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Old 06-25-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
JOES31
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Default Old Points or Modern Points

What do most of you use? Modern points or Original Points? Below is why I am asking.

When I went to time my Engine as in the picture and instructions Purdy and Tom posted I noticed something different.

What I discovered is that someone changed to the V8 or "Modern" points and plate. I figured that is why when I timed it exactly as explained it didn't seem to have enough retard. I wondered if the modern plate may not have the points located on the plate at the exact same point as the original plate affecting the timing. I think it was Purdy that brought this to may attention.

So I bought new parts and changed back to the original set up. A couple things. First the points pin was not long enough to go through the phenolic and spacer to allow me to put the nut on with the lock washer. I left the lock washer off. Second I could not get the points lined up without filing the adjustment hole on the plate to line up the points block point and points, but I did get them aligned. I had to elongate the hole in the plate a little more. Is this common? I bought the parts from a very reputable source.

When it was all installed I noticed I had continuity between the plate and the points when open. I had to change the position of the wire connector on the bottom of the top plate and bend it down a bit. Should this be bent vertical to keep from shorting or am I tightening it down in the wrong position?

To time it I set the engine at top dead using the the pin and set the points to .020. I loosened the cam just enough to turn it with the cam wrench, put the rotor on with the body and rotated the rotor CCW first past the # 1 then went CW to set it to the picture. I assume this took all of the backlash out at the same time setting the timing correctly as in the picture. Did I do this backwards? It seems right to me.

Car starts fine but does not have that signature sound at full retard. It idles nice with the spark at 9:00 but farther down it idles a little rough. It would seem to me that is a little too advanced or is the way the A's run. Should I retard the timing a little more?

So what do most of you do. Modern points or original points

Thanks for any advice.. You guys are probably tired of all the questions.

Joe

Last edited by JOES31; 06-25-2014 at 02:01 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:26 PM   #2
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Kind of silly asking what do people operate.
Asking for an opinion does not always help when you really need the facts.

The facts as I have best tease them out of the years of reading the boards....

The modern points buy you nothing other then a mis-guided piece of mind that you can buy point anywhere if they go bad. Of course, when was the last time you have heard of a total point failure that left you stranded? Sorry, but a none starter with that argument. Points give you lots of indication they are not happy. Then there is the condenser on the plate away from the heat. That is also a non starter, in either case I would make a point that the burn out proof condenser is the way to go in any case because A&L has better quality control.

-FWIW, the modern V8 condensers have been failing out the box or shortly there after as reported at times on the Mustang forums. Poor quality control today on a contract low bid buy by the big companies.

Too many people have this wrong idea that you need to replace the points on time, not so. You replace the points when they are bad. The contacts or the rubbing block.

The truth is you are likely to get 50+ years out of a good quality used set. My brothers car is still using the aftermarket points that came with the car in 1970. When I was going through the pile of distributors I have I noticed almost all the points were still good. The only ones that looked bad were no name off brands units. I would use any of the used points I have on my Cabriolet I am building, but I have happen to have a couple of sets of NOS Ford points so I will use one of them.

With the original points you have the luxury of easy setting and you can loosen the screws and make the points parallel. Setting the modern type points is a bit of a pain. I do have the special tool for accurately setting them on my Mustang, but that is not the A.

So for all the talk over the years I get a general trend.

People with all original points and plates that take the little bit of time to properly rebuild everything never have any troubles.
On the other hand,
There always seems to be a some thread or another about some issues with the modern points.

So you can rebuild to original and not expect any problems for the rest of your life or you can try your luck with the modern 'improvement'.

As always, do not believe me, take some time to do some searches and learn the facts for yourself.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:53 PM   #3
George Miller
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

My 1928 Sports coupe has 20,000 miles more on the used original points that came with the car. I did replace the wire from the points to the lower plate when I restored the car. Of the 25 Model A's that I have owned I never got new points for them. I always used good used points. The more original parts you can use the better.

I have helped many with so called modern upper and lower plates that failed on the road.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Just went thru this quandary myself and being an electrical engineer I new the condenser heat issue was a moot point. As for the point structure, I like the original much better than the modern style - probably just a preference thing. Both will work.

But - I want my 1931 car to reflect 1931. So that was the deciding factor for me.
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Joe, I used Les Andrews method and it worked for me. Question, is your steering column rotated correctly? What about slop in the dist. itself?

Mike
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:21 PM   #6
Bob C
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Marco posted this picture fo the shape of the terminal on the lower plate.

Bob
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:29 PM   #7
JOES31
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Steering column is set correctly. The upper plate arm touches the body of the cap at full advance and retard.
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:51 PM   #8
jerry shook
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

I don"t think any question asked on this form is silly, i have had the modern points set up on my cars for over 5 years and never had any trouble, have never had to re-adjust them either. I don"t understand why so many people have trouble with them. Guess i am just lucky.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:25 PM   #9
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Hi JOES31,

Old points or Modern Points?

Just one compassionate opinion -- one thoughtful scenario.

1. You & your wife decide to take a vacation in your Model A which does not have all of the Model A Ford type parts sold by all of the Model A vendors.

2. On the third morning out, you see where you need to replace worn brushes on your 1930 Chevrolet's 6 volt generator; plus, your distributor intestines of unknown origin don't seem to be producing spark for the spark plugs.

3. You have a Les Andrews Model A Repair Manual & a new Bratton's catalog under the front seat.

4. So with your cell phone, you call Bratton's phone number to overnight ship your parts to your Motel address.

5. Bratton's employees are nice, but puzzled as to what you have under the hood.

6. So you next call Snyder's & Bert's who really cannot offer much more help either.

7. Then with a touch of senior citizen CRS, you cannot remember whose intestines you placed in your distributor -- & Les's diagrams do not match what you have,

8. You & your wife get on the next Greyhound Bus to ride back home to get your pick-up truck with a tow rope.

9. I really cannot think of the moral of this story -- Can anyone offer something?
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:31 PM   #10
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

I'm another that doesn't have an issue with the modern upper plate, as long its the newer style [within about 10 years].
I've been running one for about 10 years just because I was told they don't work well. Good quality points and condenser should be used though. Its been said they are hard to find today.
I carry a good original type distributor around in the spare parts box, but, haven't needed it yet [ knock on my wooden head].
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:13 PM   #11
JOES31
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

H.L. I don't know the moral to the story. What I do know is....

I would never go on vacation with the A. Airliners are better for vacation and don't break down. Well most don't and if it does I am not going to care.

I would order the correct part numbers that I would need. It's up to me to know what I need not Snyder's, however, they have given me some really good suggestions in the past.

I would probably never have the need to order parts because If I were to be nuts and drive the A on a vacation I would take extra parts with me. At least the ones prone to failure. BTW I have never had points or condenser fail in a regular auto. Only race cars.

I don't have a pick up truck. And if I told my wife to get on a Greyhound she would divorce me if not shoot me.

So H.L. maybe there is a moral to this story.

Don't go on vacation with a Model A. If you should happen to don't take the wife with you.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:51 PM   #12
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Hi JOE31,

Wonderful !!!

Sounds to me like the moral to your particular story is just about as morally perfect as it could ever get.

Also very educational.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:15 PM   #13
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

I use the original setup and have to lube the cam once a year and set the point gap once a year.

I time the ignition per the Marco\service manual and have it set for 0 degree's at TDC. Its easy and simple.

With the spark advance up, it idles with the great Model A sound (also overheats).

Marc
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Miller View Post
My 1928 Sports coupe has 20,000 miles more on the used original points that came with the car. I did replace the wire from the points to the lower plate when I restored the car. Of the 25 Model A's that I have owned I never got new points for them. I always used good used points. The more original parts you can use the better.

I have helped many with so called modern upper and lower plates that failed on the road.
Ditto, Some are going back to the original points, and some have stayed with them because they are the easiest most reliable points to work with. If you need to buy good original points, Jim Sinclair has some for sale, as well as the parts vendors.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Original by all means. No comparison. Modern points are a real pain.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:37 PM   #16
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Quote:
Originally Posted by H. L. Chauvin View Post
Hi JOES31,

Old points or Modern Points?

Just one compassionate opinion -- one thoughtful scenario.

1. You & your wife decide to take a vacation in your Model A which does not have all of the Model A Ford type parts sold by all of the Model A vendors.

2. On the third morning out, you see where you need to replace worn brushes on your 1930 Chevrolet's 6 volt generator; plus, your distributor intestines of unknown origin don't seem to be producing spark for the spark plugs.

3. You have a Les Andrews Model A Repair Manual & a new Bratton's catalog under the front seat.

4. So with your cell phone, you call Bratton's phone number to overnight ship your parts to your Motel address.

5. Bratton's employees are nice, but puzzled as to what you have under the hood.

6. So you next call Snyder's & Bert's who really cannot offer much more help either.

7. Then with a touch of senior citizen CRS, you cannot remember whose intestines you placed in your distributor -- & Les's diagrams do not match what you have,

8. You & your wife get on the next Greyhound Bus to ride back home to get your pick-up truck with a tow rope.

9. I really cannot think of the moral of this story -- Can anyone offer something?
If it ain't broke don't fix it?.

Chet
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:26 PM   #17
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Joe, I think that you still may not have the rotor tip set right in relation to direction of rotational backlash. Go back and remove all of the spark plugs so that you don't have to fight compression. Turn the engine untill you find the timing mark. Now look at where the rotor tip is pointing . Is it pointing exactly like Tom W s picture ? Grasp the rotor and see if it will rotate even the slightest amount in the clockwise direction . If the rotor, rotated at all in the clockwise direction, this will be a large part of the problem. There should be no rotational movement in the clockwise direction after the cam screw is tightened , with the trailing edge of the rotor tip pointing exactly as in Toms pic. Any rotationial movement in the counterclockwise direction won't matter and will have no effect on timing. Think about it like this. The distributor turns in the counter clockwise direction when the engine runs. this means that the distributor shaft is riding on the clockwise end of the backlash. If clockwise backlash remains after the cam screw is tightened, the engine will have to turn to catch up the slack before the shaft of the distributor could begin to move. This would throw off the timing. A person really needs to understand this and be able to adjust out the backlash in the correct direction so as to be able to properly set the timing. I would also check points gap on each lobe of the points cam. A bad points cam won't run good no matter what. I would also check air gap between the rotor tip at each contact in the distributor cap. All of these gaps need to be as close as possible to the same. Some say use a .025 gap. I use a gap of .035 for stronger spark. If the gaps at the rotor tip are to small or uneven, some cylinders will be getting weaker spark than others. This can effect idle and not give full power. If the points don't measure pretty close to the same gap, on each lobe of the cam, you can't expect proper performance. Not trying to be a smartazz, It can't hurt to check, maybe you will find something that will help .
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

It seems to me the OP had 2 questions:
1) how many prefer modern points
(and the OP doesn't given that he just changed back to original style)
2) he is having possible problems getting the original style set up properly
And he revealed he has been involved with race cars so he must have mechanical ability.

Some responders drifted far afield on this one.
The curiosity of what others use aside, he needs some help with #2, of which he got some.

Since you have mechanical ability, why not double/triple check what you have done with your timing by setting up a timing light? Make a mark on the crank pulley, bring #1 up to TDC using the timing pin in the timing cover, attach a piece of stiff wire to a timing cover bolt, and make a pointer out of it pointing to the mark on the crank pulley, grab your timing lite, and see what you have? It is not usually necessary to do this, but since you are not sure of where you are at, it will give you reassurance of what you have done.

Since you have already switched back to Henry's method, I do not understand the need for the lectures on not using modern points.
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:38 AM   #19
JOES31
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Purdy,
Tell me if this is correct to take the backlash our and at the same time set the timing correctly.

Set the engine to TDC using the pin. Then loosen the cam just enough so it can be turned on the shaft. Then put the rotor and body on and turn the rotor CCW past the # 1 contact. Then turn the rotor CW to the correct position in the picture you posted. I am 99.9% sure that this will be the proper setting removing all the back lash as the shaft rotates CCW so it is pushing out the lash. This is what I did. It starts fine and idles smooth with the spark at 9:00. Is this the way it should run.

My main problem is that I really don't know if the engine is running correctly. When I drive it has no acceleration. It does go but maybe 0-50 in 20 seconds and God forbid you get above 50! What I probably need is someone that has a well running A to drive it and tell me if this is the way these things run. I am used to performance and lest face it distributors are long gone. replaced with electronic sequential spark controllers. I was involved with engines a long time ago but mainly performance engines which is a whole another world and since then has completely changed. I could easily jerk that 4 banger and replace it with a turbocharged Offy 4. Now that would run really well but the drive train would last all of a mile and loose it's originality.

Don't mind the lectures. I can always learn something and never tinkered with an A before. I am starting to understand why. I appreciate the help.

Joe

Last edited by JOES31; 06-26-2014 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:44 AM   #20
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Default Re: Old Points or Modern Points

Back in the sixties Motor Trend clocked a Model "A" at 30 seconds 0-60 and 28 seconds in the 1/4 mile. In 1928 it was faster than most ordinary cars. Somewhat akin to driving an early VW bug.
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