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Old 02-20-2012, 03:45 PM   #1
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only getting spark when turning key on

Ok so I have had a few threads posted and I am so frustrated with this car. I have had alot of help from people on here and am very appreciative of these people. Ok so I wasn't getting any spark and I have replaced coil pip icm coil wire and ecm. Im only getting spark when turning key to on. And only one spark coming from coil wire. If I turn key from off to on over and over I get numerous sparks as I manually collapse coil by turning ignition on and off. Does anyone have a clue. I have 12v to both sides of coil and power to ecm. Oh I have a new ignition tumbler (key switch) installed too and rotor in dist. Any help please. Even if u think it seems insignificant. I have tried everything. This is an 87 5.0 mustang
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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Originally Posted by Giles85 View Post
Ok so I have had a few threads posted and I am so frustrated with this car. I have had alot of help from people on here and am very appreciative of these people. Ok so I wasn't getting any spark and I have replaced coil pip icm coil wire and ecm. Im only getting spark when turning key to on. And only one spark coming from coil wire. If I turn key from off to on over and over I get numerous sparks as I manually collapse coil by turning ignition on and off. Does anyone have a clue. I have 12v to both sides of coil and power to ecm. Oh I have a new ignition tumbler (key switch) installed too and rotor in dist. Any help please. Even if u think it seems insignificant. I have tried everything. This is an 87 5.0 mustang
Making new threads every few days isn't going to help and it will make it more difficult for people to follow what you have already done.


You are either losing power after the switch is turned on, one or more of the parts you have replaced is bad or maybe that relay you knocked loose was damaged.
If you have power everywhere after you turn on the switch (not to start, but the run position), then there is no good reason why it won't run.


Turn the ignition switch on and verify that you have power to the computer and coil.
You may also need to get some help and test for power with the key in the start position.
If you do and you do not get any sparks at the plug wires/plug then the PIP must be bad and not signaling the coil to fire.


Make sure when testing for spark at the plug, that the plug is always grounded good.
If the spark in a high energy system does not have a good ground to go to you can damage ignition components.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:22 PM   #3
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Ok well if I don't start a new thread then no one sees it cause im writing in an old thread so I have very good reasoning for the way I do things. Also considering I may get a different persons opinion. So not sure if u were trying to belittle my way of doing things or not but I have reason for the way I do things. So again thanks for ur help. Im being polite in all my messages and I hope u did not mean the beginning of ur message in a negative way because there is no need for that but assuming ur not thanks for ur response. Im quite an intelligent individual and have tried many things but keep having negative results. I am hoping someone will have opinion on something that I have not yet tried. I almost feel stupid asking almost the same thing over and over again so it is quote frustrating for me. Is there way to test the parts like my pip or my coil because I feel like its got to be my pip or my coil. Im just really lost. Please don't take my beginning message wrong just trying to explain and seehow u meant things. Again thanks for ur support and dedication to a problem that is not urs.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:43 PM   #4
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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Ok well if I don't start a new thread then no one sees it cause im writing in an old thread so I have very good reasoning for the way I do things. Also considering I may get a different persons opinion. So not sure if u were trying to belittle my way of doing things or not but I have reason for the way I do things. So again thanks for ur help. Im being polite in all my messages and I hope u did not mean the beginning of ur message in a negative way because there is no need for that but assuming ur not thanks for ur response. Im quite an intelligent individual and have tried many things but keep having negative results. I am hoping someone will have opinion on something that I have not yet tried. I almost feel stupid asking almost the same thing over and over again so it is quote frustrating for me. Is there way to test the parts like my pip or my coil because I feel like its got to be my pip or my coil. Im just really lost. Please don't take my beginning message wrong just trying to explain and seehow u meant things. Again thanks for ur support and dedication to a problem that is not urs.
No I did not mean it in a belittling or negative way.
I never do that to anyone, for any reason and I am not questioning your intelligence.
Sometimes text seems to convey things that are not particularly in the context the typist intended, so don't be offended easily by any typed replies.
I try to help and learn from users in any way I can and so far we've had pretty good luck with that.

I also have a very good reason for how I do things. As a site administrator it is my job to view posts and make suggestions or to even insist about how to post on the site and what can or cannot be posted.


You are wrong that no one will see it if you keep posting in the same thread. The age of the thread does not matter as long as it remains active. Whenever a post is made in the thread it moves to the beginning of the line again.
Making new posts about the same thing clutters up the forums and makes it harder for anyone answering your question to determine what you might have already tried, because it is scattered throughout several posts.


Yes, you can test the PIP and the coil.
There are procedures on how to do so in most of the Chilton's and Haynes manuals or you can Google it online.


How to Test the TFI & PIP


How to Test an Ignition Coil
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Ok thank u much. And my apologies for the thread postings. So now I have learned something new. I just didn't get a response so now I know. Thanks and I will try that. Also if im too far out of time will it cause my firing problem?
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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Ok thank u much. And my apologies for the thread postings. So now I have learned something new. I just didn't get a response so now I know. Thanks and I will try that. Also if im too far out of time will it cause my firing problem?
It should still fire the plugs, it just won't fire them when it needs to to start and run properly.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:40 PM   #7
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Ok well I've just heard that there were some sensors that will throw it off to were it wont fire. So ok thanks
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:26 PM   #8
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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Ok well I've just heard that there were some sensors that will throw it off to were it wont fire. So ok thanks
Really, what sensors are those?
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:30 PM   #9
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Try replacing your ignition switch. They are known to cause problems too.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:50 PM   #10
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Well I think in a newer carcit was. Im not totally sure. Cam and crank maybe or possibly it was an adm. Not totally sure.

---------- Post added at 10:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:48 PM ----------

I did replace it. Cause I did think that too. Couldn't I bypass the switch by going straight through my solenoid. With in on position
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:52 AM   #11
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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Well I think in a newer carcit was. Im not totally sure. Cam and crank maybe or possibly it was an adm. Not totally sure.

---------- Post added at 10:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:48 PM ----------

I did replace it. Cause I did think that too. Couldn't I bypass the switch by going straight through my solenoid. With in on position
The sensors you are talking about are on the newer models that use distributorless ignition.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

The pip has a magnet on it that slides up and down. How do I know where to set the magnet at
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:37 PM   #13
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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The pip has a magnet on it that slides up and down. How do I know where to set the magnet at
PIP Sensor Replacement
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:54 PM   #14
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Well she's running. My pick up coil went bad and then I got a bad one at Oreilly's. Ran some tests and it seemed it had to be the pick up coil. I warrantied it out and it replaced it. It fired right up. A little out of time but she's purring. Who woulda thought a part that rarely goes bad is bad twice. Thank the lord I figured it out. Thanks to the both of u for ur help.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:18 PM   #15
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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Well she's running. My pick up coil went bad and then I got a bad one at Oreilly's. Ran some tests and it seemed it had to be the pick up coil. I warrantied it out and it replaced it. It fired right up. A little out of time but she's purring. Who woulda thought a part that rarely goes bad is bad twice. Thank the lord I figured it out. Thanks to the both of u for ur help.
Always! Suspect any new electronic parts, especially if you buy the cheaper versions.


I have had so many of "O'Really's" (insert sarcasm and mild hatred there ) electronic and electrical parts go bad that I will now only buy from them under duress and I always buy the best lifetime warrantied parts when I do.
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojan Horse

Always! Suspect any new electronic parts, especially if you buy the cheaper versions.

I have had so many of "O'Really's" (insert sarcasm and mild hatred there ) electronic and electrical parts go bad that I will now only buy from them under duress and I always buy the best lifetime warrantied parts when I do.
+1 on that.not to long ago I heard almost identical story with a pip.
On a Ford tempo I once got 3 bad ignition modules!
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:19 PM   #17
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Where does my car need to be timed at. I've been looking through Haynes and on web and it says to look at the veci label but mine is gone. Car is way out of time and causing it to overheat quickly. Is it normal for it to sound in time when obviously not. It idles great but pings when driving it. Is this due to the speed density the car has. Thanks guys!!
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:22 PM   #18
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Becareful of the pinging. You can tear your motor up.10* is stock.you can go more but risk "pinging".I would start with stock setting.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:23 PM   #19
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

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Where does my car need to be timed at. I've been looking through Haynes and on web and it says to look at the veci label but mine is gone. Car is way out of time and causing it to overheat quickly. Is it normal for it to sound in time when obviously not. It idles great but pings when driving it. Is this due to the speed density the car has. Thanks guys!!
10 degrees BTDC.


Pinging indicates the timing is too fast and needs to be retarded.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:00 PM   #20
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Ok even with the b 303 cam. I've read 12 and 14 as well. ??

---------- Post added at 09:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:56 PM ----------

And yes I understand pinging and that's what I think it is. I think its too far advanced. If I contradicted myself somewhere I didn't intend to

---------- Post added at 10:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:57 PM ----------

I was also still having trouble with it starting and dying after running 5 mins or so. I figured the icm was the culprit but I pulled the chip that the guy before me and put in just on a whim and it fired right up and has ran fine other than the ping
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:11 PM   #21
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with the timing advanced to far it will be hard to start.

10* is factory.some people advance the timingmup to 14 * .it does help free up a little power, but you run the risk of detonation.this can sometimes be cured by running 93 octane or retarding the timing.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:20 PM   #22
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Ok I think ill set between 10 and 12 prolly. Ill see what sounds healthiest. How bout idle. Where do u set urs at. I've heard cammed sd are best right at 1000. Is this true from what u know? I plan on maf before too awful long
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:25 PM   #23
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i am running a b303 also. but i am carbed.i keep mine btween 7-800.but it may help a little to be higher with speed density.i kow you said you are but i would put MAF on top of your lst.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:10 AM   #24
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Re: only getting spark when turning key on

Tea totally agree. Heard it does wonders. How does ur cam sound in it. Does it have a healthy lope. That's what im most looking forward to
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:54 AM   #25
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here's mine.Yours may not lope as much with a higher idol.or it will be less noticeable.
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