The ignition system on the 1.5L, 1993-96 1.8L, 2.0L SOHC, 1994-98 2.4L SOHC, 3.0L SOHC, and 3.5L engines uses a pointless type distributor, whose advance mechanism is controlled by the Engine Control Unit (ECU). On the 1.5L, 1.8L, 2.4L and 3.5L engines, the distributor houses a built in ignition coil and ignition power transistor. The 2.0L SOHC and 3.0L SOHC engines utilize a separate coil and transistor assembly.
When the ignition switch is turned ON , battery voltage is applied to the ignition coil primary winding. As the shaft of the distributor rotates, signals are transmitted from the powertrain control module to the ignition power transistor. These signals activate the power transistor to cause ignition coil primary winding current flow from the ignition coil negative terminal through the power transistor to ground repeatedly. This interruption induces high voltage in the ignition coil secondary windings, which is diverted through the distributor, spark plug cable and spark plug to ground, thus causing ignition in each cylinder.