Continental 2000-2002

Diagnosis & Testing

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Cylinder Drop Test





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Fig. These pliers are insulated and help protect the user from shock as well as the plug wires from being damaged

The cylinder drop test is performed when an engine misfire is evident. This test helps determine which cylinder is not contributing the proper power. The easiest way to perform this test is to remove the plug wires one at a time from the cylinders with the engine running.

  1. Place the transmission in P , engage the emergency brake, and start the engine and let it idle.
  2.  



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Fig. To perform the cylinder drop test, remove one wire at a time and . . .

  1. Using a spark plug wire removing tool, preferably, the plier type, carefully remove the boot from one of the cylinders.
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CAUTION
Make sure your body is free from touching any part of the car which is metal. The secondary voltage in the ignition system is high and although it cannot kill you, it will shock you and it does hurt.



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Fig. . . . note the idle speed and idle characteristics of the engine. The cylinder(s) with the least drop is the non-contributing cylinder(s)

  1. The engine will sputter, run worse, and possibly nearly stall. If this happens reinstall the plug wire and move to the next cylinder. If the engine runs no differently, or the difference is minimal, shut the engine off and inspect the spark plug wire, spark plug, and if necessary, perform component diagnostics as covered in this section. Perform the test on all cylinders to verify which cylinders are suspect.
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Secondary Spark Test



The best way to perform this procedure is to use a spark tester (available at most automotive parts stores). Three types of spark testers are commonly available. The Neon Bulb type is connected to the spark plug wire and flashes with each ignition pulse. The Air Gap type must be adjusted to the individual spark plug gap specified for the engine. The last type of spark plug tester looks like a spark plug with a grounding clip on the side, but there is no side electrode for the spark to jump to. The last two types of testers allows the user to not only detect the presence of spark, but also the intensity (orange/yellow is weak, blue is strong).



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Fig. This spark tester looks just like a spark plug, attach the clip to ground and crank the engine to check for spark



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Fig. This spark tester has an adjustable air-gap for measuring spark strength and testing different voltage ignition systems

  1. Disconnect a spark plug wire at the spark plug end.
  2.  
  3. Connect the plug wire to the spark tester and ground the tester to an appropriate location on the engine.
  4.  
  5. Crank the engine and check for spark at the tester.
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Fig. Attach the clip to ground and crank the engine to check for spark



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Fig. This spark tester is the easiest to use just place it on a plug wire and the spark voltage is detected and the bulb on the top will flash with each pulse

  1. If spark exists at the tester, the ignition system is functioning properly.
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  3. If spark does not exist at the spark plug wire, perform diagnosis of the ignition system using individual component diagnosis procedures.
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