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Old 09-22-2020, 05:39 PM   #1
deuceflathead
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Default 1961 Ford 390 with Mallory electronic distributor

Fellas
My good friend has a TBird with a fresh 390, The ignition is a Mallory electronic
distributor. It has developed a problem, After running for about 15 min. it stops like you flipped a switch. We pulled a pug and it has no spark. We put on a new coil hoping for a cheap fix. We are afraid it is the expensive distributor, Before we buy a new one I thought we would ask you guys for your thoughts.
Thanks
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:02 PM   #2
Dobie Gillis
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Default Re: 1961 Ford 390 with Mallory electronic distributor

Does it start after the engine cools down a bit? If so then something in the ignition circuit is getting hot and going open circuit. The coil is a logical suspect. Beyond that it could be the dizzy. How new is it? Is it made offshore?
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:40 PM   #3
deuceflathead
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Default Re: 1961 Ford 390 with Mallory electronic distributor

It does start after cooled and runs like a top for 15 min. We did switch out with new coil. Probably 5,000 miles on Mallory distributor which is about 4 yrs old.
When it craps we have power at the coil but no spark at the plugs when we turn it over.
I never had a distributor work intermittently. It usually works or doesnt
Could it be the Mallory?
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:43 PM   #4
dmsfrr
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Default Re: 1961 Ford 390 with Mallory electronic distributor

See if you can find wiring instructions for that specific model of ignition module / distributor.
You may find it with a google search...

Fords of that era originally had either a ballast resistor or resistance wire feeding power to the coil when the ign key is the 'run' position. (image below)
It reduces the voltage thru the coil & points to help the original points last longer, but the resistor may or may not be needed for his particular ignition conversion setup.

If the ignition unit isn't getting the voltage it's spec'd for, it can't work right.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 12v Ignition wiring diagram points, copy.jpg (41.7 KB, 11 views)

Last edited by dmsfrr; 10-03-2020 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 09-23-2020, 12:44 PM   #5
rotorwrench
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Default Re: 1961 Ford 390 with Mallory electronic distributor

I had a 1964 T-bird with the factory transistor ignition. I bought it pretty cheap due to the transistor burning out. I put a set of points and a condenser in it and bypassed the transistor box to get it running again.

If the Mallory set up is still supported like the Unitlite for the FE, it likely just needs a new module. If it's not supported due to being an older unit, you may have to go back to the standard beaker point ignition system or change up. The Unilite modules are usually around $65 depending on what model of distributor you have. Shop around. Some places will charge a lot more.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:20 PM   #6
deuceflathead
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Default Re: 1961 Ford 390 with Mallory electronic distributor

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fellas
thank you so much
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:17 PM   #7
deuceflathead
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Default Re: 1961 Ford 390 with Mallory electronic distributor

Follow up
We did go back to stock distributor with points. Problem solved
Thanks everybody
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