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Old 12-28-2019, 06:02 PM   #1
cajunfirehawk
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Talking barn HELP for my 36...(FIXED!!) UPDATED 1/19/2020

Ok Gents, I need some help
Been fighting an issue w/my 1936 21 stud flathead since late summer;
I took my car for a test run in early Sept for about a mile and it left me stranded from what I thought was a bad gas/trash related issue, while driving about 6 blocks from my house it started to stumble and back fire and slowly died. Had to tow her home.



Since then I have changed:
  • fuel tank
  • fuel pump
  • rebuilt helmet dizzy set on bench machine
  • rebuilt fuel pump
  • rebuilt carbs (holley 94 & stromberg 97)
  • plug wires
  • coil w/internal resistor
  • condenser
  • fuel filters (due to trash left over from old tank)
To date, TODAY was the longest I was able to keep it running, usually it would run for about 15-30 seconds and die, today it will idol almost endlessly but when you try to give it any gas it like stumbles and want to load up...only change today was I took the wires off the dizzy end and checked the connections and found some of the terminals were not pushed all the way into the caps. Double checked all of the plug wires and they are correct per the numbers on the caps and many online illustrations, original to the car flathead. But it is still not running the way it should, the idol mixture screws on that stromberg 97 are screwed out less than 3/4 of 1 turn. Fuel pressure and engine vacuum are as shown. Open to any suggestions!

Video below;
https://youtu.be/XGnfJEmKcsE


(background noise in video is shop fan)
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Last edited by cajunfirehawk; 01-20-2020 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:43 PM   #2
Ggmac
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Stick a vacuum gauge on it and see what it's saying . I'd check to see the exhaust is clear and no blockage . The vacuum gauge will go down steadily till it stalls . Of course other things will give like readings .
How soon after it dies can you restart it ?
Orig or rebuilt coil ? 6 or 12 volt
Sorry didn't get the video to run on the service I'm using
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:53 PM   #3
Brian
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Condenser....I know, you've changed it....change it again
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Old 12-29-2019, 02:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

If it were mine, I'd fire it up and while idling I'd pull the coil wire out of the coil 'til I could see the spark jumping...should jump at least 3/8" and be blue and "snap" audibly. You won't get shocked because you'll be holding the dist side of the wire.

If spark is good, I'd play with the choke to see if it helps/hurts the way it runs.
Next I'd look in the distributor to see if maybe the spark is jumping through the rotor to the shaft. It happens sometimes. That can be hard to check because you can't do it running. A different rotor helps rule that out.

And oh...the adapter on the dist for the external coil? The spring that contacts the points strap can bend and barely touch ground. That one got me once...
And yes, don't trust a condenser even if it's new.



Terry
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Look in the service bulletins ,they show how to make a high tension checking tool ,so you can check all the HT parts in the dist.
all you need is a Model T coil and a battery.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

did you rebuild the original distributor? did you change the distributor rotor? did you insulate the distributor shaft that goes thru the rotor ? I had a distributor that would do what you are talking about. checked out great on two distributor machines and the k r Wilson set up box. it turned out to be a rotor that was grounding out on the distributor shaft
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Old 12-30-2019, 01:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Condenser....I know, you've changed it....change it again
As Brian says, replace the condenser again. You could fit it up on the coil for ease of replacement. Remove the original one off the dist plate. I don't like the way your coil is vibrating, not good for it so fix its mounting bracket. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

From the video what I'm getting:

*12volt Bosche coil, so it's 12volt (i'm guessing).

*Conversion dizzy coil cap, so still running duel points.

*Those red plug wires, guessing they are not spiral carbon, but solid copper core.
(solid core for points)

*Fuel pressure around 2-4, that is good.

*Vacuum around 15", 15" is too low for a engine, it should read a fairly steady 19" and when you step on it, it will drop to around 3-5" (not 0"). Adjust the idle and air screws on the carb to get it to around 19". That will help first off. (It bounces a little but that should improve as it runs more (valves maybe a little sticky)).


The hot engine shutdown... as mentioned, try another condenser (out of the box new is not always great).

Also may want to pull some plugs and see what they look/smell like after it quits.

good luck!

Last edited by Tinker; 12-30-2019 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Is the wire from the coil to the dist fully seated in the coil??
Paul in CT
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:29 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Thanks for all of the feedback, some answers below...(in bold)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1931 flamingo View Post
Is the wire from the coil to the dist fully seated in the coil??
Paul in CT
YES, just the boot was pushed back...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
From the video what I'm getting:

*12volt Bosch coil, so it's 12volt (i'm guessing).
YES, (tried 2 coils!)
*Conversion dizzy coil cap, so still running duel points.
YES, new...
*Those red plug wires, guessing they are not spiral carbon, but solid copper core.
(solid core for points)
YES, solid core
*Fuel pressure around 2-4, that is good.

*Vacuum around 15", 15" is too low for a engine, it should read a fairly steady 19" and when you step on it, it will drop to around 3-5" (not 0"). Adjust the idle and air screws on the carb to get it to around 19". That will help first off. (It bounces a little but that should improve as it runs more (valves maybe a little sticky).
If I adjust air/fuel screws out further it starts back firing thru muffler every so often, really want to think not getting enough voltage Checking ignition switch next! Condenser is Echlin FA54. Already did compression test and all cylinders had better than 80 lbs AND I also poured marvel mystery oil down each cylinder too plus added some to the fuel tank.

The hot engine shutdown... as mentioned, try another condenser (out of the box new is not always great).
Will do...
Also may want to pull some plugs and see what they look/smell like after it quits.
Black, but cleaned them and no change...also last cleaning gaped them to .030, autolite #386
good luck!
Quote:
Originally Posted by koates View Post
As Brian says, replace the condenser again. You could fit it up on the coil for ease of replacement. Remove the original one off the dist plate. I don't like the way your coil is vibrating, not good for it so fix its mounting bracket. Regards, Kevin.
Excellent idea, I like that, will do and advise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alanwoodieman View Post
did you rebuild the original distributor? did you change the distributor rotor? did you insulate the distributor shaft that goes thru the rotor ? I had a distributor that would do what you are talking about. checked out great on two distributor machines and the k r Wilson set up box. it turned out to be a rotor that was grounding out on the distributor shaft.

Professionally rebuilt, but thinking of putting old Dizzy back on just to check...

Once again, I thank each and every one of you for your input, I am determined not to let this car beat me, so 2020 IS the year it runs again!

Also, will try and get a better video without the back ground fan noise now that winter has returned once again (for the next few days anyway)
HAPPY NEW YEAR
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Old 12-31-2019, 09:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Are you still using the resister between the switch and the coil?


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Old 12-31-2019, 10:29 PM   #12
cajunfirehawk
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbrucew View Post
Are you still using the resister between the switch and the coil?


Bruce
No, went with a coil w/internal resistor on the advice of Bubba's ignition and some others too...
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

I have written this before but if you are running a modern can type coil on a helmet distributor, especially 12 volts you are creating a pretty hot spark from the coil. If you look at the rotor for the helmet type distributors, the place where the carbon runs on it in the middle is directly above the steel shaft that rotates it. I suspect the high tension spark coming from the coil is jumping THROUGH the rotor to the shaft. Many folks put a shrink wrap layer on the shaft to help prevent this. The stock coils didn't produce as much high tension voltage as the modern 12v coils. Sometimes you can get away with it but I know of more then 1 person who has had this problem due to the construction of the rotor wasn't designed for what you are doing and electricity will go to the easiest ground always, and sometimes it is right down through the rotor. Try a different rotor. I hope your press on timing gear hasn't moved, that would be a big problem to fix.
Hope you find the gremlin.

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Old 01-01-2020, 06:56 PM   #14
cajunfirehawk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deuce_roadster View Post
I have written this before but if you are running a modern can type coil on a helmet distributor, especially 12 volts you are creating a pretty hot spark from the coil. If you look at the rotor for the helmet type distributors, the place where the carbon runs on it in the middle is directly above the steel shaft that rotates it. I suspect the high tension spark coming from the coil is jumping THROUGH the rotor to the shaft. Many folks put a shrink wrap layer on the shaft to help prevent this. The stock coils didn't produce as much high tension voltage as the modern 12v coils. Sometimes you can get away with it but I know of more then 1 person who has had this problem due to the construction of the rotor wasn't designed for what you are doing and electricity will go to the easiest ground always, and sometimes it is right down through the rotor. Try a different rotor. I hope your press on timing gear hasn't moved, that would be a big problem to fix.
Hope you find the gremlin.
Understand totally, the only thing I can say to this IS; the car ran before I took ownership w/ old helmet dizzy and 12volt conversion can coil, so after the issue started all I did was to replace old parts with new or rebuilt parts w/ no effect. But I will check into this, thanks
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

I know my comment to this tread is going to sound crazy to some people, I am going to make the comment anyway.
Over fifty years ago I had a friend that had a very nice '36 Ford 2 dr sdn, the car was a custom car of the era. The Ford developed an intermediate problem which caused it to stall and then quit running. The issue was driving my friend nuts. After many attempts to correct the problem to no avail the fuel tank was removed. The tank was found to contain a few common green grapes. The grapes would roll around the bottom of the tank when one came in contact with the fuel pickup, the vacuum would pull the grape to the pickup tube shutting the fuel flow off, once the engine stopped the vacuum was broken and the grape rolled away.
A second option for the problem could be as simple as an un-vented fuel cap. I ran into this problem in a road side rest in Idaho one snowy fall day. A lady pulled into the road side rest in a '56 Chevy pickup that died on the spot. The lady asked me if there was a phone near by, I told her she could use my cell phone.
I asked the lady what was the problem, telling her that I might be able to help. The lady told me that the truck had been in and out of the shop many times during the past several weeks. On every occasion the truck would quit running within a short period of leaving the shop.
I opened the hood, there sat a nice new SBC, looking around I noted the HEI ignition and noted the ignition was hooked to the original ballast resistor on the fire wall.. Not a good thing, I switched one wire over to the incoming 12v post. I then looked things over, noted a nice new chrome fuel cap, removed cap and noted it was un-vented. I cut the bottom out of a empty soda pop can and placed it over the fill neck to keep the snow/water out. Truck started right up. The lady thanked me and drove away.
Several minutes later the lady returned in the truck, told me it was running fine and she was heading home.
The rest of the story: The lady infomed me she was a certified mechanic at a local GM dealership, she had no idea what that gizmo on the firewall was and had never heard of vented/unvented fuel caps.
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:26 PM   #16
cajunfirehawk
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Talking Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Quote:
Originally Posted by blucar View Post
I know my comment to this tread is going to sound crazy to some people, I am going to make the comment anyway.
Over fifty years ago I had a friend that had a very nice '36 Ford 2 dr sdn, the car was a custom car of the era. The Ford developed an intermediate problem which caused it to stall and then quit running. The issue was driving my friend nuts. After many attempts to correct the problem to no avail the fuel tank was removed. The tank was found to contain a few common green grapes. The grapes would roll around the bottom of the tank when one came in contact with the fuel pickup, the vacuum would pull the grape to the pickup tube shutting the fuel flow off, once the engine stopped the vacuum was broken and the grape rolled away.
A second option for the problem could be as simple as an un-vented fuel cap. I ran into this problem in a road side rest in Idaho one snowy fall day. A lady pulled into the road side rest in a '56 Chevy pickup that died on the spot. The lady asked me if there was a phone near by, I told her she could use my cell phone.
I asked the lady what was the problem, telling her that I might be able to help. The lady told me that the truck had been in and out of the shop many times during the past several weeks. On every occasion the truck would quit running within a short period of leaving the shop.
I opened the hood, there sat a nice new SBC, looking around I noted the HEI ignition and noted the ignition was hooked to the original ballast resistor on the fire wall.. Not a good thing, I switched one wire over to the incoming 12v post. I then looked things over, noted a nice new chrome fuel cap, removed cap and noted it was un-vented. I cut the bottom out of a empty soda pop can and placed it over the fill neck to keep the snow/water out. Truck started right up. The lady thanked me and drove away.
Several minutes later the lady returned in the truck, told me it was running fine and she was heading home.
The rest of the story: The lady infomed me she was a certified mechanic at a local GM dealership, she had no idea what that gizmo on the firewall was and had never heard of vented/unvented fuel caps.

Awesome stories!
The stalling issue started with an old rusty nissan junk yard fuel tank and fuel neck/cap, all of that was replaced with new correct to the car 36 fuel tank from Tanks Inc. w/vented cap. Still same issue.

I do like grapes though
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

*Vacuum around 15", 15" is too low for a engine, it should read a fairly steady 19" and when you step on it, it will drop to around 3-5" (not 0"). Adjust the idle and air screws on the carb to get it to around 19". That will help first off. (It bounces a little but that should improve as it runs more (valves maybe a little sticky).
If I adjust air/fuel screws out further it starts back firing thru muffler every so often, really want to think not getting enough voltage Checking ignition switch next! Condenser is Echlin FA54. Already did compression test and all cylinders had better than 80 lbs AND I also poured marvel mystery oil down each cylinder too plus added some to the fuel tank.




Starting point is 1 and a 1/4 turns out on air/fuel mixer screws.You might need to adjust the idle screw also. Set the carb air/fuel screws to 1 and 1/4 turns, then adjust the idle screw to keep it running at a decent rpm.... Then fine tune the air/fuel screws to a vacuum gauge to 18-20". I'm not saying this will help the intermittent running, almost certain it won't, but should help fuel delivery, etc.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

More pictures of the car!
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terranova View Post
More pictures of the car!
Car or engine?
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:34 PM   #20
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Default Re: Need some barn HELP for my 36...

cajunfirehawk, one of the hardest things for me to get used to is that NEW doesn't = GOOD anymore. When I grew up (I'm almost 70) and when you replaced parts with a new ones you could eliminate each as the problem. Not anymore. I'm sure all of us are hoping you find the gremlin and let us know what it was.
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