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Old 01-02-2020, 05:40 PM   #1
chiro
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Default crab distributor setup

I have one of Bubba's crab distributors on my 59AB flathead V8. It's just great. However, I'm wondering what you guys do when you want to check the points. I don't have a $7000.00 KR Wilson fixture that's made out of unobtanium nor a Sun distributor machine either

Does anybody make an aftermarket fixture that I can use to set the points when it's time to do it? Yes, I'm aware of the measuring method for setting timing and points but find that kind of like it's really not accurate.
Thanks,
Andy
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:48 PM   #2
KiWinUS
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

So please tell us what you would pay for a fixture that would allow you to set up your distributor accurately. That may help us guide you.
Cheers
Tony
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:50 PM   #3
35fordtn
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

Andy,
A simple dwell meter will tell you if they need adjusting or not.. While with a machine you can adjust the dwell while spinning, you cannot on a car... but you can at least check it to see if it even needs adjusting that way.

Most rebuilders and I am sure Bubba as well can easily check them for you at any given time with little turnaround time..

We charge $25.00 just to adjust one that someone else has rebuilt, or free if we rebuilt it.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

I bought an old dwell/tach of eBay a couple of years ago for $20 plus shipping. I used it to set the dwell on the Mallory dual point in my '51. It was mainly trial and error (tweak the points and re-check), but it didn't take long to get it where I wanted it. I would imagine it would work the same way on a pre-8BA except it's a little more difficult to work on because of the location of the distributor.

The current meters that use 12 volt power won't work in a 6 volt car; you need the kind that doesn't require external power.
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Old 01-02-2020, 08:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

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Originally Posted by tubman View Post
I bought an old dwell/tach of eBay a couple of years ago for $20 plus shipping. I used it to set the dwell on the Mallory dual point in my '51. It was mainly trial and error (tweak the points and re-check), but it didn't take long to get it where I wanted it. I would imagine it would work the same way on a pre-8BA except it's a little more difficult to work on because of the location of the distributor.

The current meters that use 12 volt power won't work in a 6 volt car; you need the kind that doesn't require external power.
Hmmmmmm . . . wondering if you can do the same thing I've done with a timing light. Could you connect the negative side of the 12V battery to the frame and them the positive side to the dwell meter . . . while at the same time you're still running the 6V system? Just pondering out loud . . . as I'm away from my equipment on vacation in the Black Hills of SD.

Happy 2020 Gang!
B&S
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Old 01-02-2020, 08:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

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Consider the "shade tree" alternative.

Millions of people drove and even raced flatheads without the benefit of a distributor machine or dwell meter. Just be sure the points make good flat contact and adjust the gap precisely. If the points are burned even a little, they must be replaced or filed flat. Easier said than done, because whenever you tighten the points down, the adjustment moves a little. Just keep fiddling with it until both are set right when tightened down. Be sure the vacuum brake is making light contact with no vacuum. Set the timing at the center mark and see if the engine pings when accelerating in second gear or going up a hill. Sounds like someone shaking a few small pebbles in a can. If not, advance one mark and try again. Keep advancing and testing until she pings; then back off one mark (2 degrees). To advance, move the screw head up. On modern regular gas you should be able to advance two, maybe three marks. The engine will run stronger and cooler.

"Get home trick" Always carry spare condenser and a strip of medium Emory paper to fold over and drag back and forth between the points to take off a high spot when the condenser fails and the points burn. Even if you don't have the spare condenser, this may get you far enough to get to a proper repair..
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Old 01-02-2020, 09:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

I have a 12 volt powered dwell/tach meter as well, and I tried a few things (including inserting a 12 volt battery into the mix) and couldn't get it to work on my car. My meter is kinda old, so maybe a more modern unit could work; it's worth a try. To tell the truth, I didn't try a lot of things for fear of damaging the meter.
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

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Originally Posted by Bored&Stroked View Post
Hmmmmmm . . . wondering if you can do the same thing I've done with a timing light. Could you connect the negative side of the 12V battery to the frame and them the positive side to the dwell meter . . . while at the same time you're still running the 6V system? Just pondering out loud . . . as I'm away from my equipment on vacation in the Black Hills of SD.

Happy 2020 Gang!
B&S
With my dwell meter this can be done.. just did this exact thing on my 1937 Ford last week, as I was too lazy to remove and install on my sun machine.. PS the dwell meter I was using cost me all of $28 NEW


Jim Linder (bubba) builds a fine distributor, so I would imagine it would be many thousand miles before the dizzy needs adjusting..
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:44 PM   #9
chiro
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

Yes, Jim does indeed build a fine distributor and I am thankful for him and will probably order a spare from him just in case. However, I like to work on my own stuff too and was wondering about any after market (non KR Wilson) timing fixtures that may be available.
Andy
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Old 01-03-2020, 01:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

I am responding to your question showing you there are other timing fixtures made when the cars were new I am not trying to sell the fixture. I have had the Kem timing device for about 10 - 12 years have not tried to use and have not seen another like it. See attached photos.
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Old 01-03-2020, 01:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

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I am responding to your question showing you there are other timing fixtures made when the cars were new I am not trying to sell the fixture. I have had the Kem timing device for about 10 - 12 years have not tried to use and have not seen another like it. See attached photos.
I have this one as well. Same as you, I've never tried to use it.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

I have two of those KEM fixtures, while they will set up the points they do not give you a dwell number like the KRW fixture does.

The KRW fixture does everything one would need, except it will not test for point bounce, which in my opinion is imperative to check. You would have to have a Sun Machine or such for that purpose.

You can usually find a old working Sun Machine reasonable if you look hard enough.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:54 PM   #13
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

Just put a Pertronix conversion in the crab then you wont need any timing fixtures or lots of dollars for such a device. Thats what I do.
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

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Just put a Pertronix conversion in the crab then you wont need any timing fixtures or lots of dollars for such a device. Thats what I do.
Ronnieroadster
Ditto on the Pertronix to eliminate bouncing, burning, wearing points. Never had a failure of Pertronix, but I carry a spare distributor with points to get me home when it does crap out.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:48 PM   #15
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

I've got pertronix in my '48(was in it when I bought it) and just got one for my '46. Instructions don't tell how to time it. do you just install , start it and "fine tune" with the slight adj on the side. Kenny -Z Hills
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:28 AM   #16
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

Michael, you do a lot of distributors therefore gather a bunch more experience on certain issues than we amateurs do. Thanks for sharing.

Your mentioning point bounce and the frequency that you encounter it ... do you use a spring tension gauge? Is it a reliable indicator of point function?

As a separate question, with the number of bad points that are being supplied, how do you avoid selling some of them and having to deal with come-backs?

Wouldn't a roadside fruit and vegetable stand be less trouble?
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Old 01-04-2020, 03:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

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Originally Posted by the99car View Post
I've got pertronix in my '48(was in it when I bought it) and just got one for my '46. Instructions don't tell how to time it. do you just install , start it and "fine tune" with the slight adj on the side. Kenny -Z Hills



Yes thats exactly what you do. However I go a bit farther I increase the slot opening a bit more so additional timing adjustment can be accomplished. Being a Hot Rodder i always try to improve where i can and you might even experience better fuel economy when your done.
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:35 PM   #18
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Default Re: crab distributor setup

That's a good idea, RonnieRoadster.

Has anyone tried the Stromberg version?
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