Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Arcing from distributor to valve cover

asked by on

Ok I'm sick of buying new parts nothing seems to fix a slight miss on my 22re at night I see arc happening from base of distributor to valve cover and if I touch the plug wires it arcs to my hand??? Everything is new cap rotor plugs wires ??? No visible cracks in coil or igniter they are not new but switched out it still is arcing from distributor to valve cover also my pick up in distributor is new as well

My car has 110000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

A: The coil is the only thing that is putting ...

The coil is the only thing that is putting out high voltage. The ignition spark will always look for the quickest path to ground. This is the way electricity works. If you are getting spark jumping to the ground before it wants to jump across the gap of a spark plug, then you will have to look at two things.

First, remove the spark plug wires and inspect them to make sure there is no oil on them from a valve cover leak. Then remove the plugs and make sure the plug gap is set to .031 inches or .80mm. If the gap is too big, this will cause the problem you have. If the plug gap is correct, then make sure they are the correct plug for your engine. They should be NGK BKR5EY or equal plugs.

If the plugs are correct and the gap is okay, and you still have the issue, then you need to have the injection system checked to see if it is running too lean perhaps due to clogged injectors or vacuum leaks. I would also recommend putting dielectric lube at all plug wire connections and on the coil and rotor buttons. This will keep a better contact and less stray arching. Look for any signs of the coil cracked as it will show as a grey or black marks on the coil surface.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: electric power steering light on dash - is it just a fuse, how can I know if it is more serious?

Hi there: Typically a dashboard warning light is an indication that the ECU has detected a fault of some type of an electrical or mechanical component. If the electric power steering light is illuminated, it's likely that one of the...

Q: My car keeps dying after a jump

The problem sounds like the alternator stopped charging. The battery being dead may have overloaded the alternator since they are designed to maintain the battery and run the accessories, not recharge a battery and run all the accessories. I would...

Q: Fuel pump replacement

Hello Kyle. It sounds like the electric pump is getting hot and malfunctioning. I would either replace it with the same pump or go back to the mechanical pump. I prefer the use the mechanical pump on this 1981 Toyota...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...