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Old 07-05-2014, 08:47 AM
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how do I update distributor on an 8BA V8

My 50 F1 has a stock V8 with the load-o-matic distributor with points and condenser and the Holly 94 carburetor. I am thinking about putting a Pertronix electronic ignition in the distributor to eliminate the points and condenser. I wonder if any of you guys has done this and what was your experience.

Should I change the distributor to a later model that has weights in the distributor that advances the spark? If I do this, will I need to change the carburetor or just plug up the vacuum tube?
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:14 AM
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If you are keeping the stock carburetor and camshaft then keep the stock distributor. Make sure you have a good vacuum advance on the distributor. The best flathead V8 engine book I have read, Flathead Facts by John W. Lawson documents dyno testing of an 8BA. The stock distributor provided the timing curve for best power on a stock engine.

Pertronix can be nice, but keep the parts to convert back in your glove box. I have had a Pertonix fail on me and have been on a tour when a friend's Pertronix failed on them. I have also had a Pertronix work for years. I just run points these days (but I do demand a high quality set of points which is difficult to find).
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Old 07-05-2014, 02:40 PM
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Thanks 38 Coupe,how do I know if I have a good vacuum advance?
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:58 AM
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To test your vacuum advance:

1 - disconnect vacuum line from the advance.
2 - remove the distributor cap.
3 - advance the point plate in the distributor (this will pull on the return springs on the point plate)
4 - put your finger over the vacuum line hole in the vacuum advance so you seal off the hole.
5 - let go of the point plate.

If the return springs pull the plate a little bit and then the point plate stops your vacuum advance is good. You will feel a suction on your finger tip. If the point plate returns all the way to its original position and you feel no suction on your finger tip, your vacuum advance is bad.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:59 AM
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Flathead shipping and bucking and jumping

38 Coupe, you say if I keep my stock carburetor and camshaft then keep the stock distributor. Could you explain this a little further. I may want to change the cam and carburetor. The truck is not running well at all. It cranks good but when you start down the road it bucks and jumps and I am not sure whether it is fuel related or ignition related. When you come to an idle it set and runs very well. I thought the needle valve was sticking and would not open all way and have ordered one from Daytona Carburetor but I thought I had it freed up and it started it again after one trip of about 10 miles. Anyone had this problem?
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:20 AM
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The stock setup is a very well developed package. If you modify any one of the three part package (carburetor, camshaft, and distributor) you change a vital characteristic of the engine (vacuum signal and/or ignition advance curve).

Many things can cause your engine to run well at idle but badly at higher rpm. Diagnostics over the internet is a dicey proposition, but we should at least be able to point you in the right direction. One thing to carefully avoid is assuming you have one specific problem and chasing that one idea.

I would start by checking your vacuum advance as described above. I would make sure your vacuum line is connected to the correct port in the middle of a correct carburetor. If you connect an 8BA distributor to manifold vacuum, you get an advance curve backward of what you need.

I would verify that all cylinders are actually firing properly. An engine can sound good at idle when there is no load but not run worth a darn when you try to drive it. Carefully, one at a time, pull each spark plug wire off the spark plug and see how far a gap the spark will jump when the engine is running (probably a very bad idea if you have a pacemaker). The spark should be blue / white and jump at least an 1/8 inch gap (1/4 to 1/2 inch gap is better but not mandatory). A weak orange / red spark means you have problems with your coil, condenser, points, point gap, cap, rotor, wiring going to or in your distributor, or some combination of the above.

If your spark is good, then fuel is probably the problem. I always used to start with spark, but these days with the alcohol laden fuel I equally suspect fuel. One thing to be careful of is setting the float height. You cannot follow the manufacturer's (or rebuilt kit) directions anymore. Today's gasoline doesn't "float" the float as well as the old leaded gas did. You have to set the float much lower than before. I start at 1/4 inch down from the instructions and lower more if required.

Hopefully the above will provide you a place to start diagnostics.
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:27 PM
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<<<@!1!@>>>

Your current distributor should be just fine but I would recommend the
<u>Pertronix 1281 ignitor</u> Pertronix 1281 ignitor
. Amazon had the best price when I bought mine. When I installed it the engine ran much better. I have heard of people having problems with early Pertronix burning out when they left the key on without the engine running. I can't verify this. I understand that the new ones are OK. It would be a good idea to replace the coil too if the one that you have is original.

But then my truck ran even better when I cleaned out the carb, fuel pump bowl, flushed the lines, drained the tank and installed an in line fuel filter between the pump and the carb.

Click the image to open in full size.
Remove the top of your carb and look inside. If it looks like this you need to clean the entire system and install an inline filter between the fuel pump and the carb.

Good luck. Let us know of your progress. Don't forget pictures, we like pictures.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:54 AM
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Thanks guys for the info. I installed Daytona carburetor's new needle seat and the engine still does not run good. This truck has been converted to 12 volts. I read somewhere that you need a resistor installed when running a 12 volt system. I noticed the coil was very hot after running the engine for 15 minutes. I checked and the negative terminal on the coil has a wire that goes to the distributor Is this right ? The truck pulls ok some times and others it jumps and cuts out . when I slow to about 30mph with the truck not pulling hard it runs pretty good. When I speed up it starts skipping and jerking. Anyone have any idea what it could be?
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 50trucking View Post
38 Coupe, you say if I keep my stock carburetor and camshaft then keep the stock distributor. Could you explain this a little further. I may want to change the cam and carburetor. The truck is not running well at all. It cranks good but when you start down the road it bucks and jumps and I am not sure whether it is fuel related or ignition related. When you come to an idle it set and runs very well. I thought the needle valve was sticking and would not open all way and have ordered one from Daytona Carburetor but I thought I had it freed up and it started it again after one trip of about 10 miles. Anyone had this problem?
Have you checked your fuel supply? Dirt in the gas tank can restrict fuel supply, resulting in the symptoms you describe- good idle but bucking and poor performance when you put load on the engine.
Hope this helps.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 50trucking View Post
Thanks guys for the info. I installed Daytona carburetor's new needle seat and the engine still does not run good. This truck has been converted to 12 volts. I read somewhere that you need a resistor installed when running a 12 volt system. I noticed the coil was very hot after running the engine for 15 minutes. I checked and the negative terminal on the coil has a wire that goes to the distributor Is this right ? The truck pulls ok some times and others it jumps and cuts out . when I slow to about 30mph with the truck not pulling hard it runs pretty good. When I speed up it starts skipping and jerking. Anyone have any idea what it could be?
It depends upon the type of coil that you have. Many currently have the resistor built in. Someone here may know how to tell the difference.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:14 PM
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Doesn't the load o matic have no centrifugal advance only vacuum. I'm going to change to this distributor on a friends '51 wagon, with the stock dist it surges a cruise. Has new coil, rebuilt carb and in good tune.

Click the image to open in full size.



*Chevy Distributor Conversion for 1949-1953 Flathead Ford
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http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/11...-recovery.html
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1oldtimer View Post
Doesn't the load o matic have no centrifugal advance only vacuum. I'm going to change to this distributor on a friends '51 wagon, with the stock dist it surges a cruise. Has new coil, rebuilt carb and in good tune.
Sounds like a leak in the vacuum advance under load. Enjoy getting to the distributor lock down bolt with the Chevy head distributor.
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Old 07-12-2014, 04:30 PM
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Petemcl was right the Vaccumn diaphragm is shot.

I cannot find a resistor anywhere for the coil. I think maybe when the previous owner converted to 12 volts he did not know to use one. I am afraid the current coil and points are toast so I purchased a 12 volt coil with a built in resistor and a new set of points.

Does anyone know if a coil with a built in resistor is ok to work with this setup ?
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Old 07-13-2014, 01:10 PM
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patrickmuenks@ymail.com
12V coil

I converted my 50 F-3 V8 to 12V neg ground. I am using a 12 volt coil that says "no external resistor needed". The wire to the distributor is connected to the negative post on the coil. I found the info to do it somewhere on this forum. It works just fine.
I remember back in the 1960s when the coil went bad in my 1953 Ford Victoria. It would run slow ok but not fast with bucking etc. I was able to get it back home. Patrick
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:58 PM
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12 volt coil with built in resistor

Can I just use any 12 volt coil with a built in resistor?
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:58 PM
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