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Old 08-06-2011, 05:43 PM   #1
suby25
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Default Troubleshooting misfire after coil conversion

I just completed the coil conversion and am having a misfire on cylinder 1, let me provide some background for diagnostic purposes...

I have a V1 STi RA EJ20G swapped into a 95 L coupe. I'm running Deatchworks 650 cc injectors, PowerFC, FMIC, and A'pexi intake. I was having some issues with hot starts a few weeks ago so I thought I might be getting vapor lock since I had some aftermarket fuel lines when I put in a fuel pressure regulator a few summers ago and was getting an intermittent misfire after running the car, shutting it off, and restarting it. I was also having a hard time pumping gas without the pump shutting off, also leading me to believe I might have a problem with vapor lock. The misfire would usually go away after a few minutes of driving once the engine started to cool off. The problem got progressively worse until I had a misfire at cold start which would not go away. I decided to swap out the rubber fuel lines between the fuel rail exit at cylinder 3 to the FPR and FPR to the hard fuel return line. I also replaced the spark plugs (NGK BKR7E) with new plugs since I had not changed them for a while. I noticed while changing the plugs that the coil on cylinder 1 was badly cracked. I replaced the fuel lines and sparks plugs, checked for good fuel pressure and started the car. I still had the misfire so it seems like the misfire was not an issue with vapor lock.

Fast forward to today, I decided I might as well upgrade to the new coils found on 02+ WRX/STi models since finding a new EJ20G coil was too expensive and a band-aid solution. I bought a set of used coils from a buddy which had only been run for a few thousand miles, all known to be in good working order. I picked up a WRX engine harness so I just spliced in the connectors from the WRX harness into my EJ20G harness and used the EJ20G coil pigtails. I wired up cylinder 1 first, bypassed the igniter and still get a rough idle, cylinder 1 is still misfiring. I wired up the remaining 3 coils and still get a rough idle. When I bypassed the igniter I taped off the ground wire and didn't ground it to the chassis since each coil is locally grounded.

So, it appears there's still an issue with cylinder 1. I thought perhaps I had run the car long enough (had to drive 20 miles home from work last week), that I might have washed out the rings due to the ongoing misfire. I checked compression and it was 160 psi, the same as last time I checked when the car was running well. So, only two culprits seem to be left to cause a misfire - spark and fuel (assuming somehow the timing for cylinder 1 didn't get messed up somehow). I let the car run and checked to see if the injector is firing, it is. I unplug the injector harness and remove the coil, put in a spare spark plug, ground the plug to the chassis, start the car, and check for spark. No spark (at least none I can see in broad daylight). I also removed the plugs after running the car and cylinder 1 plug still looks brand new. No noticeable gas smell, no carbon build up. I check cylinders 3 and 2, there's noticeable build up on each. So it appears, as best as I can tell, that cylinder 1 injector is firing but possibly not injecting fuel into the cylinder. It also appears the coil for cylinder 1 is not firing.

I traced the wiring for the cylinder 1 coil and there is continuity for the trigger between the coil and pigtail, pigtail to old igniter location and igniter to ECU. I checked for voltage to the coil and I get ~11.4 volts with the key in the on position, I checked cylinder 3 as well and get the same voltage. I'm a little stumped as this seems to indicate the coil is getting power and there's continuity for the trigger wiring from the coil to the ECU. This suggests that the coil could possibly be bad, but it's way too coincidental that the same cylinder that had a cracked coil before is still misfiring.

My conclusions at this point are that either the cylinder 1 injector is clogged or partially clogged or there may be an issue with the wiring for cylinder 1 coil. How can I check for a trigger signal at the coil pack to verify it should actually be firing?

Anybody have any suggestions as how to troubleshoot this?
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Old 08-06-2011, 06:51 PM   #2
69subaru360
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The ecu grounds the coils and injectors to fire them. With a meter check for continuity from ground to the trigger pin while cranking for both the injector and coil. If that's good try moving the injector and coil to see if the miss follows it.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:11 AM   #3
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Hi Suby25,

I think I think some similar problems, I'll post my troubleshooting findings here below, but first one comment on your story.

You say you taped off the ground connection of the ignitor you bypassed. Well, that ground connection is spliced off other ECU ground connections, so I don't think it makes a difference if you tape it off or ground it as well.

Now for my troubleshooting.
Long story short. Installed an EJ20G into a Leone II car. Did all the wiring and installation and after finishing it all, it ran just fine.
For two things, boost was maxing at 0,45bars and was coming in late (3500 rpms).
Engine btw is a freshly build EJ20G with some STi internals, now only 1200km's on it.
Injectors are ultrasonicly cleaned and tested. Coils are WRX ones, ignitor bypassed. Walbro 255 l/hr fuel pump, + 3bars of fuel pressure, spark plugs NGK PFR7B , also new.

Now, after breaking in the engine with no boost and rpm's not over 2000/2500 car was running just fine.
After 1200km's of breaking in the engine, I started running at wastegate pressure, again noticing boost was coming in late.
A little later, car was starting to run bad, hesitating on slight acceleration and a little later also running on 3 cylinders (tested and verified with exhaust analyser).

Last weekend started with doing some tests on the ignition system:

- ground connections at my 4 WRX coils checked ok, all about 0,4 ohms to negative battery connection.
- with battery voltage of 12,3V (engine not running), then permanent voltage on coils is 11,9V (yellow wire)
- resistance trigger wires ECU to coils: all about 0,5 ohms
- all ground connections of ECU checked ok.

Then started testing the spark, looking at a spark plug and someone else cranking the engine. All spark plugs were removed, so engine was spinning freely. Anyway, found the spark quite yellow and weak.

Next to looking at the spark, I can do some measuring on it using some gunson test device, so you can 'stretch' the spark over a distance, kind of indicating it's power.



See pics. for test set up.

Then next cranking the engine, still with spark plugs removed. Measured the voltage drop on battery and coils. Battery went to 11,9V (- 0,4V ), coils voltage went to 9,7V...hmmm

To see if my weak spark had something to do with the low primary voltage on the coils, installed a test wire, directly from battery plus to the coils, so it had some higher voltage at the coils. A little better spark, but still, I've seen bigger and better sparks.
Here you can see the test device with it's legs spread, so you enlarge the distance for the spark.


Also shot two movies of the spark while cranking, this is with the 12V test wire in place, so this is the 'stronger' spark already. Without the wire, spark was a lot weaker. What do you guys think of this spark?
http://imageshack.us/clip/my-videos/837/213.mp4/
http://imageshack.us/clip/my-videos/836/ao6.mp4/

I didn't run the car with the test wire in place to see how it would behave then.

Anyway, I'm kind of puzzled with this problem. On an earlier stage when I primarly only had the low boost issue, I already swapped ECU's, turbo, boost solenoid and almost anything. Later the problems became worse with the running on 3 cylinders and hesitation under low power.

Hope we can contribute to each other issues.
Kind of wondering what your primary voltage at the coils is while cranking or when running the car.

Bram
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:44 PM   #4
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bram, thanks for the advice.

I feel like a real noob, I hope you guys can help. I'm trying to check for spark by removing the coil from the spark plug, placing a spare spark plug in the coil and cranking the car with the fuel pump unplugged so the car won't start. I tried grounding the coil pack bolt to the chassis and no spark. I tried grounding the spark plug threads to the intake manifold, no spark. I tried grounding the coil bolt to the chassis (via ground wire) and grounding the spark plug thread to the intake manifold, no spark. What is the proper way to check for spark? I feel like I've done this before and not had so much trouble. I know the car is running on three cylinders, so the coil I checked is firing when it's bolted onto the motor but not when unbolted.

Also, I let the car run for a minute and checked the spark plug on cylinder 1 again. Still no combustion by-products. The plug also does not smell like gas and I get no gas smell from the cylinder when I remove the plug. This makes me think the injector is plugged since I can hear it firing when I place a screwdriver on it while the car is running. I have not yet tried swapping out the injector to another cylinder. I'll try to find time to do that after work this week.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69subaru360 View Post
The ecu grounds the coils and injectors to fire them. With a meter check for continuity from ground to the trigger pin while cranking for both the injector and coil. If that's good try moving the injector and coil to see if the miss follows it.
Do you check for continuity between the ground pin and trigger pin, or between ground (say engine or chassis) and the trigger pin? I tried checked between the two pins and there was no continuity. This is strange because I know the cylinder is firing when the coil is bolted to the head.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:37 AM   #6
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Between engine ground and the trigger. Or connect a test light between the 12v pin and the trigger and it should flash when cranking or running. Same for the injectors.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:09 AM   #7
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Thanks! I'll try this to see if the coil *should* be firing. I'm still thinking it's a bad injector, but I hope to verify the coils are functioning properly before sending it out for testing.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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I made a test light out of an old tail light bulb and harness. It works with constant 12v signal but doesn't light up when connecting the +12v and trigger wire on the coil while cranking. I connected a multi-meter between the +12 and trigger pins on the coil connector and the continuity will change while cranking, again, I think I'm not maintaining a signal long enough to achieve continuity of 1. The lowest value I got trying both coils 1 and 2 was about 700, far from continuity. I still don't know why I'm not able to get a spark while cranking, that has me a bit puzzled since I'm sure three of the coils are firing while the engine is running.

I ended up pulling the cylinder 1 injector, I'm just going to send it to Deatchwerks to get flow tested and cleaned. I know the injector coil is firing but I still think the injector is clogged. I'll update the thread once I get the injector back.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:45 PM   #9
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I got an email from Deatchwerks which suggested checking the resistance across the injector coil. The normal resistance range is 12-15 ohms, mine tests 30.2... I suspect the injector is fubar'd at this point. This does make sense why the car would run OK when cold since the resistance would be in the normal range but when hot the injector would not fire. It turns out Deatchwerks does not make the 650cc side feed injectors anymore, so I guess I'm SOL. It's either back to stock or find a set of STi side feeds to swap in.

Ugh...

Last edited by suby25; 08-11-2011 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:46 PM   #10
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That 's not so good, but still you've got a possible cause for your issue.
For myself I made a list of things to check and verify what I can do with a Select Monitor, but I'll add the measuring of the injector coil resistance to that. Actually didn't do that yet.
But don't you get an error code for your injector? Or will it only trigger a code if the connector is completely disconnected?

Last edited by bram_r; 08-10-2011 at 04:45 PM. Reason: Type errors
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
That 's not so good, but still you've got a possible cause for your issue.
For myself I made a list of things to check and verify what I can do with a Select Monitor, but I'll add the measuring of the injector coil resistance to that. Actually didn't do that yet.
But don't you get an error code for your injector? Or will it only trigger a code if the connector is completely disconnected?
The injector is definitely bad, I got another reply from DW, 30 ohms is a dead injector. This makes total sense too, since changing the coil pack did absolutely nothing to fix the issue. I think it was a coincidence that the bad coil and injector were on the same cylinder. I probably needed to upgrade my coils anyway, seeing as they're over 16 years old. I also noticed this problem starting to occur last summer, but it was fine all winter while it was cold out. I guess the injector has been on its way out for a while.

I purchased a set of 550cc STi injectors that should be here next week. I'll update the thread once I have the new injectors installed. I'll probably send them off to be cleaned and flow tested before I install them though.

I'm running A'pexi's PowerFC for engine management, no CEL's throughout this ordeal, so no indication of a bad injector from a computer diagnostics standpoint.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suby25 View Post

I'm running A'pexi's PowerFC for engine management, no CEL's throughout this ordeal, so no indication of a bad injector from a computer diagnostics standpoint.


I dont think there are any trouble code for "bad" injector. There may be one for injector unplugged though.



Suby25, There is nothing noobish about it. You seem to be following the three basic rules of starting an engine. Air, Fuel, and Spark. Clearly you have air, you have verified spark and that just leaves fuel.

Makes sense to me. If you have one bad injector like that I would suggest you test the rest as well as testing the new ones you have coming in.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:59 PM   #13
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ok so i just finished the coil conversion and im running to an issue...my fuel pump was working before the conversion and when i cut both harnesses for the ignitor and wired up the coil packs and tired to start it and got no fuel pressure so i went straight to the trunk and i couldn't here the pump priming and i believe its thebcs(one with 3 hoses connections) kept clicking so any ideas...motor is a 94 wrx ej20g and car is a 2000 rs. as for parts that r new: tomei afpr, ngk sparkplugs, dw fuel pump, gas tank sending unit and coil packs came out of an 03wrx....any help would be appreciated

update: went through the fuses and turns out the ign one was out and i put a 25 in it so it hasn't blown yet but its pretty hot. car still doesn't start so im lost im guessing its probably the wiring, injectors or the coilpacks since everything else is new and i don't have a multimeter so if anyone wants to come over and test there luck i have plenty of beer and food

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Old 08-12-2011, 02:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyAtomic View Post
I dont think there are any trouble code for "bad" injector. There may be one for injector unplugged though.



Suby25, There is nothing noobish about it. You seem to be following the three basic rules of starting an engine. Air, Fuel, and Spark. Clearly you have air, you have verified spark and that just leaves fuel.

Makes sense to me. If you have one bad injector like that I would suggest you test the rest as well as testing the new ones you have coming in.
I just picked up a set of 550cc STi injectors to use as replacements. I intend to verify correct resistance for each coil as well as get them cleaned and flow tested prior to installation. Hopefully this set lasts longer than the DeatschWerks set did... I had them installed for less than two years and a total of 10,000 miles or so. Very disappointing.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subbiespeed View Post
ok so i just finished the coil conversion and im running to an issue...my fuel pump was working before the conversion and when i cut both harnesses for the ignitor and wired up the coil packs and tired to start it and got no fuel pressure so i went straight to the trunk and i couldn't here the pump priming and i believe its thebcs(one with 3 hoses connections) kept clicking so any ideas...motor is a 94 wrx ej20g and car is a 2000 rs. as for parts that r new: tomei afpr, ngk sparkplugs, dw fuel pump, gas tank sending unit and coil packs came out of an 03wrx....any help would be appreciated

update: went through the fuses and turns out the ign one was out and i put a 25 in it so it hasn't blown yet but its pretty hot. car still doesn't start so im lost im guessing its probably the wiring, injectors or the coilpacks since everything else is new and i don't have a multimeter so if anyone wants to come over and test there luck i have plenty of beer and food

Check all of your grounding on your coilpacks. If required - resolder ALL of the connections. Fuses blow because the load that the fuse is connected to gets bypassed (shorted) this decreases resistance and increases voltage or amperage on the line. This is ohms law. Increased voltage or amps is bad and can burn out sections of low guage wiring harness or other components. The fuse is designed to intentionally burn out in leau of something more expensive burning out and/or rather excitingly catching fire (electrical fires are exciting but uncool). A blown fuse normally indicates a short or a failed component causing a short.

You should really be checking all of your electrical connections to make sure you havent shorted something. Electrical shorts are bad. Rewrap your soldered connections to verify nothing is shorted. Use electrical tape and heatshrink tubing both if need be. You should definitely not leave THAT fuse in the fuseholder. If the fuse is hot its a very bad thing. Check and recheck all of your connections, heatshrink, and or electrical tape - to make sure you havent shorted something and put the correct rated fuse back. Trust me that burning out a fuse is way cheaper then burning out something else.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:26 PM   #16
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Can you verify the car ran fine before the coil conversion? It's just guess work without knowing that.

It sounds like you just cut the igniter out of the harness and went to town wiring everything up, so it's possible there's a wiring issue. There was a note in Rob's thread that the wiring for the igniter is different for some of the older EJ20G's, did you verify which set of wiring you have so the merge is correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subbiespeed View Post
ok so i just finished the coil conversion and im running to an issue...my fuel pump was working before the conversion and when i cut both harnesses for the ignitor and wired up the coil packs and tired to start it and got no fuel pressure so i went straight to the trunk and i couldn't here the pump priming and i believe its thebcs(one with 3 hoses connections) kept clicking so any ideas...motor is a 94 wrx ej20g and car is a 2000 rs. as for parts that r new: tomei afpr, ngk sparkplugs, dw fuel pump, gas tank sending unit and coil packs came out of an 03wrx....any help would be appreciated

update: went through the fuses and turns out the ign one was out and i put a 25 in it so it hasn't blown yet but its pretty hot. car still doesn't start so im lost im guessing its probably the wiring, injectors or the coilpacks since everything else is new and i don't have a multimeter so if anyone wants to come over and test there luck i have plenty of beer and food
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:50 PM   #17
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i had the laptop in front of me so im not 100% sure but 99.9 lol...i was having issues with the gas tank sucking up rust at the bottom so i replaced it and the sending unit due to rust and put the dw fuel pump in it while i was at it...i replaced the fuel injectors because they were stuck open and sent the others off to dw(which r on there way back) and i went ahead and replaced the fuel pressure regulator on it because i was hearing fuel pass through it so i figured the fuel pump was too much for it and my spark plugs were shot from running rich so i replaced those as well and tried to start it and got nothing so i figured well maybe the ignitor is bad since i wasn't getting any spark from the spark plugs so i bought 4 coilpacks from a 03 wrx with 53k...my ignitor had the ground in the middle. the wiring on the ignitor matched up colors on what rob had and i didn't have a harness for the coilpacks and as far as i know the coil pack is wired right but ill try and get some pics...only thing about the wiring on the coilpacks is i used 24k gold terminals that slide onto the post(there .100 terminal) and i wrapped the them up so they would be insulated and sanded down the ground and put a ring terminal on the bolt and grounded it there
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:52 PM   #18
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and yea its def guess work but the original problem was the rust clogging the fuel pump and the injector suck open but all thats been replaced and i def plan on putting the cleaned injectors in once i get them
and i didn't solder anything since i don't have one and im still looking for the harness plugs for the coilpacks because that would make me feel a lil more comfortable with the wiring on the coilpacks

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Old 08-12-2011, 03:29 PM   #19
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Ok so itll turn over without a fuse in 11 but without a blown fuse it acts like im not even pushin the clutch in to try to start it
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:48 PM   #20
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:48 PM   #21
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:58 PM   #22
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just noticed i swapped to around so im bout to go fix it hopefully it starts...if anyone wants me to get rid of the pics then let me know
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:14 PM   #23
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ok i fixed that and iam still having the fuse issue and the fuel pump worked for a min but now i can't seem to get it to come back on and none of this happened until i started this conversion
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:15 AM   #24
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First if you blow a fuse, don't put a higher rated one in its place. You are just asking for trouble.

Second I bet two of your spade connectors are contacting. Pull the power and ground wires from the coil packs, put the correct fuse back in and see if it pops.
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:42 PM   #25
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im actually hoping ur right and i should have the harness for the coilpacks wednesday along with the freshly cleaned injectors so ill see what happens then
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