TEST 6: Testing The Igniter For The Triggering Signal

Testing The Igniter For The Triggering Signal. How To Test The Igniter, Ignition Coil  Accord, Civic, CRV, and Odyssey

In this test you're gonna' check to see if the ECM (Electronic Control Module = Fuel Injection Computer) is generating and sending the igniter's triggering signal.

As in the previous tests, the tests in this section are performed with the distributor connected to its two connectors. This last test will help you confirm if the igniter (ignition control module -ICM) is bad or not.

NOTE: You can use a digital multimeter or an LED light to test the igniter triggering signal, but you CAN NOT use a test light. If you use a multimeter, it has to be able to read Hertz (Hz) frequency since the signal has to be measured in Hertz. The following test assumes that you're using an LED Light.

youtube video You can see this specific test step done here in this YouTube video (although it involves a 2.0L Honda CR-V, the test steps are very similar): How To Test The Ignition Control Module (1999, 2000, 2001 2.0L Honda CR-V).

OK, let's get testing:

  1. 1

    With an appropriate tool (like a wire-piercing probe) pierce the Yellow with Green stripe wire of the 7 wire distributor connector (to see what this tool looks like, go here: Wire Piercing Probe).

  2. 2

    Remember, this test is done with both connectors connected.

  3. 3

    Place the red lead of the LED to a 12 Volt power source.

  4. 4

    Connect the black lead of the LED to the tool that's piercing the Yellow with Green stripe wire.

  5. 5

    Have your assistant crank the Civic (Accord, CRV, or Odyssey) while you observe the LED Light.

  6. 6

    If the triggering signal is present, the LED Light will light on and off continously as long as your assistant is cranking the engine.

You're gonna' get one of the 2 results: (1) The LED light will flash ON and OFF or (2) The LED Light will NOT flash ON and OFF. Let's analyze each result in more detail below:

CASE 1: The LED light flashed ON and OFF while the engine was cranking. Then the ECM is generating and sending the triggering signal to the igniter (ignition control module). Replace the igniter.

Here's why: Up to this point you have verified that:

  1. None of the four spark plug wires are delivering spark (TEST 1).
  2. The ignition coil is not sparking and the distributor rotor is turning (when your helper cranked the engine) (TEST 3).
  3. The igniter and the ignition coil are being fed 10 to 12 Volts DC (TEST 4).
  4. That the igniter is NOT activating the ignition coil with a switching signal (TEST 5).
  5. That the igniter IS getting a triggering signal from the fuel injection computer (this test step).

... So then, taking all of the above into account the igniter HAS to create and send the switching signal for the ignition coil to activate and start sparking... Since it isn't, then you and I can conclude that the igniter is bad and needs to be replaced.

CASE 2: The LED light DID NOT flash ON and OFF while the engine was cranking. Then the ECM is NOT generating and sending the triggering signal to the igniter (ignition control module). The most likely causes are either one or several of the cam/crank position sensors within the distributor have gone bad or there's an open in this circuit.

Although testing the two above mentioned causes are beyond the scope of this article, you have now eliminated the following as the causes of you Honda Accord's, or Civic's, or Odyssey's No Start:

  1. Igniter (ignition control module).
  2. Ignition coil.
  3. Distributor cap and rotor.
  4. Spark plug wires.
  5. Main relay.

More Honda Tutorials

Hondas are some of the easier cars to work on and troubleshooting them isn't complicated either, so if this tutorial helped, checkout some of these others:

  1. How To Troubleshoot A No Start (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L) (at: troubleshootmyvehicle.com).
  2. How To Test For A Blown Head Gasket (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L) (at: troubleshootmyvehicle.com).
  3. How To Test A Misfire Condition (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L) (at: troubleshootmyvehicle.com).
  4. How To Find A Bad Fuel Injector (Case Study) (at: troubleshootmyvehicle.com).
  5. How To Test For A Broken Timing Belt (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L) (at: troubleshootmyvehicle.com).

On YouTube, check out my following videos:

  1. How To Test The Ignition Coil (1999-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V) (at YouTube).
  2. How To Test The Ignition Control Module (1999, 2000, 2001 2.0L Honda CR-V) (at YouTube).
  3. How To Test The Fuel Pump (1997-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V) (at: YouTube).
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