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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My car was running really rough last week. I was pretty sure it was a vaccum problem but it almost sounded like it was running on 3 cylinders. To rule out this possibility, I heard you could just pull plug wires off one at a time while it's running and listen for a change in the way the engine runs. If it doesn't change then that cylinder's not firing. Anyway, I tried this on cylinder-1 and I couldn't hear a change in the way the car ran. However, after having the plug wire off about 30 seconds the car stalled out suddenly. Now the car won't start.

I took out a spark plug from the head and hooked it up to the plug wire, then touched the plug to a ground and had someone turn the engine over - I never saw any sparking. I figured that narrowed it down to the coil or ICM(ignition conrol module).

I opened up the distributor and did the test on the coil from the Helms manual. My coil tested .4ohms between contact A&B, and 10.4Kohms from A to Secondary. The spec listed in the Helms is .6-.8ohms from A to B and 12.8-19.2Kohms from A to Secondary. one thing to note is the Helms instructs me to disconnect the wires from point A&B but the screw stripped on terminal A so I couldn't take it off. I know this is out of spec but is it enough to cause no spark at all? There is also a note in the Helms that this range is only absolute at 68 degrees F.

So on I go to the tests for the ICM. In the Helms you don't test the ICM directly, only the wires leading to it. I tested all the wires except the blue one that goes to the tach and they checked out fine. I didn't know how to get to the blue wire without taking the cluster all apart. Is testing the blue one vital or is it only for informational purposes at the tach?

Here's where I'm at. I figured if the coil was the thing really causing no spark at all, it would read open circuit. This leaves me with the ICM being the problem.

The lowest price I've found for an ICM is $166 from AutoZone. I had one guy quote me 76$ from a smaller parts store, but I'm pretty sure he was going to sell me a non-vtec one when I got there. I asked him to double-checked the $76 one was for a GSR and he told me not to worry - they were all the same for Integras. I checked Acura part numbers and it is definitely different for ICM on LS vs. GSR and even different between OBD1 GSR & OBD2 GSR.

Any better suggestions before I spend the $166 on the AutoZone one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, I ran another test on the coil before I bought the ICM and it paid off.

I ran a jumper wire from the secondary on the coil to the barb inside the distributor cap for spark plug wire on cylinder #1. Then, I pulled the wire that connects the A terminal on the coil to the ICM off the ICM and turned the key on. Next, I ran a wire from the thermostat ground and touched it to the A terminal on the coil briefly a couple times. No spark at the spark plug at all. At this point I was pretty sure my coil was bad.

I cut the screw that was stripped on the coil A terminal off and run the Helms test on it again. It reads 8.9Kohms on the secondary - far below spec now. I bought the coil yesterday and put it on and now the car is back to running like it did before I pulled the spark plug wire off. My best guess is that the coil was weak and having a spark plug wire off shorted the windings out on the inside.
 

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Yeah, when you pulled your wire while the car was running, you probably sent a quick serge back to the coil (the power had no where else to go), which probably finished it off.

I had a similar problem happen to a friend's 98 Ghetta 2.0: Two weeks ago the car ran rough, so we changed his plug wires (they were in tough shape). Two weeks later the car wouldn't start in the rain. So, to diagnose, I sprayed a mist of water over the wires and coil. Sure enough, sparks were literally flying out of the coil (it was cracked). We replaced the coil and everything was fine. Next morning, the car wouldn't start. Damn. At this point I was pretty certain that the crank sensor or cam sensor had fried when the coil went. However, after testing the sensors they were both ok. We're pretty sure that we fried the ECU. I should have it in the mail tomorrow ($150.00).

Let this be a lesson... Out of tune ignition systems with inconsistent currents can cause a whole host of expensive, and tough to diagnose problems.
 

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I washed my engine bay and accedently wet my distubuter and my car ran sluggish. I pulled a plug and the engine died and would not start. has anyone made a article or pictures of the coil swap procedure. I will be swaping it this weekend.
 

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note to self, dont run car without plugs, and dont wet engine. now I know why my cousin coverd his cap wit a plastic bag when he washed his engine.
 
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