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87 D150 no spark

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Old 05-13-2011, 01:20 AM
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Question 87 D150 no spark

I just bought a 1987 D150 Ram LE with 105k actual miles, 318 auto from my aunt's father in law. The truck is in amazing shape, not a speck of rust ANYWHERE! (Extremely rare for Indiana!)
The problem-- It has no spark. He was driving it till it just died on him and he parked it for 2 years. He worked on it off and on, replacing parts here and there, but since it was an extra vehicle it wasn't a priority to fix it.
He has put on a new coil, distributor, dist. cap, rotor, plugs and wires. Still nothing.
I assumed the ignition module was bad, but I couldn't find it. I finally gave up and ran the numbers and found out that it has the electronic spark advance system with the huge ECM in the driver fender.
I wanted to know if there was a common problem with these systems that would cause the no spark issue before I shelled out 90 bucks for a new ECM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:16 AM
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An 87 should have a 4 pin ECM just behind the air cleaner on the fire wall. If you have an in the fender computer I would question if it is an 87. Does it have a carb or TBI? What kind of distributor did he put in it? (hall effect or pickup coil type)
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:00 AM
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87 had a carb. TBI came in 88.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:22 AM
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I understand that 87 had a carb and 88 had a TBI. I believe he may be trying to run a mismatched system and/or he may be wrong on what year the truck is if he has an in the fender computer. That is why I asked the questions I did. If he has an in the fender computer it probably is not an 87 and therefore his aunt's father in law may have installed the wrong distributor when he replaced it. When you work on vehicles that are this old that have had previous owners you never know what may actually be in them until every thing is verified.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:49 AM
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OK, I understand now. I thought all the late carb'd versions had the computer in the fender like my 87 does.
You're right about the PO's changing things around. I can't blame any body else for anything on my 87 since I'm the only owner. If it's screwed up I did it!
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:23 AM
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charlie: This is why I like this forum. I just learned something new. I didn't know that the 87 had an in the fender computer. Thanks for educating me.

What type distributor do you have, hall effect or pickup coil type?
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:44 PM
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I had the same problem on my 87 and spent two weeks trying to figure it out. The culprit was the wire that sends power to the PCM (in the fender) You can try to see if there is power to the pink wire on the large connector in the PCM (I don't remember what the pin number is). The wire comes from the a 4-way splitter on the driver side fender close to the firewall, my wire was broken, there are also some fuselinks in those cables that you might want to check.
Do you have power at the ignition coil possitive terminal with the ignition on?
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAL View Post
What type distributor do you have, hall effect or pickup coil type?
he should have the pickup coil type without the vacuum advance. it is the lean burn system i think. the engine is still carbed but it has an annoying computer.
the computer behind the battery looks like this
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:34 PM
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The best I can tell the (ELB) Electronic Lean Burn system was a generic name just like (SCC) Spark Control Computer. These names covered several different systems that include the five pin, the four pin, the 10 pin on the air cleaner, the computer that you show, and the (SMEC) Single Module Engine Control that I have. Some of these systems had 2 or 3 different names for the same system because Chrysler kept changing the names. That is why it can be so confusing.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:35 PM
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He put a new dist. on it that he ordered specifically for this truck. No vacuum advance, 2 wire separate coil. It is a carbed 87 from MS if that makes a difference in the comp. I need to go get a new batt before I can start testing the electrical stuff. I just got it yesterday and I'm going on what he told me. (Being that he's a 77 year old DIY type farmer, I tend to trust him lol.) I have the new comp on order and it should be in today or tomorrow. I figure with a truck this old, I may as well go ahead and change it out since it's a first gen comp system. I'm not out much on buying it ($400), so it won't hurt as bad to spend 90 on it to get it going.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:35 PM
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