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NF 1988 3.0L V6 SOHC Distributor Issues

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  • NF 1988 3.0L V6 SOHC Distributor Issues

    Hey guys,

    I have a Japanese import NF 1988 3.0L V6. The car is not starting. I had a mechanic mate of mine have a look and he found that the distributor wasn't working properly.

    I got it towed to a local auto sparky who confirmed that the distributor was the cause. He couldn't specify which part of the distributor it was (not sure why?). I've called around to wreckers and no one has the same model as I have. I'm still waiting for a response from

    I've found a complete OEM distributor for ~$1000 but i'm not sure if i'd just need a new ignition module which is a hell of a lot cheaper.

    The only issue with the ignition module is that I can't find any with the exact same code. My current one says J913 8926, and the closest I can find is J913 8Z09.

    Any advice or second hand parts would be amazing.
    Last edited by CallumMp; 20-03-21, 08:05 PM.

  • #2

    i have been thinking about you issue and thought I might add a few things to this. Please bear in mind that the last time I worked on this tech/engine was late 1990's so the grey matter is a little rusty. Secondly I appologise for the novel as it is detailed but i am hoping you can follow and test your systems correctly.

    These distrubuters had a few issues with them, particularly when the mileage became high But so did the ECU as well. Often the cap would die and stop the car from running.

    SO purely from memory here.

    When you put the car to ignition (reds) does the engine light come on and then go off after 7-10 seconds? If it doesnt then you either have a faulty globe ( not lighting up at all or a faulty ECU).

    But before we get ahead of ourselves lets test everything.

    Things you will need are, test light, multimeter and a led tester. The LED tester is nothing more than a LED with a current limiting resister joined to a set of leads with an aligator clip. You can create one of part at Jaycar or your local electronics store.

    It might be worthwhile getting a set of jumper leads too... this can be used to improve or supply a ground or increase the battery crank length from a running car

    LED tester - 12V Mini Chrome Bezel - Green | Jaycar Electronics plus some cable for leads and the aligator clips.... I like these Black Test Clip - EZ Hook - 40mm | Jaycar Electronics but these are cheap and come with the leads so you can remove an aligator off one end and then join to the lead directly. Remember a LED only allows current one way so if backwards is not going to light up. to make the light put the red clip on the longer leg of the LED, this is the positive and therefore should work if the longer leg gets connected to the positive and the shorter leg connected to the negitive of the battery. if reversed then it shouldnt work.

    the test light you can make if you dont have one or grab on from supercheap and or jaycar SCA Heavy Duty Circuit Tester - 6 and 12V | Supercheap Auto

    DO NOT use a normal test light when a LED test is called...

    Oh you might need a mate for some of this too.

    So lets start. While i dont like testing leads without a proper spark plug tester I think the tool is not within your reach and thus will will need to make do. Put the car together if it is apart. grab a spark plug and place it in the end of the lead from the ignition coil (so unplug from dizzy and plug the spark plug in, ground the other end and turn the car over. (attempt to start) this first tests the cable from the coil to the dizzy but you need to make sure the connections are secure. If this is sparking then the coil is doing the right things and some sort of signal is working from the dizzy.(ECU is potentially functioning too) If no spark then you have items of, Dizzy, ECU, ignition module, ignition coil.)

    Move to plugging the lead back in and now test every spark plug lead as well. this will rule out rotor button and dizzy cap. But this only works if the first test doesnt fail.

    So lets test the ignition coil now.....

    Remove the HT lead and put the spark plug directly on the coil terminal is it is like the old ones where the plug goes into the coil then make sure the HT end of the spark plug is touching the copper bucket and then connect the jumper leads to the spark plug threads and hold. This should provide ground (ideally to the battery) and thus will not spark you. Try starting the car again, hopefully you see a spark. if not then it is not the HT lead causing the issue. If you do then you need a new HT lead from teh coil to the dizzy and retest all leads on the other end are functioning. I personally would change the set.

    If no spark we need to test that the ignition coil has the 12v rail (ie power with ignition. On mitubishi cars this is generally the black wire with the white trace. you can use your multimeter or your test light for this test. I like the multimeter as it will display the actual voltage and thus whether it is low. So red lead to the black with white trace wire and the black lead to the negitive of your battery, turn the car on again and see what the voltage is.

    Hopefully the voltage is above 10 but not above 14 volts. make sure you multimeter is in DC voltage and normally the 20v selection. If the voltage is below 10 then there is a power supply issue. If it is above 14 then your battery is over charged but you shouldnt have a start issue. meter the battery to make sure that the battery voltage is near the power feed voltage if it has voltage at all.

    If you dont have voltage then with luck solving this issue will give you the ability to start the car.

    If you have voltage we need to check the singal side (or switching side) of the ingiton coil.

    So this test should be done if, no spark from the leads was found, no spark from the coil was found THE COIL IS RECEIVING POWER,

    This test will see whether the ignition module is sending the right signal.
    This is where I use the LED tester. the normal test light can be used by the LED will not put any interferance/load on the line for this signal. Connect the black lead to the other wire on the coil (might be green it might be white with a black stripe. Then connect the red lead (the positive) tot he power lead of the coil (black with white trace) now crank the car over.

    Ideally the led will flash as the car is cranked. IF not check your connections and retest. In the older cars the point would supply ground on this other wire and thus give the coil the signal to spark. The ignition module does this for us electronically so if there is power at the coil but not a signal the coil will never know when to fire.

    If this is working then you can conclude the coil is your issue and it needs replacement IF you got no spark on any of the 6 leads from teh dizzy, no spark from the coil, 12V supply was stable and the trigger wire was switching for you.

    If you didnt get a flashing then we need to check the ignition module. Particularly ground.

    So the ignition module usually has three wires to it. one which is the same colouring as what you saw at the coil end (so guessing white with a black trace. Here we do the same test. clip the black lead of the LED light to that wire (will need to push a pin or paper clip into the back of the plug to do it, and the red lead to the battery. Turn the car over again. This should flash. If it does then the issue in either, the ECU, the trigger circuit or the wiring. If it doesnt then the wiring is not at fault and we need to look closer.

    Next is to check the ground for the ignition module. So unplug the ignition module and grab your multimeter again set to DC Volts like before. Put the black lead to the middle pin (it should be black with a Blue trace) and then the red to 12V of the battery. This should show 12V or the battery voltage. if not recheck your connections and try again. If it definately is not showing any voltage then the ground is not working and the ignition module will never power up. Will need to track down why no ground.

    If you have the voltage from the previous test then we need to find out if the wiring is getting power. This power is switched by the ECU and if this is not being triggered then the ECu will need to be looked at. However, we test seperately.

    Put your red probe from your multimeter into the last pin, normally gray I think, and then the other probe (black) onto ground or the negitive terminal of the battery (I like testing this way first so that I can see if the line goes high or has 12 V on it. It therefore verifies if the ground is good int he connection again. If 12v then the ECu is switching this on. If not then ECU will need to be verified. If you do have a 12v fedd on this line (ignition needs to be on like before) then move the black probe from the battery terminal and verify you get the same output with it on the previous wire before (middle pin with the black wire and the blue trace.) Now the important thing about this test is it will flash like before when the car is cranking. the ECU will not hold this perminantly high so if you still dont get voltage when metering do the test again with the car cranking.

    Generally if the ECU is not triggering the ignition module then there are two things at play here, ECU and or wiring or the crank sensor.

    Deal with the crank sensor first...

    This is the module you are thinking about replacing. it is located in the dizzy and the plug at the base of the dizzy will tell you the outcome quickly.

    Generally there are four wires into this plug. one is fatter than the others an is the power feed wire. Unplug the dizzy and put your multimeter probe (red) onto this pin, it is usually pin 2) then put your black lead to the negitive of the battery, turn the car onto ignition and what the multimeter, with luck it produces 12v If not check and retest then trace why you are not getting power here. without power the crankangle sensor will not work.

    OK so now we check crank angle and the camshaft sensor ( this is one in the same here and this module does both). normally the outside pin next to the power pin is the camangle trigger (pin 4), on the inside wire (pin 3) next to the power wire is the camshaft sensor. Test the ground (pin1) by connecting your multimeter to pin 1 (normally black) and the red probe to the positive on the battery. Turn the ignition on and you should get 12V similarly if you then move the red probe to the pin 2 (biggger cable ) and meter the result should be the same showing that the module is getting power.

    OK so the crank angle wire is normally pin 3 and will be green grab your LED test wire and put the black probe on the green wire (make sure the plug is back in for this test and use your paperclip or pin to probe into the wire)

    Make sure you now unplug the ignition coil for the car and put the red probe onto the battery positive terminal.turn the engine over.

    The LED should flash on and off this will tell you that the crank angle is being triggered. If not replace the module.

    Next is the Camangle sensor this is the last wire normally pin 4 ( white or grey in colour) same as before the dizzy needs to be unplug with the coil unplugged. meter with the LED probe with the black lead on the yellow white wire and the red probe on the terminal positive of the battery. This should give you flashing when the motor is turned over. Again as long as the ground and the voltage are correct then if you dont get flashing on this line you need to replace the dizzy module.

    If you do have both the crank and the cam sensors triggers and the power and ground is good then a review of the ECu will need to take place, I would also test the signals at the ecu just to make sure you dont have a wiring issue and also before pulling the ECU plug everything back together and check that you still dont have spark.

    These dizzys do wear the bush in the middle but often this will either A create a misfire or B wear the top of the crank/cam sensor and thus stop it working. Either way when you pull the dizzy down you will see black plastic fibres and metal flecks everywhere.

    Recheck everything and verify, but yes the module you are looking to replace will most often be the cause, but replace only if it is not working.

    As far as your J913 goes this is the type of module the extra number is module or current specific. Any J913 module should bolt in and function. If you want to check then a Good module from a magna SHOULD bolt in and function the same way as a test. thus if you have a pick a bit wrecker near you this might be a good test. Put the whole dizzy from the magna into your as I dont think it will go but the module should be the same. The other thing is the dodge ram of similar vintage and colts from the USA should have the same module as well. Your dizzy should be repairable BUT verify that it is the issue first.

    Good luck and give your results.

    95 White LWB Panda coloured GLS TD28 running 18psi 2inch lift, 2 inch body lift, factory rear LSD maxxis bighorn muddies 25,000klms after total engine rebuild - Club reged Currently around 307,000klms

    Daughters - 2003 NP Exceed Silver Bone stoke getting a engine rebuild after a Major overheat (previous owner) - My current project


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