Distributor OR Ignition Module? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old August 27th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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Troy Norton
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Distributor OR Ignition Module?

i've been checking out all the threads about problems with the ignition system and I have a hunch what I need to do, but since I'm new to all this I figured I'd put the question out there just to be sure........

'94 D90 began stumbling a bit on the highway, got progressively worse and now won't start. Brought it in to get checked out and I'm told the problem is with the distributor. Its got the stock distributor with the ignition amplifier module still mounted on the side of it. They say they ruled out the coil pack by swapping with brand new one with no luck. What they're telling me is they aren't getting a signal from the ignition module to the coil. They're suggesting I get a new distributor and the ignition module relocation kit....they priced parts from LR at $1100 and said they're on backorder for a month. They said the relocation kit alone was $700.

So after all the reading on this site, I'm thinking it sounds like the #1 source of the problem is the ignition module going bad due to heat and vibration while mounted on distributor. I started searching around and saw the kit ranging from $200 (used parts from somebody on this site) to $500 on altantic british.

Looks like the mechanic is definitely marking up the price of parts so I'll just get them myself. But should I just first go with the ignition module replacement? or change the distributor as well?

If I've got to go with a new distributor, is the Mallory my best bet (fewest mods, cheaper than LR, etc)? And do I still need the relocation kit from LR? I'm not looking to make a project out of this. Just need to get back on the road and $1100 just didn't sound right.
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  #2  
Old August 27th, 2008, 05:38 PM
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I highly doubt it is the distributor. You need to diag it properly to narrow it down.

Start with the basics:

1. Is there fuel? (do you smell fuel? do you hear the fuel pump run when you turn the key on at first?)
2. Is there spark?

Does it fire at all (ie "pop").

When you unplug the MAF sensor, does it start?

The highway issue, was it when it was hot or all the time?

Is there water in your computer?

Does the check engine light cycle on when you first go to start it? Was it on before it died? What was the code[s]?

Is the cap cracked?

What condition are the wires, especially the coil wire?

Someone who knows these trucks could pin it down in under an hour.

Seems like it is more likely than not something else (ie silver relay, fuel pump, cap, rotor, coil wire etc.), but if it is the distributor and/or ignition module, a used 94-95 discovery I or RRC distributor and module will get the truck running for under $150.
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  #3  
Old August 27th, 2008, 08:28 PM
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Joe Barefoot
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Check your PM. AND, I agree with Ron as above.
Good luck,
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  #4  
Old August 28th, 2008, 03:06 AM
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evilfij, here are a few answers to your questions.......


1. Is there fuel? (do you smell fuel? do you hear the fuel pump run when you turn the key on at first?) Not positive (the truck is at the shop now) but if I had to guess I'd say yes.

2. Is there spark? Not at the cap, but then again, based on mechanics' diag there wouldn't be if the signal is not getting to the coil from the ign module.

Does it fire at all (ie "pop"). The starter fires. Egine just won't crank.

When you unplug the MAF sensor, does it start? Haven't tried it.

The highway issue, was it when it was hot or all the time? Always after running for a little while.

Is there water in your computer? Shouldn't be. I'm in CA and it hasn't even rained here in 6 months.

Does the check engine light cycle on when you first go to start it? Was it on before it died? What was the code[s]? Check engine and brake light always linger about 3-4 sec after starting ever since I bought this about 6 months ago. Other than that, nothing out of ordinary.

Is the cap cracked? Not that I'm aware.

What condition are the wires, especially the coil wire? Couldn't tell you. But like I said before, the mechanic swapped the coil with a new one (twice acually) and problem remained.
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  #5  
Old August 28th, 2008, 08:29 AM
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The service manual has a very comprehensive diagnostic procedure to diagnose specific ignition component failure. Break out your multimeter and have at it. If it does proved to be the ignition module, DAP appears to have it NIB for $235.
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  #6  
Old August 28th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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I highly suggest skipping the ignition module change and getting a Mallory and being done with it. All you will need in addition to the Mallory is a ballast resistor.

This is not to say that your problem is the ignition module as Ron states above. That being said, your symtoms would lead me to say it is. I would verify it, however, before buying a new distributor.
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  #7  
Old August 28th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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Davis, why would do you suggest the mallory instead of the module change? What do you mean "done with it all"? Is the stock distributor notorious for problems also? I thought it was just the ign module that had faulty design, hence the relocation kit.

Follow-up Post:

anyone have a .pdf version of the '94 defender service manual or can point me to one?
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  #8  
Old August 28th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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My suggestion: instead of throwing parts at it, take it to an expert who actually knows the truck. It will save you time, frustration and money.

I am not too happy with the Mallory unilite. I have popped modules because of an alternator issue (spike) as well as an aftermarket radio (improper ground). The optical sensors are very sensitive. Sometimes I wish I just had a stock setup... Like now! The unlite does work, and if you get it there is a pretty knowledgeable guy over at Century Performance (where they also have the best price I could find). Also look into MSD.

But... like I said, don't just throw parts at the problem. It is a waste of money.

Also... What does trying to start the truck without the MAF Sensor attached prove... should the truck start or not start? What does that mean?

Here is the 94 manual with electrical stuff... I have been using it to diagnose my 95. If anyone has the proper one for a 95 please let me know.

<http://heathsystems.com/Defender/WSMdef90_1994.zip>

I could use a little help on my thread... if anyone has any suggestions. Will post new information is at the bottom.
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  #9  
Old September 15th, 2008, 08:17 PM
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Troy Norton
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Well the mechanic finally ran more diagnostics and isolated the problem to the ignition module (after some prodding from me thanks to the wealth of info on this website).

So in conclusion, I got the remote kit (stc1856) from D.A.P. for $235, swapped it out and the truck fired right up. Been driving for several days now without a problem....knock on wood.


Thanks for all the tips.
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  #10  
Old September 15th, 2008, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heath
I am not too happy with the Mallory unilite. I have popped modules because of an alternator issue (spike) as well as an aftermarket radio (improper ground). The optical sensors are very sensitive. Sometimes I wish I just had a stock setup... Like now! The unlite does work, and if you get it there is a pretty knowledgeable guy over at Century Performance (where they also have the best price I could find). Also look into MSD.
Next time it goes, don't replace it with another optical unit. Get the e-spark module instead. Half the price, and a lot more durable.

-Hans
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  #11  
Old December 7th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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Well I'm back. Two years later it feels like the truck is having the same symptoms all over again. In fact it feels exactly the same as when the old amplifier module began to fail. Truck is still running but after it warms up on highway it misfires / looses power / and kicks like a mule for a second at a time. So, could it be the module that I relocated last time is failing gain? If so, what parts do I need to replace? Hope not the whole relo kit at $235. Can I get by just replacing the module?
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  #12  
Old December 7th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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Did you ever look into the e-spark module option ?

I don't know what it is, but it sound like something worth looking at. I also saw this for 100$: http://www.toddcosuspensions.com/larode90110p.html

Also, there s another option, to use a Ford module: http://www.myrovers.com/?p=793
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  #13  
Old December 7th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Next time it goes, don't replace it with another optical unit. Get the e-spark module instead. Half the price, and a lot more durable.

-Hans

Hans is this the module your talking about? Mabye I should buy one as a spare

http://www.amazon.com/Mallory-6100M-...1744182&sr=1-1
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