How To Test The Coil Pack (2001-2008 Chrysler 3.3L, 3.8L) How To Test The Coil Pack (2001-2008 Chrysler 3.3L, 3.8L)

This article will help you troubleshoot a Misfire Condition that might be setting one or several of the following diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs): P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0305, P0306 and/or a BAD ignition coil pack on your 2001-2009 Chrysler (or Dodge) 3.3L or 3.8L Town and Country, Voyager, Caravan, or Grand Caravan mini-van.

If this is not the Chrysler V6 coil pack Test you need, there are two more and you can find them at: Chrysler 3.3L, 3.8L Main Index of Articles.

The ignition coil pack Test is divided into several parts, and so... to help you navigate this article, here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:

  1. Important Tips.
  2. What Tools Do I Need?
  3. COIL PACK TEST 1: Spark Test.
  4. COIL PACK TEST 2: Testing For Spark Directly On The Coil Tower.
  5. COIL PACK TEST 3: Testing For Spark Directly On The Coil Tower.
  6. COIL PACK TEST 4: Checking Coil Pack Is Getting Power.
  7. COIL PACK TEST 5: Checking The Switching Signal For Cylinders 1/4.
  8. COIL PACK TEST 6: Checking The Switching Signal For Cylinders 2/5.
  9. COIL PACK TEST 7: Checking The Switching Signal For Cylinders 3/6
  10. Other Possible Misfire Causes
  11. Symptoms Of A BAD Chrysler Coil Pack
  12. Precautions, Do's And Don'ts
  13. Coil Pack Circuit Descriptions
  14. How The Coil Pack Works
  15. Do I Need To Test All Of The Spark Plug Wires?

Important Tips

TIP 1:   Read the entire article first. The testing of the coil pack is an easy and straightforward affair. The article may seem like a long one and a lot of reading... but once you start testing, you'll see how easy the tests are.

TIP 2:   Before you do the actual tests on your car or mini-van, it's important the you know what ‘Paired Cylinders’ and ‘Non-Paired Cylinders’ mean to successfully diagnose a BAD coil pack.

TIP 3:   Think Safety all of the time. Some of the tests are done with the engine cranking, so you have to be on your toes and take all necessary safety precautions.

TIP 4:   Most of the tests require a helper to crank the engine. My suggestion is to have him or her wait outside of the vehicle before and after you need them to crank the engine. This will avoid having your helper crank the engine accidentally.

TIP 5:   The coil pack Test described in this article is an ON CAR Test. You will not find any resistance tests of the Primary or Secondary Circuits of the coil pack, since you'll be testing it in action.

What Tools Do I Need?

To successfully use this information to diagnose and troubleshoot the coil pack on your 3.3L or 3.8L Chrysler mini-van, you need a few specific tools. Don't worry, none of this stuff is expensive.:

  1. A 12 Volt automotive test light.
  2. A multimeter (don't have a digital multimeter? Need to buy one? Click here to see my recommendations: Buying A Digital Multimeter For Automotive Diagnostic Testing).
  3. An LED Light.
    1. To see what this tool looks like, click here: Abe's LED Light.
  4. An HEI spark tester
    1. This tool is a must have since it's the most accurate spark tester you can own (don't have an HEI spark tester? Need to buy one? You can buy it here: OTC 6589 Electronic Ignition Spark Tester).
  5. Battery jump start cables.
  6. Someone to help you crank the car.

The most important tool out of the whole list above, is the HEI spark tester and it's NOT because I own the company that makes the HEI spark tester. The principal reasons are:

1.)  This spark tester is accurate. From personal experience I can tell you that I have used most of the spark tester on the market and only the HEI spark tester delivers a true spark or No spark test result I can trust 100% of the time.

2.)  You are not gonna' spend an arm and a leg, since the HEI spark tester is inexpensive. Unfortunately, your local auto parts store probably won't carry it, you'll have to buy it online... but because this spark tester is extremely accurate, it's well worth the wait.

COIL PACK TEST 1: Spark Test

How To Test The Coil Pack (2001-2008 Chrysler 3.3L, 3.8L) How To Test The Coil Pack (2001-2008 Chrysler 3.3L, 3.8L)

Before you physically start this test, you must fully understand the principle behind ‘Paired Cylinder’ and ‘Non-Paired Cylinder’. If you need help figuring this out, take a look at the section: How The Coil Pack Works.

One more section that will help you a lot with the tests in this article is: Precautions, Do's And Don'ts..

The first order of business is to find out if all the spark plug wires are delivering spark or not to the spark plugs. You don't have to test all of the spark plug wires, although I would. For more info on this, see/read the section: Do I Need To Test All Of The Spark Plug Wires

You'll need someone to help you to crank the engine. OK, this is what you'll need to do:

  1. 1

    Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug that you're gonna' test and connect the HEI spark tester to the spark plug wire.

  2. 2

    Ground the HEI spark tester directly on the battery negative (-) terminal with a jump start cable.

  3. 3

    When ready, have your helper crank the engine as you observe the spark tester.

  4. 4

    You'll obtain one of two results from the spark tester: Spark or no spark jumping across the air gap of the HEI spark tester.

Let's take a look at what your test results mean:

CASE 1: If you got spark from all six spark plug wires. This tells you that the coil pack and the spark plug wires, on your 3.3L or 3.8L Chrysler mini-van, are OK and not the cause of the misfire condition.

CASE 2: If you got No spark from only one spark plug wire. This result means one of two things: either that the spark plug wire is BAD or the ignition coil pack is fried. You can find out for sure which one is fried with COIL PACK TEST 2.

CASE 3: If you got a No spark result from two ‘Paired Cylinder’ spark plug wires. This usually means that the coil pack is BAD on your mini-van, but not always. To further verify/confirm this, go to COIL PACK TEST 3.

CASE 4: If you got a No spark result from two ‘Non-Paired Cylinder’ spark plug wires. This usually means that the coil pack is BAD or that the spark plug wires are fried on your mini-van. To further verify/confirm this, continue to COIL PACK TEST 2.

CASE 5: If you got a no spark result from all of the spark plug wires. This usually means that the crank sensor is BAD. The next step is to make sure that the ignition coil is getting power (12 Volts) and then see if the Powertrain Control Module (Fuel Injection Computer) is activating the ignition coils within the coil pack. Go to COIL PACK TEST 4.