Question about 1995 Buick Riviera

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1993 Riviera cranks, but no spark!

I had the engine rebuilt in my 1993 Buick Riviera and afterward the mechanics and I cannot get the engine to turn over. We've checked all fuses, all relays, and rebuilt the wire harness from the firewall to the engine. Still no luck. No codes are given when checked.
The engine receives fuel and air, the engine cranks, but there is no spark whatsoever. The car ran prior to the engine work, so is there any reason to think the ECM and/or ICM may have gone bad in the process?
ALSO, the security system hadn't worked since I purchased the vehicle used several months ago. However, just days before the work was done, the alarm mysteriously began going off randomly whenever the doors were locked. Then it began working properly, and within a day it was back to non-functional status. The security light flashes when the car is off, and is solid while it is running, as it has been since I first purchased it. Is it possible the VATS was engaged through all the disconnecting and reconnecting of wires during the overhaul?
Please help because we are lost.

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It sounds like you guys have tuned a few wrenches in your time so I'm not sure I'll be of much help. However I can offer a few general suggestions. Please don't be insulted if some of my suggestions seem way too obvious. I'm putting them down for other less experienced mechanics that may be reading this post.

1. Remove the distributor cap and crank the car. If the rotor turned you're ok. If it doesn't turn then that's you're problem and you will probably need to change a timing belt/chain.
2. Check the spark from the ignition coil by pulling the coil wire from the center of the distributor. Use an alligator clip to attach a short wire to the coil wire contact. Bare the other end of this short wire and set it up so it's sitting very close to the engine block. Turn off the lights and try to start the car. You should see a spark jump from this wire to the block. If you don't see a spark it's likely your ignition module or ignition coil is bad.
3. If you have a spark maybe it's not getting to the plugs. You may need to replace the distributor cap and rotor. You can test if the plugs are sparking by pulling one, re-attaching the spark plug wire and seeing if you get a spark when you try to start the engine in the dark. Please note, the metal threads of the spark plug need to be shorted to the engine block to complete the circuit during this test.

Posted on Jun 02, 2009

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