First with 135K miles it may have a spent ignition system. New plugs and
wires may be all it needs. Pull a wire and look at the color of the spark.
Blue is good and strong, orange is weak. Pull the plugs and see what they
look like. Nice and toasty brown is what you are looking for. If they are
black, or the electrode is wore down (you can check the gap if you want).
Make sure all the cylinders have spark. You may have a bad coil pack if two
work and two do not. If they ALL do not spark, then it is probably the
ignition module. Most parts stores now have a way to test them if you get
it off and bring it to them.
Easier thing to check is to see if you have fuel pressure. First have
someone turn the key on (NOT starting the car) and stay near the fuel tank
to hear if the pump comes on. You will hear it "whirr"
That will get you started, but by no means every thing that could be causing
Hey thanks. My g/f's car. Her repair guy replaced the wires very
recently. Also alternator, probably plugs, and anything else he could
unbolt, replace and charge her for. Now he says "I have got to do
diagnostics, and that will cost a couple hours labor, etc etc." Duh.
He has been doing the guesswork strategy and clearly not looking for a
But I will check the individual plugs for spark strength. Will listen
for fuel pump noise. I know a little about troubleshooting, but can
you tell me where the ignition module is located? Or point me to a web
site with some pictures?
Also, is it possibly something in the ignition key switch? Or the
ignition switch harness or a wire connection under the dash? It seems
to be an "all-on or all-off" thing no grey area -- a week ago it
started with no warning. Once.
I did not mention, I smell no fuel during starting attempts. Is that
relevant in an fuel injected engine?
Thanks for your help.
What you are describing can be caused by many things. I do not believe it
is the ignition switch because your car cranks, and every thing on the
dash/radio is on when in the "run" position ...(I am assuming this) The
crank sensor is a likely cause though and not to hard to change
A 'common' problem on these engines once they have a bunch of miles on them
is the crank position sensor. If it doesn't get the pulse from the crank, it
won't spark. Course, check for fuel and/or spark first before throwing parts
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