I remember when the Quad 4 engine first came out and thinking what a pain in the ass diagnosing and repairing it would be. Well, in this article I've made diagnosing the ignition control module (ICM) and the crankshaft position sensor (7X CKP) as easy and as pain free as possible.
Before starting the tests you must first check and verify that there's NO SPARK present at any of the coil towers causing the car NOT TO START. As the engine cranks and starts, the ignition control module (ICM) receives the Crankshaft Position (7X CKP) Sensor Signal. This Crank Sensor Signal is an AC Voltage Signal that the ignition module now transforms into a Digital Signal and sends it to the Fuel Injection Computer. The Fuel Injection Computer, upon receiving this modified Crank Sensor Signal (which GM calls the 7X REFERENCE Signal), creates two separate Ignition Coil Control Signals that it sends back to the ignition control module.
These Ignition Coil Control Signals are the ones that the ignition module uses to start sparking the two ignition coils that are connected to it.


One Ignition Control Signal is for the ignition coil that fires cylinders 1 and 4 and the other for the one that fires cylinders 2 and 3.
Also, with this 7X REFERENCE Signal, the Fuel Injection Computer knows when to start activating the fuel injectors. OK, the only thing you have to remember from all of this is the difference between the 7X CKP Signal and the 7X REFERENCE Signal.
We'll first check for the basics like battery voltage and engine ground to the ignition control module. This multimeter, that can read Hertz Frequency, is a must have or you won't be able to accomplish some of these tests.
Now, don't worry, it's lots of wires but you'll see just how easy it is to test this module. With this test, you'll be able to pinpoint the problem to the ignition control module (ICM) or the crankshaft position sensor (7X CKP Sensor).


In a nutshell, when the system is working properly, at crank-up and at all engine speeds, the ECM (Fuel Injection Computer) controls both ignition coils thru' the ignition control module (ICM). Then we'll test the 7X crankshaft position sensor signals, the 7X REFERENCE Signal and the Ignition Coil Control signals (from the ECM to the module) in action and from the results you get you'll be able to pinpoint the problem to the ignition control module or the crankshaft position sensor or completely eliminate these as the cause of the No Start Condition. In case you're one of the privileged few who owns an oscilloscope, I have included photos of what the waveforms should look like. Whether you use a multimeter or an oscilloscope, you'll be able to successfully diagnose this NO START CONDITION!




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