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View Full Version : My ignition coil exploded. This ever happen to you?



Eryk
03-28-2009, 10:40 AM
I got a text from Donnie saying my compressor wouldn't turn on. I called him a little while later and he told me that my coil exploded and covered my engine in oil. shock.gif Fuck! I've heard of it happening, but never knew anyone that actually had it happen to them. It's a brand new coil, 12volt, internally resisted. Changed it out when we did Pertronix right before Primers. The car has only been driven about 500 miles since then. Donnie thinks it's because it was mounted sideways. But my old coil was mounted sideways since I got the car. I called Rudy to ask him about my old coil since he's helped me change everything over. He said it was an oil-filled one too. The only difference was my new one was chrome. I've been reading a bunch of articles and tech posts all over the net about exploding coils. One of MSD's tech guys said they do not recommend mounting coild sideways because it doesn't allow the oil in the coil to flow properly and cool like it's supposed to. He said that when the engine is running for a long duration, the coil can overheat, blow the resistor, and possibly blow the seal causing oil to go everywhere. But my car did fine on 2 hour trips before. And it wasn't even running when the coil shat the bed. The only thing I can think of is that my ignition switch(car quest universal) was left on in the auxiliary position. That stupid fucking switch is so touchy. It's one of the ones that tightens with a little nut in the back and the damn thing always comes loose causing the the key slot to always be in different positions. Also, there's no light on the dash or anything to tell you that you're in aux. You can take the key out and everything even when it's in aux. I didn't think to warn Donnie about it. eusa_doh.gif I'm thinking he probably just turned the key a hair too far(that's all it takes) and left the switch in aux, causing constant current to flow to the coil. After days of sitting like that...pow..splat! eusa_wall.gif

Does my diagnosis sound correct? It's the only logical thing I can think of. There's really no other way that the coil would have gotten hot enough to blow the seal. Not when the engine wasn't even running. It has to be the switch, right?

Spec
03-28-2009, 11:46 AM
that sounds about right...happened to me in my 55.

eric
03-28-2009, 01:34 PM
Bummer!!
I've never heard of that happening!!
Sucks to hear Eryk

Stovebolt
03-28-2009, 03:08 PM
Personally, I sell both the black and the chrome ones here, and I never sell the chrome ones. For some reason chrome and heat don't get along. Donnie told me what happened yesterday, and he said that the coil is mounted sideways. I was under the impression that wasn't a good idea, and for the exact reasons MSD said. If you really want it to lie on it's side, then maybe try a ford one. I know they are mounted lying on it's side on the manifold.

He was also mentioning that the compressor wouldn't turn on. Is it powered off the coil? Dumb question but you never know. If the compressor has a short in it, it could have sent a spike to the coil causing it to shit the bed.

Coils don't normally boil over like that unless they are getting current. Maybe the ignition switch is shorting out inside. Which could also be the reason that the compressor isn't coming on?

Just throwing out some ideas. Keep us updated on the progress of this!

Dave
03-28-2009, 04:38 PM
The guys at MSD certainly know what they're talking about. To bad about the puke though. Also sounds like you might want to do continuity and draw tests regarding the "aux" issues. Something like that has never happened to me. Wow :?

Eryk
03-28-2009, 04:56 PM
Personally, I sell both the black and the chrome ones here, and I never sell the chrome ones. For some reason chrome and heat don't get along. Donnie told me what happened yesterday, and he said that the coil is mounted sideways. I was under the impression that wasn't a good idea, and for the exact reasons MSD said. If you really want it to lie on it's side, then maybe try a ford one. I know they are mounted lying on it's side on the manifold. This one is the "Flame Thrower" coil that comes with the Pertronix kit. Supposedly, there is nothing different from the black one, because the material is exactly the same. It isn't actually chromed, it's just a polish finish instead of black paint/powdercoat. I don't doubt that you sell more black, but I have a hard time believing that one gets that much hotter than the other. I would think that a black one with an additional metal coil cover would get even hotter, and people run those all day long. No matter what, I'm not going to run it sideways. But as far as I've learned, sideways mounting only has potentially negative affects on the coil when it's getting current. I've given it current while driving on long trips and it didn't give me any problems ever. I'm gonna mount it upright just to be safe, but I'm sorta doubting that the mounting orientation is the culprit in this scenario. Unless Donnie left my car running all day, which he didn't.


He was also mentioning that the compressor wouldn't turn on. Is it powered off the coil? Dumb question but you never know. If the compressor has a short in it, it could have sent a spike to the coil causing it to shit the bed.
It's powered off of the battery and has an inline fuse, 25 or 30 amp. It does act touchy, but I think it has to do with the pressure regulator/switch. I would think it would have blown the inline fuse before it shorted anything, let alone the coil. It's completely independent from the ignition all together. Donnie gave me his theory about the compressor spiking back into the ignition system, but the way it's wired makes that theoretically impossible. No?


Coils don't normally boil over like that unless they are getting current. Maybe the ignition switch is shorting out inside. Which could also be the reason that the compressor isn't coming on?

Just throwing out some ideas. Keep us updated on the progress of this!I think I'm going to take a hard look at the ignition switch. It's not a very good one. So it's possible that it might have a short. But in my mind, the easiest most likely/plausible/logical answer is often the correct one. When I think about this, I tend to see the common mistake of accidently leaving the switch in the aux position as the most likely culprit. I'm in no way trying to blame it on Donnie. But being unfamiliar with the idiosyncrasies of my lame ignition switch, it would have been quite easy to leave it on and cause the coil to get constant current for hours upon hours while he was away from the shop.

I hate cars. eusa_wall.gif


Dave, please elaborate on the continuity and draw test. I'm thinking the aux is the problem.

Flaco
03-28-2009, 05:12 PM
damnit im just waiting for mine to explode now. i got those same parts. lol go figure.

flaco

Dave
03-28-2009, 05:25 PM
Eryk - It's simply testing the ignition switch leads AFTER you replace the coil.

Also if you installed the Pertronix, recheck every connection but since you've driven 500 miles without an incident it seems to me MSD was correct in their diagnosis - heat built up to a point where it shorted out and blew up. But you could have an issue with the ignition primary circuit as the result of installing the Pertronix unit so check all connections and grounds. Most primary circut volatage troubles can be traced to the resistance between the contact points. But you have replaced points with the Pertronix setup so you must check to make sure it was installed properly and that it is not "loading" the coil.

You indicated the coil is of the internal resistor type. I don't remember what Pertronix specifies as far as resistors internal or external are necessary it at all... but I'm suspect over all this stuff because it happened after you made the changes to the ignition system.

Noe maybe the culprit is simply the ignition switch - you can take any troubleshooting manual and a test light or better yet a multimeter pretty much to test out your switch and it's aux position.

Look I started all thsi crap by sticking a butter knife where I shouldn't! So what the hell do I know!!! eusa_wall.gif 13702.gif

Hope these ramblings are helpful holmes! eusa_think.gif For me cars and this shit is just a hobby. I make a living trading the markets as I think you already know...

Eryk
03-28-2009, 05:42 PM
eusa_think.gif Very interesting. Thanks for the info! I'll check the switch with a multimeter. Good thinking on the pertronix install. It seems that if it was loading the coil, if left alone for long enough, it would load it to the point of boiling over and blowing. As far as coils, the flame thrower with internal resistor is the only one Pertronix includes with their kit, so I would think that an external resistor wouldn't be necessary.

The only problem I've had with the switch before the Pertronix install was that I left in aux and i killed my battery. Now I have a brand new battery. I'm guessing the same thing happened, but this time the coil loaded up for whatever reason. The way that the pertronix is wired might be the problem, but the engine starts and runs like a champ. So I dunno. Maybe I'm overthinking this and I just got a faulty coil and compounded the problem by driving 500 miles with it mounted sideways. Maybe it was just ready to go.

I'm going to check my battery too. Just to see how much juice it has. It was fully charged when I left it. That should tell me if something was drawing current while the car has been sitting for the last month or so. Donnie has only started the car a couple times, so the battery should be full.

Dave
03-28-2009, 06:12 PM
Eryk - I think you're unto it man. Keep all options "open" and don't overthink... that generates too much heat too! Hopefully - all installs were good and it's just a bad switch. 104.gif Peace.

BastardizedStefan
03-29-2009, 05:46 AM
I had a chromed ignition coil in my 31 pick up and i also had one in my 59 wagon. I drove both cars for like 2 hours and they got hot as hell and kinda just like melted inside...this post does'nt help you though eusa_shifty.gif

Eryk
03-29-2009, 09:44 AM
Haha. Thanks for the tip man. Maybe the shiney ones are cursed. shock.gif Like Tyson said, most people go for the black ones. There must be a reason. I think I'll stay away from the polished one this time. The black one will blend into the firewall better anyway.

Thanks for the input everyone. :D

BastardizedStefan
03-29-2009, 12:34 PM
I bought a black coil right after the chromed coil "melted" and i have been cruising my Ford with no problems ever since, so i guess the polished/chromed ones are cursed haha. :D

touchdowntodd
03-30-2009, 11:27 AM
i have all the petronix shit waiting to go into my 289...

i went with ignitor II to avoid the leaving the key on issue #1 had, and i went with black coil cause i heard of this before (plus i have a chrome cover hahahha)

never knew not to mount on its side though!

learn something new every day, thanks homie!

happy hoppy
03-30-2009, 04:39 PM
I had this happen to me too, pertronix kit, MSD coil.

the coil exploded because the key was left "ON" for about 20 min while I traced another electrical problem.

its simple, your key was left "ON", it happens but, be prepared to replace the pertronix ignition plate under the cap, when I fried the coil the ignition burned up too.

http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd50/bentbondo2/IMG_2185.jpg

touchdowntodd
03-30-2009, 05:51 PM
the ignitor 2 doesnt fry if you leave the key on

ultra-violet
03-31-2009, 08:31 AM
the key was not left on . the key was actually not even in the car . eryk came over yesterday to the shop . and we think we figured it was most likely a faulty ignition switch . we did however check to see if you could remove the key with the ignition on . you cannot . but that does not mean when the car was shut off and the key removed . that it was not even a little bit in the on position . that ignition switch is really sloppy . he will be replacing it with a correct switch . as this is a cheapy aftermarket one .

Eryk
03-31-2009, 12:54 PM
Yep. I think it was the switch. It's been a piece of crap since day one.

Funny thing yesterday though. Pierro stopped by the shop after we replaced the coil and got the car running. We got to talking about the exploding coil and he mentioned that he also had one of the chrome flame thrower coils on his car. It took a shit on him too!! Burnt out and spilled oil all over the place. Those things are cursed.

lgh1157
11-21-2010, 10:14 PM
This shit just happened to me !!!!!

I was changing out my IGN switch and i pulled the barrel and left it for the morning, . . . . . not realising that i left the IGN switch on ACC

james66g
11-21-2010, 10:32 PM
WOW I have heard of this but never seen it happen I didnt know there was a differance between the ford and chevy coils? I have a sideways mount coil on every Galaxie i have owned and they are set that way from the factory on my fe motor cars. I even have 3 laying sideways in my green galaxie and have never had an issue all three are chrome....

I wouldnt ever argue with the guys at MSD but I think your right I bet it was the ignition set to aux the whole time

piewagon60
11-23-2010, 09:57 AM
shoot now i gotta check mine cant remember if i have the 1 or the II. I have heard of this before with the first series pertronix