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

Ignition Coil's High Tension Wire. Power Transistor Test and Ignition Coil Test 2.4L Nissan Altima (1993-1997)

The ignition coil's high tension wire, that transmits the spark to the distributor cap, can go bad.

The good news is that this high tension wire can be easily tested and that's what we're gonna' start doing with this test step.

This is what you'll do:

  1. 1

    Disconnect the end of the ignition coil's high tension wire that connects to the distributor cap.

  2. 2

    The other end of the high tension wire must remain connected to the ignition coil.

  3. 3

    Connect the HEI spark tester to the end that you just disconnected.

    This can be a bit tricky since the HEI spark tester will not connect securely to the terminal of the high tension wire. If the HEI spark tester comes loose when you crank the engine, you can use a small piece of black electrical tape to hold it in place.

  4. 4

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

  5. 5

    Have your helper crank the engine as you hold the HEI spark tester in place.

  6. 6

    You'll get one of the 2 results: (1) spark or (2) no spark.

Let's analyze each result in more detail below:

CASE 1: If the spark tester sparked. This result confirms that the distributor cap is bad. Replace the distributor cap and rotor as a set and your no start condition on your Nissan Altima should be solved. If the spark plug wires are as old as the distributor cap you're replacing, I suggest you replace them too along with the spark plugs.

CASE 2: If the spark tester DID NOT SparK. The next step is to test for spark directly on the ignition coil's tower. Go to: TEST 4: Testing The Ignition Coil for Spark.

TEST 4: Testing The Ignition Coil For Spark

Testing The Ignition Coil for Spark. Power Transistor Test and Ignition Coil Test 2.4L Nissan Altima (1993-1997)

In this test step you'll test for spark directly on the Altima's ignition coil's tower.

This will either confirm that the High Tension Wire is bad and you'll stop here or you'll move on to the next test step.

These are the test steps:

  1. 1

    Place the HEI spark tester directly on the ignition coil's tower.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Have your helper crank the engine as you hold the HEI spark tester in place.

  4. 4

    You'll get one of the 2 results: (1) spark or (2) no spark.

Let's analyze each result in more detail below:

CASE 1: If the spark tester sparked. This result confirms that the ignition coil's High Tension Wire is bad. Replacing the spark plug wires as a set should get your Altima to finally Start.

Now, you may be wondering why didn't I just suggest measuring the resistance of the high tensionWire and compare that to some specification... well, in my experience this is the most useless and the most complete waste of time test ever suggested in a repair manual... obviously written by technical writer who has never even opened a hood on a car!

CASE 2: If the spark tester DID NOT SparK. The next step is to test the two circuits that feed power and the Switching signal to the ignition coil. Go to: TEST 5: Testing The Ignition Coil's Power (12 V) Circuit.

Nissan Vehicles:

  • Altima 2.4L
    • 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997