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Discussion Starter #1
I was working on my Elky this last weekend. My charging system hadn't been working, I replaced the alternator, and still was not having any luck. It charged initially but after driving around for about an hour the voltage dropped and caused some cutouts and backfires. I drove it home easy, just over idle and parked it. Checked charging system and it was not charging. Shut it off for a while, started it up after letting the battery charge and the system was charging again.
I put in a different battery and let it charge over night. The next day she started right up, no misses, stutters, and the charging system was working fine. I let it idle while I double checked fluids and gauges. Then when I left the driveway about a block down the road it started to stutter and pop. Voltage gauge dropped and the car didn't make it around the block to get home. Now I have no spark.

Other info: LT1 out of a 1995 Trans Am with factory style Optispark. I just replaced plugs, wires, O2 Sensors, water pump, distributor and cap and rotor.

If anyone has thoughts or can tell me how to walk through the the ignition system that would be great. I am wondering if it is the coil. It is the only thing that I haven't replaced, short of the computer, and the center of it is loose. is there a quick way to test it?

Oh and I did check fuses related to the ignition. Let me know if you need other details.

Thanks for the input.
Krok
 

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sorry i cant really help you on this but i doubt its the coil. some one else will be able to help you out though. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was hoping to hear something back by this weekend. Just giving the tread a bump. And thoughts on the matter or a link to a solid diagnosis process for the LT1 ignition system would be great
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I thought that could perhaps be it, but when the ignition system decided to fail completely (NO SPARK.) I am wondering if I had a crappy component in the system and it was shorting out and then finally burned completely out. Does this sound like a possibility?
 

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Do a google search on Opti-spark. Completely possible yours has died. Especially if the water pump has leaked on it. Opti-sparks tend to die suddenly that's why a lot of Camaro owners call them Opti-Crap. If you just replaced the cap and rotor in it you might want to take it apart and see if something happened.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I replaced the water pump, and while I was at it the whole opti spark. Not just cap and rotor. Distributor too! I know the whole thing could have shot craps but I was wondering how to test up to that so I could make sure that was the problem before I dropped the water pump and fluid again. I was looking for things like voltage to the coil, voltage out of the coil etc etc so I could trace down the culprit.
 

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did u put a new or used one on, i worked at the city garage for years many cop cars opti spark is a problem area look further if you put a new one on i e computer but most likely its the optispark. :beer:
 

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Lost spark,need help

Why don't you pull one of the spark plug wires , use a spark tester to see if you can get a spark.On some of the computers the oil pressure switch { if you are using the camaro one} . I think it has a 3 wire hookup. If it does not see oil pressure it takes out the fuel pump. As always recheck grounds , connector plugs, and so on ..
 

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Try this:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
acauth,
Thanks for the flow chart. That is what i was looking for.

I did put a brand new opti-spark in the car 3 weeks ago. I have done the plug test and that is how I know I don't have spark. I will double check my grounds but I put a lot of extra frame to block grounds in when I installed the motor. Any other thoughts on the cause other than opti? I did get a life time warranty one but just don't crave changing it all over again.
 

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Did you check the spark coming out of the coil? That is what feeds the Opti. Nothing out of the coil nothing out of the Opti. If you don't have anything out of the coil you will need to figure out if the Opti is sending the signal to trip the coil.

Have you checked the plug on the left side of the Opti to make sure it is seated all the way? Gotta have a good connection there for the signal.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What is the best way to check the spark coming from the coil? How can I check if the opti is tripping the coil?
 

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Have someone turn the car over while you hold the coil wire close to a ground (engine block etc), use insulated pliers to hold it. You should see a spark from the wire to the ground. Don't try it in direct sunlight you'll never see the spark.

On the Opti signal I'm not sure I've never had to troubleshoot that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I did the diagnostics. and it turns out the optispark is the problem. I don't know if it is the cap and rotor or the distributor itself. Since I just put all of this on a couple of weeks ago I have warranty on all of it. I am just wondering why this would have went out so quickly. It ran smoothly for a while, but the took a dump. Was it because my charging system was not keeping the voltage high enough? Don't want to do this again......
 

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Hard to say until you get it opened back up. But I don't think the charging system could damage it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok, I was just wondering if low voltage could cause problems with the Opti. I suppose I just got one of those infamous "not worth a darn" Opti's from the store. Like I said, ran for a while and then just started to act funny and finally took a dump. I have heard this can happen when replacing them. Luckily I have a lifetime warranty, just my time involved now. :)

Although I will be replacing this time with the warranty parts, I am also wondering if anyone knows of a good manufacturer of an aftermearket Optispark. Thanks again...... I will let you all know how it goes.
 

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I don't recall low voltage causing the Optispark to fail. But with low voltage it won't trigger the computer and the computer won't generate the primary pulse to the coil. Heard somewhere the threshold is about 9V, below that you won't get spark or fuel injector pulses.
 

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There was a thread on the charging system in the electrical forum a while back. You may want to check that to make sure your alternator isn't damaging the opti. But of course the car has to be running to check it... First things first
 
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