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Discussion Starter #1
My buddies sled is not running, no spark. I suspect the stator but haven't had a chance to ohm out the coils for him yet. If it is the stator, how good/bad are the RM stator brand stator ignition coils. If it does turn out to be the stator, we are thinking about just replacing the 2 ignition coils on the stator rather than the whole thing.
 

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Get Kev to rebuild it. Good work and if your going to the trouble of removing it then do it once and your done.
my .025cents worth
 

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Here is the diagnosis for "older" cats:

Diagnosing no spark, weak spark or intermittent spark issues
First you want to see if it an issue in the switches/handlebars or if it is in the primary ignition components: stator, cdi, coils, trigger coil or possibly plugs, plug wires or plug caps.
1. First unthread the spark plugs out of the cylinder heads, put the spark plugs in the spark plug boots and lay them on a cylinder head bolt so they are grounded. Make sure the plugs are not near the spark plug holes when you pull it over.
2. Pull the recoil rope checking the spark at the plug. Is there spark at each spark plug? Is the spark blue (indicating a strong spark) or is it yellow (indicating a “weak” spark).
3. The next step is pretty much the same if you had no spark or a weak spark. On the “Closed” ignition you unplug the connector from the stator containing the yellow wires. This connector sends the power to the lights, hand warmers and tachometer. When you unplug this connector you need to put a wire connecting the 2 “non yellow” wires together in the connector. This completes the electrical circuit which is needed to check for spark. By putting this jumper wire between the 2 non yellow wires you are bypassing all of your switches (Throttle Safety Switch, Kill, tether ect..) all of your lights and hand warmers ect..in your handlebars. Pull the recoil over and see if you have spark or if the previous yellow weak spark is now blue. Carbureted models can be started and run with this 4-prong connector unplugged and the jumper wire in it but you won’t have lights ect..as mentioned before. If you have an EFI, you can only check for spark and it will not start or run with it unplugged. You need it plugged in to power your fuel pump. You can hook up a battery to the fuel pump and start it.
4. If there’s no spark and by unplugging the 4-prong connector and using the jumper wire and you now have spark, there is something shorted out in your switches like the tether, throttle safety switch or kill switch. If you had weak spark and now have blue spark it also tells you that you have a short with one of your switches. Again likely culprits are the TSS, tether or kill switch. There is a 3 prong connector in your handlebars that if you unplug and jump the 2 outside prongs it will bypass your kill and TSS switch and you will only be able to start and turn off your sled with the key. The 3 prong connector is usually not by the thumb throttle but rather just a little bit down the steering shaft about at the point where the console containing the key switch is located. If you’re not sure which connector it is, just follow the group of wires out of the right handlebar area where the TSS and Kill switch are located down to where the plug is located. There are a few other plugs by the handlebar on the right side by the thumb throttle, but they contain yellow wires and are for your hand warmers and thumb warmer. You also need to bypass the tether. You can just cut the wires in the back of the tether and splice the wires together which "completes" the circuit and bypasses the tether.
5. If after unplugging the 4-plug switch and using the jumper wire you still do not have spark or the spark continues to look weak this tells you that the problem is in the major ignition components like the stator, coils, cdi, spark plugs, spark plug wires or trigger coil.
6. The first thing to check are the connections from the stator to the cdi. Make sure all connections are free of moisture, are tight and use a little bit of dielectric grease on it. Check the ground. You should have a ground wire coming from your stator and your CDI/ECU box. Make sure the grounds are clean, tight and that the ground wires are not broken. Sometimes the ground wire is pinched and broken inside the eyelet connection and is making only intermittent if any connection. Some older model Arctic Cats have the ground up closer to the handle bars on what some would consider the “firewall” of the sled and they are notorious for rusting/corroding out badly.
7. If all connections are solid and the ground checks good then you start electrically checking components. Most twin triggers are 90 ohms and most triples are 175 ohms. View my “testing a pulser/trigger coil” on youtube. It is very easy and quick to test. The frustrating part about the trigger coil is that it can test good, but still be bad.
8. Next you want to test the stator itself. View my “How to test a stator” video on youtube. I have 3 separate tests using the 3 main plugs used on carb and EFI 1990’s model stators.
9. If you continue to have no spark/weak spark and your trigger tests ok then we may be looking at a secondary coil issue. First you want to make sure the spark plug caps are on tight. They just screw on and off the spark plug wire. If your wires are long enough unscrew the spark plug caps, trim a ½ inch off the end of the wire and then screw the spark plug cap back on. Also, some spark plug wires unscrew from the coil itself. I had 2 sets of coils go “bad” on my sled. My triple coils showed 1 spark plug with extraordinary blue spark and the other 2 plugs were weak/yellow-ish in color. After I trimmed them and screwed them back together they ran perfect. Warn spark plug ends usually cause a miss or acts like a rev limiter. Be warned though that I did have one wire that would not unscrew from a coil (That should have) no matter how hard I tried to turn it and I ended up just tearing the spark plug wire. Also, always check the spark plug gap and set it to the correct specifications. Here is a general rule of thumb for putting spark plug wires on which cylinder for Cats:
Most sleds fire all the plugs at the same time, multiple times per revolution. A twin will fire both wires twice each revolution, a triple three times (once per 120 degrees because every 120 degrees one of the pistons is at TDC). One of the pulses fires the plug to ignite the fuel/air mix, the other times the pulses are "lost" as the plug fires with the piston not ready for the fuel to burn. That prevents having to have a complex distributor of some kind to route the electricity to the cylinder that needs it. On those types of ignitions, firing order (which spark plug wire goes on which spark plug) is not important.
10. If you have no spark and your trigger tests ok, your stator tests ok and you have trimmed the plug wires then we’re looking at a possible bad CDI box There is no real good way to test the CDI other than swapping the box out with a known good CDI box.
11. Specificly on Battery EFI sleds here is another thing to check. There can be a bad relay on the back of the ecu. There are 2 of them back there 1 for the spark and 1 for the fuel pump.
12. Also, bad reeds on a sled will cause it to back fire and run poorly acting like it is an electrical issue.
13. Sled won’t shut off condition: It is usually a bad ground/broken ground wire. Sometimes it is moisture in the connector from the stator to the CDI. My kill switch got moisture in it and wouldn’t shut off so I unplugged my TSS/Kill 3 prong plug in my handlebars and used just the key (closed ignitions need to have the jumper wire). You could have a cdi with an internal short. A bad stator can also cause a machine to not shut off.
14.Other issues that I have seen/read that have caused a no spark/bad running issue:
A. Guy bought a used sled with the wrong flywheel on it.
B. Frayed wires somewhere in the wiring harness or under the seat were causing a short
C. Guy said sled was only running on one cylinder. He removed one spark plug wire and it didn’t effect the way the sled ran. His low side coil on his stator read 360 ohms and it should have measured 450 ohms. His low side coil was dying.
D. 96 ZRT would run like crap if the carbs weren't synced right
E. After I replaced the trigger coil last year, I did not route the red/white wire good (Wire coming from the stator to the CDI). It laid against the crankshaft, rubbed the insulation off and exposed 1 tiny strand of wire! I cleaned the wire and put 2 shrink tubes on it. Then RE-ROUTED the wire to fix it.
F. Hood harness was routed between rewind/stator housing and frame and had 4 wires smashed. Repaired wires and runs perfect.
G. Got it running again tapped the ECU and died. Pulled the ECU cover off and found some corrosion
H. I had a 580 that did not spark all the time and it was a bad ground wire from the ECU/CDI box. The factory has them grounded through the steering column support which is bolted to the chassis and over time the bolts get rusted and it loses its ground.
I. Bolt for the recoil cup broke off and hit the trigger coil, bent the bracket slightly and gave it too much airgap
J. Oil injection turned up too high
K. Fuel Lines hooked up backwards
L. I once saw a guy who had just swapped out motors and the jetting was way too lean. The sled would start and idle but if you pinned the throttle the sled would bog and quit running. By using the choke we were able to determine that it ran better when you hit the throttle and after jetting up it ran good.
M. Sheared Timing key
N. Crank out of Phase will cause it to run very poorly.
O. Too much dielectric grease in the trigger connector caused sled to bog.
 

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Here is the diagnosis for "Newer" Cats

Open Ignition: 1998 and newer ZR’s and ZL’s 1998-2002 ZRT 600,800 and 1000
With open ignitions a live wire goes from the ignition system to all of the switches. The switches are normally open, or not making connection, until in the "OFF" position. When in the "OFF" position the switch will ground the ignition wire to the chassis effectively killing the spark. If a connecter becomes 100% disconnected or if a wire gets cut then the switch will no longer turn off the engine but the engine will still start and run. With the "normally closed" system if a connector comes loose or a wire gets cut the spark will stop until the wiring is repaired completing the circuit again.

Diagnosing no spark, weak spark or intermittent spark issues

First is separating the issue between switches/handlebars/lights or if the issue is in the primary ignition components like the stator, cdi, coils, trigger coil or possibly plugs or plug wires or plug caps.

1. First thread the spark plugs out of the cylinder heads, put the spark plugs in the spark plug boots and lay them on the cylinder head bolt away from the cylinder plug hole so they are grounded. If you pull the sled over and the spark plug is over the spark plug hole and it sparks it will ignite so make sure the plugs are not near the spark plug holes when you pull it over
2. Pull the recoil rope and check the spark at the plug. Is there Spark? Is there spark at each spark plug? Is the spark blue (indicating a strong spark) or is it yellow (indicating a “weak” spark).
3. The next step is pretty much the same whether you saw no spark or a weak spark. On the “open” ignition you can simply unplug the 4-prong connector coming from the stator containing the 2 yellow wires. On some EFI sleds you have 3 yellow wires and one non yellow (ground) wire. The extra yellow wire is used for powering your fuel pump. The other 2 yellow wires in the 4-prong connector sends the power to the lights/hand warmers/tachometer. When you unplug this 4-prong connector you are bypassing all of your switches (Throttle Safety Switch, Kill, Tether ect..) and all of your lights, hand warmers ect..in your handlebars. Pull the recoil over and see if you have spark or if the spark is now blue. Carbureted models can be started and run with this 4-prong connector unplugged but you won’t have lights ect..as mentioned above. If you have an EFI, you can only check for spark and it will not start or run with it unplugged. You need it plugged in to power your fuel pump. You can run a battery to the fuel pump with it unplugged and it can/will start and run.
4. If you had no spark and by unplugging the 4-prong connector you now have spark, that tells you that you have something shorted out in your hand controls, switches like the tether, throttle safety switch or kill switch. If you had weak spark and now have blue spark it also tells you that you have a short or a problem with one of your switches. The most likely culprit is the TSS or kill switch, There is a 3 prong connector in your handlebars that if you unplug it will bypass your kill and TSS switch and you will only be able to start and turn off your sled with the key. The 3 prong connector is not by your throttle but rather just a little bit down the steering shaft about at the point where the console containing the key switch is located. If you’re not sure which connector it is, just follow the one group of wires out of the right handlebar area where the TSS and Kill switch are located down to where the plug is located. There are other plugs in the handlebar area by the right side by the thumb throttle containing yellow wires. They are for your hand warmers/thumb warmer and have nothing to do with the TSS or kill switch.
5. If after unplugging the 4-plug connector there is no spark or the spark still looks weak, this tells you that the problem is in the major ignition components like the stator, coils, cdi spark plugs, spark plug wires or trigger coil.
6. First check the connections from the stator to the cdi. Make sure all connections are free of moisture, tight and use a small amount of dielectric grease. Check the ground. You have a ground wire coming from your stator and your CDI/ECU box. Make sure the ground is clean, tight and that the ground wires are not broken/loose. Sometimes the ground wire is pinched and broken inside the eyelet connection and is making only intermittent if any connection. Some older model Arctic Cats have the ground up closer to the handle bars on what is considered the “firewall” of the sled and they rust/corrode badly.
7. If all connections are solid and the ground looks good then you start electrically checking components. Most twin trigger coils ohm specs are 90 or so ohms. Triples are usually 175 ohms. View my “testing a pulser/trigger coil” video to see how to test it. It is a quick/easy ohm test. The frustrating part about the trigger coil is that it can test good, but still be bad.
8. Next test the stator itself. View my “How to test a stator” video to see how to do it. Triple cats and ZR/ZL 500/600 carb sleds have the 4 prong connector. The ZR/ZL 500/600/580 EFI’s have the clear 3 prong rectangular plug and many of the 580/700 carbs have a triangular plug.
9. If you have no spark and your trigger tests ok and your stator tests ok then we may be looking at a secondary coil issue. The coils can have a couple of issues with them. The first thing you want to do is make sure the spark plug caps are on tight and clean. They just screw on and off the spark plug wire. If your wires are long enough unscrew the spark plug caps, trim a ½ inch off the end of the wire and then screw the spark plug cap back on. Also, on some coils you can unscrew the wire from the coil itself and do the same thing. I had 2 sets of coils go “bad” on my sled and come to find out it was just the spark plug wires were a bit warn at the spark plug end and after I trimmed them and screwed them back together they ran perfect. Be warned though that I did have one wire that would not unscrew from a coil that was supposed to no matter how hard I tried to turn it and I ended up tearing the spark plug wire. Also, always check the spark plug gap and set it to the correct specs. I have seen plugs with the gap set too small on them making the motor run poorly.
As far as putting the coil wires back on which cylinder here is a general rule of thumb for Cats:
Most sleds fire all the plugs at the same time, multiple times per revolution. A twin will fire both wires twice each revolution, a triple three times (once per 120 degrees). One of the pulses fires the plug to ignite the fuel/air mix, the other times the pulses are "lost" as the plug fires with the piston not ready for the fuel to burn.
10. If you have no spark and your trigger tests ok, your stator tests ok and you have tried a new set of coils then we’re possibly looking at a bad CDI box. There is no real good way to test the CDI other than swapping the box out with a known good CDI box.
11. Specificly on Battery EFI sleds here is another thing to check. This was found on a 1996 EXT EFI: There are 2 relays on the back of the ecu. 1 is for the spark and 1 for the fuel pump.
12. Bad reeds on a sled will cause it to back fire and run poorly acting like it is an electrical issue.
13. Sled won’t shut off condition: I have seen a few things cause this. It is usually a bad ground/broken ground wire. Sometimes it is moisture in the connector. I had to disconnect my TSS/Kill switch the day my kill switch got moisture in it and my sled wouldn’t shut off. You could have a cdi with an internal short. Also, a bad stator can cause a sled to not shut off.
14. Other issues/symptoms that I have seen/read related to a no spark/Weak Spark/Wet Plugs issue:
A. A guy bought a used sled with the wrong flywheel on it.
B. Frayed wires somewhere in the wiring harness or under the seat were causing a short
C. Sled was only running on one cylinder. He could remove one spark plug wire and it didn’t effect the way the sled ran. His low side coil on his stator read 360 ohms and it should have measured 450 ohms. His low side coil was dying.
D. It kept fowling plugs left and right. The guy before me ran ethanol, and never told me. This was on an EFI sled.
E. Hood harness was routed between rewind/stator housing and frame and had 4 wires smashed. Repaired wires and ran good.
F. Got it running again tapped the ECU and died. Pulled the ECU cover off and found some corrosion
G. Wires running to the carbs were rubbing against the jack shaft (Shaft going from secondary clutch to the top sprocket in the chain case). After rewrapping/rerouting the wires it ran great
H. Bolt for the recoil cup broke off and hit the trigger coil, bent the bracket slightly and gave it too much air gap
I. Oil Injection turned up too high
J. Fuel Lines hooked up backwards
K. Lean jetting will cause a bog. The sled would start and idle but if you pinned the throttle the sled would bog and quit running. By using the choke we were able to determine that it ran better when you hit the throttle. We jetted up and it ran good.
L. Sheared Timing key
M. Crank out of Phase will cause it to run very poorly.
N. Too much dielectric grease in the trigger connector caused sled to bog.
 

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i wish i would have seen this two years ago! great thread! hopefully it helps others sooner than later. :chug:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First, I forgot to mention that the sled is a 1998 ZR600 EFI.

Thanks for the opinions but the specific question asked was if anyone had used the RM Stator brand replaceable stator ignition coils? That is really the only question I have. I know how to check the system and if I don't go with the RM coils or other replaceable bobbins I will be rewinding them myself.

So, has anyone used the RM Stator brand stator ignition coils or other bobbins like in the picture below?

I'm not trying to be rude, but I only want to know the answer to that specific question.
 

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You certainly seem knowledgeable when it comes to the cats and wiring so i have a question you may be able to help with...can you tell me which wires from my stator i would wire to my four pin connector to get lights tach etc...it doesnt seem to have any yellow wires coming from it. It is a 580 l/c carbed swapped into a 96 ZR 580efi. Thanks in advance for any help....
 

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