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another coil failure, what do you suggest I do

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Old 07-13-2018, 06:33 PM   #1  
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another coil failure, what do you suggest I do

1st - Lost an original coil, replaced with a Duralast one from autozone, no problems.

2nd - Lost another original coil and ordered a full set minus one for that which I just replaced.

Installed two of those new coils, one in place of 2nd original that failed, and one on another cylinder where the original still worked. The others were pretty stuck so I just left them since they still work.


3rd - lost one of the new ones from the set, replaced with the original that still worked.

4th - lost a second one of the set I bought, and now have none left working to replace it with.

So this is four failed coils in a few hundred miles.

This set I bought is Hitachi which I have read is good quality, and it seems they are failing more than the Duralast or originals.

The spark plugs are fine. Is this just a bad set of coils or what could be killing them like this? Should I buy another Duralast? A whole set of another brand?
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:23 PM   #2  
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Is your car a 99? Because coil failure like that is very common on the 99's


Coil failure is much more rare in earlier cars.


Are you sure the spark plugs are fine? When did you replace them last? And what kind did you use?


It's also possible that something else is killing your coils.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:30 PM   #3  
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My car is a 97. The plugs came with the car but look good and have correct gap, and correct NGK part. I was thinking if something else that could kill them or I just got a bad Hitachi set?







Last edited by plat; 07-13-2018 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:55 PM   #4  
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How many miles have you put on the car since buying it? How many miles do you think are on the plugs?


Those are actually not the OE type. NGK is OEM, but not that particular version. The one you have is single platinum. The OE type is double platinum. NGK Laser Platinum is the name of the OE type. Double platinum lasts longer than single platinum.


Four failed coils within 100 miles on a pre-99 is relatively unheard of.


Have the fuel injectors ever been replaced? Do you have any CEL codes?
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:03 PM   #5  
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I've had the car just over a year and put on 14k miles with no problems.

If I had to guess, the plugs are newish because the car had some other work done shortly before the sale to me as well and maybe did them.

The fuel injectors I can only assume are original, and have never had issues or messed with them.

Well, when this happens I get the flashing CEL for a misfire and get code for misfire on a cylinder, and sometimes an ignition circuit code as well. I don't have a scanner so I'm flashing these out on the CEL to read them.


When I check the coils, the bad one is totally dead at idle and makes no difference unplugging it. If I move it to another cylinder, the problem moves.


Failures are located: 2 on cylinder #2, 1 on cylinder #4 and 1 on cylinder #6
Strangely none on the other bank.

Measuring the good and bad ones with a v/ohm meter, the resistance of the primary and secondary windings are sometimes still pretty close to normal and sometimes way out. It seems pretty random.

Last edited by plat; 07-13-2018 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:27 PM   #6  
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I wonder if something electronically upstream has gone off spec. Maybe the voltage spec feeding the coils is off or the wire compromised and can't feed all of them running simultaneously Compromised amps draw.


And then it could be you got a bad batch. It does happen. Hopefully, there's a LLW and you can bring all 6 back and get a fresh batch.


But if you do that and they fall quickly too, look elsewhere.


About 7 or 8 years ago, I bought two from Napa. Never looked back. Supposedly they use(d) the same OEM manufacturer as the reliable years.


But reviews are all over the place, as are the results. I guess it's more about luck!
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Old 07-14-2018, 03:06 AM   #7  
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KP might be correct about something upsteam causing failure. I don't know what that might be.
I know that our car has an igniter. I'm not sure what that does.

Consider also that the coils have ground wires. Perhaps a corroded contact could cause issues. But it's is a wild assed guess.

Look on the bank by the radiator, where it meets the intake manifold. Look for some ground wires which are attached with screws. Remove the screw, sand the wire contacts. Also under where the screw would go on the manifold.

You do have an unusual problem.

One suggestion is to buy some spares at a wrecking yard. Coils can last for a very long time, so the junkyard ones should work just fine.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:53 PM   #8  
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KP might be correct about something upsteam causing failure. I don't know what that might be.
I know that our car has an igniter. I'm not sure what that does.

Consider also that the coils have ground wires. Perhaps a corroded contact could cause issues. But it's is a wild assed guess.

Look on the bank by the radiator, where it meets the intake manifold. Look for some ground wires which are attached with screws. Remove the screw, sand the wire contacts. Also under where the screw would go on the manifold.

You do have an unusual problem.

One suggestion is to buy some spares at a wrecking yard. Coils can last for a very long time, so the junkyard ones should work just fine.
The ECU is the ground that opens and causes the field collapse and coil saturation, then the Spark...I'd suggest you take an ole school timing light and place the inductive clip around the coilpack harness of each coilpack to view the firing consistency! The ignition process is very visible and you can find ignition problems really fast this way...New Hitachi Coilpacks giving you problem is hard to believe! I would suggest you invest in a new Crankshaft sensor at the crank pulley and transmission mating line!
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:55 PM   #9  
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Rockauto sells good quality parts I'd suggest you leave that Duralast Crap alone!
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Old 07-22-2018, 08:30 AM   #10  
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Well????????? How's it going with your coil issues??????????
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:12 PM   #11  
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Well I haven't really done anything yet besides put another duralast on there and drive. So far, no more problems. I was thinking, maybe the Hitachi's I got were fakes? They were only $40 each on Amazon and they don't actually say Hitachi on them.


The last one that failed was after less than one hour of just idling while I tried to troubleshoot and bleed the cooling system. I have driven for more than a week now on the duralast on the same cylinder with no problems.











I actually do have a real timing light so I'll definitely check that out. So basically I am looking for wander or instability in the firing?

Last edited by plat; 07-22-2018 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:27 PM   #12  
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You are looking for even, consistent flashes.

Wander occurred in the old cars due to timing chain stretch od issues with the distributer.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:31 PM   #13  
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can you afford to buy an oem coil (1) and try it? the napa coil (chinese)my mechanic put in would set the check engine light. he then bought an oem from dealer , that was years ago
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Old 07-25-2018, 10:45 AM   #14  
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Go to a junkyard and stock up on coils, front and back. They are usually OEM and very inexpensive. You can usually get 3-4 for the price of one new OEM coil.
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Old 07-25-2018, 02:43 PM   #15  
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Many years ago in an Engineering course, the Prof was lecturing about design life and automobiles. He opined that original equipment (OE) automobile parts were typical designed with a 100k design life -- the reason being that otherwise the parts became too big, heavy and expensive and economically it wasn't worth the cost.

[This doesn't mean that all OE parts are designed to last 100k or that all OE parts will fail when they reach their design life, just that there will be an increased failure rate of OE parts over time and that most, but not all, parts will reach their design life]

That said, I am the proud and original owner of a '97 Maxima SE, 214k miles. The ignition coil in cyl 2 failed in 2015, cyl 3 failed in 2016 and yesterday (2018) the coil in cyl 1 failed. I also had to replace the non-OEM replacement coil in cyl 2 with an OEM because the non-OEM coil, although working fine, kept throwing off codes and would have caused me to fail the CA emissions test.

How does this apply to you? The original coils (OE) have exceeded their design life, and every year you should expect an increase chance of their failure. Still, their failure rate should be pretty low.

As for non-OEM replacement, it is likely that they are not manufactured to the same standards as OEM parts, and will likely fail at a (much?) higher rate than OEM parts.

I am curious if the timing thing works out.

I also recommend that you test the condenser (simple test with a multi-meter). If it is failing, it might effect the non-OEM coils more than OE or OEM coils.
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Old 07-27-2018, 10:18 PM   #16  
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I was able to find a maxima in the junkyard with new Hitachi coilpacks for $8.43 each!!!!! I'm still laughing and enjoying them...I'm so glad to see someone else uses an old school timing light to check there coilpack operation... In this some thread I had a Nay-Sayer pretty much calling me a liar. Anyway I would check your spark plugs as well and maybe even changing them with new units...NGK, Denso, or even E3 worked great work 7 years in my 4th Gen...I'd say my car had better low end torque/acceleration with the E3 plugs...
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:28 PM   #17  
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I just put the timing light on it and the flashes seem mostly strong and regular, but maybe the odd one missing every once in a while. It's pretty hard to judge and unfortunately it's too fast to pick up on camera. The flashing also seems smooth and steady as I rev the engine. I checked #s 1, 2, 4, and 6 and they all seem the same.

Would it be really obvious looking at the light if there was a problem?


I have driven for a couple weeks now with no Hitatchis, 2 Duralast, and the four remaining original coils and haven't had any more issues. I'm thinking more and more that there is some issue unique to the Hitachis that killed them very quickly and seems to not affect the others.

Last edited by plat; 07-28-2018 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:05 AM   #18  
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I just put the timing light on it and the flashes seem mostly strong and regular, but maybe the odd one missing every once in a while. It's pretty hard to judge and unfortunately it's too fast to pick up on camera. The flashing also seems smooth and steady as I rev the engine. I checked #s 1, 2, 4, and 6 and they all seem the same.

Would it be really obvious looking at the light if there was a problem?


I have driven for a couple weeks now with no Hitatchis, 2 Duralast, and the four remaining original coils and haven't had any more issues. I'm thinking more and more that there is some issue unique to the Hitachis that killed them very quickly and seems to not affect the others.
yes, when mine went bad it was. you will be doing all 6 in due time, just like injectors, they all go bad as the weaker ones struggle to keep up with the stronger ones and eventually fail.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:15 AM   #19  
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yes, when mine went bad it was. you will be doing all 6 in due time, just like injectors, they all go bad as the weaker ones struggle to keep up with the stronger ones and eventually fail.
disagree.
I replaced ONE 8 years ago (100,000 miles , now with 175000 no failures.
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:56 PM   #20  
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disagree.
I replaced ONE 8 years ago (100,000 miles , now with 175000 no failures.
you are very lucky then, ask any max or other car owner and they will tell you a different story. you might get one a year to go bad, my original coils made it to 280,000!!!
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:43 PM   #21  
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If you saw it miss, it's firing time then that's an obvious missed ignition event, (not under load) remember during acceleration the cylinder pressure is higher causing even more resistance and may cause it not to fire consistently....
Another trick to isolate the coilpack from the sparkplug...Move the suspected coilpack to another cylinder and repeat your test again....
There's another trick is to reduce your sparkplug gap to .040" or .035" to reduce the gap distance therefore making it easier to jump...if you're still experiencing issues with that particular coilpack, you have a bad coilpack obviously...

Last edited by CMax03; 07-29-2018 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:01 PM   #22  
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But I just did that test on completely working coils, was that correct? I mean, there would be no point in testing a bad coil that way because they are absolutely dead.


Knowing the spark plug is good, do you think a missed event like that points to a problem with that particular coil or with the ignition system behind it?

Honestly though, it was also pretty hard to get it to even pickup the signal reliably, the clamp on my light is pretty big and was really hard to get it to fit around the wires and between the coils against the head and close all the way. I could see the flashing come and go with movement of the clamp. So maybe due to vibration it's just not picking up some events that are happening?

And for some reason, I couldn't get any flashing at all out of cylinder #6, but it's definitely firing because the idle drops dramatically when I unplug it. I figure this must be the clamp fitting around there and nothing to do with the coil.

Last edited by plat; 07-29-2018 at 11:04 PM.
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