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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I have a condenser looking thingy on my distributor that has 2 wires (circled in red in the pic). From what I know, condensers are only used on old contact point ignitions... any ideas what it actually is? one of the wires near the "condenser" broke, couldn't solder anymore.

One of the wires seems to be battery voltage, and the other one goes to the coil. think I could just eliminate it?

 

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It's there for a reason bro.

Try the b14 club tt on Facebook, or the ClubB13TT group also on Facebook.

You're sure to get an answer there within minutes of posting your question.

I'll post the pic and ask for you in the mean while

Sent from my BLU STUDIO 5.0 Ce using Tapatalk
 

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Sorry, for some strange reason I thought this was another forum from my country, I'll post for you and reply with the responses
It's there for a reason bro.

Try the b14 club tt on Facebook, or the ClubB13TT group also on Facebook.

You're sure to get an answer there within minutes of posting your question.

I'll post the pic and ask for you in the mean while

Sent from my BLU STUDIO 5.0 Ce using Tapatalk
Sent from my BLU STUDIO 5.0 Ce using Tapatalk
 

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Hey all, I have a condenser looking thingy on my distributor that has 2 wires (circled in red in the pic). From what I know, condensers are only used on old contact point ignitions... any ideas what it actually is? one of the wires near the "condenser" broke, couldn't solder anymore.

One of the wires seems to be battery voltage, and the other one goes to the coil. think I could just eliminate it?
The device is called a ballast resistor. Going back in time, prior to around 2000, all ignition systems that did not have a ballast fitted, meant that the ignition system used a 12v coil with a 12v feed from the battery via the ignition switch. Such a system worked fine when an engine is running, but problems can occur when starting the engine. The starter motor draws a huge current from the battery leaving less energy to create a spark across the spark plugs. The result is a weaker than normal spark which is not ideal for starting an engine. This problem is worsened by colder temperatures and/or a worn starter motor which will draw even more energy for starting and leave even less energy for sparking. To overcome such a problem, ignition systems were changed to run a lower voltage coil (usually 9v), and these coils could still give the same output as the original 12v coils. In order to run such a coil, the 12v ignition feed runs through a ballast, reducing it to 9v at the coil. To assist starting, a 12v feed (usually from the starter) bypasses the 9v ignition feed, giving the 9v coil a 12v feed. The result is a better than normal spark which is ideal for starting, particularly on cold damp mornings. As soon as the engine has started, the 12v feed is cut and the coil will run on the 9v ignition feed.

On the older systems, the ballast resistor is needed because if you bypass the resistor, the coil will overheat and burn out quickly.

The newer electronic ignition systems went over to individual coil pacs for each cylinder thus eliminating the ballast resistor, power transistor and single coil.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your responses guys, it seems this resistor couldn't be bought separately. Will either have to find a way to solder that tiny piece of wire that still remains at the tip of the resistor, or buy a new distributor.
I remember the setup on my vw bug before, 12 volt system with a 6 volt coil, there was a ballast inline on the + side that would give 6V when the engine is running, 12V while starting. just thought a ballast resistor would look more like a ceramic block rather than a condenser...

Another question, btw. the cheap replacement ignition coils here are rated at 12V. How do i determine if the replacement coil is actually 12V? Going back to my vw bug (which had the coil outside the distributor), where some replacement ignition coils were rated 12V but they needed a ballast resistor (they were actually 6 volt), some coils were rated 12V not needing the resistor...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
UPDATE: I was able to solder the wire back. Then, to test the theory that it is in fact a resistor, I tested voltage before and after the "resistor". Unfortunately, the voltage was 12 volts before and after...

...just looked at the fsm now, and found out that the "resistor" is really actually a condenser. I really thought you dont need condensers for electronic ignitions... think I could atleast replace it with an older one wire condenser rather than bypassing it all together?



thanks.
 

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Sup Mod keeping the peace
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Another question, btw. the cheap replacement ignition coils here are rated at 12V. How do i determine if the replacement coil is actually 12V? Going back to my vw bug (which had the coil outside the distributor), where some replacement ignition coils were rated 12V but they needed a ballast resistor (they were actually 6 volt), some coils were rated 12V not needing the resistor...
If you have the stock ignition with a ballast resistor, the correct primary coil resistance is 1.5 ohms (the resistor is also about 1.5 ohms). Non ballast-resistor cars have a 3 ohm coil resistance.
 

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What he's referring to is not the ballast resistor. It's a condenser (which is a capacitor) that is used for ignition noise suppression. Even the wiring diagram above shows the symbol for a capacitor/condenser and it's wired directly from ignition coil power to ground for noise suppression. The ballast resistor is in line with the PCM and the coil. You can remove the condenser but you may end up with noise in your radio if you do...and...you have to be careful since that is also the main power to the ignition coil. Remember, the capacitor is between the black/white wire to ground so you need to make sure the black/white wire makes its way to the distributor or the car won't run. If you decide to remove the condenser just connect the two black/white wires together.

I think the confusion is the wiring diagram. The small connector (shown as F8 in the connector views in the dashed box at the bottom of the diagram) near the condenser has the blue wire coming from the ballast resistor and the black/white wire coming in to the condenser (#7 and #8 on the diagram.) The ballast resistor itself, a 2.2Kohm resistor, is taped to the outside of the main engine wiring harness underneath the intake hose. So,the condenser (a noise filter) is mounted on the distributor and the ballast resistor is taped to the engine wiring harness, not at the distributor.

Hope that makes sense.
 

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I bought a new distributor online for my 1998 pathfinder because the bearings in my old one were destroyed. So i bought a cheap one online, around 70 dollars. I couldnt afford the $240 my part store wanted. Anyways, after about 2 months i went out to start my pathfinder and it would just turn over but not start. I had kept and disassembled my old distributor thankfully. So i took that resistor out of my old one and put into my new distributor. And that fixed my problem. It started right up after i exchanged them i hope it was just a cheap resistor and not part of a bigger problem in the distributor
 
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