How to test for spark          ( USA examples)  

Warning,  I guess I don't need to say, don't hold the sparkplug in you hand, or touch it during all tests, as 50,000 volts, into your body, will not be a happy moment .
Best pratice, set up,  person 1 cranks and you watch with hands in pockets.  (I use a remote start button)
Be sure to kill injection so the fuel don't blash out the spark hole and get ignited by that spark. 


To test spark, use any fresh new sparkplug , do not use a fixed gap spark tester designed for HEI on this older Kicks,  use a real spark plug gapped at 0.028"   28 thousands of an inch. 
The Pre 99 cars are not High Energy Igntion, not at all.
Do not use surface fire spark plugs or other non stock MAGIC, plugs,  before the 1999 year.   You can watch Scotty do spark , etc here.

To test spark, on older kicks, that dont have C.O.P.'S , but in fact have a Distributor present , See this mp4 video of spark , note the strong, blue-white power of it?
Truely basics here...:  DIZZY CARS.   (the  1.6L cars up to 1998 all had real Distributors.)
First see if the coil puts out spark , after all, if the Distributor is timing wrong , spark will fail reaching all 4 spark plugs.
See special rule for 1996 and up last.
  1. Open car hood. Hand brake set, keys in pocket , transmission in park or neutral if a 5sp,  and front wheels chocked.  Safety first.
  2. Pull the the #1 spark wire (front) completely off engine.
  3. Pull the coil HV wire off coil top, I call this the HV tower connector, HV means high voltage. The Ignition or induction coil is on the Firewall. its that thing the Dizzy connects to , via a large HV wire.
  4. Attach a fresh good spark plug gapped to 0.028" to the old #1 spark wire end.
  5. Attach the other end of #1 spark wire to the coil Tower,
  6. Ground the spark plug body to the spark plug metal shell. This is called grounding the spark casing. Some guyes use battery jumper cables so ground a spark plug, that is real cool way, as it fits the spark plug easy.
  7. Crank the engine. (sure 2 people , if shy people, harbor freight sells a dirt cheap remote start button, but is not all that easy to hook up.).  (I defeat my fuel pump first, as I just hate fires)
  8. See spark here in this video. (short)
  9. If you don't see spark ,check all 3 ECU fuses, Dome,IG-coil, FI.   or better see my no spark page.
  10. If you have great spark, at the Ign. coil, but not at the spark plugs on all 4 cyclinders, then it is timed wrong , read the timing page.
Speical note on 1996-1998 ,the coil was moved to inside the dizzy, so remove the distributor cap and rotor. and connect the wire in step 5 above, to the coil terminal someway. (skip step 3 , too)

All cars, be sure to blow out the spark wells, before pulling the spark plugs or you will dump road sand and grit, down in to the cylinders.
One more hint, you can take a spray bottle with tap water and gently spray spark plug wires, if the engine starts to misfire, the wires are junk, buy a new set of Bosch spark wires.

Newer Suzuki's : (not 1.6L)    Many shops will do this and send you a bill for $500.
My best guess is that the first years, for HEI , was 1999.  All USA cars the sticker under the hood declares clearly, the spark gap, just look. My 2004 GM sticker says,  0.039" 2.5L (min) Suzuki uses a range.)
The sticker also states no timing adjustment ,which is a lie.  (it is true the freeze feature only works with a factory scan tool. which really SUCKS , and 10x that for SUZUKI is chapter 11 here.)

See CMP (CAS) behind, left cam,  see white paint on it, yes, it is adjustable and the factory paint marks the spot.  (i used a center punch tool for better marks) So don't fiddle the CMP  without  marking it.

I will go in to some details, on  how I do spark on a DOHC Suzuki motor .  1.8L, 2.0L 2.5L and 2.7Liters DOHC.
COILS OVER PLUGS ! or COPS for short. (aka, coil packs)
C.O.P.'s are still Ignition COILs.  Just smaller.

All new generation Suzuki  DOHC engines, use COPs' coil over plug.  (here in USA) 

The below engine, is not  the wasted spark which  uses  2 spark plugs to 1 COP ,  at the same time ( 2 COP engined  cars, in Europe (example)  
To Test wasted spark, please  use 2  good spark plugs for the test. (via 1 coil)  (non USA cars can have wasted spark coil packs , only 1 pack per 2 cylinders.)
  Below is a V6:
  1. Remove the cover hidding the COP's , I then remove a screws and connector (all connectors are locked, never force them)
  2. Remove the COP from the Valve cover bore hole. (this can be hard, use shop air and silicon spray and twist, new boots are $13, do not buy new coils )
  3. Re-attach the COP below, to the wire harness  and then plug in a good known spark plug,  I always test with NEVER RUN IN ANY ENGINE,  spark plugs.
  4. {Used sparks can be shorted, imagine buying a $100 new COP,  for the likes of a $1 spark plug (test)?  I don't go there,  fool me twice?, shame on me.}
  5. I kill the fuel pump.  ( no, I dont want to explode)  see  last photo below and this pages covers 15 years.
  6. Pull this Fuel pump relay, in photo 3 below !
  7. Battery fully charged !
  8. Crank the engine over and look for spark,  yell to house, honey buns, will you crank me up?
  9. The spark plug will flash with blue white lightning. {Thanks to Mr.  Tesla.}
  10. {Do not hold in parts, in your hand,  as the voltage can reach 100,000. volts ,unloaded. ! Understatement: Can be extremely painful and dangerous to your heart.   }

The teacher said, son, keep hands in you pocket, as wife cranks.  

Photo1 A COP. The classic Coil Over Plug.

Photo 2, then the spark plug below.  Blow out spark well first so all sand is gone before unscrewing the spark plug.

99 to 2004  , Vitara's  and Chev. Trackers the fuel pump relay is below. Relay "B: pull it.
Photo 3:  LHD cars, next to left knee cap.  LHD means left hand drive, not UK cars.

see here for other year relays.

Did the sparks look Normal.
or are the black or wet stinking of raw gas?

Other issues:
No spark? x4 or x6? The CAS behind left cam, can be DEAD or fail Heat Soaked.  CAS , loves to fail heat soaked.  The scan tool shows this clearly if you look.  CAS is , cam angle sensor. (or CMP (old name)
Do no REMOVE the CAS before center punch index marking it, right over the 2 factory white stripe paint marks. or you will be sorry.  CAS timing only works with a factory scan tool.  99 up? and for sure 2004
The CAS is behind CAM LEFT (see top left corner below)  If the CAS acts up, the ECU Throws P0355/340s , USE A SCAN TOOL ! OBD2    with all these supported protocols.
My 2004 uses - ISO14230-4 (KWP2000)  protocol. do now use old scan tools on newer cars.   Cars after 2004 my need "CAN-BUS" bus  protocol
Even my dirt cheap ELM-USB SCAN adaptor, supports all these.
Rear view of V6.  this photo shows what a PITA changing out oxygen sensors will be.

rev 2   ++++ 3-12-2011