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Old 04-23-2018, 09:29 PM   #1
BakesJr
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Default Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

I can not get my car to idle or barely run at any RPM. Ive gone through the carb and feel my issues are with the distributor. I have replaced the lower plate. The rotor to points gap will vary from .01 to .08 (that's a MILE). What is wore or where do I begin looking? Should I pull the entire distributor out and inspect? I want this car to be close to a daily driver in the summers. What are my best options for a reliable distributor?
This car is a barn find that has never been restored and has not been driven or running good for 15-20 years.
The previous owner did have it running briefly before I purchased it but I was not present to hear how it ran.
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

I have timed the car a few different times also with the Nu-rex wrench.
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

If your points gap is varying that much, I'd have a look at the shaft bearings. It is a simple job to replace them and all of the vendors will carry them. Handle the housing carefully. Other than that, maybe a bent shaft?
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

Ditto with what Syncro said, probably bushings and or shaft is wore, could be the cam too, just grab the shaft and see how much play is there to help isolate it. Here's a link that may help, good luck

http://www.santaanitaas.org/wp-conte...Techniques.pdf
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

I suspect your problem may be a partially plugged fuel Line. If this car sat around for years and gas had been left in the tank it went sour and moisture created rust. Blow air from the carburetor end of the fuel line back into the tank to see if the air gets there. You should also have a solid stream of fuel coming out the carburetor end of the fuel line with the tank valve open.


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Old 04-24-2018, 12:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

If the fuel system seems to be OK, check compression. All cylinders should have compression and all readings should be similar. If the engine has not run for some period of time, compression may vary more than what it would be expected if the engine had recently run.


Even if it is a fuel related problem or lack of compression, you still need to fix the distributor.


Along with checking the shaft and bushings also take a look at the center hole in the upper plate. if it is badly worn or the distributor casting is worn where it fits thru this hole, the point setting will vary if you move the upper plate side to side.


My opinion,


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Old 04-24-2018, 12:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

I can "read" your frustration.

While the distributor cam can rotate it cannot wobble. If you can grab the cam and move it back and forth you will need new bearings in the distributor.

Another common cause of the gap changing is a worn top plate. The top plate should not move back and forth. If it fits loose in the distributor you can either replace it with a questionable reproduction or fix it by using these instructions;

Fix the top plate
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

Thanks guys, I will do some more diagnosing. I am using a small lawn mower gas tank that I know is clean as a donor tank. I have removed the gas tank and cleaned out good but wanted to eliminate that risk for now.
How large should the gap be when the points fully open?
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

20 thousandths I believe
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

If you do back blow the fuel system with air, remove your tank cap and use a regulated amount of low pressure, and make sure that your fuel tank valve is operating correctly.
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

Rebuild distributor, check timing gear for ware, if you have one piece distributor shaft might be bent. Carburetor has to be right, do you understand how it works, richness control, mixture control, float level, etc? Dirt in gas tank and/or line.

Compression, fuel, and spark. Simple! Worn parts will really cause you headaches. Enjoy.
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Old 04-24-2018, 08:31 AM   #12
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

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Originally Posted by BakesJr View Post
I can not get my car to idle or barely run at any RPM. Ive gone through the carb and feel my issues are with the distributor. I have replaced the lower plate. The rotor to points gap will vary from .01 to .08 (that's a MILE). What is wore or where do I begin looking? Should I pull the entire distributor out and inspect? I want this car to be close to a daily driver in the summers. What are my best options for a reliable distributor?
This car is a barn find that has never been restored and has not been driven or running good for 15-20 years.
The previous owner did have it running briefly before I purchased it but I was not present to hear how it ran.
First thing I would do is replace the condensor.

"The rotor to points gap will vary from .01 to .08".
What do you mean by that?
Are you referring to the rotor to distributor body? Or the points gap?
Is that .01 to .08" or .001 to .008"
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Old 04-24-2018, 10:25 AM   #13
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

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Originally Posted by Pinesdune View Post
20 thousandths I believe
The British would say, "20 THOU"---That's OK, cuz it means the same thing. I had to be TOTALLY re-trained, whin I started workin' on JAGUARS!!!
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Old 04-24-2018, 10:32 AM   #14
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

As many of us advise, on a regular basis, find your local Model A Club, join and ask for help. Helping new Model A owners is what clubs do. Go to MAFCA.com and look up the closest club. Since you are new to the Model A, most of the suppliers will supply you with a rebuilt distributor with an exchange of your current one. This purchase would be well worth the money. We're all pulling for you. Ernie
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:01 AM   #15
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

Nu-Rex will not compensate for distributor body movement on the base.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:11 AM   #16
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

Sounds like a vacuum leak to me or a sticking intake. If you are talking about, .001 to .008 that is not good but that is not your problem.
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Old 04-24-2018, 08:33 PM   #17
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

Since you are using an "auxiliary" tank make sure that the fuel line has only a downward slope to the carburetor. Do not let it loop low and come back up to the carburetor. Not saying that this is your trouble but I have found that a low loop can contribute to running problems.

Also check your flexible wire in the distributor. If the wires are frayed or one of the connections are questionable replace it.

While the engine is running spray starting fluid all around the manifold connections to the engine. If there is a change in engine speed you have a bad gasket or cracked manifold.
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Old 04-24-2018, 10:23 PM   #18
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

My personal experience with distributors has been rather challenging also.

I removed the distributor to enable me to better examine the components. I also used a volt meter / continuity tester troubleshoot the distributor on the bench. I found it to be rather difficult to get the wire connected to the upper plate positioned correctly so it would not ground out to the body of the distributor when it was moved to adjust the spark. The insulator between the upper plate and the wire is essential.

I also suspected worn bushings in the distributor housing since I was experiencing the same issue with a varying point gap. Upon examination, I found the distributor cam had one lobe worn down further than the others.

After going through the distributor and reinstalling it, I found the problems were still not fixed. It ran better, but I still had other issues. After more troubleshooting I found I had a fuel problem, as well as an ignition switch that was intermittently losing electrical continuity.

Since your vehicle has been sitting for so long, don’t be surprised if you find multiple problems.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:33 AM   #19
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

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Originally Posted by BILL WILLIAMSON View Post
The British would say, "20 THOU"---That's OK, cuz it means the same thing. I had to be TOTALLY re-trained, whin I started workin' on JAGUARS!!!
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I didn't know that working on a Jaguar could improve terminology pronunciation.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: Distributor Ignorance and HIGH Level of frustration

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I didn't know that working on a Jaguar could improve terminology pronunciation.
Prolly not but it world improve the vocabulary of swear words!
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