Cap n rotor replacement gone wrong 98 protege


There’s only one way to put the cap on and on way to put the rotor on for sure.


Yes the rotor is in a different position everytime I crank the key.


Well I dunno, but if you have a spark tester or a timing light, I’d start by testing the plug wires. Also just an ohm meter could be used to verify that you’ve got a connection from the coil and that the wires are good. Sometimes (lots of times) pulling the wires off will dislodge the connectors on the ends and no connection. Somehow you need to determine if you have a good connection(s). Recheck all work. Maybe check the ignition fuse to make sure you didn’t blow it when the wires were crossed but I wouldn’t get carried away with stuff you didn’t touch.


So, wait… where are we with this? You had a running car prior to swapping the cap and rotor and wires?

Now you have no spark on any plug? What has been verified thus far? I’m lost, this issue isn’t that difficult to solve, so catch me up to where we are currently.


I think it was got the wires mixed up on the new one (but maybe not), then put the old one back on and it ran bad. So I’m thinking wires pulled apart (like coil) and maybe the wires are still mixed up but still should start with the wires screwed up? Maybe not on a four, but I think he said along the way there was no spark. So I’m back to coil wire, bad cap, bad rotor, or installation issue (or maybe the plug wires too).


There is no coil wire.


Well that’s interesting. It appears you are correct. As Rosanna Dana Dana would say “never mind”. Still I’d look at however it gets juice to fire the plugs.


Yes its got an internal runner inside the cap that acts as the traditional center post coil wire… So it begs the question… How good is that internal coil connection? New cap doesn’t always mean good cap. So test this theory out… The results could be … shocking.


Car was running fine.

  1. Replaced cap, rotor, plugs and wires. Made sure everything was exact as before
  2. Started car up ran REALLY rough
  3. Replaced back to old stuff now not running at all
  4. Put new stuff back on still nothing
  5. Made sure rotor was spinning confirmed rotor was spinning
  6. Checked firing order several times I believe it is correct. If it spins counter clockwise the #1 plug should be on the top right of the cap 1-3-4-2
  7. Checked all parts for damage everything looks good.
  8. Don’t know what to do haha


That agrees with what Autozone saységé-1990-1998-and-Ford-Probe-1993-1997/FIRING-ORDERS/FIRING-ORDERS/_/P-0996b43f80cb0ee4

Note what it says in the top paragraph about the possibility the distributor may have been re-wired at some point. The way to tell for sure is to set the number one piston at tdc compression stroke. the ignition rotor will then be pointing to the number one spark plug position.

The number one cylinder on most engines of that configuration is to the left when standing in front of the engine compartment; i.e. nearest the front passenger wheel. I couldn’t find a second source to confirm the counterclockwise rotation theory for the distributor, but you can figure that out by manually rotating the engine from the crankshaft bolt If you don’t know which way the crankshaft pulley turns, you can figure that out by the timing marks used to set the ignition timing at idle with a timing light. Or ask a helper to sit in the driver’s seat and start and stop the engine while you watch which way the crankshaft pulley is rotating.

When I’ve had weird problems like this I sometimes will take the time to ohm out the connection from the center of the distributor (the high voltage coil output) to the end of the wire where the spark plug connects as I manually rotate the engine, and verify I’m getting a good connection from the coil through the distributor/rotor to each spark plug. It’s not a low ohm connection, most spark plug wires have a built in resistance of around 10K ohms per foot.


I see on Rock auto that the cap has an internal passage from the top center of the cap and down one side. what is between the coil and the bottom side of the cap. no coil wire is listed or shown, Does the coil plug into the distributor or is it internal to it?


In my opinion since you have spark… you must have the order wrong. This can happen by not knowing where your cylinders are or how they are numbered… or not beginning the sequence on the cap at TDC on the number one cylinder…not knowing which way the rotor spins, or which way your engine turns when running. Or some combination of all of the above. This info is available to you, look it up.

FInd out how your cylinders are numbered its going to be 1-4 obviously…but where is number 1 and where is number 4?

Next you need to turn your engine over until number 1 cylinder is at TDC on the compression stroke…

Remove your cap and look at where the rotor is indexed… it will be pointing to the number 1 location…

Then wire your cap in the correct firing order this assumes that you know, for certain, which way your engine turns over so you will know which way the rotor will turn and which location on the cap it will hit next.

That’s it, you must be skipping or ignoring one of these steps…find out which and correct it.