Troubleshooting5

Checking The MSD Ignition For Spark


 

The following test will determine if your MSD is producing a spark.

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White Wire Trigger:

If you are using the White wire (points or electronic amplifier) of the MSD to trigger the ignition, follow these steps.

  1. Make sure the ignition switch is in the Off position.
  2. Remove the coil wire from the distributor cap and position the terminal so it is approximately 1/2" from a good ground.
  3. Disconnect the MSD White wire from the distributor points or the ignition amplifier.
  4. Turn the ignition to the On position. DO NOT CRANK THE ENGINE.
  5. Tap the White wire to ground several times. Each time the wire is pulled away from ground a spark should jump from the coil wire to ground. If spark is present, the ignition is working properly.

If there is no spark:

  1. Inspect all of the wiring.
  2. Substitute another coil and test again. If there is now spark, the coil is at fault.
  3. If there is still no spark, check to make sure there is 12 volts on the small Red wire from the MSD when the key is in the On position. If 12 volts are not present, find another 12 volt source and repeat the test.
     
  4. After inspecting the test procedures and inspecting all of the wiring, there is still no spark, the Ignition is at fault. See the Warranty and Service Page for Information.

Magnetic Pickup Trigger:

If you are using the 2-Pin Magnetic Pickup of the MSD to trigger the ignition, follow these steps.

  1. Make sure the ignition switch is in the Off position.
  2. Remove the coil wire from the distributor cap and position the terminal so it is approximately 1/2" from a good ground.
  3. Disconnect the MSD Magnetic Pickup connector from the distributor.
  4. Turn the ignition to the On position. DO NOT CRANK THE ENGINE.
  5. With a small jumper wire, short the Green and Violet magnetic pickup wires together then pull the jumper off. Each time the short is removed a spark should jump If spark is present, the ignition is working properly.

If there is no spark:

  1. Inspect all of the wiring.
  2. Substitute another coil and test again. If there is now spark, the coil is at fault.
  3. If there is still no spark, check to make sure there is 12 volts on the small Red wire from the MSD when the key is in the On position. If 12 volts are not present, find another 12 volt source and repeat the test.
  4. After inspecting the test procedures and inspecting all of the wiring, there is still no spark, the Ignition is at fault. See the Warranty and Service Page for Information.


 

No 12v present at Coil +

  1. One common question in regards to MSD Ignition controls is “Why isn’t 12V power on the orange (COIL +) wire?”
    The main reason 12V won’t be present at coil + is because your MSD ignition is a Capacitive Discharge Ignition. Like all CD ignitions they use a large capacitor to discharge 420-480 Volts to coil + and coil – will normally be connected to ground. (That’s why you wont see +12V on coil +)
     
  2. Most all stock ignitions are Inductive Ignitions, these will normally be connected to the + 12V ignition switch to coil + and coil – is connected to Points or the Factory Electronic Module. (That’s why you’ll see +12V on coil +)