Spark stops while cranking

1996 Metro 1.0L

Just replaced distributor, cap wires, etc.

Car will not start- Iget spark while cranking for either 1 or 2 revolutions, then nothing until the ignition switch is turned off and on again.

I can start the car by rolling downhill and popping the clutch in first or reverse only, and once going can be made to run- but if the attempt doesn’t start the engine within one second, the ignition must again be cycled on and off.

Crank sensor cranky?

We hates this, Precious…

It sounds to me as though it could be the ignition switch. In the start position, on many cars, the coil resistor is bypassed. When the switch is in the run position, the coil resistor is in series with the coil. If you are not getting ignition in the crank position, but can start the car by rolling it and popping the clutch, the switch would be a suspect. If you can bypass the starter at the solenoid, try starting it under the hood. If it works, that is another indication of the switch.

The problem might be with the ignition module in the distributor. Ignition modules function in two modes. These are the start and run modes. When the ignition switch is turned to the start position, the ignition module allows full battery voltage to the coil. This insures that the engine starts with a hot spark when it’s cold and when the fuel mixture is rich. Once the engine starts, and the ignition switch moves to run position, the ignition module switches to the run mode. The ignition module then lowers the voltage to the coil because not as hot of a spark is required to keep the engine running. And it also allows the secondary ignition components last longer by not burning them up.

So it could be that the ignition module is failing during the start mode, but functions fine in the run mode. This would explain why you can’t get the engine to start. But you can get the engine to run by popping the clutch.


Triedaq: I just tried jumping the starter- same: two cranks, then no spark.

Tester: The ignition module is in the ECM, not the distributor on this one- I’ll try swapping with my backup ECM and see if anything changes. If not, tomorrow I’ll put in a new coil, and then maybe replace and/or run new wiring to the Crank sensor.
After I tear out my last hair- this has been going on for weeks now…

Sorry. I shouldn’t have used the AutoZone site for your vehicle. I looked on Mitchell’s, and there isn’t an ignition module in the distributor. But, there is an igniter (functions the same as an ignition module) located on the left side of the engine compartment that controls voltage to the coil. That could be your problem.