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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, so I have a 350 with HEI in my ‘82 that up and died on me the other day at a stop light, never to fire again. It has no spark which points me to an issue with the distributor. The issue is that the cap and rotor are only a couple of months old so basically new, it has good voltage going to it, I’ve confirmed that the rotor does spin while cranking, and I’ve popped in a new coil and ignition module to no avail. I’ve been told it could be a ground issue and this could be the case being that I could only successfully test ignition voltage to the distributor by putting my multimeter ground wire on the negative terminal off the battery. My question is though is how would I remedy this situation? I’ve been lead to believe that the distributor is grounded through the block itself but either way why would that cause the engine to die suddenly sitting at a light? I’m kind of at a loss at this point and would love to get this large paperweight sitting in my garage back on the road again!
 

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Did you test the pick up coil? That is the piece with the two small wires going to the right side of the module. Green and black I think.


The wires flex everytime the vacuum advance pulls in and out. Connect your VOM to the two leads while disconnected from the module. Should have 700 - 1500 ohms. Flex the wires while testing to check for a broken lead because the copper breaks inside the insulation.


To change it the distributor has to be removed and disassembled.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the suggestion! I tested it just now and it measured about 850 ohms, so I’m assuming it’s good.
 

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Hello, Mine did the same a few years back the small thin wire under the Rotor Mount broke only found it by replacing the Disturber. You might see if you can get one to try.
 

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Run a wire from the positive battery lead to the positive lead on the distributor and try to start.. I've been lucky using this one a few times..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Run a wire from the positive battery lead to the positive lead on the distributor and try to start.. I've been lucky using this one a few times..
I'll have to give it another try this evening just to chase down every lead. I did end up ordering a whole new distributor off amazon this morning as well just to see. Its crazy how cheap they are online to get a whole unit when compared to piecing together a bunch of new parts from the auto parts stores to try and fix my existing one
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Welp still not sure what the issue was but a whole new $45 distributor off amazon seemed to do the trick
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Make sure there is a ground bar under the coil . It is a metal strap .Some people don't notice it when changing cap
There was one. The new cap and rotor I had were on the car for several months before this issue. I also checked it when swapping out coils and the ground strap was in good shape still.
 

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I would check the rotor for a burn spot. I had one burn thru at speed going down the road. It split the seam on the muffler when it went. I also had a woman at work, drive in and shut her car off. It wouldn't start at quitting time. Yup, the rotor had a very small burn mark. Replaced it, and it started right up. Just my experiences, and worth a look.

Regards Brian
 

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The GM ECM chip from the '80's!

With that old distributor, you have what you call an ECM (Electronic Control Module) It has four spade terminals coming out of it (2 smaller, 2 larger), two small bolts hold it in place. If your vehicle has one of these ECM's and just shuts off, chances are very good the ECM just fried. I was a GM tech for ten years and a GM master tech for ten years, plus I have all those years under my belt of diagnosing this stuff and 9x's out of 10x's it's most always been this pesky little chip, specifically on the '80's GM's.

Cars are now a different beast with all their new electronic sensors and switches, but I learned on the '60's - '00's style of vehicle. If it were a newer car, it might just take me a bit longer to figure it out. Thank god for the internet!

:rockon:
 

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The GM ECM chip from the '80's!

With that old distributor, you have what you call an ECM (Electronic Control Module) It has four spade terminals coming out of it (2 smaller, 2 larger), two small bolts hold it in place. If your vehicle has one of these ECM's and just shuts off, chances are very good the ECM just fried. I was a GM tech for ten years and a GM master tech for ten years, plus I have all those years under my belt of diagnosing this stuff and 9x's out of 10x's it's most always been this pesky little chip, specifically on the '80's GM's.

Cars are now a different beast with all their new electronic sensors and switches, but I learned on the '60's - '00's style of vehicle. If it were a newer car, it might just take me a bit longer to figure it out. Thank god for the internet!

:rockon:

Glad to hear the new, less expensive distributor from Amazon fixed your problem! I think all the distib.'s from that time come with new guts and just need to installed correctly in the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I had actually replaced that module during one of my attempts before buying the whole new distributor. The only thing I can think of is that maybe a wire broke internally on the old distributor. Ironically enough the new distributor didn't cost that much more than just the module by itself from the auto parts store
 

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Since you did try the ECM, it's that 1x out of 10x that it could've been the reluctor/p/u coil (that's all that's left, assuming you checked the cap and rotor before-hand!). Regardless, you're on the road and hopefully won't ever have to deal with this problem again! :cool2:
 

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Take that new module out of your old dizzy and toss it in your glove box.

Cheap insurance, you never know when you or a buddy (or complete stranger) will need it.
 

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I'm swapping the HEI that came with my 454 with a iron, single points distributor. It will trigger the Mark 10 CD ignition box I have.. Vintage but electronic.. Please feel free to give me feed back on this swap..
 

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Hey Squag27 , now that you have your ignition problem fixed along with the other cool stuff you have done , I bet you can hear a little bird sitting on your shoulder saying " Kyleeee , join is at Super Chevy on May 25 and get that cool Camino on the track :cool2:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey Squag27 , now that you have your ignition problem fixed along with the other cool stuff you have done , I bet you can hear a little bird sitting on your shoulder saying " Kyleeee , join is at Super Chevy on May 25 and get that cool Camino on the track :cool2:
I'll be there, don't you worry! Just because the engine is running though doesn't mean the rest of the car is in any decent shape to track it. Wait till the 2020 show though and it'll hit the autocross for sure.

I'm with 464 Elky...the pickup coil is the likely culprit.. The shaft & gear have to be removed from the dist casting, and a skinny snap ring holds to coin in place. Not difficult to replace that coil
Honestly the cost of a whole new distributor off amazon was cheaper than it would've been to fix the old Auotozone brand one that was already in there.
 
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