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Old 06-02-2012, 10:09 PM   #1
cp5491r
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Default Help! distributor

My A hasn't run for many years and wouldn't start. Thought distributor was shorted so decided to add new lower plate with long pigtail, new upper plate with points and condensor, new plugs, etc. I have no spark at the points. I do have voltage to tip of ignition cable but when I screw it into the distributor no volts go up to points. Can this be anything other than a short in the new upper or lower plate? I thought everything was clear and not grounded out.
Any help GREATLY appreciated.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:14 PM   #2
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Help! distributor

You probably screwed the cable too far into the dist & shorted it out. Usually they only screw in 2 or 3 threads or so. Bill W.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
Milton
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Default Re: Help! distributor

Not knowing your mechanical expertise are you checking for voltage at the points with the points open? It could be either a short or an open because, with the points closed it is a short to ground or if the pigtail is faulty it could be an open.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help! distributor

Thanks for the thoughts. I also thought maybe it was screwed in too far but have tried it at various amounts without success. I checked for voltage with the points closed and also then opened them and got no spark when opening the points. Any other thoughts or am I left to take the plates back out...and re-time it all
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Help! distributor

With the points closed you will not get a voltage reading because the points are both at ground potential. Either turn the engine until the points are open or put an insulator i.e. cardboard in between the points. The fixed point will read zero and the moving point (arm mounted) should read six volts.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:54 AM   #6
dave in australia
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Default Re: Help! distributor

Is it an original armoured cable, or a replacement part. A friend bought a replacement armoured cable and an ignition switch to match, he couldn't get a pop-out switch, just to explain why he went replacement. So, after he installed it, I was invited around to assist with the start. It was his first A, as well as the first time the car was to be started during restoration. After a few cranks, no spark, so we start to find why. We found that the cable was wound in too far, he didn't realise it doesn't go in until it goes no further. Disconnect it from the switch and head clamp, unscrew it a few turns and all should be good. Just to make sure, we check it out with a meter, and all is good, no short. Re-install the instrument facia and switch and try to start it again.
Still no spark. Start to check the system again, and find a second short, and this one is on the back of the switch. Because it is an replacement switch, it is different to the pop-out, and one of the terminal screws was touching the tank behind the instrument facia. The offending screw was removed, filed a few threads off, allowing it to screw in further, then re-installed the switch and facia again. The system was checked over with a meter, no shorts, so we go again.
Third try at starting, and still no spark. Check the sytem with the battery disconnected and ignition on, and we have a short, turn the key off, and now the short remains. We very carfully remove one piece at a time, metering everything, until the short disappears. As we remove the facia, the short vanishes. So, as we move the facia back into position, the short re-appears. The only thing that is moving is the wire from the switch to the distributer, down inside the armoured cable. The armoured cable is removed, and we find the third short in the system. Because the armour windings don't go all the way to the switch, the way the manufacturer finished the open end left a sharp barb on the winding itself. This cut its way through the insulation of the wire an caused a third short.
Three shorts in one system from switch to distributer.
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Help! distributor

When you have the distributer cap off checking the points, where is the coil wire and cap at? If it just dangles down it can ground on the engine and steal the spark. When this happens I always here it though and then I remember to move it.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Help! distributor

All good thoughts I'll try again. The distributor cap has been dangling so I'll watch for that and also insulate the points and test. It is a replacement cable but armored all the way up (the 1/8" armored cable). I'll also test with the ignition facia back on to make sure it isn't grounding on the gas tank.
I appreciate all of the feedback and will keep you posted!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:17 PM   #9
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Success! I tested my switch and ignition cable and all was good. It had to be a ground in the distributor. I took out the upper and lower plate (both new styles) and it appears the lower plates extension arm (where the original style condenser screws into) was bent just far enough out that it was touch the distributor body. Since I had the new style upper plate, there was no condenser inside the distributor to push the extension tab in far enough not to ground. I bent it in slightly, put it back together and re-timed it. The car started right off! It's running a little rough and loud- besides a muffler, I'm wondering if the manifold gasket has a leak? I thought I saw a spark or two from the front of the engine after starting it. I have to watch it... any ideas?
Thanks!!!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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Congratulations!

With the engine warm and running shoot a smoke inducing agent (WD-40?) in the carb intake and look for smoke around the manifold.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:49 PM   #11
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Great idea.
The kids couldn't wait for a ride so we drove it for about 30 minutes. It was running a little better but still needs adjusting and sounds like it is sucking some air. Thanks for all the help. My dad must be smiling down.
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