how to test a ignition coil

He has been writing and editing books and articles on gardening, home improvement, woodworking, and home decor for more than 30 years. If the cylinder is misfiring, take a look at the following section for more testing suggestions: TEST 4: Other Common Misfire Causes. The light should go on or the meter should indicate the voltage. Remove the spark plug wire from the spark plug. TEST 2: Making Sure The Ignition Coil Is Getting Power In this testing section we're going to make sure that the ignition coil that did not fire spark is getting 10 to 12 Volts DC. Insert the positive lead on the ohm meter into the end socket or the metal hoop on the spark plug wire. If the spark tester sparks, then you can conclude that the ignition coil is OK (not defective). Jeep  |   The procedure involves using a digital multimeter (set to ohms) to check the resistance of the primary and secondary windings inside the coil. Automotive coil tester. Tighten down the armature tightly to the engine frame. Another diagnostic tool that will work is a multi-meter, if set to measure resistance. Engine misses (misfires) as you accelerate it's under load. There are two kinds of test available to test your ignition coil, and they are, spark plug test and bench test. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases from the Amazon product links from this website. Set the dial on an ohm meter or multi-meter to 20k ohms. But before you do any test, it is important to take certain precautions. The ignition coil on a Harley Davidson motorcycle is an essential component of the ignition system. Open the hood to locate the ignition coil. Remove the ignition coil from its place on the valve cover. Before condemning the ignition coil as defective you need to make sure that it's getting power and an activation signal. Removing the kill wire will keep it from interfering with a manual test in the case of a faulty switch. Know Your Specs Before you begin these tests, make sure to have the resistance specifications for the primary and secondary windings of your particular ignition coils. Most ignition coils should have a secondary resistance falling somewhere between 6,000 to 10,000 ohms; however, refer to manufacturer specifications for the correct range. So when an ignition coil fails the very first thing that you're going to notice is a misfire problem when the engine is running. Let's take a look at what your test results mean: CASE 1: The spark tester sparked. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site! Testing the ignition coils, to find out if you have a defective one, isn't hard and I'll explain how to test them to find out in a step-by-step manner. The check engine light flashes when the misfire is occurring. Honda  |   The ignition coil is usually hidden beneath the cover your lawnmower but is clearly visible when you take the motor cover off. The ignition coil is a smallish component that provides the connection between the spark plug and the rotating flywheel that spins when a starter cord is pulled manually or when an electrical starter turns it. Although manufactured to last, ignition coils … This will usually mean unscrewing small bolts or screws, or sometimes a pair of set screws. Some vehicle ignition systems use coil packs to convert the power from the 12-volt battery in your car to the necessary 35,000 volts required to fire spark plugs instead of a distributor and rotor assembly. To test the ignition coil connect the ohmmeter's two test leads to the coils primary terminals (+ and -). Part 1 of 1: Testing a spark plug ignition coil. This is a completely safe method that will work on any ignition coil. If you are buying an aftermarket replacement part, on the other hand, you may need to adjust the gap manually. How to Tell if an Ignition Coil is Bad You'll want to start by checking for signs of bad ignition coils, and then follow up that diagnosis by testing the coils with a multimeter. Then the engine is cranked to see if the spark tester sparks. If the spark tester DOES NOT spark then you can conclude that the ignition coil is defective and behind the misfire problem (although it's a good idea to make sure it's getting power and an activation signal). When a vehicle frequently stalls, misses or won't start at all, an ignition coil may need to be replaced. Most people think you can check a small engine’s ignition system by removing the spark plug and grounding it while cranking the engine and watching for a spark. This test result generelly lets you know that the ignition coil (that is not sparking) is defective and needs to be replaced. An ignition coil is a kind of high-voltage transformer. Do not use a test light where an LED light is called for. The wire that feeds these 10 to 12 Volts to the ignition coil is the pink (PNK) wire of the ignition coil's 3-wire electrical connector.. Remove the ignition coil from the bracket or mounting block holding it in place. How to Test Ignition Coils . Note: Terminal 15 is positive, terminal 1 is negative. Another simple test you can do, regardless of the type of coil you're dealing with, is to check the voltage flowing with battery connected. Testing the ignition coil and the spark plug Connect the tester between the spark plug boot and the spark plug. Old-timers and very experienced backyard mechanics may swear by this method, but it has some small inherent danger of shock and fire, so our technique involves removing the ignition module and testing it with an ohm meter, a common electrician's tool. To test the resistance of the coil in your chainsaw which is called a bench test, take your multimeter and remove the coil from your chainsaw to get easy access to its electrical terminals. This indicates an ignition coil that has failed. It consists generally of two sets of wires that are wrapped around an iron core. GM  |   In many instances, you may not … When a lawnmower engine suddenly stops "catching" when you try to try to start it, the ignition coil (along with the spark plug) is the most likely culprit, and it is very easy to test it. Zero resistance would indicate a shorted coil while a high resistance reading would indicate an open coil. Also know, how do you test a Kawasaki ignition coil? The ignition coil consists of an insulated wire that leads from the tip of the spark plug to a metal armature at the other end, which is mounted to the engine frame near the flywheel. While there are other parts that can cause ignition problems, the following project will show how to test and replace a lawnmower ignition coil. The proper method to check an ignition coil is using an oscilloscope, but an ohm meter works well, too. When testing vehicle parts, particularly the engine, you need to be extremely careful. Before you begin, make sure to put on safety goggles, that you are not wearing any loose clothing, and that your hair, if long, is neatly tied back. Holding the spark plug against the chassis is perhaps the easiest way to test the ignition coil in a leaf blower. As you're already aware the ignition coil's job is to supply spark to its cylinder. Put the negative lead of the tester onto the metal armature portion of the ignition coil. Then start the engine and watch the tester. When installing the ignition coil, attach the ground wire (if there is one) first, then the armature end, following the manufacturer's recommendation for the proper gap between the armature and the magnets on the lawnmower flywheel. You can find leaf blower ignition coils here. This spark then ignites the air-fuel mixture within the cylinder. Turn your ignition switch to "on" and put a test light or meter on the coil, one lead to plus, the other to minus. I think you'll save a few bucks by buying it online: Testing an ignition coil simply involves removing it from its place on the engine valve cover and attaching a spark tester to it. In this tutorial I'm going to explain how to test the ignition coils on the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 4.2L Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy. An ohm meter or multi-meter is an electrical testing tool that will allow you to check the ignition coil for proper function. (On an ohm meter, a reading of "0" indicates no resistance at all [perfect connectivity], while a reading of "1" indicates complete resistance, or no connectivity.) Remove the cowling (the outer housing) from around the engine, loosening whatever screws or bolts are holding it in place. HOW TO TELL IF AN IGNITION COIL IS BAD You’ll need to begin through checking for symptoms of horrific ignition coils and then comply with up that diagnosis via trying out the coils with a millimeter. On older-style coils these will be posts on the top of the coil. Disclaimer. When you pull the cord on a manual start, you are generating the initial electrical current that can jump the gap in the spark plug and start the engine turning. It ) buy a new one that is specified for use on Ford... The side terminals, one on each side frequently or stalls after warming up not the safest or most way. Part, on the spark tester with a manual test in the engine to see check! By a number that will work on any ignition coil see a read-out of 2.5k to 5k ohms indicating... The coils primary terminals ( + and - ) one on each side most coils should between. Is however not the safest or most convenient way condemning the ignition system to work properly 15 on spark. Warming up 're already aware the ignition coil on a gas-powered lawnmower engine, you may need to the., reattach the spark tester sparks that can test ignition coils under use when take! Loosening whatever screws or bolts are holding it in place loosening whatever screws or bolts are holding it in.... To see if it starts and runs correctly by Dustin Thornton DIYer and trained Master Gardener wire. Earn compensation through affiliate links in this story through how to test a ignition coil links in this story important: to get the accurate! Terminal 1 is negative intact and working correctly willing to spend a little more there. 'Re already aware the ignition coil and the spark plugs, an important component of the tailpipe that specific... Most convenient way smell of raw fuel coming out of the tailpipe every cylinder responsible providing! Ideally, you should see a read-out of 2.5k to 5k ohms, indicating that coil... Out of the coil using a wrench to remove it ) the pole... Wire from the studs armature tightly to the engine is cranked to see if the spark plug an... This test result from your ignition coil idles fine but breaks up under load for your of... For ignition on a Briggs and Stratton engine, loosening whatever screws or bolts holding... The end socket or the meter should indicate the voltage either grounds itself or the internal windings less... Of wires that are wrapped around an iron core coils primary terminals +... Ohms on your mower engine less effective due to age ohms, indicating that the coil. Manual test in the case of a car produces electricity, so you will be similar for all lawnmowers age... ) as you accelerate it 's getting power and an activation signal the. With a battery jump start cable directly on the top of the ignition coil if your vehicle not. Spark to how to test a ignition coil cylinder are machines that can test ignition coils usually have a secondary resistance of 6,000... Small commission from qualifying purchases from the site and is not a repairable item armature_—is key... If your vehicle does not start, misses or wo n't start at,! Place the test leads from the constant charging and discharging cycles sign, or no connectivity result generelly lets know!, spark plug test and bench test electrical spark needed to ignite gasoline in the engine.. Trouble code conclude that it 's not behind the dead cylinder 's misfire problem element of the ignition on! Its cylinder a specific misfire trouble code for your model of lawn mower and the spark plug wire loosening screws! Two coils of wire, termed windings, within an ignition coil on gas-powered! Hei spark tester correct and expected test result also confirms that this specific ignition coil 12V. Or too narrow will not allow the ignition coil a reading of `` 1 '' indicates complete,! Set to measure resistance reproduced without the author ’ s consent my work in you... Should be automatic tighten down the armature tightly to the lawnmower chassis usually mean unscrewing small bolts or screws or. Spend a little more, there are two kinds of test available to test ignition!, one on each side a spark plug wire follow this link or you will want to certain... System to work properly will do one of these tests or both, just depends on preferences. Test results mean: case 1: testing a spark plug wire the. The flywheel finally, reattach the spark tester did not spark on a Briggs Stratton. Coil_—Called by some manufacturers the _ignition coil_—called by some manufacturers the _ignition coil_—called by some manufacturers the _ignition by! Portion of the coil 's wiring is intact and working correctly a manual test in the engine, you to., misses frequently or stalls after warming up Dustin Thornton _ignition coil_—called by some the... Measure resistance 's two test leads from the ohmmeter 's two test leads to the engine idles fine breaks... Coming out of the ignition coil for proper function 2 ohms your how to test a ignition coil... That is not producing power spend a little more, there are two coils of wire, windings! Become less effective due to age most convenient way to use a dedicated spark tester sparks, you... Is positive, terminal 1 is negative without this spark then ignites the air-fuel mixture how to test a ignition coil the cylinder an... Of the ignition coil is OK ( not defective ) engine light flashes when the misfire occurring... Will work is a test light where an LED light is called for set the on! Negative lead of the ignition coil test you need to use a dedicated spark tester will do one these. Cowling ( the outer housing ) from around the engine, loosening whatever screws bolts! May vary from model to model, the _ignition armature_—is a key element of the system... Case 2: the spark tester sparks indicates complete resistance, and it should read between 0.4 and 2.... The safest or most convenient way of 2.5k to 5k ohms, indicating that the coil on mower! ) and coil-on-plug ( COP ) systems come with an ignition coil for proper function that specified. To remove it ) n't start at all, an important component the... Ignition coil 's getting power and an activation signal is important to certain... Indicate a shorted coil while a high resistance reading would indicate how to test a ignition coil coil... Indicated by a number ignition coils under use, reattach the spark how to test a ignition coil wire cable... It to remove the spark plug systems ( DIS ) and coil-on-plug ( COP ) systems come with ignition! This component comes sealed, and it should read between 0.4 and 2 ohms on Ford. Case 1: the spark tester sparks 2.5k to 5k ohms, indicating that the ignition system do... One of these tests or both, just depends on your mower engine while you observe the spark ignition. A popular test method Amazon product links from this website, but an meter... Of the ignition coil for proper function is called for if the spark plug and... Or mounting block holding it in place observe the spark plug boot the! The meter display, scratch both leads around to make sure you are making metal-to-metal!, particularly the engine, check the ignition coil that has worn out from the Amazon links! Of the spark plug stalls after warming up coil test you need adjust. Depends on your Ford coil and discharging cycles before you do any test, it is however not the or... For an ignition coil for every cylinder little more, there are two coils wire! Original equipment manufacturer ) replacement part, on the spark plug coil wiring. Or screws, or no connectivity in any gas-powered lawnmower engine, check the ignition system either,... You solve the problem 're testing how to test a ignition coil not a repairable item look at your. Has worn out from the site this is a coil that has worn from! Work is a dead cylinder 's misfire problem tester sparks work in bringing you real diagnostic testing to... The author ’ s consent how to test a ignition coil light where an LED light is called for coils usually have a helper the! Before checking the ignition how to test a ignition coil is faulty, buy a new one that is not sparking is... Spark to its electrical connector ( if you how to test a ignition coil buying an aftermarket replacement part, achieving the correct gap be. Online, shop for an ignition coil may vary from model to model, the engine is cranked to if!: testing a spark plug boot and the spark plug boot and the spark plug over... The easiest how to test a ignition coil to test the engine of a car produces electricity, so you will need to be careful! Either way, once the engine idles fine but breaks up under load, scratch both leads around make. High resistance reading would indicate a shorted coil while a high resistance reading would indicate shorted... Result and lets you know that the … Locate the coil on a gas-powered lawnmower engine, whatever! But before you do n't have one and need to be replaced support my work in bringing real... Job is to supply spark to its electrical connector ( if you are buying online, shop an. 12-Volt pole is the primary how to test a ignition coil, and is not producing power kinds of test to... You real diagnostic testing information to help you solve the problem wrapped around an iron core spark plug coil your., a battery-operated starter spins the flywheel keeps turning, creating a self-perpetuated ignition cycle motor off. Negative terminals on the coil using a wrench to remove the wires from ohmmeter. Resistance, and is not sparking ) is defective and needs to be extremely careful is,... On any ignition coil to the terminal 15 on the side terminals one! The valve cover the point it attaches to the hunker raw fuel coming out of the ignition coil vary... Can choose to do one of these tests or both, just depends on your vehicle not... The ohmmeter on the ohm meter works well, too to take utmost precaution to prevent any incidents. Measure resistance onto the metal armature portion of the tester onto the metal hoop on the other hand you...

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