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  1. #1

    Default Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    Dear All,

    Yesterday, my 440 engine ran for 1,5h (not continuously, with a few stops here and there on the river) without any problem.
    Suddenly, trying to start it, no more firing of the spark plugs.
    We took off one spark plug to see it firing and no spark at all.

    Any idea on what could cause that?

    It's and old system I'm not familiar with, have a look at the pictures.


    Thanks in advance!!



    CheersClick image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Portland, Oregon,
    Posts
    11,996

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    Back in 1978, Chrysler used the mechanically advancing distributors with the VR (variable reluctor) style ignition triggering system.
    Great system, by the way.


    This would be the module for that unit.




    You may have a bad module.


    .
    Last edited by RicardoMarine; 06-24-2020 at 06:42 AM.
    Rick ... aka Ricardo..... AQ series Volvo Penta repair
    Portland, Oregon
    28' SDN F/B w/ twin Volvo Penta 5.7L DP drives

    "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." Albert Einstein

    Please... no PMs! Post your questions on the forum.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    Hey Rick,

    Thanks for your quick reply!
    Indeed, on my engine, the back of this part is "leaking" the kind of yellow honey paste which is behind the module.

    I guess it might be a good indication of a bad module?

    Any idea where I can find a new one?
    I m living in Europe btw..

    Cheers

    Jeremy
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Posts
    11,996

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    ..................
    Quote Originally Posted by meltingpot87 View Post
    Hey Rick, Thanks for your quick reply!

    Indeed, on my engine, the back of this part is "leaking" the kind of yellow honey paste which is behind the module.
    Yes, that would be your "yellow/honey paste spark enhancer juice".

    I guess it might be a good indication of a bad module?
    On a serious note....... yes, my guess would be a bad module.

    Any idea where I can find a new one?
    I m living in Europe btw..

    Do a Google search for Chrylser marine VR ignition system module.
    I doubt that the automotive version wire harness socket is the same.
    Nor would it be listed as "ignition source protected"...... even while the electronics are cast in epoxy.


    Cheers

    Jeremy
    Rick ... aka Ricardo..... AQ series Volvo Penta repair
    Portland, Oregon
    28' SDN F/B w/ twin Volvo Penta 5.7L DP drives

    "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." Albert Einstein

    Please... no PMs! Post your questions on the forum.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    It looks like I found something interesting !

    https://www.amazon.com/Sierra-Intern.../dp/B001RIFMVG

    the OEM part number looks about right : CHRYSLER INBOARD 3874020

  6. #6

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    11,996

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    Look at the pin configuration and pin count between the two.

    One is 4 pin, the other is 5 pin.
    Rick ... aka Ricardo..... AQ series Volvo Penta repair
    Portland, Oregon
    28' SDN F/B w/ twin Volvo Penta 5.7L DP drives

    "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." Albert Einstein

    Please... no PMs! Post your questions on the forum.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    Perfect, I'll do that !

    Thanks again for your help !

    Cheers

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi West, IL, USA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    FWIW, Just the fact it leached out doesn't necessarily qualify it as a failed unit electronically. These ECMs have been known to do that. I have one that was in a box with another on a shelf for years that leached just sitting there. You'll notice the picture it's been working it's way down as it was packed. The other unit is just fine. Both were good used ECMs from the '70s.
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    Check all connections and continuity including for the distributor pickup. Grounding the ECU is very important, EVEN if you have to scrape the paint off. Don't over look the oil pressure sensor if it has it.

    Not to throw you a curve but look at the 7 digit Chrysler PN number on you Amazon link.
    You'll see that number on this chart. I can't tell you what may be the difference ……….
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    Hey Daves,

    Thanks for giving more about that!

    So, to you, what would cause the engine not to give anymore spark in the plugs, but after boating for 1h30 without problem?
    As it's not the first time it happened, it looks recurent to have an ignition prob after some boating time..

    My question is, if the connections and continuity are not good, would it work in the beginning but not afterwards?

    Thanks in advance

    Cheers

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Portland, Oregon,
    Posts
    11,996

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    Your Chrysler ignition system is VR.............. VR = variable reluctor.

    The triggering wheel is magnetically charged at each tooth.

    Has anyone bridged the gap between the reluctor teeth and the sensor with a conductive instrument?
    (see red circle below)

    Is there a ballast resistor in the loop?

    Have you replaced the ignition coil?



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    Rick ... aka Ricardo..... AQ series Volvo Penta repair
    Portland, Oregon
    28' SDN F/B w/ twin Volvo Penta 5.7L DP drives

    "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." Albert Einstein

    Please... no PMs! Post your questions on the forum.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi West, IL, USA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Chrysler 440 1978 - ignition problem

    This FREE FSM download link is for small blocks (LM318-LM360). I believe the ECU part is basically if not even the same for an rb M440. There is also an older 440 manual available there but I don't think it covers electronic ignition.
    Check the "I'm not a robot" box and follow the instructions.....
    https://www.manualslib.com/download/1007590/Chrysler-Lm-318.html


    "My question is, if the connections and continuity are not good, would it work in the beginning but not afterwards?"
    Please understand I am not saying the ECU isn't your problem.
    As little as a corroded wire or loose connection or tachometer issue can lead to fail. As an example, in the old automotive systems we have issues with bulk head connectors (engine compartment to interior). Intermittent issues may be harder to solve.

    Some automotive info here may help you diagnose only. The two diagrams here are bare bones basic wiring for the 50 year old mopar system. The section after is not relevant.………

    https://www.allpar.com/fix/electronic-ignition.html

    A basic trouble shoot guide...........

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