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Ignition frustration, losing ground

  #16  
Old 11-06-2018, 08:14 PM
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Update - progress coming soon

Today I pulled the points out of my distributor. Did not want to because I will have difficulty putting new breaker points back in. The old points were really toasted. I am feeling certain that the body shop did leave a key on. Can’t believe the truck ran as well as it did and it has started easily and it ran well until just recently. The contact surfaces were badly worn and the arm from the spring is charred an “blue” from heat. (see photos)

Now here is the puzzler. The points, condenser, and rotor that were in the distributor don’t match with the spares I have had in the glove box for a couple of years. I ordered them from Dennis Carpenter for a 292, which is what my engine is. Both a local NAPA store and an O’Reillly’s bring out the same parts as my spares when we reference a 292 engine.

We went through several boxes of points until we found a match for my burned set. Same for the rotor and the condenser. The lad at O’Reilly’s back checked the part numbers for the matching parts and he said they would fit a 1967 289 engine.

Here is my question for today: Can a distributor for a 289 be put into a Y-block 292? When I next get to the garage wher my truck is stored, I will stake photos of the dizzy to see if anyone can identify it. I saw a suggestion to look for a tab on the distributor for identification and I will check for that too.

Ross, I believe my bump start switch was (is) ok. The new one worked when I switched to post on the right side of the solenoid. I also swapped the old solenoid for the new one I had. On a closer look, the hot (positive) lead connected on the right side terminal. I think that is reversed to what it should be, but it has worked for three years and the bump start remote switch is working fine now.

Oh, the suggestion to check my battery was good. It is outputting 13+ volts. It took a good charge after the visit to the body shop with my new Optima digital charger. It’s at 100% charge and with conditioning mode.

Thanks again to everyone for the inputs. I think we’ll be back to “running splendidly” tomorrow. I need to get it going as I have sold and closed on the property where I was storing it. Next task will be to find storage for the truck, the MG, and a 4x4 compact tractor.






 
  #17  
Old 11-06-2018, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldb View Post
It has been awhile (maybe 45 years) since I did any real work on a 292, so I could be off track here, but didn't these have a dropping resistor, higher voltage for starting than running? The ceramic block on the firewall with the terminals on each end and the resistor in the middle? Although it might not explain the engine dying it could have something to do with the no start.
Good luck with your issue.

B
I wondered about this and I think you are right. There is a resistor block mounted on the bracket beside the coil. I have installed a new coil that was to be used with a ballast resistor. I sanded the connections that were routed to it and I have refitted them with a thin coat of dielectric grease. I am suspect of a crimp splice someone has put into one of the wires going to the resistor. I feel certain that my points are the problem and they were fried when a body shop left the key on. - Thanks, Oldb!
 
  #18  
Old 11-06-2018, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tedster9 View Post
Is your truck still 6 volt positive ground? You'll have to connect accordingly if so..

I don't know when the cable connections changed but my '64 has the main battery and start cables connected "backwards" (compared with later years) to the solenoid and it looks factory because the yellow wiring harness won't reach any other way.

In any case connect one remote starter clamp to the righthand terminal on the solenoid - that's "positive", the cable direct from the battery to be clear. The other clamp to the "I" terminal as in your pic.

The parts store condensers these days have turned out to be problematic in a big way. If you have any junkbox condensers that may be a better choice. For test purposes at least you could try the one that doesn't fit. Nothing says it has to be installed inside the distributor. Extend the lead by soldering a longer wire and shrinkwrap etc. It needs to be grounded to the housing.

Double check the gap on points and make sure the point faces are clean. They can build up a tough skunge that is difficult to remove. Modern manufacture points are crap today too, but they should at least work for a little while. Ignition coils can become defective for certain, but it's not super common. Between the two on hand, should be good to go. Let us know what you find.


I hate to suggest this but a Pertronix Ignitor may be a good plan here. Futzing with breaker points, condensers and worn out distributors is not a good use of our time particlarly.

I have used Pertronixs in my MGs and in a Triumph TR-2. Once I am up and going with the existing setup, I may go with Pertronixs, but right now it seems “pointless.” - Sorry, bad pun. Seriously, I think I will eventually go with electronic ignition.
 
  #19  
Old 11-06-2018, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by brit_wheels_fan View Post


I have used Pertronixs in my MGs and in a Triumph TR-2. Once I am up and going with the existing setup, I may go with Pertronixs, but right now it seems “pointless.” - Sorry, bad pun. Seriously, I think I will eventually go with electronic ignition.
No, that's a great pun!
 
  #20  
Old 11-06-2018, 09:40 PM
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Tedster9, you said, “I don't know when the cable connections changed but my '64 has the main battery and start cables connected "backwards" (compared with later years) to the solenoid and it looks factory because the yellow wiring harness won't reach any other way.”

The heavier yellow wire is on the right side of the solenoid (as you look at it) on my ‘56 (negative “hot” cable from the battery) and I am certain that is the factory figment. I agree, the yellow wires won’t go the other way. - Thanks for your reply.
 
  #21  
Old 11-06-2018, 09:49 PM
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Does it really matter?

My 54 has the battery cable on one side and my 55 has it on the other post...
 
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:14 PM
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my 55 has the battery cable going to the post on the driver side. The cable attaching to the starter, the one with the kink in it, going to the passenger side post. This is an old pic. I got new cables made.


My 54 has the battery cable (the black one) going to the passenger side post. The blue cable goes to the starter. This is an old picture I have now replaced the cables. The one to the starter is now welding cable. And please disregard the splices on the wires going to the solenoid. I ordered a new stock wiring harness for MidFifty in 1999. It was too short to reach teh solenoid. Only last winter did I figure it out. 1954 trucks had a junction block that the wiring harness went to, then short wires went from there to the solenoid. Ford made a change for 1955. They do not have a junction block. My 54 was made late in the model year. It did not get the junction block.
Edit: Matter of fact upon further study of my pictures of other trucks and remembering what Dennis told me about his 54, the 54 trucks (and 53's) have the solenoid mounted on the frame.
 
  #23  
Old 11-06-2018, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ALBUQ F-1 View Post
Is there a metal tag on the distributor? I know it would be a PITA even without your problems (sorry to hear), but that would definitively allow matching the points to it. A picture would help too.

I am going to look for that tag or any other numbers to see if we can identify the distributor. I will take and post photos. I believe, from a cross reference the guys at O’Reilly’s did on the points / rotor that matched what I have, the distributor may be from a late 60s (1967) 289 engine. At least I have part numbers for what appear to be replacementsfor the ignition components that were in my truck. I wouldn’t have thought that a Y-block engine could get a parts transplant from a later V8 block, but I suppose anything is possible.

I may consider for the future installing a Pertronix electronic ignition, but first I want to know that the potential for hotter spark won’t bring the potential for burned pistons or valves. My engine is old, worn and vulnerable.. To protect tappers, I am using Indiana Classic Car Club motor oil which has been formulated for a correct balance of zinc that has been formulated out of modern oils I am also using a lead substitute fuel additive in the hopes of getting better upper cylinder lubrication for longer valve life. I also use non-ethanol fuel and sometimes some Marvel’s Mystery Oil goes in the tank.
 
  #24  
Old 11-07-2018, 12:29 AM
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Does your distributor have a mechanical advance system? You would see the flyweights if it did, although they could be under the points plate. I suppose it's possible someone grafted a 289 distributor's guts into the Y-block dizzy in order to get mechanical advance, but it would be easier to just fit a later Y-block dizzy that had it. I hate to say it, but it may be worth pulling your distributor just to verify what you've got. You could set the new points while it's out, much easier.

Those points do appear to be totally burned up. I'm sure that's your primary problem.
 
  #25  
Old 11-07-2018, 02:36 AM
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It sounds like the DIST has been replaced with a DUAL ADVANCE style 1957/. Points, cond, rotor and cap will not interchange. A SBF DIST housing will retro-fit, a complete SBF DIST ASSY will not. The Y-BLOCK shaft is longer than the SBF.

If 1957/ , the points and condenser are still available from FORD/MOTORCRAFT and sources will be SUMMIT or AMAZON. Leave the off-shore junk alone.

Don't worry about an IGNITOR II upgrade. It will not damage the engine. In fact you will be surprised how well it will run.

Two photos- 1st LOM (pre 1957) and the 2nd DUAL ADVANCE (1957- ) -





This is a 12V NEG GRD SYSTEM?

POINTS - B8Q 12171-A (MOTORCRAFT DP-12) and COND C9AZ 12300-A (MOTORCRAFT DC-13A)
 

Last edited by KULTULZ; 11-07-2018 at 02:53 AM. Reason: ADD PN's
  #26  
Old 11-07-2018, 03:25 AM
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Underneath the condenser lead is the little ground strap I was referring to earlier.



 
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Mixer man View Post
Underneath the condenser lead is the little ground strap I was referring to earlier.


As Mixer is pointing out, please check out that ground strap. If it's loose that will give you all sorts of problems.

If after you get the points changed out and gapped, and if it still does not run, take a 12 volt test light, and wire it across the two coil terminals. As you are bumping the engine over with the bump switch, you should see the light flash indicating you are getting current through the ignition switch and the new points you just installed.( At this point as the engine is cranking and if all is connected at the start relay correctly the ballast resistor is out of the circuit.) If it does not light or flash, then you need to go back and find where you are losing your 12 volts at. Temporarily disconnect the test light lead from the distributor side of the coil and ground the test light to a convenient place on the engine block. With the ignition switch on and not cranking it should light. If it doesn't light then you need to go back and find where you are losing your 12 volts at. Keeping the one side of light grounded, move the other lead of the test light to the ignition switch side of the ballast resistor. If you get light there, you have found a bad ignition resistor or bad connection on the resistor. If it does not light there you may have a bad ignition switch or loss of 12 volts to the ignition switch. My guess would be the ballast resistor would be open since those points got as hot as they were. That ballast resistor is "shorted out" by the "I" terminal of the start relay during cranking, but after the engine starts and you let off the key, the resistor is now back in circuit, and the current for the coil flows through it to keep the engine running.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for letting me share some ideas!
 
  #28  
Old 11-07-2018, 03:42 PM
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Progress - some, but not there yet

As expected the response from this forum has been great. Especially with the pictures. I believe my dizzy matches the second photo above with the later “dual advance” (I think that’s what you called it.). The ground braid is there, although I have it under the screw that holds down the right side (hinge post side) of the points.

I have new solenoid, coil, breaker points, condenser, and rotor installed. Points age gapped, as best I can see, to .015 with my blade feeler gage tool. Lube applied to the arm that rides on the shaft lobes.

Now to something that will tell someone what is wrong.

Engine fires and revs with throttle if I keep the key turned to engage the starter. On releasing the key to the run position, the engine dies completely with no sputters or coughs at all. I looked at the ignition switch under the dash. It appears to have been replaced at some time and looks newer that the 63 years that the truck is.

So something is killing my spark (or making it too weak) on moving the key from the “start” to the “run” position. Do you suspect a faulty ignition switch or a fault downstream in the wiring, the solenoid, etc.? I am making progress, but need some more pointers.

Again, FTE and especially the ‘48 - ‘56 forum THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your help. I am certain that someone will have insights on what to do next.
 
  #29  
Old 11-07-2018, 04:29 PM
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Those symptoms describe: 1) A starter relay that has the battery leads reversed. 2) An ignition switch that is wired improperly, or is defective. This can be easily checked with a test light. Also, if the ignition switch has an "accessory" mode, when you start the engine switch to "accessory" instead of "run" and see if the engine continues to run.
 
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:14 PM
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Given that the truck used to run perfectly, I think the wiring must be correct, but has suffered from the shop leaving the key on. The ballast resistor comes to mind, it likely overheated. Do you have a wire from the "I" post on the relay to the coil? That bypasses the ballast while cranking, and would explain why it runs with the key in the Start position but dies when released.

Run a temporary jumper from the (+) battery terminal to the coil (+) terminal, see if that fixes it. But don't leave that connected any longer than needed, or run it without the ballast for more than needed.
 

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