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JR
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I havean issue that may be familiar to some of you but it's new to me.I experienced the"rear 2 cylinders not firing" about 2 weeks ago. I took her out to do some Christmas Eve shopping with no problems. Went to go out for a short ride the next week and boom it happened. Barely got her back in the driveway. Pulled the #4 wire while idling with no change. Figured it was time to research the forum. So I started with the "3 yellow wires" cleaned them ( they were looking good to start - no dark coloring on the connector - greased them proper). Next I went after the spark igniters. No melting on the backs. Cleaned the connections w/ brake fluid and did the 3x connect disconnect. No change. Swapped the igniter connector wires (to test for the spark to change from front to back). No change. Ok then looked at the coils next. Removed them from the bike and tested the Primary circuit getting 0.8 on both coils.No worries, gota decent set from E-bay and theyboth test 2.8. I guess my big issue is that I'm not sure why thishappened suddenly andwhy both coils would check out bad. I am a novice to electricals but not to engine principals. My question is if there is anything alse I may have overlooked to test before I swap out the coils for a test run. I have posted several pics also. Thanks in advance. JR
 

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I never put much stock in ohm testing coils. Unless they are open circuit it's not a reliable test. The only for sure method is to switch them. Very unusual for those coils to fail completely so try the ones you bought and see what happens.
Did you check for voltage at the coils?
The 3 yellow wires have nothing to do with the ignition. The connector next to that is the pulse generator connector, it is important to ignition.
 

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JR
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Discussion Starter #6
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Thanks Dave, I have appreciated reading your feedback on many issues including this one. I have not performed a voltage check and will do with the "new" coils mounted up.JR
 

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also make sure the ground to the frame thats what bolts on to the coils is super clean, these coils used are not brand new so never expect used old 30yr old parts to be good for long half the time people on fleabay sell wore out crap so hopefully they work, i had the same issue on mine and though testing testing and testing i took them to the local bike shop and they put it on a machine that tested the coil output and all that jazz they were fine the problem was the ground to the frame was dirty enough for the coils not to find a good ground.
 

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JR
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Peterbilt, yes I thought about that when I saw the ground wire while removing the original coils. I'll be sure to have a good clean connection there. It's just one of those things that makesme wonder "how the heck" while working through something. I'll be posting my results as completed. Thank you.

JR
 

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Actually the coils do not have to be grounded, if they did you would be able to read continuity to ground through the primary or secondary circuit but that ground connection is very important to the operation of the electrical system.
 

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The primary resistance of the '83 coil is supposed to be low (like 0.5 to 0.8 ohms).. if you have coils that measure 2.8, they are the wrong ones.. they might work, but they are for other years... and usually it is the secondary that has problems not the primary... did you check that?
 

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JR
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Dave you know what bugs me is, if both coils were bad how is it my wing was running on 2 cylinders? One other thing I did was pull the number 2 wire while she was idling and she quit. It shouldn't have been running at all if both coils are bad. Maybe I have an issue regarding the testing and it's not the coils. Like I said my esperience is lacking in testing the electrics bull I'll get it figured out. Let you know what I find out. Thanks again.
 

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JR
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Jim, no I have not tested the secondary circuits. I believe I read that this is done on the bike? Thanks. JR
 

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Your primary resistance is good.. look for problems in the secondary or the 5k resistors in the caps..

It is also not a good idea to check for spark by pulling a wire.. theoretically, pulling one wire will dump two cylinders since they are inseries.. if it doesn't dump both, you have arcing to ground somewhere... through the wires, inside the coil, etc.

(and you can create an arcing coil by pulling a wire... not a good idea... to properly check for spark use a plug grounded to the engine..)
 

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JR831100 wrote:
Jim, no I have not tested the secondary circuits. I believe I read that this is done on the bike? Thanks. JR
you can do it off the bike.. the resistance should be 10k less if the cap resistors are not in the circuit..
 

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JR
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Awesome.Thanksso much for the help.I plan to carve out an hour or two of my busy weekend to address this. I'll be posting any news. I really appreciate you guys helpingme out. About the only thing better than this website and working on my 1100 is riding! Life is good!
 

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You can switch the wiring on the coils to see if it makes the other one fire. Since you have already swapped the ignitors if it makes the left coil fire then it looks like it could be the pulse generators.
 

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I'm with SDB. Pull the plug boots, disassemble, inspect, clean or replace. Inspect the wires for HV arcing where the boot screws in while you're at it. You may find black oxides from HV arcing inside the caps on the screw side of the boot where the resistor seats above the spring, on the screw that seats the spring/resistor and contacts the threaded portion at the top of the plug, on the spring itself, or on the screw for the plug wires. All are hard to clean.I've cleaned them with success, but there's no cleaning a 3-piece (or more) resistor. I've had a 5-piece resistor come from a not-too-well running bike. Looking good on the outside means nothing with these things.

Unplugging a boot on a running engine can spike the ignition system, especially if dirty connections are happening.


Edit: I use coat-hanger rod to clean inside the boot. I sharpen an end at a angle and gently scrape the oxides much as a dentist scrapes plaque. Time consuming. I also use a small piece of Scotch-Brite butterflied on the other end to finish the oxide removal. Finally, stick-type Q-tips dipped in denatured alcohol to wipe it all clean.
 

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I'd pull one cap at a time..put a new plug in it and fire her up keep the plug on the engine so it can fire..look at the spark..fat white or blue good to go if not..start back tracking easiest first..pull cap off wire..cut off 1/4" to give you "new" wire end..test again. If no spark check cap..replace with another and try again or swap out the resistor and check..just eliminating the easy checks before swapping coils.

As said above do not run bike with plug wire/plug not grounded to engine. Keep teh plug tip on the engine for testing.
 

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The coil issue that caused me to order new coils for 1985 aspencade, is an arc to ground on a place on top of the coil that looks almost identical to your coil on the left side, the tiny little abrasion, only happens at higher rpms.



Ben
 

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JR
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Discussion Starter #20
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Well its hard to believe its been almost 2 months since I started this post but life happens. I took advantage of a sunny day to roll her out and get her back together. Unfortunately I am still not getting spark to the rear cylinders. First off I found some crud in the #3 connection on my original left coil. I managed to get it and the other connections all nice and clean so I put back on the original coils/wires. The wires look great at the plug ends. She fires up great and idles rough but no change. I had bought a used set of coils/wires on ebay so I swapped out #3 wire. No change. Swapped out #4 wire. No change. Swapped out the left coil. Still no change. I tested by pulling the spark plugs inserted them into the wires and grounding them against the engine. No spark on #3 or #4. I have also swapped the spark igniters and there was no change in the spark and the backs are nice not melted. So I am at a loss at this point and could use some advice on what to try next. I have a service manual and will be researching that as well. Thanks for your help guys. JR
 
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