Barracuda not starting after being parked for five years

Discussion in 'Electrical and Ignition' started by phf, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. phf

    phf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    23
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Midlands, SC
    Local Time:
    10:53 PM
    Hello all,

    It has been a long time since I've posted here, or did any work on my car, but here goes.
    I have a 67 Barracuda with a 5.2l Magnum in it. Mopar Electronic ignition with an MSD coil. The engine ran when it was parked five years ago. After much moving around, I finally got my car back and set out to start her today. The engine turns over, but there is no spark. I put a multimeter on the coil with the key in the "on" position and I'm only getting 4.5 volts, meanwhile the battery shows 11.8.
    Please help me figure this out.

    Many thanks,
    Stan
     
  2. Bodyperson

    Bodyperson A little sketchy

    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    835
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2015
    Location:
    NW Montana
    Local Time:
    11:53 PM
    I wont be much help but are you using the ballast resistor?
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
    • phf

      phf Well-Known Member

      Messages:
      175
      Likes Received:
      23
      Joined:
      Jan 3, 2007
      Location:
      Midlands, SC
      Local Time:
      10:53 PM
      I am. In fact, I'm trying to figure out if the ballast resistor or the ECU have gone bad.
       
    • AJ/FormS

      AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

      Messages:
      14,685
      Likes Received:
      3921
      Joined:
      Jan 19, 2014
      Location:
      South-Central Manitoba,Canada, 900ftelevation
      View My Photos
      Local Time:
      12:53 AM
      What does the battery say during cranking?
      Make sure the rotor is turning during cranking
       
      Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
      • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • phf

        phf Well-Known Member

        Messages:
        175
        Likes Received:
        23
        Joined:
        Jan 3, 2007
        Location:
        Midlands, SC
        Local Time:
        10:53 PM
        Haven't tested that. I'll wait for my wife to come home and see. Thanks.
         
      • Bodyperson

        Bodyperson A little sketchy

        Messages:
        1,211
        Likes Received:
        835
        Joined:
        Nov 26, 2015
        Location:
        NW Montana
        Local Time:
        11:53 PM
        Did you mean coil during cranking AJ ?
         
      • 68gtxman

        68gtxman I used to reMember FABO Gold Member

        Messages:
        3,757
        Likes Received:
        1515
        Joined:
        Jul 11, 2011
        Location:
        Eastampton, NJ
        View My Photos
        Local Time:
        1:53 AM
        Try jumping out the ignition switch just to see if it starts. Wire from battery positive to coil positive and then crank. If it starts, then it may be either the ignition switch or the ballast. This is an easy test.
         
        • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
        • phf

          phf Well-Known Member

          Messages:
          175
          Likes Received:
          23
          Joined:
          Jan 3, 2007
          Location:
          Midlands, SC
          Local Time:
          10:53 PM
          Great advice. I'll try it here in a little bit.
           
        • AJ/FormS

          AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

          Messages:
          14,685
          Likes Received:
          3921
          Joined:
          Jan 19, 2014
          Location:
          South-Central Manitoba,Canada, 900ftelevation
          View My Photos
          Local Time:
          12:53 AM
          No, battery.
          11.2 is nearly dead as far as batteries are rated. Perhaps during cranking the voltage falls to 9 or 9.5.. With the starter taking all the electrons, there will be nothing left over for the coil.
           
          Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
          • Agree Agree x 4
          • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
          • Mattax

            Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

            Messages:
            4,039
            Likes Received:
            2002
            Joined:
            Feb 7, 2013
            Location:
            Phila. Pa
            Local Time:
            1:53 AM
            That's about right.
             
            • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
            • Mattax

              Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

              Messages:
              4,039
              Likes Received:
              2002
              Joined:
              Feb 7, 2013
              Location:
              Phila. Pa
              Local Time:
              1:53 AM
              True. Its a crude test (I think is in the service manual) but when the voltage drops that low during cranking, its a good indicator battery power is very low. Put a charger on that battery (at 2 amps if its switch selected rate) for at least a few hours, maybe even overnight.
               
              • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
              • Mattax

                Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

                Messages:
                4,039
                Likes Received:
                2002
                Joined:
                Feb 7, 2013
                Location:
                Phila. Pa
                Local Time:
                1:53 AM
                Is that based on using a spark tester?
                 
                • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                • phf

                  phf Well-Known Member

                  Messages:
                  175
                  Likes Received:
                  23
                  Joined:
                  Jan 3, 2007
                  Location:
                  Midlands, SC
                  Local Time:
                  10:53 PM
                  Ran a wire directly from battery + to coil +. Not starting.

                  Had my wife work the key while I hung around the battery with the multimeter. During cranking, the battery holds 10 volts.

                  Unfortunately, I don't have a spark tester. I held the number 1 wire with the plug in it on the exhaust manifold while my wife cranked the engine. No spark was visible.
                   
                • AJ/FormS

                  AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

                  Messages:
                  14,685
                  Likes Received:
                  3921
                  Joined:
                  Jan 19, 2014
                  Location:
                  South-Central Manitoba,Canada, 900ftelevation
                  View My Photos
                  Local Time:
                  12:53 AM
                  Well, 10v is good news.
                  But your spark-test sucks.
                  Pull the coil wire out of the cap instead, and stick something in the end that will stay in there. Then near-ground that thingy, about 1/4 inch airgap or less will do it, now crank it.Waitaminute!!, make sure there is no gasoline anywhere near it and especially not under it.
                  Now crank it; you should see a stream of sparks. If you don't,
                  check that the rotor is turning. If yes
                  then hotwire the coil with full 12 volts from the battery and key off. Take that buster! If still no spark,
                  then clean the ground between the ECU case and whatever it is screwed to. This has to to be grounded to the battery. Your battery has to be grounded to the chassi to complete the circuit.
                  If still no spark, check that the reluctor gap is somewhere between a bit more than zero and less than .025; I think the spec is .008, and if it is then
                  ohm out the pick-up. IDK the spec on that, maybe 350 ish .And if you got that,
                  then check the coil resistances; IDK the specs on that either but look for about 1ohm on the primary side and more than 1000 times higher on the secondary.If you got that,
                  then replace the Ecu, and try again.


                  Hold on, I made the assumption that the ballast was ok. If it is not, then the 12v jumper wire may not feed back to the ECU power-up pin. So the whole entire test detailed above is null. There are two ways around this; 1) just put a new ballast in there or 2) put another jumper either; across the ballast to tie the two sides together, or put another jumper from the Coil + to the ECU power-up pin.
                  My apologies.
                  After you get it sparking; remove all jumpers and try it with the key. If it works, put the coilwire back into the coil, and continue
                   
                  Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
                  • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                  • phf

                    phf Well-Known Member

                    Messages:
                    175
                    Likes Received:
                    23
                    Joined:
                    Jan 3, 2007
                    Location:
                    Midlands, SC
                    Local Time:
                    10:53 PM
                    I can't argue with that.

                    A good friend, who for some reason is not on this forum even though he has a Demon, said it might be the orange box. Is there a way to check it?
                     
                  • 383Scampman

                    383Scampman Well-Known Member

                    Messages:
                    997
                    Likes Received:
                    327
                    Joined:
                    Nov 24, 2013
                    Location:
                    New Hampshire
                    Local Time:
                    1:53 AM
                    Charge the battery to full voltage on a trickle . then , as was previously suggested , put jumper from bat to coil . If nothing happens check coil , if coil is o.k., check spark at dizzy . Now, the bat is o.k., the coil is o.k. and the dizzy is o.k. Get a test light , they are cheap, test the input side of the ballast while cranking. If you have juice, check the output side . this tells you if the ballast is o.k. If you don't have juice at the ballast , check the ignition switch . Check both sides of the switch . If you have juice coming in but none going out at cranking , it's the switch . Check the fuse . Make sure the batt is fully charged . If the batt has been sitting for a long time it may never come back enough to function properly . for long term storage I suggest a battery tender , great stuff .
                     
                    • Agree Agree x 2
                    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                    • Mattax

                      Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

                      Messages:
                      4,039
                      Likes Received:
                      2002
                      Joined:
                      Feb 7, 2013
                      Location:
                      Phila. Pa
                      Local Time:
                      1:53 AM
                      That's fine. I thought you were working alone since you mentioned waiting 'til your wife was available to help.

                      You were correct to make that assumption. Phf measured voltage at the coil when the ignition is in run. It shows a drop, and thats to be expected.
                      There is a possibility that the ignition 2 wire is not connected so during start power isn't gettin gto the coil even though during run it is.
                      Phf, place the voltmeter so you can see it while turning the key to start (or ask your wife to help again). The coil should get battery voltage.

                      If its the original '67 harness, there's a brown wire to the ballast resistor from the ignition switch start position.
                      Its crimped onto the same connector as the blue wire leading to the coil.
                       
                      • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                      • Slantsix64

                        Slantsix64 Well-Known Member

                        Messages:
                        966
                        Likes Received:
                        148
                        Joined:
                        May 11, 2014
                        Location:
                        SGV
                        View My Photos
                        Local Time:
                        12:53 AM
                        No spark from my experiences leads to the Mopar ECU Box. 5 years? i hope you parked the car with no gas in the tank.
                         
                        • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                        • AJ/FormS

                          AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

                          Messages:
                          14,685
                          Likes Received:
                          3921
                          Joined:
                          Jan 19, 2014
                          Location:
                          South-Central Manitoba,Canada, 900ftelevation
                          View My Photos
                          Local Time:
                          12:53 AM
                          Checking the ECU, AFAIK is by process of elimination, as in my earlier post; it(the case) must be grounded back to the battery; through the sheetmetal is fine. Usually; passenger-side apron to core-support to jumper to battery negative. There should also be a redundant ground strap from the rear of the passenger-side head to the firewall, but this has nothing to do with your problem....... unless both grounds are faulty!
                          You could build a tester; all you need is a spare Distributor, a coil,a ballast. and a battery .......... which are already under the hood. You just need to verify that they are all in good working order.Once you have done the diagnostic a time or two and have built the jumper wires, it only takes a few minutes to run thru the tests. I have done them on the side of the hiway several times. It was never the ECU, and since I installed the big yellow SuperCoil, it has never been the coil. For me, if it quits while driving, it's either the ECU ground return path, or the pick-up. If it won't start it has always been the ballast resistor.
                          That Ballast is always cooking itself, that is how it works. Eventually it just cooks itself to death, or the connections to it go bad. If you own a car with this system on it you will always carry a spare.
                           
                          Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
                          • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                          • pauly

                            pauly MOPAR or no car! FABO Gold Member

                            Messages:
                            1,523
                            Likes Received:
                            253
                            Joined:
                            Nov 1, 2012
                            Location:
                            Holton, Michigan
                            Local Time:
                            12:53 AM
                            Does the dizzy cap have brass terminals or aluminum? I’ve seen the aluminum corrode enough that I had no spark.
                             
                            • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                            • memike

                              memike Super Moderator Staff Member FABO Gold Member

                              Messages:
                              50,202
                              Likes Received:
                              7827
                              Joined:
                              Jan 8, 2006
                              Location:
                              on the hill
                              View My Photos
                              Local Time:
                              12:53 AM
                              Ok, don't laugh at me folk's , shoot some oil (tea spoon) in on top of the pistons and see if that wakes it up and gives it compression
                              Or just get some compression readings :lol:, I did the oil fix on two engines that set and it woke them right up.. True story
                               
                              • Like Like x 1
                              • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                              • Agree Agree x 1
                              • phf

                                phf Well-Known Member

                                Messages:
                                175
                                Likes Received:
                                23
                                Joined:
                                Jan 3, 2007
                                Location:
                                Midlands, SC
                                Local Time:
                                10:53 PM
                                Great stuff 383Scampman. Definitely gives me something to do on my next day off. The battery is about three months old and is used almost daily in my truck, so it's not like it has been sitting for a long time.

                                I'll check it out, Mattax. Just to clarify, if, under cranking, the coil still shows less than battery voltage, I have a bad ignition switch?

                                Yes sir. All the fluids came out five years ago and fresh oil and antifreeze went in yesterday. I haven't put gas in the tank yet, but I have a hose drawing gas from a can.

                                AJ/FormS, great advice. Next day I have off, I plan on systematically checking connections and making sure that all the grounds are good. The car sat in a car port, so it's very likely some corrosion built up on connections.

                                Brass terminals. That was one of the first things I did, is check for corrosion under the cap.

                                For all who are wondering, the dizzy is spinning.

                                As I said before, my free time is gone for this week, so unfortunately no more messing around in the garage until my next free day. Hopefully I'll make some headway next weekend.

                                Thank you all for the advice.
                                 
                                • Like Like x 2
                                • Mattax

                                  Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

                                  Messages:
                                  4,039
                                  Likes Received:
                                  2002
                                  Joined:
                                  Feb 7, 2013
                                  Location:
                                  Phila. Pa
                                  Local Time:
                                  1:53 AM
                                  It means there is a poor connection of wire, which possibly could be at or in the switch. And although that's a problem, even if its just 5 -6 Volts, I think that should be enough to saturate the coil at cranking speeds.
                                  * As long as there is voltage across the coil, there will be current flow as long as there is a connection to ground. Cranking speeds are slow, so it has more time to induce a field in the secondary.
                                  Checking for a break in the primary windings is easy. With the ignition switch off, no power at the coil, you can check the primary windings by measuring the resistance from the primary + to the primary -.
                                  * That said, the circuits are designed for the start position on the switch to allow full battery voltage at the coil. So if during cranking the battery positive is at 10 Volts, all of the wires to the coil positive should be at 10 Volts.
                                  >> When the key is in the run position, power to the coil goes through the ballast resistor which reduces the voltage. When the engine is running, the alternator will be supplying power at roughly 14 Volts, the ballast resistor will drop that to roughly 7 volts.
                                  >> Keep in mind that when the points or equivelant are open, there is no current flow through the coil. No current flowing means there will be no voltage drop. Depedning on the meter, voltage measurement of the coil + taken when the engine is running may average or fluctuate rapidly.
                                   
                                  • Like Like x 1
                                  • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                                  • Mattax

                                    Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

                                    Messages:
                                    4,039
                                    Likes Received:
                                    2002
                                    Joined:
                                    Feb 7, 2013
                                    Location:
                                    Phila. Pa
                                    Local Time:
                                    1:53 AM
                                    Diagram of the '67 ignition and power feeds.

                                    With the Key in RUN, power flows to the wires marked IGNITION RUN and ACCESSORY.
                                    upload_2018-12-2_14-32-39.png

                                    In the START position, the battery feeds IGNITION 2 and the STARTER relay wires.
                                    upload_2018-12-2_14-50-24.png
                                     
                                    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
                                    • phf

                                      phf Well-Known Member

                                      Messages:
                                      175
                                      Likes Received:
                                      23
                                      Joined:
                                      Jan 3, 2007
                                      Location:
                                      Midlands, SC
                                      Local Time:
                                      10:53 PM
                                      So, I finished my adulting stuff early, and went to check over the connections. The ECU had a bunch of corrosion under it. Cleaned it up and she fired right up!

                                      Thank you all for your input. This is great stuff to keep in mind for the next project I get, or when this one decides to not run again.
                                       
                                      • Thanks! Thanks! x 1