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Ignition frustration, losing ground

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Old 11-05-2018, 12:45 AM
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Ignition frustration, losing ground

My 56 F-100 with a stock 292 engine was running splendidly, but now it wonít start. It was firing and it would rev to perhaps 1500 rpm and then die suddenly without coughing, sputtering or misfiring. There seems to be no problem with fuel, both filters checked / changed. There is no change on splashing a small bit of fuel into the carb on attempting to start the engine. On checking spark, I was getting yellow, weak spark. That was after I had followed a suggestion and changed the coil. Some reading from HAMB lead me to suspect the condenser. The spare one from Carpenter I have carried in the glove box wouldnít fit. A ninety mile round trip to the nearest open parts store today yielded one that did fit, but now I have no spark at all. It appears that the spare breaker points I had are also not correct, but I will get another set for it tomorrow.

I am working Ďsoloí and my remote starter switch does not seem to work either. Please take a look at my picture post and tell me if this is the correct connection. My existing solenoid does not have the letters S and I above the small posts at the front of the solenoid. The one pictured is a new one that I intend to install. I think the connection I am showing is correct for the remote bump start switch, but it isnít working. My switch could be bad. Have not used it for many years. Perhaps the solenoid is bad, but engine cranks fine through the key switch in the cab.

My troubles began after a visit to a body shop for repair of slight damage from striking a deer. I think the shop may have left the key on for some time. The batter in the truck is relatively new and fully charged. When I collected the truck from the body shop, they jumped it through a booster pack and somehow they connected through the solenoid terminals. They had me get into the cab and turn the key to engage the starter. What parts could be subject to damage / detoriation from the key being left on without the engine running?

I have replaced the coil and the condenser and I am losing ground. I have gone from weak yellow spark to no spark at all. Frustrated. What should I try next?



 
  #2  
Old 11-05-2018, 08:20 AM
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I can't offer much advice. However, if the photo shows how you are actually trying to use the solenoid, it can't work until you attach a wire from the body of the solenoid to the frame of the truck in order to ground the circuit.

That's all I can offer.

Hopefully someone with more knowledge will be along soon.

John
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:22 AM
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Try running your bump switch from the "S" terminal to a good ground. Or if it's a key switch you have, the bump switch clip should be on the other big terminal.
If the ignition key is left on with the engine not running, and the points just happen to be closed, it will fry them. I'm not that familiar with the 292 distributor, but some distributors will have a ground strap from the breaker plate to the housing, which could be your culprit if it has failed.
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:35 AM
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I would also double check that the points/dwell is set correctly.

Let the experts chime in but it might be possible to make a jumper wire to go straight from the coil to the battery to take a lot of the switches and components out of the equation.

Chris
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 1954wrecker View Post
I would also double check that the points/dwell is set correctly.

Let the experts chime in but it might be possible to make a jumper wire to go straight from the coil to the battery to take a lot of the switches and components out of the equation.

Chris
Yes Chris you could do that. But dont leave it connected that way too long as what will happen would be what mixer said about the points burning up and IMHO the coil could get damaged too due to the heat . Along with the other suggestions above look into the coil resistor. If the key was left on it may of gotten hot and opened up or changed to a much higher resistance causing you truck not to run after you let off the starter key or the heat of a hot resistor could of melted open a connection on it. BTW your picture showing you remote start switch connectons look correct to me as long as the battery cable is connected to the large terminal close to the smaller "S" terminal.
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:03 AM
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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.

 
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:28 PM
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A 56 will be negative ground from the factory.
To energize the relay, you need to put power to the S terminal, pic of connections is correct if the battery cable is on the left large terminal. The relay mounting tabs do need to be grounded.
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:08 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the tips and suggestions. And Ross I thought the bump start setup I showed in the photo was correct and that is how I had it setup on the truck. Either my remote switch is bad or the solenoid is bad. I bought anew bump start switch today, so I will have another go at it. I drive about 90 miles M - F to Centralia, WA for Radiation Therapy so I am becoming a regular at a parts store.

Oddly, the spare points and condenser that I have had in the glove box for 2+ years donít seem to fit the distributor plate. I know I ordered correctly from Dennis Carpenter. I have checked at a local NAPA and at an OíReilyís in Centralia and they pull out the same points as my spare ones. The position of the hinge pin and the breaker points is reversed to the points that are in the distributor and which have functioned well for the three years I have owned the truck.

Were there different distributors for 272, 292, and 312 engines? I know my Y-block is not original to the truck. The truck was initially a straight six. Other signs (dipstick placement, an angled thermostat cover) tell me it was originally installed in a Ford car. Block casting numbers do show it to be a 1956 engine from the Cleveland foundry. The identification listing I consulted said it was a 292 or a 312, but only the numbers on the crankshaft main bearing caps would tell for sure. I am confident that it is a 292. . . . . Could a different, compatible distributor have gone into this engine resulting in the different breaker points?

I think I will remove what is in it now and provide a picture comparison to the spare set and perhaps someone on our forum can put me straight on what Iíve got.

My very limited flexibility, failing vision, working solo and with the distributor being quite near the firewall are making work difficult. The daily chemical and radiation therapy makes it so that some days I donít even want to fuss with it, but I will eventually solve the problem.

Sincerely, I want to thank everyone again for the tips and suggestions I have received.
 
  #9  
Old 11-05-2018, 09:49 PM
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'57 was when the distributor changed. Ford used the same points & condenser, cap & rotor up until ~1974, not sure on the points & condenser but the cap & rotor on a '56 would be different. I suggest the Pertronix Ignitor would be a good choice if mobility is an issue?
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:34 PM
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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.
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:35 PM
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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
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:47 PM
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Hello I have a question. Forgive me if I have missed it in this thread. Have you tried boosting/jumping the battery off? I know you said it is relatively new. But it is worth a shot
 
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:23 PM
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Hey Rob,
Hang in there! So.. What does your battery voltage read?
I've had some very strange symptoms when the battery just isn't bringing enough voltage.

Ben in Austin
1950 F1
 
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Tedster9 View Post
'57 was when the distributor changed. Ford used the same points & condenser, cap & rotor up until ~1974, not sure on the points & condenser but the cap & rotor on a '56 would be different. I suggest the Pertronix Ignitor would be a good choice if mobility is an issue?
I agree with Ted. Ditch the points and go with a Pertronixs Ignitor module and coil. No more messing with setting the points and worrying about if you got a good condensor etc. If you do that you could eliminate the resistor that feeds the coil too.
 
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:15 AM
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I am sure you have cleaned the plate that the points sit on , I had a problem one time when the bottom of the points had corrosion and they didn't ground to the distributor plate
 

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