How to Fix a Honda GCV160 With No Spark

GCV160 engine not starting after multiple pulls? There are multiple reasons why that could be causing the issue and a ‘no spark’ condition is one of them, which essentially just means that the engine is not producing any spark to ignite the Air-Fuel Mix.

So, first, make sure that it is a spark issue before we get into solutions.

How to Check if it is a Spark Issue

You can take out the spark plug along with the boot and ground the spark plug’s end (on the engine body), now try to start the engine, if you can notice a spark, then your spark system is working fine.

Important Note: In case you have no spark, disconnect the ground wire and test again! Oftentimes, your ground wire might be permanently grounding out the Ignition coil due to a bad switch which can cause no spark produced even if the ignition coil is just fine!

How to Fix a No Spark Condition

Assuming that the spark didn’t fire even when the Ground wire was disconnected. There are 2 possible issues with a GCV160 that produces no spark –

  1. Worn Out Spark Plug
  2. Faulty Ignition Coil

You can choose to test the ignition coil to know for sure which one is the culprit, to do that you’ll need a multimeter. Or you can buy the complete kit of the ignition coil and the spark plug for less than $20.

To check the ignition coil, you’ll have to test for continuity between the spark plug boot and the ignition coil with the help of a multimeter. If you find no resistance shown in the multimeter then you can be sure that the ignition coil needs a replacement.

On the other hand, if the multimeter shows resistance, you can be sure the spark plug itself needs a replacement.

How to Replace the Ignition Coil and Spark Plug

You’ll find the ignition coil right next to the flywheel (which is attached to the crankshaft). To access that, you’ll have to take out the top cover along with the gas tank.

Once they are out, unbolt the coil, place a new coil in place of it, and maintain a small distance between the coil and the flywheel. Please note – maintaining distance is important.

The spark plug is very easy to change, it won’t even require you to open up the inside of the engine, and you can locate the spark plug from the outside.

How Spark is Produced in Small Engines

The above solution will most likely solve your issues, but if not then you can learn how the system works and figure out what might work for you.

The Electrical system in Small Engines like GCV160 is very simple to understand!

There is an Ignition coil (which is simply copper wires wound inside) and a magnet attached to the flywheel. When the magnets in the flywheel pass close to the ignition coil, the coil will produce current.

If you have this engine placed in a lawn mower, you’ll find 2 wires leading out of the ignition coil, one ground wire, and another HT lead wire.

The purpose of the ground wire is to discharge the current built up in the ignition coil when you pull the stopping lever in your lawn mower.

The HT lead is what connects the ignition coil to the spark plug, which produces the spark.

It often happens that the ground wire is permanently grounding the ignition coil, especially in lawn mowers, this can happen due to strings loosening up in the lawn mower. Here’s a video explaining the solution to this problem –


To summarise quickly, there are 3 possible problems, either the ignition coil is worn out (Most Common), the Spark plug is worn out or the Ground wire is permanently connecting the ignition to the ground (common on lawn mowers).

You need to test for all three conditions, the fix is very easy for them all!

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