Symptoms of a fautly distributor pickup coil?

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by Alchemist, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Alchemist

    Alchemist New Member

    I have a Suburban with a 5.7L Vortec and is hard to start after sitting for a while. It takes maybe 12-15 long cranks to finally get started, and once it is started, it restarts just fine (like on errands and driving around town, to work and back during the day). Overnight, however, it will present the problem. I verified that my ignition coil is providing plenty of spark to the distributor (I verified), but I am getting no spark at all to any of the plug wires. What are the symptoms of a faulty pickup coil (inside the distributor) or is this more likely just an ignition maintenance thing where I just need to replace cap and rotor.

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  2. Jimmiee

    Jimmiee Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Pop off the cap and look ar the rotor. Sometimes the coil will burn the pick up on top of the rotor. If there is a problem in the cap or rotor you will for sure see it.

  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    If it's been a while since you replaced the cap and rotor, put some new AC Delcos on there. I would also recommend a new set of NAPA Blue Max by Belden wires. They are not cheap for the Vortecs, but worth the money. Should be the last set you buy. I just put a set on my truck, really smoothed out the idle.
  4. 2COR517

    2COR517 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Oh, to answer your question LOL

    My pickup coil is going on the Tahoe. It runs OK, but when you drive along you can feel it hitching. I am going to replace the entire distributor.
  5. alchemist1

    alchemist1 Member

    Well, I pulled the rotor and cap. The end of the rotor was pretty blackened. I took some 150 grit sand paper and sanded the contact back to shiny copper. The flexible metal tang center contact for the rotor had a little carbon on it, but wiped off. It was indented though. The cap underneath on each of the eight plug terminals had some oxidation/corrosion on the contacts. I cleaned those as best I could. But putting it all back together, I figured the truck would start, but it did not! Beginning to think that damn pick up inside distributor is fubard. What does it do when going bad? While running, the truck does not seem to run bad, it's just hard to start when cold.

  6. alchemist1

    alchemist1 Member


    I was completely wrong on the spark. There IS spark at each plug. I just didn't see it in the daytime. I retested my fuel pressure at the Shrader valve underhood and got no more than 49psi. The service manual claims it is supposed to be 60-66 psi. Can this be the source of the non-start?

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