Notices
1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

Smoking ballast resistor

 
  #1  
Old 07-06-2004, 09:51 AM
himmelberg's Avatar
himmelberg
himmelberg is offline
Posting Guru
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Midland, Texas
Posts: 1,002
himmelberg is starting off with a positive reputation.
Smoking ballast resistor

Installed a new intake and carbs. In the process I moved the coil and ballast resistor to the firewall. I changed out an old ground strap from the engine block to the firewall.

Now, upon attempting to start the engine the ballast resistor smokes and seems that we're not getting any fire in the hole. There is a Jacobs prostreet system installed that has been working great, giving instant starts and good service for a year.

Any advice on what is causing the smoke (I'm assuming lots of heat). The fittings are tight and wired as it came apart... neg to the dist primary, pos to the bottom of the resistor, ignition wire to the top of the resistor. Thanks. himmelberg
 
  #2  
Old 07-06-2004, 09:55 AM
Happyford
Happyford is offline
Junior User
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: banning
Posts: 62
Happyford is starting off with a positive reputation.
I had the same problem on my vw sandrail(not a ford I know but a points system is a points system.) and as weird as it sounds I took the coil and ballist resitor off and went with a bosh blue coil. Never had a problem after that. Hope this helps you.
 
  #3  
Old 07-06-2004, 01:59 PM
innecity4wheelin's Avatar
innecity4wheelin
innecity4wheelin is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St.Paul, MN
Posts: 339
innecity4wheelin is starting off with a positive reputation.
you have to have a wire crossed or something, as it sounds it is shorting on that line, drawing power too much power whatever. is the coil getting hot? not getting spark is a good sign that maybe the engine ground is poor? take the resistor off, most times it isnt necessary, put a fuse in its place, i bet it blows, i am not too familiar with ohm meters, thats not my area,
i had a bad ground once, that energy finds any path to negative it can get, the coat hanger on my exhaust was red hot and i wondered another time why my truck wouldnt start after doing exhaust and cut the coat hanger.

make sure you are getting 12-14 volts off the ignition.
not sure but i hope it gives you some ideas, i would start triple checking all the way from the alternator wiring, to pinched wiring, to bad ground connection.
 
  #4  
Old 07-06-2004, 02:56 PM
mt54's Avatar
mt54
mt54 is offline
Posting Guru
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Northwestern PA
Posts: 1,074
mt54 is gaining momentum as a positive member of FTE.
Is it poss that the spring resistor in the rear is grounding on the firewall ????
 
  #5  
Old 07-06-2004, 03:40 PM
innecity4wheelin's Avatar
innecity4wheelin
innecity4wheelin is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St.Paul, MN
Posts: 339
innecity4wheelin is starting off with a positive reputation.
that could be too i bet, usually its the most obvious
 
  #6  
Old 07-06-2004, 05:29 PM
fatfenders's Avatar
fatfenders
fatfenders is offline
Post Fiend
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Iowa
Posts: 5,783
fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.
It isn't terribly rare for a B.R. to smoke a little if you leave the ignition on. That is why it is housed in ceramic. But if she won't start you obviously got trouble. Easy to check them is with an ohmeter. Of course you need to know the resistance spec. You need to know it anyway so you can get one on the road if you had to. You generally just have to be close and she'll run.
 
  #7  
Old 07-06-2004, 08:40 PM
himmelberg's Avatar
himmelberg
himmelberg is offline
Posting Guru
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Midland, Texas
Posts: 1,002
himmelberg is starting off with a positive reputation.
I redid the ground strap from firewall to engine block... again. I wirebrushed the firewall under the BR attachment. I tweaked all of the fittings. It wanted to start but seems I've yet to sort out my carbs.

Here's my wiring diagram... see any glaring error?



thanks guys. himmelberg
 
  #8  
Old 07-06-2004, 09:04 PM
fatfenders's Avatar
fatfenders
fatfenders is offline
Post Fiend
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Iowa
Posts: 5,783
fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.
Peter

Your diagram is according to Hoyle. Do you have spark? If you don't, get a new BR. Are you using a Jacobs BR? If a new Jacobs BR is not handly, find out what resistance they recommend. I bet you can get close enough at the local parts store for under 10 bucks for now. I ran the wrong one on my MSD coil for a little while. It was off on the resistance,ran just fine and smoked a bit until the correct one came in from MSD. Run a decent quality BR when this is all over. As you know, they will flat strand you when they fail. And they are hot as a pistol even when everything is fine. The voltage reduction has to go somewhere.
 
  #9  
Old 07-06-2004, 09:27 PM
53fatfndr's Avatar
53fatfndr
53fatfndr is offline
Postmaster
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Earth
Posts: 2,560
53fatfndr is gaining momentum as a positive member of FTE.53fatfndr is gaining momentum as a positive member of FTE.
Is a ballast resistor just for a points system??? or is it used for an electronic ignition system too? I'm getting ready to wire my truck with a Painless Wiring kit, and in the directions the balast resistor appears to be optional, but there is no reason why. Any thoughts?
 
  #10  
Old 07-06-2004, 09:35 PM
Gear Up
Gear Up is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Breckenridge, Minn.
Posts: 432
Gear Up is starting off with a positive reputation.
If you don't have fire in the hole when trying to start the engine you need to locate the point of grounding while in the starting mode. The ballast resistor isn't part of the circuit until you go into the run side of the ignition. You say it tries to fire; Is that in the start mode only? If so, then I would agree with fenders that you need to replace the Ballast Resistor. Make sure that it isn't grounding on the firewall. In the staring mode you should have close to 11 volts due to the draw from the starter and in run mode it should read close to 8 volts. Good Luck.

Gear Up
 
  #11  
Old 07-06-2004, 10:04 PM
fatfenders's Avatar
fatfenders
fatfenders is offline
Post Fiend
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Iowa
Posts: 5,783
fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.fatfenders has a good reputation on FTE.
Originally Posted by 53fatfndr
Is a ballast resistor just for a points system??? or is it used for an electronic ignition system too? I'm getting ready to wire my truck with a Painless Wiring kit, and in the directions the balast resistor appears to be optional, but there is no reason why. Any thoughts?
Ballast resistor, or resistor wire basically consumes voltage and drops the voltage at the coil to about half system voltage once the engine is running. All 12 volts (minus drop cause by starter) is used by coil during start mode for a hot spark to start engine. My late 70s style electronic ignition uses a ballast resistor. A coil that gets 12V when running can literally explode.

And Gear up explained much it better. If the engine starts, but immediately dies when you return the key to run position is classic BR failure.
 

Last edited by fatfenders; 07-06-2004 at 10:10 PM.
  #12  
Old 07-07-2004, 08:24 AM
GreatNorthWoods's Avatar
GreatNorthWoods
GreatNorthWoods is offline
Post Fiend
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Littleton, New Hampshire
Posts: 8,583
GreatNorthWoods is a name known to allGreatNorthWoods is a name known to allGreatNorthWoods is a name known to allGreatNorthWoods is a name known to allGreatNorthWoods is a name known to allGreatNorthWoods is a name known to all
Originally Posted by himmelberg
I redid the ground strap from firewall to engine block... again. I wirebrushed the firewall under the BR attachment. I tweaked all of the fittings. It wanted to start but seems I've yet to sort out my carbs.

Here's my wiring diagram... see any glaring error?



thanks guys. himmelberg
Peter,

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there should be a second wire connected to the side of the ballast resistor going to the coil. This wire should come from the starter solenoid and provide 12V to the points when you turn the switch to "start". As soon the switch returns from "start" to "on", the wire at the other end of the ballast resistor provides 12V though the resistor which is reduced to 6V at the points. You should have 12 Volts for starting even through points.

Vern
 
  #13  
Old 07-07-2004, 01:55 PM
ahawes
ahawes is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 129
ahawes is starting off with a positive reputation.
my 59 was doing the same sort of thing, not sure if it was smoking or not. it would try to start but as soon as my key went back to the run position it died.
had to disconnect my starter wire and psuh start it holding it in the start position all the way home. i replaced the resistor and everything was fine.
adam
 
  #14  
Old 07-07-2004, 03:11 PM
himmelberg's Avatar
himmelberg
himmelberg is offline
Posting Guru
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Midland, Texas
Posts: 1,002
himmelberg is starting off with a positive reputation.
If it is humanly possible to make this more complicated... here goes.
'Fenders... I stuck my multimeter on ohms, calibrated it to zero... and got no reading when touching both BR prongs with the probes.

Gear... how would it ground to the firewall? The base bolted to the coil holder on the original manifold... does this ground the unit? Do I ground this way or do I isolate the base from the firewall?

Vern... the wiring hasn't changed since I installed the Jacobs stuff. It has performed flawlessly for a year. I've merely moved the coil and BR to the firewall. However, your comment raises the question... what of that mystery wire? See which.



I assume that my next step is to find another BR. Appreciatively. himmelberg
 
  #15  
Old 07-07-2004, 08:33 PM
himmelberg's Avatar
himmelberg
himmelberg is offline
Posting Guru
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Midland, Texas
Posts: 1,002
himmelberg is starting off with a positive reputation.
A breakthrough...

An afternoon's research has answered some questions. My trusty old Motors manual answered the BR questions.

'Fenders... ground one probe, turn on ignition switch, touch each BR in turn and note the difference in readings. My BR is ok.

Vern... Motors shows me 4 coil setups used on early ignitions. The one you mentioned is included...

The coils and resistors are matched... mixing is bad. I guess my next step is to dismantle the Jacobs and start from scratch. I really wish I could leave the BR on the firewall... have to find the answer to the ground question. Thanks. himmelberg
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Smoking ballast resistor


Contact Us - About Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.