Ignition systems come in a few different forms, outlined in the next image. While all these ignition systems may differ in appearance, they all work in the same primary way. Well, two of them do, anyway.
The ignition coil takes 12-volt power from the car’s battery and amplifies it to about 30,000 volts to make for a very hot and very efficient spark. The distributor contains a piece called a rotor, which spins in time with the engine. As the rotor spins inside the distributor cap, it closes the circuit between the ignition coil wire (which comes into the distributor through the middle) and the spark plug wire and to the spark plug. Prior to the 1980s, almost all vehicles on the road used this “divorced coil” setup. During the late 1970s, manufacturers got rid of the coil-to-distributor wire (which created resistance in the system and dropped voltage at the spark plug) and started mounting the ignition coil right on top of the distributor cap.
The changeover to fully computerized fuel injection systems meant that manufacturers no longer needed the distributor to trigger the spark mechanically. So, the distributor went away in favor of the coil pack; the car’s computer triggers a single-coil in the coil pack, which can send power to either one or two spark plugs. You might have noticed that wires keep getting shorter and the parts closer over the ignition system’s evolution. So, it’s only logical that at some point, someone would figure out that placing the coil right on top of the plug made for the shortest wiring and most efficient system. In the following pages, you’ll see how-to’s on replacing the two most common types of coil out there today: the coil pack in a 2018 V-6 GMC Sonoma and the coil-on-plugs in a 2019 LS2 Corvette.
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How to Replace the Ignition Coil on a 2019 Chevrolet Corvette (LS2)
Things You’ll Need: Memory saver, Combination wrench, Ratchet, Socket set, Inch-pound torque wrench, Foot-pound torque wrench.
Install a memory saver to the Corvette, using the instructions from the memory saver as your guide. Loosen the bolt securing the negative battery cable to the battery using a box-end wrench. Position the negative cable aside.
Remove the fuel rail cover, the plastic cover with “Corvette” stamped on it, from the side of the engine with the failed ignition coil, by pulling upward around its perimeter to disengage its retaining clips, then removing it from the engine compartment. Notice there are four individual coil packs bolted to the valve cover, under the fuel rail cover.
Unplug the wiring harness from the top of the failed ignition coil. Remove the ignition wire from the failed coil by twisting it a half-turn, then pulling its thick rubber boot from the coil. Remove its retaining bolts using a ratchet and socket. Pull the ignition coil from the valve cover and out of the engine compartment.
Guide the new ignition coil onto the valve cover with its electrical receptacle facing upward, and align its mounting holes with those in the valve cover.
Hand-tighten the coil’s retaining bolts, then tighten them to 106 inch-pounds, using an inch-pound torque wrench and socket. Plug the wiring harness into the coil’s receptacle, then press the ignition wire into its receptacle on the coil until you feel it click into place.
Align the fuel rail cover’s retaining clips with their slots in the engine and press it downward to lock the retaining clips in place. Reconnect the negative battery cable to the battery and hand-tighten its retaining bolt. Next, torque the retaining bolt to 11 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket. Lastly, remove the memory saver.
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