found on many modern ignition systems, and without it most vehicles will not run properly.
If you suspect that your ESC module may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your vehicle needs an electronic spark control replacement. This article originally appeared on YourMechanic. Autoblog is partnering with YourMechanic to bring many of the repair and maintenance services you need right to you. Get service at your home or office 7 days a week with fair and transparent pricing. We get it.
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You still haven't turned off your adblocker or whitelisted our site.The ignition module is responsible for turning the ignition coil on and off and controlling the duration of current flow through the primary winding of the ignition coil. This allows the spark plugs to fire at a specific time according to the number of cylinders your vehicle has.
Testing of the ignition module can be done using a digital volt ohm meter and a volt test light. Use a wiring diagram for the year model of your vehicle. Locate the terminals running into and out of the ignition module. Placement of the module varies from model to model so check the appropiate service manual of your vehicle for the exact location.
Turn the ignition on and use your DVOM to check for voltage to the ignition module and the positive terminal of the ignition coil. Place the negative lead of your DVOM to a solid ground and use the positive lead to probe the wires running to the ignition module and to the ignition coil. Connect the ground lead from the volt test light to the negative terminal on the ignition coil. Have your partner crank the engine over several times.
Your test light should flicker on and off. If so, your module is working properly and no further testing is necessary. If your test light does not flicker on and off, visually inspect the wires running into and out of the ignition module. Look for burn marks, melted wire insulation and breaks in the wires. Use your wire splicing tool to remove the bad area in the wire and use your wire connectors and splicing tool to repair the faulty wires.
Use your DVOM to check for an open circuit condition in the primary coil winding. Touch the negative probe to the negative terminal on the ignition coil, touch the positive lead to the positive terminal. Set the meter to read ohms.
If the reading shows infinite ohms, your ignition module is faulty and should be replaced.
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Electronic Spark Control
Follow the service manual instructions for replacing your ignition coil. Look to see if the DVOM test shows low to no ohms; if so, then you have a faulty ignition module that will have to be replaced. Follow the service manual instructions for your vehicle to replace the module. This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.
To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us. Step 1 Use a wiring diagram for the year model of your vehicle. Step 2 Turn the ignition on and use your DVOM to check for voltage to the ignition module and the positive terminal of the ignition coil.
Step 4 If your test light does not flicker on and off, visually inspect the wires running into and out of the ignition module.A failing ignition control module can be a real headache at times. It can produce a wide range of engine performance problems, including preventing the engine from starting or stalling the engine as you speed down the road, just to let you resume your driving a few minutes later, as if nothing had happened.
Before any of these symptoms send you troubleshooting components or systems unrelated to the root cause of the problem, there are some other things you should know when dealing with a possible bad ignition module on your vehicle. The ignition control module on your car operates as a switch to turn the primary current produced by the ignition coil on and off.
The module accomplishes this through a series of very small and sensitive electronic components inside the sealed plastic housing of the control module. Ignition modules come in more than one configuration and size, depending on your particular car make and model.
However, your vehicle service manual may provide instructions on how to test your particular module. For this, you need a megaohm digital multimeter. Most auto parts stores will test the module for you free of charge.
A bad module may pass a troubleshooting test even though one or more electrical components inside is damaged.
Tiny transistors, diodes, resistors and other components are very sensitive to heat. And any of these components, near breaking down, may not fail until there is enough heat in the engine compartment. When testing at home, heat up the module by using a heat lamp. Then proceed with the tests as described in your vehicle manual, and compare your results with the specifications provided. Installing a new ignition module is a simple process.
Depending on your vehicle model, the module may be mounted inside the engine compartment, near the engine, or inside the distributor. Remove the distributor cap if necessary. Then unplug the module electrical connector and unscrew the unit. Install the new one in place, plug the electrical connector and replace the distributor cap, if necessary. Some ignition modules require a layer of silicon grease during installation.
The grease protects the mating surface of the module from the heat produced during engine operation. When replacing the module, check with your auto parts provider whether you need to apply this grease to your particular unit. Otherwise the new module will fail within a few weeks of replacement.
This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.
How to Check an Ignition Module
To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us. Ignition Module Problems by Dan Ferrell. Considerations A bad module may pass a troubleshooting test even though one or more electrical components inside is damaged. Replacing Installing a new ignition module is a simple process. Features Some ignition modules require a layer of silicon grease during installation. Duffy; About the Author This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.
Photo Credits jeffk: Flickr.Here are brief descriptions of the circuits that we'll be testing. You'll notice that there are no wire color descriptions. This is intentional. The color of the wires in the illustration will not match the ones on your vehicle. You will be able to successfully diagnose this no-start condition with this information.
Be careful, use common sense and take all necessary safety precautions. This could confuse you as to which wire is the 1 circuit. The following ignition system circuit diagrams will come in handy in troubleshooting the ignition control module. Okay to get this show going, we need to see if the ignition system is creating and delivering spark to all 8 cylinders.
How to Troubleshoot a 1977 Ford Duraspark ll Ignition System
Just a friendly reminder, do not use a regular spark plug in place of a spark tester for the spark test. Also, do not pull the spark plug wire off of the spark plug either while the engine is cranking to check for spark. OK, let's start:. Attach the HEI spark tester or an equivalent spark tester to the spark plug wire. Attach the HEI spark tester to a good Ground pointor use a battery jump start cable to attach it to Ground my preferred method.
Have your helper crank the engine while you observe the spark tester. You'll get one of two results: the spark tester will spark or it won't. CASE 1: If you got spark on all of the spark plug wires. This result indicates that the spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, ignition module, and ignition coil are working. This result doesn't condemn any specific component just yet. The next step is to remove the spark plug wire that attaches to the middle tower of the distributor cap this is the spark plug wire that comes from the ignition coil to test for spark there.Here are brief descriptions of the circuits that we'll be testing.
You'll notice that there are no wire color descriptions. This is intentional.
The color of the wires in the illustration will not match the ones on your vehicle. You will be able to successfully diagnose this no-start condition with this information. Be careful, use common sense and take all necessary safety precautions. I recommend using a wire-piercing probe to accomplish all of the tests in this article.
Wire Piercing Probe. Whatever method you use, the key here is to be careful. Remember to use common sense and take all safety precautions. So if you test one, you're also testing the others for Voltage.Ford TFI & Pickup Testing - Ignition Troubleshooti
With the red multimeter test lead and a suitable tool, probe the number 4 circuit wire of the connector. NOTE: Don't probe the front of the connector or you'll damage the female terminal inside the connector. Turn key on but don't crank or start the engine Your multimeter should register 10 to 12 Volts DC. All is good in the neighborhood, since this multimeter test result lets you know that the ignition control module and ignition coil are getting power.
The next test is to check that the ignition control module is getting Ground. Double-check that you're testing the correct wire on the ignition control module ICM. If your multimeter still does not register 10 to 12 Volts DC; then you must find out why you're missing this voltage. Without this voltage the module, ignition coil, and the PIP sensor will not work. The wire that feeds the ICM ground is the number 6 circuit of the ignition module connector. Connect the black multimeter test lead to the ignition module connector's number 6 circuit wire with the appropriate probe.
Your multimeter should register 12 Volts DC.
Ignition Module Problems
All is good in the neighborhood, since this test result confirms that the ignition control module on your Ford is getting Ground. Re-check your multimeter connections and make sure you're testing the correct wire.The module receives a signal from a sensor inside the distributor.
The signal is then used to fire the ignition coil creating the energy for the spark plugs. The ignition module may be located inside the distributor, on the distributor housing, or mounted to the side of the engine compartment. When a module goes bad, it normally fails totally and the engine won't run at all. Checking your ignition module is an easy task that requires only the simplest of tools. Remove one plug wire at the spark plug and insert an old spark plug into the end of the plug boot.
Place the spark plug on a metal surface on the engine. Crank the engine and check for a spark at the old spark plug. No spark on the plug indicates an ignition problem.
Check for voltage at the coil positive terminal when the ignition key is on. Place the red lead of the multimeter on the positive coil terminal. Place the black lead to the battery negative terminal. Turn on the ignition switch to the "Run" position. The multimeter should read battery voltage at the positive terminal.
If voltage is not present, then the problem is with the ignition switch or ignition wiring circuit. Turn the key "Run" position without starting the engine. Pierce the positive wire with the multimeter's red lead. There should be a reading of battery voltage at the wire.
If battery voltage is not present, check for an open circuit between the wire and the ignition switch. Locate the ignition module negative - wire. Pierce the negative wire with the multimeter's red lead. Remove the distributor cap without removing the spark plug wires. Rotate the distributor center shaft by hand or by cranking the engine.