How to Troubleshoot MSD Ignition Products


MSD's ignition system produces multiple ignition sparks at each spark plug, rather than just a single spark with conventional ignition systems. This multiple spark technology greatly increases efficiency and power. If the MSD system does not seem to operate properly, a simple test can be used to determine whether the coil or the MDS product is at fault.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement coil
  • Turn the vehicle's ignition switch to the "Off" position, then pull the coil wire off of the center of the distributor cap.

  • Disconnect the white-colored wire from the MDS ignition box, then turn the ignition switch to the "On" position, but do not turn the engine over.

  • Hold the end of the coil wire approximately 1/2 of an inch away from a metal surface, then tap the free end of the white colored wire against any ground point, such as a clean metal piece of the vehicle. A spark should visibly jump the gap between the coil wire and the ground point.

  • Replace the coil if a spark did not jump the gap between the coil wire and the ground surface, then repeat the test. If a spark jumps the gap with the replacement coil, the original coil was defective. If a spark does not jump the gap, the ignition box must be serviced by MSD.


  • MSD Ignition Tech Bulletin: Top Ten Ignition Questions; Autotronic Controls Corporation; 2008
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