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Old 03-12-2011, 07:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2011
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1975 CJ Ignition problems

I need some help trouble shooting an ignition problem. I have a 1975 CJ5 with a 232. The problem is that sometime it will not start and I will not have a spark coming from the coil wire when pulled and next to a ground. Then later it will start and run fine. I'm thinking that the ignition module is going out or the distributor is going out. How can I narrow down the problem and what are some replacement parts that you can recommend.

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Old 04-06-2011, 07:34 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Any luck? I have a 76 cj and having similar problems. I have posted but no one seems to answer. I thought maybe the module too but mine is less than 3 months old!?? I'm stumped and plain aggravated!! Let me know if u find anything out and I will do likewise. Goodluck!!

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Old 04-08-2011, 12:41 AM   #3
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1975 CJ Ignition problems

Hey there. I just wrote up some possible ideas on the '76 won't start issue. give it a look, and maybe one of you can use some of the information. with a little luck, some of it may actually make sense. good luck and see what you can do.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:15 PM   #4
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Location: Smethport, PA
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You might be interested in joining Earlycj5.com. You have an intermediate jeep, as do I. 1972-1975 share alot of parts. Here, I hope this helps, but I posted this from the Early CJ5 forum, as I am a member there. Good help on the forums for 1975 and earlier. I hope this gives you some help, my 72 has a 304 with old school points...


The module, the reluctor pickup, and the plug that connects them are troublesome with this setup. In 1978, Jeep dropped the Prestolite ignition and went to the Autolite Duraspark ignition. The Duraspark parts are easy to find (any 78-on Wagoneer with a V8, which is almost all of them) and if you're handy with electricity, you can swap the entire setup.

The reluctor coil is a black plastic part inside the distributor that passes between the toothed wheel as it turns. Sometimes these aren't grounded well (see above) or the connector from the reluctor coil to the module gets corroded. Jeep had a service bulletin in 1975 that warned about corrosion, and supplied some dielectric grease to coat the connectors with. A meor certain fix is to cut out the connector and solder the leads thogether. This makes changing modules in the field a little more difficult, however.

You can also buy a reman distributor for a '73 Jeep and go (backwards) to points ignition. Many people find that system easier to troubleshoot, though the modern electronic systems are as reliable and more maintenance free.

Do you know that your coil is ok? Likely the easiest way to test it is to try it in another car... either that, or buy a new one and if that's not the problem, you'll have a spare.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:23 AM   #5
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Same issue with '76 CJ5 232. Swapped engine to 85 CJ7 and no longer getting spark to plugs. Coil sparks but when plugged into distributor nothing passes to the plugs, any ideas on where to go from here??
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:25 AM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 39
Yard out the dist and coil and spend 99.00 on a HEI dist, I just sold a 74 cj5 with 304 and it made a amazing difference. Dont spend money on that old system!
You can also run a direct wire from the batt to the coil to see if it is in the ignition. remember your jeeps have no fuses or protection and all your "stuff" is bundled together in one loom. SO if another wire gets hot it can effect one or all others.
Wiring is a perplexing problem with the oldies and I have rewired a few and added fuses.
By the time you buy coils, modules, cap rotor and all! you can buy a HEI
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:03 AM   #7
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5
Thanks for the advice. After two weeks of confusing and a new distributor later (not sure if its HEI but it they said it'll work best with motorcraft electronics) the culprit was simply a crossed wire. Sparking now but timings off.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:50 AM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 19
Originally Posted by jMICK View Post
Thanks for the advice. After two weeks of confusing and a new distributor later (not sure if its HEI but it they said it'll work best with motorcraft electronics) the culprit was simply a crossed wire. Sparking now but timings off.
which wire was crossed? There's gotta be some similarities between this and my problem.
I have an 86 cj7 though. But I'm still interested in comparing problems and finding similarities.

I also got a new ig module, but even before doing so, the coil still got hot when trying to start, it would crank but not fire. I replaced the module and it fired up and started twice. Next day i did leave the key on accidentally and someone suggested the resistor inside the coil was just too charged up which caused it to make a violent woodpecking noise...
could there be too many wires on the starter solenoid, giving too much voltage?

wondering if you tested your voltage for on vs. Start positions for coil wires and starter posts. Lemme know. Thanks

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