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Investigation

WET

Ignition module! You are accused of disrupting the normal operation of the engine and sentenced to dismantle and subsequent disposal.

Maxim Sachkov

Tapping instead of a judge's hammer with a wrench, such a sentence is passed by many owners of injection Samaras and Ten, and go for an expensive imported counterpart.

Symptoms of malfunction of the ignition module are varied: from interruptions in individual modes to engine shutdown. The Check engine lamp does not light up. Having repeatedly been in a similar situation, we decided to go a little further than the banal troubleshooting. The goal was to find out: why did the ignition module failures become widespread? Of the five injection machines that the SP monitors, four have already changed this unit! For help, they turned to the manufacturer - the Moscow plant of automotive tractor electrical equipment (MZATE-2, previously ATE-2).

The biography of the modules is as follows. In 1996, front-wheel drive models appeared on the VAZ conveyor, equipped with an electronic engine control system (injection) with domestic components. Many components, including ignition modules, were going to be done then at one of the conversion enterprises in Saratov. The number of injection machines grew, and VAZ needed a supplier with large production capacities. The choice fell on the Moscow plant ATE-2.

Certification tests were left behind, and batches of Moscow modules went to Togliatti. However, the first pancake, as often happens, came out lumpy. In operation, the nodes showed themselves not at all from the best side: many pioneers did not serve even 10 thousand kilometers. Manufacturers began to look for a reason: the filling, it seems, is imported, “clothes” are also from abroad, the assembly technology is not broken …

And the reason lay on the surface, in the literal and figurative sense. The fault was the silicone compound, which filled the assembled ignition coils and electronic components. The fact is that the operating conditions of the ignition module are rather stringent - the unit must function properly in the temperature range from –40 to + 180 ° C. The compound, on the other hand, had poor adhesion (adhesion) to the module body and was not plastic enough. When heated, the silicone exfoliated from the plastic - moisture formed in the cracks and the assembly failed.

The “health formula" was introduced around the beginning of last year - instead of a silicone compound, polyurethane was used. The first prosperous nodes were born in March-April 1999. Older brothers born before the indicated time should be feared.

Sometimes the cause of the failure is another compound - epoxy, which envelops the windings of the ignition coils. The composition is impregnated in a deep vacuum, and sometimes, due to non-compliance with the technology, the life of this component, and, accordingly, of the module, is reduced several times. In fairness, we note that nodes with such congenital malformations are not common.

Scrolling through the “module case”, we came across an interesting fact. The ATE-2 unit was designed for Bosch and January-5 controllers, and the GM and January-4 control systems are not suitable for the domestic module - the owners of such cars should look for his American twin brother (reverse replacement is possible )

The failure rate of the current Russian ignition modules, in comparison with the first samples, has decreased markedly. This is confirmed by factory statistics: among the nodes released in 1999, there are half less defective ones compared to the previous year; the data of 2000 is even more optimistic - the number of failures decreased by 80% … I would like to believe that in the near future the domestic unit will become similar to the American analogue not only externally.

An old ignition module with white silicone compound (on the left), next to it is the current unit with polyurethane filler.

This mark on the housing determines the release date of the module. The number in the middle indicates the year (1999), the points in the sectors indicate the month (September).

Detachment of the compound is a characteristic defect of the ignition modules produced before the beginning of 1999.