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Old 04-12-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
SDJason
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Talking Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

It's ALIVE!!
So - it's the beginning of the weekend again, so I decided to take another look at my disappearing spark problem (as noted here and here).

My first effort was to try the "jack up the rear wheels and give 'em a spin" in lieu of push-starting - no go.

Next up was to take another look at the points - got out the feeler gauges and set them to 0.018", and noticed that the locking screw already was loose (hmm?). Well, tightened that down and put everything back together.

Battery disconnect ON, fully retard, throttle down, key on (note -amps on the ammeter), choke out, GAV 1/8 CCW, hit the starter - signs of life! The engine definitely tried to catch, but sputtered out quickly.

Checked everything again: oops, forgot to turn on the gas shut-off valve.
Turn that on - try again - more almost signs of life. Hit the starter another 2-3 times - and SUCCESS!

I let the engine run for a minute or two, then pulled out of the garage. I resisted the urge immediately go out for a drive, and just went 15 feet or so and pulled back into the garage (which I found out was the right decision - in my excitement, I forgot that my multimeter, spare parts, toolbag, etc. were all sitting on the running board - I was reminded of that after I got out of the car and saw them there), not to mention that the hood was still completely open.

Anyways - I think the problem was the points - they seemed to be set about right before, but with the locking screw loosened, it obviously wasn't working.

Thank you all again for the hints & tips! (especially for suggesting taking another look at the points - you know who you are…)

I think I'm gonna grab a snack, then go for an afternoon drive while it's still sunny out…

THANK YOU

Last edited by SDJason; 04-12-2013 at 10:31 PM. Reason: changed 0.18" to 0.018"
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

You might have a better experience starting with your GAV open about 1/2 turn till it warms up, then back to 1/8. Also, try your points at 0.20.
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

Good job!!!

However, this points out another situation exists- You have oil in the threads of the points block. Need to make sure you have perfect metal-to-metal contact between the threaded points contact thing (whatever it's called), the block, and the upper plate.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

Thanks for the tips - the engine was definitely running a bit rough; I tried swirling the upper plate around in hot water with a bunch of Dawn detergent for awhile, swirled it around some more in a bucket of water, and let it air-dry for awhile. Reset the points to 0.020" and put it all back together. Definitely started a bit easier (turned the GAV to 1/2 as well), but idling still seems rough - I think that during all the distributor dismantling/reassembling the timing probably got thrown off a little bit.

Now I've got to figure out how to find TDC without being able to handcrank the engine...I remember seeing that one of the vendors sells a wrench that lets you turn the engine by hand - I think it was around $30 or so...

Last edited by SDJason; 04-12-2013 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDJason View Post
Thanks for the tips - the engine was definitely running a bit rough; I tried swirling the upper plate around in hot water with a bunch of Dawn detergent for awhile, swirled it around in some more in a bucket of water, and let it air-dry for awhile. Reset the points to 0.020" and put it all back together. Definitely started a bit easier (turned the GAV to 1/2 as well), but idling still seems rough - I think that during all the distributor dismantling/reassembling the timing probably got thrown off a little bit.

Now I've got to figure out how to find TDC without being able to handcrank the engine...I remember seeing that one of the vendors sells a wrench that lets you turn the engine by hand - I think it was around $30 or so...
On my 1930 Town Sedan, I am able to move the crankshaft, once I get close to the TDC with the starter, by using a rod or large screwdriver in the crankshaft nut slots, behind the radiator.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:57 PM   #6
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

You can put the tranny in high gear and easily roll the car back and forth to find the indent in the cam gear. I've done it when a crank wasn't around.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

Wow - thanks guys! I'll try that tomorrow...
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

I do the unthinkable... With the spark plugs already out, I rotate the fan to find TDC sometimes when I feel too lazy to get the crank out. But it's a plastic fan and the motor turns over very easy with no spark plugs in it.
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

Thanks all (again) - I used the starter to get the rotor to just before #1, then used Tom's "put the car in gear and rock it" method (tried to pull on the fan belt unsuccessfully, as well as trying to get a big screwdriver into the slots of the pulley on the crankshaft - couldn't get that to work either).

3rd gear was a bit much for me, but 2nd worked out well - as soon as I felt the timing pin slip into the indent, I knew I was homefree; quickly set the timing and now I've got that nice puck-a-tuh...puck-a-tuh...puck-a-tuh idling sound I've been missing.

THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE...I think it's time for drive after going for a month without...
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:52 PM   #10
Fred K-OR
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

"Now I've got to figure out how to find TDC without being able to handcrank the engine...I remember seeing that one of the vendors sells a wrench that lets you turn the engine by hand - I think it was around $30 or so..."

This is a handy tool if you want to spring for around $10. Can get it right on.

Also this tool is good to have.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:31 PM   #11
SDJason
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred K-OR View Post
"Now I've got to figure out how to find TDC without being able to handcrank the engine...I remember seeing that one of the vendors sells a wrench that lets you turn the engine by hand - I think it was around $30 or so..."

This is a handy tool if you want to spring for around $10. Can get it right on.

Also this tool is good to have.

Haha - that's actually the wrench I have...I was so fixated on Les Andrews' directions, that I didn't remember or notice that I had a purpose-built tool for setting the timing...
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:27 AM   #12
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

FWIW< That's the tool for the dist cam, NOT for turning the engine over with.....
With that tool you still have to find the timing mark..
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

By the way SDJason, I didn't offer any tips on how to fix your problem but congratulations anyway. Also you are very lucky to have the right temperatures to enjoy a Spring drive. We just broke freezing this morning.

Also, in reading your report his morning, I have decided that as descriptive as you are, you might want to consider becoming a writer, you're good.......
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:48 PM   #14
SDJason
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Default Re: Disappearing spark update - SOLVED (and thank you!)

Haha - yes, I know the wrench is for the cam - I actually was using it to hold the thing in place while tightening down the cam screw. If I had bothered reading the handle, I might have noticed the easy timing directions printed on it.

thanks bobpo - when I post here, I try to be as descriptive as possible, especially when it comes to asking for help - I figure people need something to work with if they're going to be doing some long-distance troubleshooting.

Speaking of which - after re-reading my threads, a special kudos and call-out goes to P.S. - he was the first one to narrow my problem down to the points, and deserves recognition for that, and to supergnat - he quite accurately predicted that there might be a problem with the fixed point block...

Last edited by SDJason; 04-15-2013 at 05:53 AM. Reason: credit where's it's due to supergnat
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