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Old 06-23-2015, 06:34 PM   #1
marty in Ohio
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Default condenser problems

Hey, Barners,
I put in my second condenser this year, today. I have a modern top plate in the distributor and I'm sure the polarity in the coil is correct. (red wire on the passenger side of the coil, positive, to the ignition, black wire on the driver's side, negative, to the terminal block). What am I missing? The car quit on the side of the road and lucky for me I had a spare condenser new from Snyder's and the tools to fix it. Unlucky for me the condenser would not fit. (What's up with that Snyder's?) I called a friend who bought one from Autozone and delivered it and I was on my way. What's causing this?
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:45 PM   #2
JD 1931
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Default Re: condenser problems

Condensers have been faulty when bought new at a model a parts supply I use, bought the best one NAPA had, they offer 2 different kinds, and that fix my problem. Have the part # but not handy....
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: condenser problems

Forgot , I also have a modern plate...
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: condenser problems

Marty,

I too have been fighting coil and condenser problems... If you check my thread, you see a coil I tried today that seems OK. Also, I got a crap condenser that made things worse --arcing at the points (see my thread for a video of that.. I'm looking for a new condenser and yes I have a modern plate as well..

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showth...9090&showall=1

What I know:

1) A coil designed for 12 volts cannot put out the same spark voltage and current if you put 6 volts to it.
(akin to gear ratios)

2) A crap new condenser causes arcing at my points:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX_P-pLC04w

3) A clear distributor top helps.

4) Take a close look at your point contacts for oil, dirt etc. and clean them if need be. Mine were dirty.
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Last edited by mshmodela; 06-23-2015 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:22 PM   #5
mshmodela
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Default Re: condenser problems

Gee, Marty you're like 15 miles from me
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:21 PM   #6
Patrick L.
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Default Re: condenser problems

The original and modern points and condensers are different.
The modern plate uses standard Ford points and condenser from the 50s to the 70s. However, its hard to find good high quality points and condensers today for the modern plate. The best I've found are from NAPA and are expensive. I can't remember the part numbers off hand. Any of the cheapies are junk.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: condenser problems

I heard some old times say the cheap ones cannot handle heat.
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Old 06-24-2015, 01:46 AM   #8
Tom Endy
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Default Re: condenser problems

I have always been amused by the folklore that surrounds the Model A condenser. Anytime a car pulls over for some reason on a tour there is sure to be someone in the crowd who says "change the condenser". It is even often suggested on this forum. In 30 years of Model A'ing and about 100,000 miles I have only witnesses one condenser failure, but I have seen countless numbers replaced.

The folklore must come down from the early days of Model A's when they probably did often fail. Stop to consider how far Modern electronics has come since those days. Everything electronic has condensers (capacitors) in it and they seldom fail.

The one failure I have seen in 30 years was on a car where the owner was driving it around town with the spark handle up. The exhaust manifold turned cherry red and melted the solder attaching the ground strap to the base of the condenser. The strap separated from the base and the condenser lost its ground. The condenser itself didn't actually fail, it just lost its ground.

Most of the better suppliers like Bratton's sell a good quality condenser that has the ground strap stake welded to the base of the condenser. It is easily detected by the three small stake dots on the strap. This condenser will last several of our lifetimes.

The ones that have the ground strap soldered on are still around and are sold by some suppliers and are easily detected. They have a single larger circle in the strap and the soldering is visible. These should be avoided.

I am sure there are some failures that do occur to the better quality ones occasionally , but not to the extent that the hobby seems to perpetuate.

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Old 06-24-2015, 02:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: condenser problems

These are the numbers I use in the one I have converted:
CS755- points
FA82 - condenser
These are NAPA Echlin numbers. Stay away from the cheap junk.
Good Luck
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:08 AM   #10
marty in Ohio
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Default Re: condenser problems

Thanks, guys for all the suggestions. A Model A friend of mine runs an original distributor set up and says he has never had a condenser problem . I'm considering going back to that on my car. All the original parts are still in the garage. I have a 6 volt coil and it seems to be OK. Will consider all options.

Yes, Mike we are close. I'm in Elyria.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:50 AM   #11
mshmodela
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Default Re: condenser problems

Rex,

Thanks for the NAPA numbers...
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:34 AM   #12
marty in Ohio
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Default Re: condenser problems

Yes, Rex, thanks for the NAPA numbers. I called NAPA yesterday to see if they had the condenser in stock. They said they sold the last one in their stock on Tuesday but would have one on Thursday morning. I was there when they opened and bought the FA 82. I paid about $9.00 but the crappy one from Auitozone was $6.00.
The only problem was finding a NAPA store in northeast Ohio. I had to drive to Vermilion, about 15 miles away. I guess the Autozones and Advances are giving them a run for their money.
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: condenser problems

Avon Lake and No. Ridgeville both have NAPA stores
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:25 AM   #14
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: condenser problems

The Mustang guys have been complaining about the variable quality of the new condensers.

If you want to not worry about your condensers buy the A&L unit. It is sold by a number of retailers. They are likely paying the extra $.10 for a better rated capacitor rather then Chinese low bid.

My brother has a couple of decades on his A&L condenser.

Of course the ultimate reliability is to fully restore the dist back to factory and oil as per the owners manual. Yes, keep the original style points and DONT change them till they are bad. So at the rate most guys drive their cars you should not do much to the dist for 50 years.
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:40 AM   #15
oliverguy
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Default Re: condenser problems

Get rid of your "modern" condenser plate. 1950's technology not stocked by auto parts stores any longer. When was the last car made with points, maybe 1985? Brattons makes a nice condenser for the correct set up.
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:31 AM   #16
Tom from Drippin'
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Default Re: condenser problems

Any comments on the quality of Borg Warner points and condensers? I just replaced with them. Recommended by my daily driver mechanic. Very few miles and no problems...so far.
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