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Thread: Ignition problem 1982 4G52

  1. #1

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    Ignition problem 1982 4G52

    Alright, so the other night I was driving on the highway and suddenly it backfired and it lost all power. Still had lights and all though. Coasted to the side of the road and checked what I could. Friend came with a trailer to get me and brought it to his place where we've been working on it some the past few days.

    So we've followed it all down to the ignition system. Tested the coil and wasn't getting anything from it so went ahead and replaced it, but still the same result. So pulled off the cap and rotor button and cleaned up them. They're not in perfect shape and I'm going to replace them, but I don't believe that it's the problem because the coil isn't even getting signal to fire.

    Now, I've never messed with anything this old, but behind the rotor button there's what looks to be an early style ignition control module that's kind of like a small coil that goes around the shaft of the distributor and screws in at two points and has two wires that come off of it going back to the coil which I assume is for the signal to fire? Is there a way to test this? It kind of looks like a points eliminator?

    Thanks in advance and excuse my lack of knowledge on the older stuff lol.

  2. #2

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    Any chance you can post a pic of the distributor up for us? The only time I've ever messed with a 4G52, it had a points distributor in it. Judging by what you've said, it sounds like the igniter/pick up in the distributor died. You can swap the distributor from a 4G54 into it.
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  3. #3

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    I'll have to take one tomorrow. I don't think the actual distributor is bad, but I'm not sure of how to test it. From what I can understand about it just by looking at how it's wired it looks like the pickup/igniter sends a signal of some kind to the coil. The two wires that come off of it one goes to the negative side of the coil and the other goes to the positive.

    Is the distributor in the 4G54 a newer design? I've never seen a points style distributor, but I don't think this is one. My dad said that it seems like the part I'm describing is a points eliminator of some sort, but a factory style of it. To me it kind of looks like an early style of an ICM (ignition control module). I'll post a picture tomorrow though and guess I'll go from there.

  4. #4

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    So, I found the actual part. It's a distributor ignition pickup. Here's a picture of it. It sits behind where the rotor button mounts to and to take it off you just take off the bolt in the center for the shaft that the button mounts to.

  5. #5

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    I just realized that it blew up the picture and didn't fit it to the forum sizing...my bad lol
    There's a smaller one lol

  6. #6

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    Found it on rockauto, but it's also showing a separate ignition control module that it says is located inside the distributor, but I don't remember seeing one? Is it possible that some engine variants had one and some didn't? Sorry for all the questions

  7. #7

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    I agree with geezer, it sounds like the igniter is bad. they go by different names like igniter/icm/coil pickup etc. its job is basically like you mentioned it being a replacement for points in an older distributor. its a self contained module that contains a pickup coil and some circuitry to switch on and off ground to the coil to generate spark. one wire powers the circuitry inside and the other is coil ground if i remember correctly. there may be a way to test it but ill have to check my service manual for my 87' that uses a very similar module. i had one die on me and it acted like a dead coil. if you replace it you may need to set the gap between it and the rotor for it to work properly.

  8. #8

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    i studied your picture better and realized how your pickup coil is separate from the icm on your distributor. you should be able to check the coil with an ohm meter and if it checks out than the icm is probably bad. i bet that the plug in icm part of it is bad but the coil could have gone too so i would check it out too

  9. #9

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    Even if the it's only the coil, there should be some life in it. It will misfire and die at higher rpm, or alternatively it will quit when it gets hot (classic symptom of a cracked ballast resistor) If the coil is original, it will be really tired - a coil normally lasts about 10 years before it starts to break down.
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  10. #10

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    Ah, ok that all makes sense. I went ahead and ordered a few things from rockauto since it was pretty cheap and can't hurt to replace it all. Basically the only thing I will have that isn't new in my ignition system will be the actual distributor itself and I spent around $55 shipped to me for it all.

    When it gave out it backfired pretty loud one time and then just lost all power. The actual ignition coil was replaced at some point with an off brand "performance" style one. It looks to be pretty old also. The pickup coil that I was mentioning earlier was the original part, so it's nearing 40 years old.

    If this doesn't fix it then the only other thing it could be is the actual distributor, I think...I'll have new plugs, wires, pickup coil, cap, rotor, and ignition coil. Beyond that I don't think there is anything else other than the distributor, correct me if I'm wrong though.

  11. #11

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    Once you have replaced anything electrical related to the ignition system, you're only left with the distributor itself. The counter weights for the advance can have the springs break or come off which causes erratic ignition advance or the vac advance servo can split which will leave the engine response down on initial open throttle. The advance mechanism can also gum up with junk which will prevent the ignition curve from ramping on throttle.
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