Ignition Coil Isn't Working (1989 1.5L)


New Member
Here goes, this feels like a last resort. I'm gonna provide lots of details just in case, sorry if it gets long:

I drive a 1989 Civic Wagon (2WD with the 1.5L). After sitting plugged into an engine block heater for a few weeks while I was on vacation, it didn't start. A few days go by, and I thought the engine was maybe flooded, so I try starting it with the gas floored. It started!! Yay, I drove it for about 50 more miles, then it started running REALLY rough, feeling like it was stalling or only firing on a few cylinders (or something). I got a tow back to the driveway.

I made the mistake of trying to throw lots of parts at it first (replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, igniter chip thingy, and the ignition coil over the next week). Wouldn't even start. Cranks perfectly, but no combustion. THEN I tried more systematically troubleshooting, and found out I wasn't getting spark anymore (I had checked for spark before replacing ignition components, and I WAS getting some spark earlier). I followed steps from EricTheCarGuy's YouTube video about no-spark testing.

Here's what I found: There's no short in the distributor cap, the contact points are clean, and it seemed that my igniter IS sending the repeating signal to my coil to fire. The coil was just not putting any spark out though, so I thought "the cheap aftermarket ignition coil I got was faulty". I proceeded to order another one and guess what. Same exact thing. The igniter seems to be doing its job, but the ignition coil is not sending spark, even with a new coil.

Here's where I'm at. I thought the coil received power FROM the igniter, but now I'm wondering if it receives power independently of the igniter, and all the igniter does is time when the power can pass through the coil? IF this is the case, how does the coil receive power, and why might my coil NOT be sending spark? I've attached pics of my spark plugs as reference.

Any help is greatly appreciated, as I cannot find any specific info about this on other forums.


P.S. My car does have some rust, and some of the visible electrical connections have a little corrosion, but nothing that's ever been an issue for me. The answer of "oh you have a short" isn't that helpful, because I don't really know where that puts me in terms of next steps. If I have a bad connection, are there certain places I should be looking? Thanks!