Bad coil pack symptoms


searcherrr
12-15-2008, 06:12 PM
I have looked and forgive if I've asked before, but what do people normally notice if they have a bad coil pack?

Is it possible to have a bad coil pack and the ONLY symptom be bad gas mileage?

Also, the coil packs that go bad in our Winnies - is it more the post 98 models or all models?

LeSabre97mint
12-15-2008, 09:11 PM
If your coil is original I'd replace it. Have you searched the Windstar's forum for coil? I saw a few posts about the coils cracking on the bottom. I'd at least pull the 4 bolts and take a peek at it.

Dan

searcherrr
12-16-2008, 01:07 PM
If your coil is original I'd replace it. Have you searched the Windstar's forum for coil? I saw a few posts about the coils cracking on the bottom. I'd at least pull the 4 bolts and take a peek at it.

Dan

I almost replaced the coil a long time ago, but now as I recall the AdvanceAuto guy said that my coils are likely ok if there's no cracking in the upper silicone area. Still I've never pulled the coil to see all around it and/or test for resistance (which I don't know what numbers I should see either).

If I am getting shocked by my driver's door (engine off) when I exit the vehicle is this a clue?

tripletdaddy
12-18-2008, 04:18 AM
Errrrrrr!!!!!!:banghead::banghead::banghead:
Blasted crapy old computer ate my first try at posting to you what info I have on the coil testing. I thought you have a cd manual that would have this, so I looked at mine by Ford and couldn't find it. That's where I like a book better, which is from where I'll be quoting.

Primary resistance should be 0.3 to 1.0 ohms. This is taken at the four pins on the coil with the harness removed. One pin to the side is the common hot, 12v pin (red/lt green wire), and the other three are the negative side for the three coil pairs. So, you should have the spec resistance across all three pairs, ie. hold one lead at common end pin while testing the other three with the other lead.

At this same time, you can also test for primary voltage to the red/lt green wire by disconnecting the harness and measuring voltage at it with KOEOff and using a ground. Don't try using the other three pin connections in the harness for grounding as it may kill your PCM. You should measure nearly or exactly battery voltage.

Secondary resistance is measured across the pairs of spark plug wire holes, with 1 and 5, 2 and 6, and 3 and 4 as pairs. You should measure 6.5 to 11.5 k-ohms between paired holes. I also like to check for any measurable resistance between the primaries and the coil body, and the secondaries and the body to be sure the coil isn't shorting itself out. You may need to remove the coil for the primary short test as you may get a false reading. NOTE!! All resistance tests should be done with key off, maybe battery cable off so no oopses.

Secondary voltage can also be tested with one of those clip on plug testers that have an adjustable spark gap. I just was looking at them yesterday. According to the Ford cd I have and what one tester said, you can expect up to 40,000 volts. I'd say off hand, if it is below 20kv, and your spark is not bright blue, your coil is weak. You may also want to measure your plug wire resistance, which approx. is 5,000 ohms per foot.

I was thinking if you have an incomplete combustion of fuel problem as postulated with your depressed mpg rate, I'd expect you to be getting fault codes that would support that, you would have dirty plugs, and you would have gassy smelling and sooty exhaust. Maybe it's not detectable enough to throw codes.

Here's a link to someone else's recent coil issues that you might find relevant.

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=933304

wiswind
12-18-2008, 10:46 PM
The shocking from the vehicle with the engine off that you mention has nothing to do with the coil......it is static electricity.....I get the same thing.

As far as the coil pack and fuel economy.......some people are more sensitive to a slight miss in the motor than others.....I remember years ago my father mentioning their vehicle was running rough.....my mom thought it was running just fine.....she only noticed a problem when the engine quit....as long as it was running......she did not notice anything else.

The testing that Tripletdaddy is spot on....however the cracked epoxy issue will NOT show up in this test......the high voltage arcs through the crack....however a ohm meter check will find this path to ground as an open......the voltage is jumping an air gap.

In my case.....if I am going to take the coil out to look at it......I would put a new one in.
The reason is, many times you will see the carbon tracks......or a crack......but it is possible to have this and not be able to see it....particularly as it will not be squeaky clean back in there.

As you well know....these "sorta bad" issues are a lot tougher to track down than a solid failure.....so many "It could be's"

tripletdaddy
12-19-2008, 12:09 AM
Uuuuhhh.....I guess I was mistaken to assume that it is understood that you won't get any continuity through a non-conductive material like the plastic or epoxy or whatever non-conductive material that comprises the majority of the exterior of the coil. I implied to test for shorts to any "metal" or other conductive material on the exterior of the coil, like a metal heat sink on its bottom or metal bushings cast into it for bolting it down without cracking it. What was I thinking? I was not suggesting that it could be tested for a short via a crack in the body, as pointed out. Certainly a cracked coil body would justify replacing it even if it could be tested. I suggest this test, because it is an effective test to use on the metal "can" encased and other metal bodied, single lead coils. So I figured, if you can find any metal on it, see if the coil is shorting out to it. I've determined two of my coils to be bad with this test. That's all.

searcherrr
12-19-2008, 05:15 AM
I do have the CD, but frankly it is ridiculous to look through. Its a very old school program without really good search features. I couldn't find what I wanted in 15 minutes so I gave up.

I found an exposed wire at the Ignition Coil last night. Thinking of replacing the coil pack yet again even though I think the old one is fine and hoping the exposed wire was/is my problem. No dice though. Maybe it'll take a while of driving to relearn out of the "near stall @ rad fan off" sequence now that I've sealed the exposed wire?

Ignition coil top connector (4 prongs on coil pack/4 wire connector):
Gray / Red wire
Yellow / White wire
Black / Yellow wire
Red / Yellow wire - exposed and patched.

I have scoured my Ford CD and I cannot find this connector anywhere. Anyone know what that wire does?

Tripletdaddy - You da man. I have inspected my coil pack and it looks fine to me, but when I have the patience I need to do those tests. THANKS ! and thanks for the persistence to retype your post..... I know how that goes... it makes me so furious that I come back and post with a VENGENCE to show the computer that I ain't gonna be controlled! lol

wiswind
12-19-2008, 07:19 AM
I know that you know about the crack issue....and your instructions were great.
Some reading the forum may not understand what we are talking about regarding the air gap created by a crack in the epoxy.....and might assume that the coil is good.
You and searcherr need no explaination, but I am thinking of those who find this thread with the search function later....
As you have worked on cars a lot more than I have, you probably understand better than I do the variety of understanding that folks have.

With searcherrs issue...where it does not seem to be a hard failure....the air gap is a possiblility.....but the only way to know is to remove the coil pack.
And on a vehicle as old as 1995 (and my '96) one would be best to just put a new one in if they are going to the trouble to remove it.
I don't trust myself to catch a slight crack anyhow.

tripletdaddy
12-20-2008, 02:33 AM
Yup, gotcha, Wiswind.

Searcherr, I compared your wire colors with my, fwiw, Windstar manual and Ford cd for other cars, unfortunately not the Windstar, and I found your wires to be the following:

What you listed:
Ignition coil top connector (4 prongs on coil pack/4 wire connector):
Gray / Red wire
Yellow / White wire
Black / Yellow wire
Red / Yellow wire - exposed and patched.


What I found in the references:
Most likely your gray/red is 12v hot KOn, the refs. say red/lt green
Yel/black is 5 and 1 plugs
yel/red is 3 and 4 plugs
yel/white is 2 and plugs

The wire coloring is the main color/tracer color.
I noticed yours, Searcherr, may be reversed.
If all else fails, the pins are in the same order as the plug pairs for means of identification, and the end pin will measure 12v when KOn.

So, assuming your red/yel is my yel/red, it is the primary ground wire for the 3 and 4 plugs secondary coil, that goes to/from the PCM that the PCM grounds on and off as that coil circuit needs to be energized.

With the insulation damaged on the one wire raises the question, how did it get that way and when, if that matters? It didn't just happen on its own. Is it reasonable it was nicked during the engine transplants?
Based on what you've said, it seems not to matter.

uzzo2
12-22-2008, 09:49 AM
Hey guys, i think i may have a coil pack going bad on my winnie. Was going to town earlier and felt a little shudder then the cel came on. P0303,number 3 misfire, it seemed to run fine after that though. I looked on rockauto at the coils. They have 2 that are standard motor products brand, one is $49.79 and the other is $78.79. Anybody know the difference? Searcherr, this is probably going to make you sick, but it tickles me to death. Since gas has come down the last couple of weeks, i decided to fill up the tank and check the mileage. I couldn't afford to fill it all the way up at $4.50 a gallon. The result: 3 consecutive tanks at over 20 mpg, the last one a little over 23 mpg. I never would have believed it if i hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

LeSabre97mint
12-23-2008, 08:17 PM
Hey guys, i think i may have a coil pack going bad on my winnie. Was going to town earlier and felt a little shudder then the cel came on. P0303,number 3 misfire, it seemed to run fine after that though. I looked on rockauto at the coils. They have 2 that are standard motor products brand, one is $49.79 and the other is $78.79. Anybody know the difference? Searcherr, this is probably going to make you sick, but it tickles me to death. Since gas has come down the last couple of weeks, i decided to fill up the tank and check the mileage. I couldn't afford to fill it all the way up at $4.50 a gallon. The result: 3 consecutive tanks at over 20 mpg, the last one a little over 23 mpg. I never would have believed it if i hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
uzzo2

I looked at your profile and was this with your 95? That's pretty good for the first year the Windstar was made! I know the HP was increased 96 and newer. I can feel the difference driving my 98 compared to my 95. There is a lot more up and go! I have to watch my speed closer driving the 98.:grinno::licka:

Dan

uzzo2
12-24-2008, 05:55 AM
uzzo2

I looked at your profile and was this with your 95? That's pretty good for the first year the Windstar was made! I know the HP was increased 96 and newer. I can feel the difference driving my 98 compared to my 95. There is a lot more up and go! I have to watch my speed closer driving the 98.:grinno::licka:

Dan Yes sir, it's my 95 winnie, i topped it off yesterday because fuel has now gotten to $1.549 by me and i know it's going to go back up. I put 18.4 gallons and a can of berrymans in it, 411.5 miles on the trip odometer- 22.364 mpg. I've even while driving down the hwy checked the odometer between mile markers to see if the odometer is off. The speedo itself wobbles back and forth so much it's almost impossible to tell how fast you're going. If the odometer isn't dead on it's pretty darn close, i just never believed this thing was getting that kind of fuel mileage. I had been guessing around 15 to 17 and griping about that. Been telling my wife i wanted to go look at the new nissan versa, under 10K. It's kind of killing my arguement because i still don't like the van and she does. Anyone have any suggestions on the coil pack from rockauto that i posted about? It still seems to have a engine skip/shudder every once in a while. It hasn't set the cel off again yet though. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

searcherrr
12-24-2008, 09:54 AM
uzzo2

I looked at your profile and was this with your 95? That's pretty good for the first year the Windstar was made! I know the HP was increased 96 and newer. I can feel the difference driving my 98 compared to my 95. There is a lot more up and go! I have to watch my speed closer driving the 98.:grinno::licka:

Dan

I personally believe 96-98 are the best year Windstars because they have the best of weight and added HP. 96-98's have added about 80-90 lbs over the 95. In 99 I believe the Windstar ate some cookies and donuts and added 400lbs over the 95. This is the main reason I wanted to stick to an earlier model over buying a new 2003 Windstar (which in hindsight now I think I should've done).

searcherrr
12-24-2008, 10:01 AM
ALL POST REPLIES IN 1!!!!!

.....

In my case.....if I am going to take the coil out to look at it......I would put a new one in.
The reason is, many times you will see the carbon tracks......or a crack......but it is possible to have this and not be able to see it....particularly as it will not be squeaky clean back in there.


I agree. I have seen those carbon tracks in the coil on my car (3000GT) and wondered what they were... now I even know what to call'em! lol


As you well know....these "sorta bad" issues are a lot tougher to track down than a solid failure.....so many "It could be's"

Jeezus tell me about it.

..... So I figured, if you can find any metal on it, see if the coil is shorting out to it. I've determined two of my coils to be bad with this test. That's all.

Its cool. I get it man. Metal touching metal in the wrong places is no good. :) Hence why grounds and positives are separated or else everyone's hair would be sticking up all the time.



With the insulation damaged on the one wire raises the question, how did it get that way and when, if that matters? It didn't just happen on its own. Is it reasonable it was nicked during the engine transplants?
Based on what you've said, it seems not to matter.

Exactly. It is for this reason I generally (when I have restored patience .... grrrr...) stick to working on my own vehicles. The open wire I saw was a result of someone leaning on it. All 4 wires were bent in the same direction, but only the 1 was exposed. I encased the exposed one and then encased them all in electrical tape down to the connector as I really feel it should've been in the 1st place.

Searcherr, this is probably going to make you sick, but it tickles me to death. Since gas has come down the last couple of weeks, i decided to fill up the tank and check the mileage. I couldn't afford to fill it all the way up at $4.50 a gallon. The result: 3 consecutive tanks at over 20 mpg, the last one a little over 23 mpg. I never would have believed it if i hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

I've been past sick. :banghead::cheers: Uzzo2 - I have to tell ya. I have discussed this MPG issue with numerous techs down here and NONE of them believe this van should be getting over 17-18mpg on hwy or 14 - 15 in town. NONE of them. They say its complete bullshit, yet here I have a whole forum of people (with only a few exceptions) telling me they are all getting on avg 23 mpg and at the least 20 and in town at least 15. Thanks for doing the check or for reporting it at least. Put it in the gas mileage thread I started.

Uzzo2 - I just read your next post about checking the odometer using mile markers. WOW..... why didn't I think of that? At least this isn't something I've done yet that I can put on the to do list. Good check too cause I've wondered about it in the past.

RockAuto coilpack Question - I have heard (Wiswind included) a few people say they are happy with the GP Sorensen brand at AdvanceAuto. I believe its reasonably priced and for the confirmation from this forum that they are OK to use I'd pay whatever they want. I think I recall it being in the 60's over there when I checked one time.

uzzo2
12-24-2008, 11:04 AM
RockAuto coilpack Question - I have heard (Wiswind included) a few people say they are happy with the GP Sorensen brand at AdvanceAuto. I believe its reasonably priced and for the confirmation from this forum that they are OK to use I'd pay whatever they want. I think I recall it being in the 60's over there when I checked one time.

I've been on their website, they're not carrying the gp sorenson brand anymore. the cheapest one now over there is $118.99 for a BWD, i believe that is borg-warner. i wound up putting a borg plug wire set on it a while back, they seem to be good wires. DON'T buy the xaact brand from advance, they suck, trust me on that one. I can get a motorcraft coil from rockauto for about 86 clams, opinions?

searcherrr
12-27-2008, 06:26 AM
http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductDetail.aspx?MfrCode=MSD&MfrPartNumber=8227&PartType=190&PTSet=A

What is the deal with that MSD coil? Does anyone know? Its supposed to be for our engines, but it looks nothing like the stock coil. Are you supposed to buy 6 of these and piecemeal them together some weird way? If so how?

uzzo - At that price I'd go with the Motorcraft.

searcherrr
12-27-2008, 07:48 AM
Whats everyone's opinion on the ACCEL brand of ignition parts?

uzzo2
12-27-2008, 09:34 AM
http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductDetail.aspx?MfrCode=MSD&MfrPartNumber=8227&PartType=190&PTSet=A

What is the deal with that MSD coil? Does anyone know? Its supposed to be for our engines, but it looks nothing like the stock coil. Are you supposed to buy 6 of these and piecemeal them together some weird way? If so how?

uzzo - At that price I'd go with the Motorcraft.
I looked at that coil, the picture shown doesn't look anything at all like the coil that's on my van. That looks like an older style coil for use with a distributor type system. As far as accel wires go, i have always known them to be good wires. As a matter of fact, when i went to o'reillys to get new wires, that's what i asked for. They brought out a set of them and was explaining how to put them together (the ends). I told them i didn't think those ends would fit on my coil. They asked me what kind of vehicle and i told them ford windstar. They went and got a set of borg-warner wires, i put them on and have been very pleased with the performance until lately. As i mentioned in a previous post it got to acting up the other day and i got a misfire code on #3. I put a can of berrymans in it when i filled it up the other day and it hasn't acted up since. I would have thought if it was fuel related, it would have taken a little more time to work its way through the system. So far, so good, no more hiccups, i'm down to about a half a tank now and i have another can in the car for the next time i fill it up.

rhandwor
12-27-2008, 01:14 PM
I would buy the motorcraft coil as its only $20.00 higher. Plus sales tax will about cover shipping.

searcherrr
12-27-2008, 05:57 PM
If you installed a lower resistance better performing coil that yields better and more spark wouldn't that burn more gas or is it only gonna burn more gas if you have more spark at the spark plugs (IE: different plugs that burn more)?

searcherrr
01-12-2009, 12:03 PM
I'm doing this for more than just me here. I have comparative test results on my 95 3.8L Ignition Coil. I have tested the old one, the new one (OEM) and a 3rd party high performance coil from Accel.

*Note: Just as a heads up, I talked to MSD via email and they say they will be producing a coil for our engines later this year. GOOD NEWS cause I love MSD.


OK Coil Tests (Thanks to tripletdaddy for instructions):

Inspection: The coil even though old is in awesome condition physically. There were no damage marks or cracks to speak of and I have an eagle eye. The only thing wrong with it (can't remember the term for it) was inside the coils themselves were lil black burnt marks in all 6 coils, though I'd say the majority 95-97% of the coil surfaces were still silver.

Reference Diagram for COIL resistance testing:
http://www.thinkrolland.com/images/externallylinked/WindstarIgnitionCoil.JPG

1. Resistance Tests on OLD OEM Motorcraft COIL:
Primaries (at about 65 degrees F):
12v to 5/1 Pin: .6
12v to 6/2 Pin: .6
12v to 4/3 Pin: .6

Secondaries (at about 65 degrees F):
5/1 Coil: 13.03 k ohms
6/2 Coil: 13.03 k ohms
4/3 Coil: 13.03 k ohms

2. Resistance Tests on NEW OEM Motorcraft COIL:
Primaries (at about 65 degrees F):
12v to 5/1 Pin: .5 - .6
12v to 6/2 Pin: .5 - .6
12v to 4/3 Pin: .5 - .6

Secondaries (at about 65 degrees F):
5/1 Coil: 13.02 k ohms
6/2 Coil: 13.03 - 13.04 k ohms
4/3 Coil: 13.23 k ohms

3. Resistance Tests on NEW Accel High Performance COIL:
*Either gold or gold plated coils.

Primaries (at about 65 degrees F):
12v to 5/1 Pin: .5 - .6
12v to 6/2 Pin: .5 - .6
12v to 4/3 Pin: .5 - .6

Secondaries (at about 65 degrees F):
5/1 Coil: 10.32 k ohms
6/2 Coil: 9.66 k ohms
4/3 Coil: 9.68 k ohms

Conclusion & Specs:
I have heard on this forum from people that the resistance should be the following:
1. Primary resistance should be 0.3 to 1.0 ohms.
2. Secondary resistance should measure 6.5 to 11.5 k-ohms between paired holes.
though I also heard: The reading should be 10,000 to 11,000 ohms
3. Tripletdaddy said:
"I also like to check for any measurable resistance between the primaries and the coil body, and the secondaries and the body to be sure the coil isn't shorting itself out." - I did this too. Checked out.

Using this logic my OLD and NEW Motorcraft coils should both be FAULTY, but I believe the missing element here is HEAT.
I have heard some people heat their coils up in the oven and then test resistance. I've been reluctant to do that cause I don't actually know how hot the body of the coil pack gets and I don't want to ruin a coil pack that is obviously good like my old one seems to be. How hot should I set the oven?

Honestly, I bought a new OEM coil pack and an Accel one to provide feedback to the forum and of course I wanted to see if the Accel one did actually offer better resistance and it does.

Hopefully combined with a new fuel pump (getting installed today) this new Accel coil pack will yield me some good gas mileage finally. We shall see.

tomj76
01-12-2009, 01:07 PM
I think you should double check the scale on the ohm meter during the secondary test. While I don't know the numbers for a Ford Windstar coil, it's normally in the thousands of ohms.

This is because you are testing the seconary resistance of a electrical transformer consisting of thousands of turns of a fine wire. The large number of turns are needed to boost the voltage from 12 volts to between 15,000 and 30,000 volts, and the wire is fine to allow it to fit into a small space.

Your meter could have automatically ranged to kohms without you noticing.

rhandwor
01-12-2009, 03:52 PM
When using a hot air gun to heat up modules Ford said to stop if you put a drop of water on it and it started to boil. I wouldn't recommend heating a coil much above 200 degrees and not over 210 degrees F.
Not all ovens are calibrated properly use a thermometer.

searcherrr
01-12-2009, 06:07 PM
I think you should double check the scale on the ohm meter during the secondary test. While I don't know the numbers for a Ford Windstar coil, it's normally in the thousands of ohms.

This is because you are testing the seconary resistance of a electrical transformer consisting of thousands of turns of a fine wire. The large number of turns are needed to boost the voltage from 12 volts to between 15,000 and 30,000 volts, and the wire is fine to allow it to fit into a small space.

Your meter could have automatically ranged to kohms without you noticing.

Sorry, I didn't put "k ohms" on there, but thats what they are. I'll go edit it. With this news do you still feel the tests are wrong with the multimeter I'm using?

searcherrr
01-12-2009, 06:19 PM
When using a hot air gun to heat up modules Ford said to stop if you put a drop of water on it and it started to boil. I wouldn't recommend heating a coil much above 200 degrees and not over 210 degrees F.
Not all ovens are calibrated properly use a thermometer.

Hot air gun huh.... yet another specialized tool i don't have in my arsenal.

I don't want to melt the coil's body and i'm having a hard time believing the silicone and plastic of the coil get anywhere above 150 degrees due to how the coil is situated in the engine bay. I'm sure the coils themselves get extremely hot, but I bet that heat is quickly dissipated by the surrounding silicone.

At what temperature does plastic or silicone melt?

Who's got hot air guns?

rhandwor
01-12-2009, 06:22 PM
Some people use hair dryers available in most households.

searcherrr
01-12-2009, 07:38 PM
Some people use hair dryers available in most households.

LOL - well shit..... who calls a hair dryer a hot air gun? lol
-I wrote that before googling "hot air gun" lol - now i know.:)

Will a hair dryer really get it hot enough? Do we even know how hot the coil metal itself should get to test right?

What pisses me off is that I've scoured the FORD CD-ROM several times for coil testing procedures/specs and I haven't found it once. I even 1 by 1 looked through the Pinpoint Tests section and I just do not see it. Why, if resistance testing a coil is the way to find out if its good/bad, would it not be in there?

wiswind
01-12-2009, 08:47 PM
You are correct....they bury the coil information in a bunch of "pinpoint" tests.....using a specific "breakout box".
They give resistance readings ...but not in line with what we see...........but what is in the breakout box?.....
Be nice if they Kept It Simple Stupid (KISS) and just gave you basic resistance readings for the coil primary and secondary for coils 1, 2 and 3.
MUCH faster and direct.

I don't know if the readings for the Motorcraft are in specification or not.....I DO like to see the 2ndary readings to be pretty much the same from coil to coil....so you might want to double check as both of the new coils you measured had 1 coil that was a bit higher than the other 2.

Don't forget that radio capacitor......I have not read about them going bad on the windstar......don't forget to connect it back up.
It is not just the radio.....the PCM and other electronic control items don't like the noise either.

I am not big on heat tests......hot air guns can get really hot.....

If it were my vehicle....I would put the new motorcraft coil in......

I am reluctant to recommend a "high performance" coil here...with hotter spark....etc......as we don't have data on how well they do in the windstar.......and more variables and strange problems are the last thing you need to add to the mix.

As far as mileage.....this time of year is really tough to get anything good.......and much of the middle of the USA is going into the deep freeze for the rest of this week.
So....my point is....if it is nasty cold where you are....don't over analyze things......when it gets below zero (F) as we are going here in Milwaukee.....figure that....if it is starting.....running OK......you are doing well.
And if you are dealing with driving in lots of snow......down goes the mileage again.

pstrbrc
01-12-2009, 10:23 PM
I've had coild go bad on a 2000 windstar (about 160k miles) and a 2004 Freestar (about 80k miles). Here's how it was diagnosed-
pulled a "misfire on #6" code, so swapped #6 and #2 plug wires on the coil. Cleared codes, then got a "Misfire on #2". #2 and #6 fire off of the same coil, so I wasn't changing the firing order, so when the misfire moved to the other cylinder, the only thing that changed from one cylinder to the other was the coil terminal, so it had to be the coil. If the misfire had stayed on #6, it would be either the plug or the wire.

Hope this helps somebody.

tripletdaddy
01-13-2009, 03:15 AM
In general, resistivity in metals increases with temperature increases and decreases with temp decreases. I have an oven that goes down to 170 deg F. In fact I've used it to heat up other auto parts for interference fits, painting, warming up caulking and sealing materials so they spread better, etc. I'd use it long before anything else like a hair drier, etc. It's easy, well regulated, heats evenly, easy to control, even if you have to monitor it with a thermometer in it. I like that even better than heating by boiling an object that can safely be put in water. What's nice about boiling water though, is that it will NEVER go above 212 deg.

Oh, BTW, I thought I mentioned this before, but for your easy reference, my Windstar coil resistance was consistent with the spec I quoted. I don't know if the temp is critical or not, but mine were measured around 30 to 40 deg F. I imagine the spec is for 60 to 70 deg. A 50 deg F change from the spec results in about a 7.5% change in resistance. A 100 deg F change will result in a 15% change. So, a 100 deg F increase gives you a 15% increase in resistance, or the resistance is 115% of your base resistance.

tripletdaddy
01-13-2009, 03:42 AM
I have no idea how hot the coil gets. I guess you mean the coil isn't tight against the engine so that doesn't make it hot and there is air space under and around it. Actually, the bottom of the coil I expect to be the hottest, as I suspect it to be metal and the bracket that it is mounted to is metal, which conducts heat very well. The plastic and silicone are more like insulators, so they will be cooler, though I'm not sure there will be a huge temp difference between the bottom and the top, though what really matters is the coils inside will be the hottest where the resistance is influenced. I would think with the serpentine belt right next to it and pulleys turning, there would be some decent air flow by it. I don't know why they move the coil to the back side of the engine at the valve cover and tstat and upper radiator hose. It would seem to be hotter to me there, unless they are counting on air from moving and from the radiator fans. When neither is ocurring, it would get pretty hot I would think.

searcherrr
01-13-2009, 05:18 AM
What you doin up so late with 3 kids man? lol :) Thanks for your diligence and spirit along with everyone else.

I won't believe the new Motorcraft coil is bad and thus since it nearly matches the old Motorcraft coil's 2ndary resistances I believe the old coil is good. The temperature I tested all 3 coils at was of course the same.

tripletdaddy - Where'd the specs you gave me come from? Was there any mention about temperature? Its hardly that I don't believe you; Its just that I'd like to confirm the exact procedures for testing it right rather than guess about the temperature thing.

The fact that yours measured within the spec you posted and that you tested between 30 - 40 degrees F probably accounts for the difference. It was probably closer to 70 degrees when I tested them in my room.

Opinion on placement of the coil - Yeah, i bet thats why the one in my 95 was in such good condition since it sees decent air and doesn't have much metal contact to promote thermal absorption.

wiswind - I have no idea what tha hell a breakout box is either, but I can't even find that on the CD. Can you navigate me -on the CD- to where it talks about resistance testing the coils?

tomj76
01-13-2009, 11:00 AM
I'm glad that you're in the right order of magnitude.

Coils are fairly simple electronic devices. They fail either because the electrical current path is broken, the magnetic flux path is damaged, or because the insulation can't withstand the voltage. There might be a couple of other failure modes that I'm not considering, but I think these are the top ones.

The first one is isolated with the easy check you've done with your ohm meter. The only additional concern that you might have is if the broken wire was intermittent. A check at some higher temperature would help to see this. I like the idea of using a pre-heated oven. Make sure the oven is off before you put any parts in it, because the strong radiant heat from the element can melt the black plastic if it comes on.

Another test for an intermittent path is to bump it around while the meter is connected very securely.

However, the secondary resistance reading is otherwise not critical, so anything that is in the right order of magnitude is a good test, in my opinion. The primary is somewhat more important, but it's difficult to accurately check with a standard ohm meter given its low value. Again, though, if it's less than some threshold (for example, a spec), then it's good enough. The reason the primary resistance is important is that it will limit the amount of current that can flow in the coil. If it is too small, then the spark will not have enough energy.

The other two failure modes are harder to test. You really can't check the magnetic path other than to look at the spark you're getting. I think I've seen tools for testing the spark voltage by adjusting a point gap which measures the spark voltage using a very predictable relationship between the voltage and the distance that the spark will jump.

When the problem is the insulator (i.e. low resistance, cracked, contaminated) it can be hard to isolate with any simple ohm meter test. The reason is that the low voltage resistance is not enough information to know if an undesired spark will occur at some place other than the plug. High voltage behaves in very unusual and odd ways. For example, high voltage can arc along a surface that meets air, so many high voltage arrestors employ a corrugated design to increase the surface path length between a high voltage source and low voltage conductors. High voltage can sometimes travel along contaminated surfaces better than clean ones. Dielectric grease has a benefit in increasing the arc suppression of a connection over one that is 'dry'. Cracks (even microscopic ones) can provide an arc path for a high voltage discharge to follow. As insulators age and are subjected to temperature, they loose their ability to withstand high electric fields.

All this makes diagnosis of an intermittent spark problem hard to absolutely diagnose. One trick people have used is to run the engine in a dark garage an look for light from electrical discharges in the engine. People also suggest using a water mist to encourage corona where the electric fields are strong to point to the way to potential problems. However, these techniques can be difficult to use when working on a transverse mounted engine, since so many wires and plugs are hidden from easy view.

searcherrr
01-13-2009, 05:56 PM
Wow. Cool. I feel like I just went to ignition coil 102 class. Seriously, thanks for all that.

If anyone can find the coil testing procedures in the Ford CD or verify whats in a Haynes manual that would be great. I'm totally onboard with what ya'll all are saying. I just would like to confirm whether or not the temperature is part of the test or if they possibly provide a graph for what the resistance values should be at a given temperature. IE: Like the ECT graph/data I've seen somewhere before.

wiswind
01-13-2009, 08:52 PM
I don't have the FORD repair CD.....I was reading on Alldatadiy and looked up the ignition coil....and worked my way into the pinpoint tests from there.
From the main vehicle menu.....I selected "Powertrain Management", Ignition System, Ignition coil.......then "testing and inspection Procedures"

Another way in.....Powertrain Management-Computers and Control Systems-Testing and Inspection-Pinpoint Tests
In the menu on the right......go down to JE "Integrated Ignition Coil 1, 2, 3 or 4 Failure"

Which gave me
"Ford does not provide component specific testing for the coil pack"......with a couple more choices......and I selected
"See: Computers and Control..............Integrated Ignition Coil 1,2, 3 or 4 Failure"
Now....if you have a "coil 4" in your pack.......something is wrong....as that would be for a 8 cylinder.

Anyhow....that gives you a pinpoint test list of 123 tests!

The normal troubleshooting process that would bring you into these tests is from CEL codes P0350, P0351, P0352 and P0353
P0350 is Ignition Coil Primary Circuit Malfunction (non-specific)
P0351 is Ignition Coil A Primary Circuit Malfunction
P0352 is Ignition Coil B Primary Circuit Malfunction
P0353 is Ignition Coil C Primary Circuit Malfunction

As you don't have any of these codes.....I don't think you have any solid failure here.....or you would have found it with your ohm check....that they don't seem to want to list ANYPLACE in all these tests!.......in 123 tests!.....they could not find room to do that.


They START off by putting the "breakout box" inline with the harness.......

A Breakout box is a box that gives you access to test points.....that connect to the various wires inside the wire harness.
Can often have switches and other goodies inside to help one test/troubleshoot.
These are very usefull.....when you know what connects to what.
Problem is......the pinpoint tests tell you to connect to various pins on the breakout box......but don't specifically tell you what they connect to in the circuit that we are trying to check.
I don't know if they have resistors inside the box......or switches......etc.
They have some checks done with everything connected......have you disconnect the harness from the coil for some.....and to disconnect from the other side for other tests.......so going from one test to another.....one needs to keep track of what is connected and not connected.
They start off by making voltage checks......and the yes/no map directs you to specific tests from the results.......so it is not a test 1, 2, 3, 4.....etc....but If yes....go to test #......if No go to a different test.....
Or replace this.....or that.

Now.....as you have continuity where you should.....and OPEN where you should.....I am going to guess that the static DC voltage checks would get you the voltages that would be for a GOOD coil.

I did not see anything about warming up the coil.....

They show a diagram of oscilloscope Waveforms (no description on where to connect the oscilloscope or the conditions under which they waveforms were taken)
The CranKshaft Position Sensor (CKP) Gives a pulse for each tooth in the crankshaft "wheel"......there is a missing tooth at "60 degrees Before Top Dead Center (BTDC)"

Coil #1 has a small triangle waveform.....slope up sharp drop down.
The peak value....at which it drops back down.....is at 20 degrees BTDC


OK.....the pinpoint tests are not simple and straight forward.......and I like simple and straight forward.

tripletdaddy
01-14-2009, 03:27 AM
What you doin up so late with 3 kids man? lol :) Thanks for your diligence and spirit along with everyone else.

It's more fun helping solve other people's problems than my own, especially when it's below freezing outside and I feel sorry for pathetic Windstar owners who have voodoo on their ass... ahem... their jackass. Hmm, I may be onto something there. Aren't we talking about a Winnie? This is also my "escape" from reality.

I won't believe the new Motorcraft coil is bad and thus since it nearly matches the old Motorcraft coil's 2ndary resistances I believe the old coil is good. The temperature I tested all 3 coils at was of course the same.

tripletdaddy - Where'd the specs you gave me come from? Was there any mention about temperature? Its hardly that I don't believe you; Its just that I'd like to confirm the exact procedures for testing it right rather than guess about the temperature thing.

The fact that yours measured within the spec you posted and that you tested between 30 - 40 degrees F probably accounts for the difference. It was probably closer to 70 degrees when I tested them in my room.[/quote]

I'd say it's reasonable to believe your coil is ok. Since you aren't getting any misfire, bad coil, and other related codes, you probably are all right there. Everything I have referenced in regards to the coil test specs and procedure is from Haynes. They do not spec a test temp. I have never seen one specd in any manual for any vehicle, but there's always a first. Did you see my deiscussion on the change of resistance with temp? If in doubt about the high secondary coil resistance, pull a plug to check for cleanliness and then check how blue and bright it is. Resistance too high will make a weaker spark.

Oh, BTW, tomj76, I assume you meant the coil is an electrical device. It basically consists of parallel coils of wires. So, there is not any electronics in it. They are in the PCM or ICM, etc.

Opinion on placement of the coil - Yeah, i bet thats why the one in my 95 was in such good condition since it sees decent air and doesn't have much metal contact to promote thermal absorption.

Uhhhhhh..........that's not what I was trying to say. Other than when the van is not moving or the fans are running, the post 95 coil placement is probably a desgn change to put it in a cooler location. I seem to recall there being an issue with the coils on the 95s prematurely failing due to excess heat. I guess what you mean by "doesn't have much metal contact to promote thermal absorption" is that it won't get much heat through metal from the engine? Sure the air space between the coil and engine is important to keep the engine heat from it, but it is also very important for it to have that air space to cool the coil as it generates quite a bit of heat on its own. I also meant that the coil with its metal base and metal to metal connection to a bracket are to more rapidly remove heat.

wiswind - I have no idea what tha hell a breakout box is either, but I can't even find that on the CD. Can you navigate me -on the CD- to where it talks about resistance testing the coils?

That breakout box is a dealer "thing." I have the Ford cd that covers using it, and it's not worth trying to follow.

tomj76
01-15-2009, 01:43 PM
>Oh, BTW, tomj76, I assume you meant the coil is an electrical device. It basically consists of parallel coils of wires. So, there is not any electronics in it.

Yea, I should have said is an eletromagnetic device, since it employs both electric current flow and magnetic flux flow...

On a related note, engines and motors are two very different things....

tripletdaddy
01-15-2009, 03:22 PM
"On a related note, engines and motors are two very different things...." tomj76

Huh?
Since you started it.....explain the differences. :)
I mixed the two terms incorrectly?

garync1
01-15-2009, 06:20 PM
I'll take a shot if i remember correctly.. A Engine is Combustion and fueled. Motors are electric AC or DC for its power... Am I right or at least close.. Seems like it was on a test many years ago.. Now if I were a Doctor it would be scary I forgot the answer. Of course if I was a Professional mechanic only thing would happen is your car break down and you want a refund.. :smokin:

tomj76
01-16-2009, 03:16 PM
I think Gary's got the right idea. The EE 101 profs made sure we knew the difference.

Engines and motors both deliver mechanical energy. Engines work on thermodynamics. Motors work on electromagentic dynamics.

BTW, this information will not help you fix or diagnose a coil pack failure. :)

Jerry Irons
01-17-2009, 09:02 AM
Hi all,

Just throwing in my experience with a bad coil pack, on an 01 3.8 L engine with about 140k miles on it. One day driving, the engine started misfiring horribly, CEL came on, and my thought was OMG I just broke a valve or something bad - it was running that bad. Did manage to make it home, but had my doubts. I think the CEL was engine misfire cylinder 3 or something like that.

Anyhow, was a bad coil pack - I probably should have changed it as routine after 100k or so, but didn't think of it of course. And you can't just look at it without taking the cowl off I think - not easy to routinely inspect. It ended up being cracked pretty bad in a few places.

Wasn't raining or anything, during august, just all of a sudden. Just my winny excitement to share for the day.:p

Waxhaw
02-10-2009, 01:03 PM
Regarding coil packs on an '01 with 110k miles. Misfire on #1 cylinder. Driveable but would "pop" a backfire under load, esp in overdrive. Flash ck eng light occasionally. Been going on about two weeks. A dealer did the service bulletin with new intake seals and front valve cover a few years ago before I bought it. I took the pleem off, the egr holes were not clogged but I sparyed a 12 oz can of Barrayman's B-12 Chemtool to clean things. It says it is safe for use with ox sensors and catalytic converters. Also cleaned the throttle body and Idle something valve with it. Like another poster it didn't start right away, had to try a few times with the accelerator down.

That didn't seem to help so the next day removed the coil to ohm it and ck for cracks. The motorcraft coil is cracked at both ends on the bottom and several places on the sides, one curves around about 2 inches. The thing ohms good, primaries are .7 ohm and secondaries are 10.4 - 10.6 k ohms. I cleaned it good and reinstalled it. Runs almost perfect now. I think the coil is bad and cleaning it helped the electricity stay inside but have a new one on order from e-bay.

The main purpose of this post is to give this link for aim729, Darrell @Mad Auto on e-bay. They have around 15 Motorcraft coils for just under $40 including shipping. I'll post next week after getting mine but they seem legit. They are removed from new assemblies but say are unused. [/URL]Sorry, I don't seem to know how to put in the url to just click on it but the description is: [URL="https://mail.jaars.org/Redirect/cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200305441772&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:MOTORS:1123";]https://mail.jaars.org/Redirect/thumbs.ebaystatic.com/pict/200305441772.jpg (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=200305441772)IGNITION COIL- MOTORCRAFT # DG485; FORD # 1F2Z-12029-AC (https://mail.jaars.org/Redirect/cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200305441772&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:MOTORS:1123)

I am in no way connected with that site, just a purchaser. Hope this helps someone. I'll let you know what I get! :smile:

Grabber5.0
02-14-2009, 01:30 AM
Regarding coil packs on an '01 with 110k miles. Misfire on #1 cylinder. Driveable but would "pop" a backfire under load, esp in overdrive. Flash ck eng light occasionally.
A friend of mine recently had the exact same symptoms returning from a road trip. He stopped at a dealership and they did not have one in stock but said it sound like the coil. He limped it home keeping it under 70, and replaced the coil when he could get one, and that fixed it. If you haven't done it already it's probably due for a new set of plugs and wires.

Waxhaw
02-14-2009, 08:58 PM
Thanks for the above Grabber. I bought this 2001 Windstar in Dec and it had new plugs and leads 2k miles before. From this forum I pulled a front plug and it reads "Autolite XP-105 extreme performance." Looked like a dab of platium under the outside electrode so I think they are double platium. The gap was .044" which is spec from Autolite. The Workshop Manual says .052 - .056" but I may not be in a hurry to remove them all to regap. Thanks too to all the others posters as all have helped me figure out my problem! I've read a ton of stuff here.

The van started popping backfires again about 30 miles after cleaning the cracked coil.

Received the new coil from e-bay Weds. My old cracked one was a Motorcraft 1F2U-12029-AC. I thought the new one from e-bay would be that or a 1F2Z-12029-AC or DG485 as advertised. Nope, it is a new Motorcraft 5F2E-12029-AA. The Ford factory Workshop Manual calls for a 12029, without a prefix or subfix. So, maybe they are all interchangeable, looks exactly the same. The new 5F2E-12029-AA ohms at: primaries .7 and secondaires 10.32k - 10.54k ohms, just like my old one.

Anyway, I installed the coil and it works great. No more back/crossfiring popping, no more chugging a little in upshifts or overdrive when lightly accellerating. I have driven about twelve trips of 6-20 miles with no problems. I am happy with my $40 coil.:smile:

Oh, for the what it's worth department, I stuck my old cracked coil on a pan in the oven after the very understanding wife had baked supper. The oven was 300 degrees and turned off. We ate supper while the coil heated as the oven cooled. I tested it after about 30 minuites when the secondary posts checked at 160 degrees F. The primaires went from .7 to .8 ohms and the secondaires went from around 10.4k ohms to around 13.3k Ohms.

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