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Old 11-24-2019, 09:36 PM   #1
mike657894
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Default spark off of the distributor.

Car is running ok. I was messing with the mixture on the carb and reving the engine. And I see a spark or the edge or end of a spark inside the end of the advance rod from the ball of the top plate. What may be causing this? I was thinking maybe a short from the top plate pig tail wire. Thought I would ask before taking it apart.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Is your spark rod shorting out on a spark plug? Happened to me with a repro one that somebody threw on my car and bent too far.

If not that, your spark should not be going out, so something is not right. Original points configuration or modern points?
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

old style points. I saw the spark inside that little tin rod end piece that slips over the ball that sticks out of the distributor. I had my wire from my top plate short out before. the tab of metal the wire is soldered to was making contact with the outer body causing a no spark. My first plan of action is to put some liquid electrical tape on that.


not sure if this is relevant but the spark was orange. the sparks at my points are white blue. I havent checked a plug yet. Ive never checked the spark it has always just fired up.

Last edited by mike657894; 11-25-2019 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

That's a weird place to see a spark. Maybe check how clean your distributor ground is? Could be grounding through the spark rod? Does it miss at all when you see that spark?
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanheacox View Post
That's a weird place to see a spark. Maybe check how clean your distributor ground is? Could be grounding through the spark rod? Does it miss at all when you see that spark?


To add to ryan's post.
Clean mechanical connection on dist. and head where the distributor sits on the head.
Clean connection where the ignition cable screws into the dist, and where teh ignition cable clamp attaches to the head stud/head.
Check internal distributor connections from the point block to the dist body.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Is your distributor painted on the lower part that goes into the head? Might be cause of bad grounding.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

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Originally Posted by mike657894 View Post
old style points. I saw the spark inside that little tin rod end piece that slips over the ball that sticks out of the distributor. I had my wire from my top plate short out before. the tab of metal the wire is soldered to was making contact with the outer body causing a no spark. My first plan of action is to put some liquid electrical tape on that.


not sure if this is relevant but the spark was orange. the sparks at my points are white blue. I havent checked a plug yet. Ive never checked the spark it has always just fired up.
That's been a problem for some in the past, adding a ground wire from the battery to the engine may solve your problems! Control rods and engine pans aren't a good ground path.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

I thought engine pans WERE a ground source.
Paul in CT
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

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I thought engine pans WERE a ground source.
Paul in CT
Agreed, they are a ground path. Over time corrosion/etc can affect the quality of the ground, hence some add a cable from the battery frame connection to the motor or trans. - can help especially 6V with the starter. Same concept as adding dedicated grounds to each headlight instead of relying on the head light/head light bar mechanical connections - can help improve brightness of head lights.

Last edited by 30 Closed Cab PU; 11-25-2019 at 02:38 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

the Distributor body is rust colored oiled dark and is probably not grounding. The gap is too large for the upper plate allowing movement of point gap. I will have to get a new body or new distributor. I just got back from the barn. I put a new end on the lower wire. I took out the points. They had a big grey burn spot on them I dug out the points that came with the car and filed on the cratered surface. Im doing this under a lighted magnifing glass. And then I see they have ford script on them. When did ford last make model A points? put them in and set them to 20 thousandths car starts right up. back out of barn go to take off and it stalls get out to redo the timing as I just timed it by looking at it and saying thats about 8 oclock. I was off a few degrees so I look at the gap and its gone!?!?!?! push on the upper plate and the gap moves between 0 and about .060.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Sounds like your upper plate is very worn out. That can affect your point gap quite a bit.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:16 PM   #12
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Im thinking it has too many problems for one part. It needs bushings as well and i dont know what the shaft looks like. Im going to bite the bullet and shell out the 175 for the brattons reproduction of original.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:14 AM   #13
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

My advice to you is just rebuild the thing with new bushings, new shafts, new plates, new points, and maybe a new cam. It is pretty easy and we are here to help. No need to spend money on a new one.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:23 AM   #14
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Before you buy all your parts, check the distributor casting for a crack right where the upper bushing is. My old one was cracked and so was the first core I picked up to rebuild. Very easy to rebuild though, just take your time.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

I would not throw $175.00 at a simple distributor,buy the rebuild kit and you will gain knowledge and get satisfaction for fixing it yourself,if you have questions come back to this forum for answers.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:30 AM   #16
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Alternatives
Bert's - $110 + $35 refundable core charge. https://modelastore.com/electrical?product_id=4196


Bert's - Body/shaft/bushings assembled $40 - Link says core charge, but I do not think there actually is one, call them and confirm. Decent deal if your body and/or plate mounting grooves are worn/cracked, and your plates and other parts are in good shape. https://modelastore.com/electrical?product_id=4200
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:42 AM   #17
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

I will pull it apart and give it a chance. I was thinking If I just bought a new one. This rough running one could be used as a back up. I know it works just runs a little off. It would seem timing adjustments at the wheel alter where the plate sits affecting point gap on the fly. I have had it apart. I would like to just drop in a new one and know it was going to be close to 100 percent.



I will inspect my top plate and groove and look for cracks. If it looks like a new top plate could fix it up I will try it out. I was also thinking if I got a new distributor I would get the pertronix coil. I'm also hearing a voice rattling around in my head "If you need to buy 600 in tires and tubes. 175 for a new distributor just seems a good investment."
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

Understandable. Sometimes you just want things to work instead of having to fuss with things.


I tried to get one good working generator out of 2 bad ones, learned a lot, but was not successful. Learned you can not swap armatures from a bushing style gen. to a bearing style gen.
On one the bearing had spun and created a deep groove in the shaft, the other had an intermittent open armature winding. That's what I get for having bought used generators off e-bay (listings - "generators worked when taken off car"). Both of them installed and lasted 100-200 miles.


So am now of the opinion to spend extra and buy from a reputable vendor, improves my confidence of reliability.
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

The distributor housing is very worn.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:19 PM   #20
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Default Re: spark off of the distributor.

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The distributor housing is very worn.


As in post above, if your other parts are good including the cam.
Bert's - Rebuilt housing/shaft/bushings assembled $40 - Link says core charge, but I do not think there actually is one, call them and confirm. Decent deal if your housing and/or plate mounting grooves are worn/cracked, and your plates and other parts are in good shape. https://modelastore.com/electrical?product_id=4200
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