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Suspected ignition module failure

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:22 AM   #1
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Suspected ignition module failure

I have been driving my 88 S15 4X4 for nearly two years now. Mostly it is a very good running little truck and has been very dependable. This morning it was hard starting, engine spins over real good with the starter but no start. After hitting the starter about four times this morning it fired up and I drove to work, it ran perfect on the way to work. Tonight after work it wouldn't start. This is the same way it acted about six months ago and I fixed it by putting in a new ignition module. My wife had to pick me up at work and I left the truck there. I'll take my tools with me tomorrow and dig deeper after work. If it is another ignition module failure, what would make them fail after only about six months?
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:32 AM   #2
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

hmmm. Maybe its the spark plugs such as the cap and rotor or coil. It could be the ICM but after 6 months but you never know wtih autozone or oreily parts lol. It may be acting funny. I do believe that autozone will test the ICM for you. Check to see if your not getting spark or fuel or both.
Old 03-10-2011, 12:37 AM   #3
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Yea, I will take my tools in the morning so I can check all those things, it is an Autozone module so perhaps six months is all I should expect from it. My local Autozone doesn't have a working tester for the module. In fact none of my local auto stores have a working tester for the module. I am low of gas, 293 miles on the trip odometer and it will run out around 340 miles so I poured in the two gallons I always carry with me and still no start.

I will hook up my remote starter tomorrow so I can check it out close as I am cranking the engine. For now it is my bed time.
Old 03-10-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Quote: Originally Posted by I want a Syclone
.....but after 6 months but you never know wtih autozone or oreily parts lol. .
So true! I try to not buy mission critical stuff like that there. Get it up the bum and get it from the dealer. You'd probably be better off getting it from the junkyard...no lie. Quality can be questionable at O'Reily, Autozone or Advance. I seem to have better luck with Advance usually of the three.
Old 03-10-2011, 05:48 PM   #5
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Lol funny but sad story. Went a store called fisher auto parts in a local town and Ordered my s10 crank and when they got it in i had to spend my cash so they held it till i got the dough and i picked it up. When i picked it up it was pitted, warped, dinged etc. They left it in its original box laying on the ground instead of properly storing it and god knows else what. I told them i wanted my money and original crank back and never went there again. Picked up another Crank at O'reily's for bout the same price. Gotta be careful bout where you go parts shopping. I try a fusion between the three but i rarely buy Critical stuff from auto zone.
Old 03-11-2011, 10:48 AM   #6
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

I went to Autozone to get a wheel stud for my old Buick LeSabre a couple of years ago. The girl looked confused seriously. She was gone for 10 minutes and came back and told me they were "out". I found that very hard to believe since only 10 trillion GM cars built in the last 20+ years use the same stud. I walked across to Westwood, and they guy reached over to a drawer pulled it out in 30 seconds and said "here ya go". I told him they should put on the letter board outside, "the parts house with brains!".
Old 03-11-2011, 10:57 AM   #7
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Well, I had my wife pick up a new module yesterday at the locally owned parts store where I like to shop. I worked a 14 hour day yesterday so didn't put it in last night. Just came home, had dinner and fell asleep in my easy chair. I am hoping I am right, that it is the module keeping the engine from starting. I haven't had any spare time to check it out closer yet. The truck is still in the lot at work so my wife will drive me in again this morning, I will install the new module after work today and hope for the best. It better be the problem because my wife will be working herself and won't be able to pick me up tonight.
Old 03-11-2011, 06:27 PM   #8
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Well like i say its always wise to properly diagnose the problem before ripping and replacing stuff. Sometimes its hard to do but patience pays off. Hope it fixes it man; i know what its like to see the little old 1st gen in the street not running (tear wells up in one eye).
Old 03-11-2011, 10:46 PM   #9
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Today's update in my ongoing module saga. I got lazy! End of story!.............................
Old 03-11-2011, 10:56 PM   #10
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

OK, OK, there's more. If anyone really cares. I was back in the yard at work in the early afternoon today. I had some time so I walked over to my pickup that hadn't started in what, three days? Put the key in the ignition, turned it to "start" and VROOM, VROOM. No hesitation, no excessive cranking, it just started right up and ran perfectly. I actually liked that since it pretty much confirms my suspicions that the ignition module is the problem. I didn't spend $52 on a new module for no good reason.

I say that because that's how bad ignition modules act. Either the engine starts and runs fine or it just won't start at all. I drove the pickup home after work with the thought of installing the new module after I let the engine cool down for a little while. Too bad "a little while" included dinner, a couple drinks, and some TV. I hope my pickup starts in the morning as I have to deliver a load tomorrow. I am
SO bad!
Old 03-13-2011, 02:21 PM   #11
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

My truck didn't start yesterday morning when I tried to leave for work. Took the time to remove the distributor and installed the new module. It fired right up and after work did the same, started easily as it should.

I am still wondering why the ignition modules are lasting only about six months. I have been driving the truck for two years now and this is the third module I have had to put in it. What can be causing them to fail so soon? Other than this problem the pickup has been great. Typical GMC like the old ones I owned when I was a young adult. Back then you could pick up a good running and dependable 1950 or so Chevy, GMC, Ford or Dodge truck for under $100. I owned many of them all back then at different times of course. I am talking during the 70's and 80's. What does one cost now? $1,000.00 or more for just an empty shell of a truck? I kinda miss the old days. I miss the simplicity of those old machines too, point ignitions, simple carb's and armstrong steering.
Old 11-09-2011, 09:16 AM   #12
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

I'm resurrecting this post because I am still having trouble blowing ignition modules. My pickup is sitting at work this morning and my wife has to run me in a little later. This ignition module lasted only three months or even a little less. The truck is just eating ignition modules and I can't figure out why. Doesn't seem to matter where I buy the module, they all last only a few months. Nobody else has had this problem?
Old 11-09-2011, 06:27 PM   #13
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

I'd suspect a short in the ignition control circuit, try checking resistance between the wires on the icm harness to a ground. I think they should all read infinite. You could also try a better thermal compound between the module and the dist, such as arctic silver ceramique. Maybe spark is arcing off the ignition coil wire to the wires that run to the icm...
Old 11-13-2011, 06:12 PM   #14
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

how do you know its the module? and not pcm.
Old 11-13-2011, 10:46 PM   #15
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Quote: Originally Posted by bluecuda
how do you know its the module? and not pcm.
Every time without fail when I install a new ignition module the truck starts right up and runs great for a couple months or more. Why would it do that if it wasn't the module failing?
Old 11-13-2011, 11:45 PM   #16
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

The modules are only the symptom. If you have to keep replacing them, you have not resolved the cause of the problem.

Check over the wiring, the heat sink compound (applied evenly and thinly), grounding of the dizzy, etc, etc.
Old 11-14-2011, 09:14 AM   #17
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Quote: Originally Posted by The_Raven
The modules are only the symptom. If you have to keep replacing them, you have not resolved the cause of the problem.

Check over the wiring, the heat sink compound (applied evenly and thinly), grounding of the dizzy, etc, etc.

I know The_Raven, the module is a symptom of a problem I cannot find. The truck ran for 248,000 miles and had just one ignition module fail during that time. I put in a new long block and since then it goes through the modules regularly. The truck runs great, good gas mileage and has good power for a small V6.
Old 11-14-2011, 01:31 PM   #18
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Did you connect the grounds between the battery, the engine block, the battery and frame and between the engine and chassis? A ground between the frame and body wouldn't hurt either.
Old 11-14-2011, 02:04 PM   #19
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Quote: Originally Posted by Skutt
I know The_Raven, the module is a symptom of a problem I cannot find. The truck ran for 248,000 miles and had just one ignition module fail during that time. I put in a new long block and since then it goes through the modules regularly. The truck runs great, good gas mileage and has good power for a small V6.
..

Gotta agree with Raven here...problem started occurring after the new engine was installed. Sounds like a bad/missing ground or shorted wire somewhere.
Old 11-14-2011, 06:53 PM   #20
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

bad ground or shorting wires. my common sense tells me that if the engine was replaced, and the problem started after, then something was damaged or not replaced properly
Old 11-14-2011, 07:44 PM   #21
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

You are putting the dielectric grease on the bottom of the module....right. If you don't you'll cook them.
Old 11-17-2011, 01:59 PM   #22
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

You mean the thermal paste. :P
Old 11-17-2011, 09:14 PM   #23
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

Yes...been a long time since I replaced mine...
Old 11-24-2011, 01:48 AM   #24
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

whenever you get time get a DMM and go crazy checking everything.
make sure your pickup coil is within spec. check and make sure your coil is within spec.
if both pass, do a resistance check between battery and engine block. and engine block to ground.
also, make sure your plug gaps are properly gapped. to far apart can put excess strain on a ICM. but unlikely the problem.
Old 11-24-2011, 08:13 PM   #25
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

i've not found a good schematic of the module, but i'm willing to bet there are several conditions contributing to this issue.

1st. "they don't make things like they used to." and that is certainly the case with more items than you probably realize. even the "dealer" parts in most cases are made offshore. while it may be packaged here, i'd bet money that the electronic components are offshore. japanese made components are far superior to many chinese.

2nd. if the coil has aged, there is a chance that windings have fused together that would not be seen by a resistance reading considering you are looking at pretty low resistance in the first place. this would place even more current flowing through the fet in the module.

3rd. good heat sink compound and verifying that the mating surface on the distributor is clean and flat is important. i use corning heat sink compound and it works just fine. just make sure you are using new compound when you install the module and that you tighten the screws down evenly.
Old 11-24-2011, 08:37 PM   #26
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Re: Suspected ignition module failure

japanese anything is better then chinese anything.. well 9x outa 10 anyways. thats like comparing a suzuki to a chinese knockoff. =P
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