See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4
Before beginning any diagnosis and testing procedures, visually inspect the components of the ignition system and engine control systems. Check for the following:
Check the spark plug wires and boots for signs of poor insulation that could cause cross-firing. Make sure the battery is fully charged and that all accessories are off during diagnosis and testing. Make sure the idle speed is within specification.
You will need a good quality volt-ohmmeter and a spark tester (such as ST-125) in order to check the ignition system. A spark tester resembles a spark plug without threads or a side electrode. Using a modified spark plug is as a spark tester is not recommended.
If an open or ground in the Ignition Control (IC) circuit occurs during engine operation, the engine will continue to run, but using a back-up timing mode (controlled by the ICM) based on preset timing values. The Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) or SERVICE ENGINE SOON light will not illuminate at the first appearance of a break in the circuit. However, if the IC fault is still present once the engine is restarted, a code will set in the PCM and the MIL will illuminate. Poor performance and fuel economy may be noticed while the engine is running under back-up timing.
When attempting to search for ignition troubles, keep in mind that the various sensor inputs which the PCM uses to calculate timing may affect engine performance. The PCM will alter timing based on sensor inputs as follows:
With this in mind, DETONATION could be caused by low MAP output or high resistance in the coolant sensor circuit. POOR PERFORMANCE could be caused by a high MAP output or low resistance in the coolant sensor circuit.