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Old 08-21-2004, 01:31 PM
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Question HELP! -- won't start after installing electronic ignition

I'm embarrassed to have to even post this question after seeing so many posts about what a quick and easy change the electronic ignition system is. I just installed it on my '88 PS 190 and can't get the engine to run. When I crank it, it fires and then immediately dies, almost like the kill switch is engaged (I know this isn't the case, as the previous owner disabled the kill switch).

As part of the install, I had changed my cap and rotor, but have reinstalled the original ones to eliminate that. Other than that I've made no other changes. I've confirmed the wires match the firing order, have checked and rechecked the electrical connections and the gap on the module.

What else should I look at? How can I ensure that the module is working correctly? I'm tempted to take it out and reinstall my points, just to make sure its not something else (the boat was running before I did this), but want that to be a last resort.

Thanks, Chuck
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Old 08-21-2004, 02:59 PM
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What brand of ignition did you buy? (Pertronix, Prestolite or ?) With the Pertronix, there are two plate positions depending on the rotation of the rotor shaft. Also, you may have to remove your ballast resistor depending on the impedance of your coil.
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Old 08-21-2004, 03:37 PM
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One more thing...The timing changed more than I expected on my engine. You may want to mark your distributor for its current position and then adjust the rotation a little bit either direction (clockwise and counterclockwise) and try to start the engine.
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Old 08-21-2004, 04:26 PM
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Thanks, Terry. I've got a prestolite kit -- there's only one way for the plate to go on there (unless you are 180 deg out of time, which I'm not). I'll try the timing -- first I'm going to try to verify all 8 cylinders are firing -- which I'm not positive they are.
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Old 08-21-2004, 06:19 PM
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Check to make sure that the lead to the coil + is hot when the key is ON as well as crank, unless there's a separate one for cranking. The coil - goes to the old points, and also to the new system. If you've looked at previous opsts about solid state ignition, make sure you don't leave the key on for too long without the motor runnung.

Any time you do anything with the ignition, you should verify the timing. If you don't have a timing light, borrow one or buy one, they can be had for $35. I would get the kind with the adjustable advance, just because it's easier to see the timing mark on the timing indicator at 0 degrees.
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Old 08-21-2004, 07:02 PM
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Yep that checks out, Jim. How do I check the timing if I can't get the engine to run? I'm used to strobing it with it running...
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Old 08-22-2004, 01:02 AM
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If you have spark, just check the timing as it cranks. There should be no difference between timing during crank and at idle. It's just a little trickier, although you could have someone else turn the key.
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Old 08-22-2004, 01:46 PM
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Jim,

OK, I've done a ton of testing and here's what I have confirmed:

I confirmed timing of #1 spark plug is close to TDC

I get spark at the distributor from all 8 wires -- I do get what looks like a double pulse on one wire -- not sure what that's about but don't think its the problem.

In run I get about 1.8 V to the coil. In start I get about 9 V.

It seems like when the key returns from start to run, it drops the voltage to the coil and kills the engine.

Does this make sense / seem possible? I've checked the wiring several times and it doesn't make sense. The ignition wire going to the coil is connected to the same wire that goes to the starter solenoid. So it seems that if I give 12 V to the coil, I'm also going to be running my starter. But if I don't give 12 V to the coil, I don't get spark,so what am I missing?

Please help me!!!! Chuck
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Old 08-22-2004, 04:11 PM
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Look at your ignition switch for loose wires and bad terminals. The voltage to the coil and for cranking the starter comes from there and this is the path that needs to be checked. Since you have a voltmeter, check all of the terminals on the ign switch. It is possible for the ign switch to go bad, too. What does your dash voltage gauge read when the key is on? If this is lower than usual, I would then look at the safety switch.
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Old 08-22-2004, 04:59 PM
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Jim, the dash voltage guage reads normal.

I removed the leads from the coil and get 12 V in run and ~10.5 in start from the ignition wire (by itself), so it looks like the ignition switch is OK.

HOWEVER, when I attach the choke and distributor leads to the coil, the voltages drop to the level I mentioned earlier. Could the ignition module itself have an internal short?

Last edited by hardycm; 08-22-2004 at 05:42 PM.
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