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Out with the fuel, in with the problems

  #16  
Old 08-18-2018, 06:14 PM
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Before the "running out of gas" was the truck lacking power?
Did you have a backfire out the happen at any time just before or just after this happened?
Dave ----
 
  #17  
Old 09-01-2018, 01:42 AM
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No, it was running ok before it failed. Not sure if it backfired or not; there were a lot of similar noises happening, and I was focussed less on them than piloting this dying monstrosity down a narrow winding road, with a conga line of annoyed traffic behind me.

I think you're right - it's an ignition issue. I rebuilt the carb and nothing changed, so out of desperation I messed with the distributor timing and Surprise! It runs great... with the distributor in a very weird position... and slowly loses power and dies about 30 seconds later, with the dizzy in the same position. I mess with it again, and it runs slightly better for a moment and dies/starts barely limping at idle.

Time for a new distributor? Should I upgrade it?
 
  #18  
Old 09-01-2018, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by moroza View Post
Well, the problem is there at ambient temps, so I'll call this result representative: 0.22 or 0.24 microfarads, depending on which range I select on my DMM. Based on this source and others, this condenser tests ok.
A DMM is pretty much useless for any meaningful test on an ignition condenser. Capacitance value is important but they need to be tested at their voltage rating, in this case 200 to 300 volts DC. A DMM cannot do this. You can bet if it's one of the el-cheapo POS condensers flooding our shores in recent years it's defective for sure. NOS may be OK, though maybe not.

The ignition coil reads 8300 ohm secondary and 1.4 ohm primary. Seems ok but that's going off general mechanical knowledge as I can't find Ford-specific specs.
That's right in the ballpark for sure.. More old school round ignition coils have been replaced unnecessarily than maybe any other component. There's a guy in Indiana, Bill Linder, who runs an ignition service for vintage distributors and also conducts class instruction. A local shop provided a 55 gallon drum full of "defective" ignition coils (or at least coils that had been replaced over the years for the customer anyway) and they used those coils for testing in the classes - and he said they only found four or five bad ones. Thing is though, a few shorted turns in the secondary windings - how would you know, unless you'd measured and recorded the resistance beforehand, and noticed the change? Coils can fail intermittent, when they get hot, and a few shorted turns in the secondary is very tough to diagnose.

Meanwhile I noticed radial play in the distributor shaft on the order of 0.5mm (20 thou). I can use a dial indicator to get precise numbers. Could this be the problem?
Do you mean endplay, or sideplay? Endplay (up and down) clearance in the distributor shaft is necessary and good and .020 is probably about right.

Sideplay though, is the great bugaboo in distributors, and especially with point distributors. Worn shaft & bushings. Probably not "the" problem but it will cause no end of ignition troubles. Basically there should be no sideplay whatsoever, just enough for oil lubrication. Remanufactured distributors aren't always much better than a clapped out original because they rarely replace both the bushing and distributor shaft as part of their "rebuild", this is the key. Distributor gear will get excessive backlash too.

This is one reason why point replacement modules like Pertronix Ignitor are popular, they are less affected by worn out distributors. Less affected, if you want your engine to run good a tight distributor is critical, there is no way around this. It's easy to see with an ignition scope, the dwell (timing) wanders all over the place. With points it will cause especially erratic ignition timing.

"Donít forget to check the distributor bushing for wear, along with the distributor gear. The bushing is best checked on a scope or distributor machine, but it can be diagnosed by grabbing the rotor and trying to move the distributor shaft side to side. Any movement will alter the point-open (or ignition-model-on) time and create a varied amount of ignition timing on each cylinder. Many engines are detuned to eliminate detonation that is only occurring on a few bores due to a worn distributor bushing."


https://www.hotrod.com/articles/hppp-0612-pontiac-ignition-systems/

Have to remove the distributor cam or reluctor to check manually, bring the point rubbing block up on a cam lobe so the points are open. Wiggle the shaft from 12 to 6 or 9 to 3 direction etc etc and watch for a point gap change. If it changes at all, forget it. Need a new distributor or rebuild it. Remember the ignition point system is completely mechanical and so tolerances are critical. Even if you run a Pertronix in lieu of the points it's like night and day.
 
  #19  
Old 09-01-2018, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tedster9 View Post
A DMM is pretty much useless for any meaningful test on an ignition condenser. Capacitance value is important but they need to be tested at their voltage rating, in this case 200 to 300 volts DC. A DMM cannot do this. You can bet if it's one of the el-cheapo POS condensers flooding our shores in recent years it's defective for sure. NOS may be OK, though maybe not.

And this is the same $15 DMM that reads wrong resistance in the 2ohm range. I have no idea where the condenser is from; I haven't replaced it and I highly doubt the PO did either.

Do you mean endplay, or sideplay? Endplay (up and down) clearance in the distributor shaft is necessary and good and .020 is probably about right.
Radial, side to side, perpendicular to its axis.

If it changes at all, forget it. Need a new distributor or rebuild it. Remember the ignition point system is completely mechanical and so tolerances are critical. Even if you run a Pertronix in lieu of the points it's like night and day.
Yup, more nails in this dizzy's coffin. What would you recommend - rebuild myself (I'm a mechanic, not a machinist), replace with used, replace with new/rebuilt, or are there any distributor upgrades I should look at?
 
  #20  
Old 09-01-2018, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by moroza View Post
Yup, more nails in this dizzy's coffin. What would you recommend - rebuild myself (I'm a mechanic, not a machinist), replace with used, replace with new/rebuilt, or are there any distributor upgrades I should look at?

Well I'm not sure exactly, because I don't speak inline 6 or their availability. If you can find NOS or Motorcraft service replacement distributor, that would be the way to go. It's not too bad to rebuild them, but it is a pita in some ways. Because, if the bushing is bad, then so is the distributor shaft. Once you replace the shaft, then a new distributor gear as well needs to be placed on the new shaft. They need to be drilled accurately, so a drill press is necessary. You could gamble on a remanufactured, but send it back as unacceptable if there is sideplay.
 
  #21  
Old 09-02-2018, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by moroza View Post
No, it was running ok before it failed. Not sure if it backfired or not; there were a lot of similar noises happening, and I was focussed less on them than piloting this dying monstrosity down a narrow winding road, with a conga line of annoyed traffic behind me.

I think you're right - it's an ignition issue. I rebuilt the carb and nothing changed, so out of desperation I messed with the distributor timing and Surprise! It runs great... with the distributor in a very weird position... and slowly loses power and dies about 30 seconds later, with the dizzy in the same position. I mess with it again, and it runs slightly better for a moment and dies/starts barely limping at idle.

Time for a new distributor? Should I upgrade it?
The thing that throws me off is moving the dist. / changing the timing but it sounds like a plugged exh system. It will run for a bit then slowly die because it cant pull in any more air/gas because it cant get rid what it already has. When off for a bit the pressure leaks out and you can start and run for a bit more till it happens all over again.
This is common with cats but you said yours does not have one but I have seen the baffles inside mufflers come loose and block the outlet. Add a rich running carb, soot on plugs, and it can seal it pretty good.
A test is to unbolt the head exh pipe from the exh manifold and run the motor and see if it does the same thing or not.

If it jumped timing I am pretty sure moving the timing would not get it to start or at least I have never seen it happen.
Jump timing the motor spins over really fast & easy and never even tries to fire up or run.
Dave ----

edit: has this truck sat for a little bit of time in between when you use it?
Mouse make a home in the exh. / muffler and cause it to plug up?
 
  #22  
Old 09-30-2018, 09:27 PM
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Found the problem after all: sheared distributor drive gear pin. Running out of gas was a coincidence. I understand this is a common problem (I thought these motors were supposed to be pretty tough...?) and have some reading to do. Wonder if my new oilpump had something to do with it. It's a stock Melling M74, not high-volume or high-pressure. I replaced the worn stock drive key (7.93mm = 5/16" in American units) with a standard 8mm (8.00 on my calipers) for less wear. Seems to fit the dizzy just fine, I can turn the oilpump with a 1/4" extension by hand, and there's the normal axial play. Still... any more experienced folks see a problem here?

Also, there are four holes in the gear shank. I've read that they come with one from the factory that's then drilled through. Does this suggest it's been monkeyed with?

Is this drive gear salvageable or is the damage (I confess: from removing it) too much? The corresponding surface on the distributor looks good, shiny, very fine circles. Gear wear pattern seems ok, a bit toe-heavy (towards the tip of the gears, but centered).



Distributor shaft radial play measured 0.006" on my jury-rigged test bench but feels a bit bigger. Anyway, it's enough to visibly affect point gap. I've been doing homework and leaning heavily towards a Duraspark 2 conversion with a brand new Motorcraft dizzy (can't afford DUI, don't trust Cardone). Will either of these below work? What's the difference between them?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NOS-OEM-Mot...cAAOSw4GVYG14G

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Motorcr...cAAOSwcLxYHhwl
 
  #23  
Old 10-01-2018, 07:52 AM
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I like the DA-1927 option, the ICM needs to be the correct one for the cab and chassis. The vacuum advance curve may be different for heavy vehicles that's why I picked the one that lists the F350. The dura spark works great for me.
 
  #24  
Old 10-13-2018, 01:28 AM
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Well, they both list F350 and all other vehicles in common. My efforts to find hard data on what they fit, or what the differences are, came to absolutely nothing. Anyway I ended up getting what looks like a brand new D5TE-12127-FA from a Fordsix member who refurbishes them. Says he recurved it for earlier advance... beats me how optimal a solution that is, but I imagine it'll work just fine regardless. Now I'm cobbling together other parts for the Duraspark swap. Got dizzy, plug wires, cap, and cap adapter. Got plugs but don't know if SP435 is the same as SP435A. Still need rotor. Will junkyard the module, coil, and wiring soon, and hopefully have it running in a week.
 


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