TEST 3: Testing For Spark At The Ignition Coil's High Tension Wire

Testing The Ignition Coil High Tension Wire. How To Test The Ignition System (1995, 1996, 1997 2.7L V6 Honda Accord)

In this test section, we're gonna' test the ignition coil's high tension wire for spark.

If the ignition coil's high tension wire sparks (which is the correct test result), then you can conclude that the distributor cap and rotor are bad and behind the no-spark test result you got from all of the 6 spark plug wires (in TEST 1).

If the high tension wire does not spark, then we're off to the next test (TEST 4).

IMPORTANT: To avoid damaging the ignition coil, it's important that this test be done with a spark tester attached to its high tension wire. Don't crank the engine without the ignition coil's high tension wire being Grounded by a spark tester.

These are the test steps:

  1. 1

    Disconnect the ignition coil's high tension wire from the distributor cap only.

  2. 2

    Connect the spark tester directly on the end of the wire that you just disconnected from the distributor cap.

    Your test set up should look like what is shown in the photo above.

  3. 3

    Connect the spark tester to the battery negative (-) terminal with a battery jump start cable.

  4. 4

    Remove the distributor cap from the distributor.

    Removing the distributor cap will help you check the distributor rotor's rotation as the engine is being cranked.

  5. 5

    Ask your helper to crank the engine while you observer the spark tester and the distributor rotor.

  6. 6

    The spark tester should spark and the distributor rotor should turn as your helper cranks the engine.

Let's analyze your test result:

CASE 1: You got spark and the distributor rotor turns. This is the correct test result.

This test result lets you know that the distributor cap and distributor rotor are bad only if you have:

  • Confirmed that none of the 6 spark plug wires are sparking (TEST 1).
  • Confirmed, in this test section, that the ignition coil's high tension wire is sparking.

You can also conclude that the ignition coil, the igniter, and the 3 different crankshaft position sensors are OK.

Here's why: Since you confirmed that the ignition coil's high tension wire is sparking (and thus delivering spark to the dist. cap), it's obvious that the dist. cap and the dist. rotor are bad since they are not delivering the spark to the spark plug wires.

CASE 2: You got NO spark and the distributor rotor DOES NOT turn. This generally the result of a broken timing belt.

If the timing belt is broken, the distributor rotor will not turn. Your next step is to remove the timing belt covers and check the condition of the timing belt.

CASE 3: You got NO spark and the distributor rotor DOES turn. This test result tells us that a distributor cap is not getting spark.

The next step is to check for spark directly on the ignition coil tower. For this test go to:TEST 4: Testing The Ignition Coil For Spark.

TEST 4: Testing The Ignition Coil For Spark

Testing The Ignition Coil For Spark. How To Test The Ignition System (1995, 1996, 1997 2.7L V6 Honda Accord)

So far your 2.7L V6 Honda Accord's ignition system diagnostic test results have confirmed that:

  • None of the spark plug wires are sparking (TEST 1).
  • No spark is coming out of the ignition coil's high tension wire (TEST 3).
  • The ignition coil is getting power (TEST 4).

In this test section, we're now gonna' test for spark directly on the ignition coil's tower (once we remove its high tension wire).

If the ignition coil sparks, then you can conclude that its high tension wire is bad and the cause of your Honda Accord's 'no-spark no-start' problem.

If the ignition coil does not spark, then the next step is to see if it's getting power (TEST 5).

IMPORTANT: This test requires that you crank the engine with the ignition coil's high tension wire disconnected from the distributor cap! The ignition coil has to be connected to a spark tester for this test. Do not crank the engine without a spark tester or the high tension wire connected to the ignition coil, or you run the risk of damaging the ignition coil.

OK, let's get testing:

  1. 1

    Disconnect the high tension wire from the ignition coil.

  2. 2

    Place the spark tester into the ignition coil tower.

    You have to hold the spark tester in place with a battery jump start cable (as shown in the photo above).

  3. 3

    Connect the spark tester to the battery negative (-) terminal with a battery jump start cable.

  4. 4

    Have your helper crank the engine while you observe the spark tester.

  5. 5

    The spark tester should spark as your helper cranks the engine.

Let's examine your test result:

CASE 1: You got spark. This is the correct test result and it indicates that the ignition coil is good.

You can conclude that the ignition coil's high tension wire is bad and should be replaced (along with all of the spark plug wires) if you have:

  • Confirmed that none of the spark plug wires are sparking (TEST 1).
  • Confirmed that no spark is coming out of the ignition coil's high tension wire (TEST 3).
  • Confirmed, in this test section, that the ignition coil is firing spark.

Here's why: Over time the spark plug wires age and stop transmitting spark. So if in this test result your spark tester sparked (when testing for spark directly at the ignition coil tower) than you can correctly conclude that the ignition coil's high tension wire is defective and not able to transmit spark to the distributor cap anymore.

CASE 2: You got NO spark. Then we have to dig a little deeper to find out what the problem is.

The next step is to see if the ignition coil is getting power (10 to 12 Volts DC). For this test go to: TEST 5: Making Sure The Ignition Coil And Igniter Are Getting Power.

Honda Vehicles:

  • Accord 2.7L V6
    • 1995,
      1996,
      1997