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How to tell which of the 8 coils on a 1998 Pontiac trans-am ws-6 is bad?

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  • Master
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If you have an induction-pickup timing light, you can just clip the pickup onto each spark plug cable in turn. If the light flashes regularly while the engine is running, the coil is good. The two cables that don't produce flashes or only flash intermittently go to the bad coil. (Each coil drives two cylinders). You could have only one that fails to flash; in that case it could be a bad cable or bad connection between the cable and the coil (this could be a bad connection inside the coil).

The alternate method is to use an ohmmeter with the engine not running. Disconnect a spark plug cable and measure the resistance from the high-voltage terminal on the terminal to ground. Write down this number, reconnect the cable, and repeat with the next spark plug cable. If you find a coil with readings that are significantly different from the others, that is your suspect part. If you do not find a significant difference on the secondary windings (the test just performed), you will have to disconnect the low-voltage (coil input) connector and measure terminal resistances there (you can also measure from there to the high voltage terminals as an additional test).

The spark (induction pickup) test is theoretically more reliable; it will show the effect of high-voltage breakdown inside the coil that would be missed by an ohmmeter, but you are unlikely to get a false indication of a bad coil with an ohmmeter. Some coil breakdown problems show up only in high humidity conditions. From the Locking the Barn Door Afterwards Dept.: I found out the hard way that prolonged running with worn (over-sized gap) plugs causes coil breakdown.

Posted on Mar 14, 2011

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  • Pontiac Master
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IF YOU HAVE BAD COIL CHECK ENGINE WILL FLASH AND YOU WILL GET CODE PO306 WHICH IS MISFIRE ON NUMBER 6 CYLINDER.WHEN COIL MALFUNCTION IT WILL CAUSE MISFIRE.GET CAR CODE SCANNED.A DIRTY FUEL INJECTOR WILL CAUSE MISFIRE TO CYLINDER NUMBER 6.YOU ALSO WILL CODE PO206 IF YOU HAVE MALFUNCTION TO NUMBER 6 FUEL INJECTORS.

Posted on Mar 14, 2011

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  • Pontiac Master
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  1. A commercial coil tester, available from many tool suppliers, is an excellent way to test suspect coils. If the coil can generate a spark on the tester, the coil should be in good condition.
  2. An ohm meter can also be used to test coil winding resistance. Primary-side resistance, from coil minus to coil plus, is typically between 0.3 and 1.0 ohm on electronic ignition type coils.

Posted on Mar 14, 2011

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  • Contributor
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This may help in some cases... At night turn all the lights off, wait a bit for your eyes to ajust to darkness, start the engine and look at your coils. Bad one will have a blue sparking inside. This solution does not work in all the cases though. But it is fast and easy. If you can't find a bad one like this then try to measure resistance of the primary for each coil because it could be a burned primary.

Posted on Mar 14, 2011

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