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Old 05-28-2020, 03:16 PM   #1
HDowse
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Default Loose condenser bracket

A good friend of mine has had a 1937 pickup in his family since 1937. He'd had intermittent running problems for several years. The truck would start up, go for several miles and then just quit. The firewall coil resistor had to be replaced but the problem persisted. I'm caretaking the truck now that he is in senior living and today we went to get some lumber and after dropping him off I returned home only to find the same problem: no start after a momentary shut down. Since the owner had sent along numerous parts with the truck, i located a spare distributor with coil and condenser attached and decided to exchange the coil/condenser. When I removed the coil, the condenser bracket stayed with the distributor mounting bolt. The solder holding the bracket on had let go.
Most of the time the bracket was in enough contact with the bracket to complete the circuit but once in a while the resistance between the unsoldered bracket and coil was too much and the circuit failed.
Here's a picture of the condenser. I thought others would want to know that these can fail and as many have said on the 'Barn, look for the easy stuff first.
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:22 PM   #2
Mart
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

Good find.

Also good of you to keep your friends truck on the road.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:54 PM   #3
Terry,OH
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

Looks like someone took an 18-12300 and made it a 78-12300 but they forgot to remove the plating on the condenser body so no solder stuck there and the 78- bracket fell off.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:39 PM   #4
HDowse
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

Terry,
That sounds about right. Several areas of "restoration" on this nice truck by a well known local fellow have left much to be desired.
Hunt
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:39 AM   #5
D. Jones
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

I had continuous problems with condensers on my 59 AB until I moved the location up to the coil. Since moving it I've put perhaps 5000 miles on and not had a problem. Prior to moving to the coil I might get 100 miles or I might get 300 miles before the darn things would give up. I'm thinking that it was a hotter location down on the distributor than up on top of the motor on the coil and that was why they failed so quickly. Perhaps I'm wrong and I finally got a good condenser, but if I have to change one it will be very much easier.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

On an early flathead (ie. 39), what problems would we have with lengthening the condenser wire and relocating it to a cooler mounting location?
Would it change the electrical value of the condenser?
How would it affect the performance?
Ken
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

Quote:
Originally Posted by KGS View Post
On an early flathead (ie. 39), what problems would we have with lengthening the condenser wire and relocating it to a cooler mounting location?
Would it change the electrical value of the condenser?
How would it affect the performance?
Ken
My only comment on this would be that the lead has an effect on capacitance. It will raise it a slight amount. That is why all high-quality capacitor testers come with a pair of extremely short leads specifically for testing condensers. In the real world, the difference is hardly noticeable, probably less than the variation between the individual members of a group of condensers from the factory. I would suggest using the largest gauge wire practical (at least 12 gauge).

Other than that, all you have to do is figure how you want to mount it and connect the lead.
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Old 05-30-2020, 10:25 AM   #8
JM 35 Sedan
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

Quote:
Originally Posted by KGS View Post
On an early flathead (ie. 39), what problems would we have with lengthening the condenser wire and relocating it to a cooler mounting location?
Would it change the electrical value of the condenser?
How would it affect the performance?
Ken
Ken, I'm not claiming to be an expert on early Ford condensers/capacitors, but adding a length of wire for a remote location will definately add more resistance to the circuit which will likely affect performance. You might do better leaving a known good original style condenser in it's stock location, and add some type of heat shield that would deflect heat away from the condenser. Just a thought.
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Old 05-30-2020, 10:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

When we were racing a high RPM engine that ran in the 9000+ RPM range (not a flathead!) we were wanting to remote the capacitor. Talked to the Mallory engineers and they said it was not an issue. Sure didn't seem to impact performance, season winner with that setup. It has an impact on both resistance and capacitance in the system, but believe it is minor.
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Old 05-30-2020, 10:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

Resistance has nothing to do with it. It is the total capacitance that counts. As I said above, the difference is extremely slight with a decent lead.
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

With respect ,Just did one of these ,use solder flux straight onto the plating . its heat you need ,The owner wanted the original look .I like and use the small one ,If you asked me what the impedance was I wouldn't know I just look at the points after a few thousand miles to see if they are excessively burnt , but its been 15 years , Ted
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:54 PM   #12
JM 35 Sedan
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

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Talked to the Mallory engineers and they said it was not an issue. Sure didn't seem to impact performance, season winner with that setup. It has an impact on both resistance and capacitance in the system, but believe it is minor.
I believe you gave the most valid answer on a remotely mounted condenser.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Loose condenser bracket

In my experience, a conventional points ignition system will accommodate a large variance in capacitance in the condenser with no ill effects.

The length of the lead is unimportant when unless it is taken to an unreasonable extent. I wouldn't for example, mount an early V8 condenser on the firewall.
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