How to Test the Ignition Coil on a 1997 Camaro Z28

by Robert Moore

    The 1997 Chevy Camaro Z28 came with a 5.7-liter V-8 engine, also known as the “350.” The 350 has come a long way since it's debut in the 1968 model year, but in 1997 it still used a distributor that was mechanically connected, by a gear, to the camshaft. A single-tower ignition coil sent current to the distributor cap, where it was distributed to each spark plug wire by a spinning rotor. If the ignition coil has failed, all cylinders will misfire, causing the engine to run rough, or not at all. Testing your coil with a multimeter is a simple process.

    Items you will need

    • Multimeter
    • Socket set
    • Ratchet
    • Shop towel
    • Torque wrench

    Testing

    Step 1

    Open the hood. Find the ignition coil mounted on the front of the driver's side cylinder head. Lift the locking arm and disconnect the wiring harness from the ignition coil. Grab the rubber boot for the coil-to-distributor connecting wire and pull it off the coil with a slight twisting motion.

    Step 2

    Set a multimeter to the Ohms setting. Connect the multimeter leads to each terminal inside the coil pack connector. View the multimeter screen. If the reading falls outside of 0.5 to 0.9 ohms, replace the ignition coil.

    Step 3

    Hold the red lead on the terminal closest to the center of the engine and push the black lead against the coil tower. If the reading isn't between 5,000 and 8,000 Ohms, replace the ignition coil.

    Replacing the Ignition Coil

    Step 1

    Disconnect the engine wiring harness from the ignition control module. Remove the two retaining studs with a socket and ratchet. Wipe the silicone grease off the control module, using a shop rag.

    Step 2

    Apply fresh silicone grease – included with a new ignition coil – to the bottom side of the ignition coil. This grease will help keep the ignition coil cool when the engine is running. Failure to apply it will result in premature failure of the new coil.

    Step 3

    Hold the ignition coil in place and install the retaining studs. Tighten the studs to 18 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench. Connect the four-terminal wire connector to the ignition control module. Push the coil to distributor wire onto the coil tower – you will feel and hear a click when it's connected. Connect the two-terminal connector to the ignition coil.

    Tip

    • If the ignition coil tests good, but you're still experiencing performance issues, test the ignition control module, and check the condition of the spark plug wires, spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor.

    References

    • Prodemand.com: 1997 Chevy Camaro Z28; Components; Ignition Coil; Ignition Coil Resistance
    • Prodemand.com: 1997 Chevy Camaro Z28; Components; Ignition Coil; Removal and Installation