What would cause it to breakdown and stop working just driving down the street. What is it's funtion and how is it related to the engine recieving fuel?
Its function is to control the ignition cycle. It tells the coil when to fire. It replaced points in the older point/condenser style ignition systems.
These type of electronic automotive circuits simply fail. They generally work very well and then just not at all. I wish I had better explanation for you, but that's just kinda how they work.
You can have them tested at any major auto parts store, but you will need to remove it from the vehicle and take it to them. They will not test it on the vehicle.
1.The Est Distributor--
The ignition modules are located inside the distributor; they may be replaced without removing the distributor from the engine.
2. Non Est Distributor--
non-EST distributors may require a partial disassembly of the distributor in order to remove and replace the ignition module
If you suspect a problem in your ignition system, there are certain preliminary checks which you should carry out before you begin to check the electronic portions of the system. First, it is extremely important to make sure the vehicle battery is in a good state of charge. A defective or poorly charged battery will cause the various components of the ignition system to read incorrectly when they are being tested. Second, make sure all wiring connections are clean and tight, not only at the battery, but also at the distributor cap, ignition coil, and at the electronic control module.
The quickest and easiest test of the ignition system is to check the secondary ignition circuit first (check for spark). If the secondary circuit checks out properly, then the engine condition is probably not the fault of the ignition system. To check the secondary ignition circuit, perform a simple spark test. Remove one of the plug wires and insert a spark tester or some sort of extension in the plug socket. An old spark plug with the ground electrode removed makes a good extension. If using an old plug, hold the wire with an insulated tool so the extension is positioned about 1/4 in. (6mm) away from the block, then crank the engine. If a normal spark occurs, then the problem is most likely not in the ignition system. Check for fuel system problems, or fouled spark plugs.
If, however, there is no spark or a weak spark, then further ignition system testing will have to be performed. Troubleshooting techniques fall into two categories, depending on the nature of the problem. The categories are (1) Engine cranks, but won't start or (2) Engine runs, but runs rough or cuts out. To begin with, let's consider the first case.
ENGINE FAILS TO START
If the engine won't start, perform a spark test as described earlier. This will narrow the problem area down considerably. If no spark occurs, check for the presence of normal battery voltage of the battery (BAT) terminal in the distributor cap. The ignition switch must be in the ON position for this test. Either a voltmeter or a test light may be used for this test. Connect the test light wire to ground and probe end to the BAT terminal at the distributor. If the light comes on, you have voltage on the distributor. If the light fails to come on, this indicates an open circuit in the ignition primary wiring leading to the distributor. In this case, you will have to check wiring continuity back to the ignition switch using a test light. If there is battery voltage at the BAT terminal, but no spark at the plugs, then the problem lies within the distributor assembly
The pick-up coil and ignition module on the 1.9L engine must be tested as a unit. The use of an ignition module tester to perform this function is highly recommended.
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