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  • Help! Car dead . . .

    I finally got my 1929 coupe back together. The timing was (I believe) near perfect. I even drove it into the city one day with no issues. We live in the suburbs. A couple days ago, I had not driven the car for several days so I decided to go for a 10 minute drive before sundown. The car sounded good . . . So I was very surprised when suddenly it stopped firing 2 miles from home! No sputtering . . . One second it was running fine, th next not a sound.

    Plenty of fuel. Fuse was not blown. It was getting dark, so I got a tow home. Since then, I have ruled out the ignition coil and the ignition switch. I then tore into the distributor, removing the cam and points. With the ignition switch on, there was 6 volts on the copper ring below the points. Looking at the points, they appear fine.

    So now, what should I do next? Not sure. The condenser was replaced a couple of months ago as part of my restoration. Please give me your thoughts.

    Johnny
    Last edited by JohnnyDeMichael; 10-21-2018, 01:32 PM. Reason: Not 1923 . . . Should be 1929

  • #2
    Copper ring?
    Is this one of those worthless wireless top plates?

    Comment


    • Mike V. Florida
      Mike V. Florida commented
      Editing a comment
      Thought the same thing.

    • JohnnyDeMichael
      JohnnyDeMichael commented
      Editing a comment
      You’re about to hurt my feelings . . . but I think you’re right. I’ll let you know after I get the plates installed.

  • #3
    Originally posted by JohnnyDeMichael View Post
    I then tore into the distributor, removing the cam and points. With the ignition switch on, there was 6 volts on the copper ring below the points. Looking at the points, they appear fine.

    So now, what should I do next? Not sure. The condenser was replaced a couple of months ago as part of my restoration. Please give me your thoughts.

    Johnny
    What testing did your do before your tore into the dist?

    Comment


    • #4
      This is my generic no spark troubleshooting list,

      No Spark
      Some possibilities are:
      1.Blown or defective fuse (use of a fuse is an aftermarket item)
      2.Bad connections at ammeter, or ammeter itself (to find out put a jumper wire from one post of the terminal box to the other to take the ammeter out of the circuit temporarily)
      3.Bad ignition switch and/or cable, or loose cable connection at the switch.
      4.Loose or broken wires at bottom of coil
      5.Loose or broken wires inside terminal box
      6.Loose, bare or broken pigtail wire under distributor plate, or wire grounding to plate or distributor body
      7.Points not opening, or point arm grounding to cam due to worn rubbing block
      8.Worn electrode in underside of distributor cap
      9.Loose or broken high tension wire from coil to cap
      10.Condenser burned out or grounding (some condensers are too long and can touch the distributor body inside)
      11.Weak coil
      12.Rotor not turning due to loose cam screw or bad timing gear.


      Ok now break out a volt meter (a light bulb can give false readings as it is hard to tell brightness in different lighting conditions).
      Start at the fuse block, you should have voltage on both sides of the fuse. If you only have voltage on one side, replace the fuse or fuse block.

      Now with voltage on both sides of the fuse, move up to the junction box. There should be voltage at both terminals. If voltage is present only on one side the problem is at the ampmeter and you should Jumper the ampmeter for now.
      You should have voltage on both sides of the coil. If not,
      remove the red wire on the coil and check again. If you now have voltage on both sides, you have a problem further on. If the voltage is still only in one side you have a bad coil.

      Open the points with a piece of paper and remove the condenser. Turn the key on and you should have voltage at the points.
      Replace the condenser and you should still have voltage.

      If the voltage is missing, remove the top plate and check for voltage on the bottom plate.

      Check if the connector from the ignition switch screwed in too far? Do you have voltage on the wire to the upper plate?

      Is this wire shorting to ground or broken?

      Remove the paper from the points and see that the points are closed. You should not have 0 volts at the points. If you do, the points are dirty or the distributor is not grounded well to the engine.

      Comment


      • #5
        I can't picture a copper ring on a stock dizzy.
        If someone installed one of the so called wireless top plates (there is a springy brass finger below that rubs on the plate), then we suggest you go back to the stock setup, because the wireless deal is well know for causing a boatload of intermittent failure

        Comment


        • #6
          The OP said "1923 coupe" ... is this a T and not an A?

          Comment


          • Mitch
            Mitch commented
            Editing a comment
            Looking at the OP’s past posts i’m assuming it’s a typo

          • tbirdtbird
            tbirdtbird commented
            Editing a comment
            Hmm, did not see that, but a stock T has a low voltage timer, not a high voltage dizzy, so it is a very different system, indeed

          • cpf240
            cpf240 commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't know much about the T, but do know that, in stock form, doesn't have a distributor, etc. Though I'm seem to remember reading where there have been conversions for them to use a distributor.

            I was thinking the '1923' part might be a typo, but since this site covers A, T, and V8, thought it could have been posted in the wrong group.

        • #7
          Johnny, before diving into the ignition system did you ever check for spark from the coil wire? I don’t see that mentioned above
          2 1930 Tudors

          Henry Ford said
          "It's all nuts and bolts"


          Mitch's Auto Service ctr

          Comment


          • Mitch
            Mitch commented
            Editing a comment
            If you had no spark, you did jump the gun before pulling the dist apart. It could have been just a dirty point issue. (Can’t tell by looking at them with the naked eye.) With that being said if you have the wireless lower plate as shown in this link, get rid of it.

            https://www.vintagefordforum.com/for...5365#post65365

            Get a wired plate and put the dist back together. Then report back if you still have no spark.

          • JohnnyDeMichael
            JohnnyDeMichael commented
            Editing a comment
            Mitch, can I buy a wired plate and still keep condenser below?

          • Mitch
            Mitch commented
            Editing a comment
            When you say below I assume you mean in the stock location. Yes

            The wired plate can be used with both style points set up

            Originally the plates were wired

          • JohnnyDeMichael
            JohnnyDeMichael commented
            Editing a comment
            Mitch, the points had less than 15 miles on them. Where can I find the upper and lower plates without a condenser?

          • Mitch
            Mitch commented
            Editing a comment
            The suppliers sell them aftermarket or you can look for originals. I have used the aftermarket parts many times. I like the original style point set up over the modern style which has the condenser up top on the plate. Many do use the modern points to.

          • JohnnyDeMichael
            JohnnyDeMichael commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks! I just noticed DaWizard gave me a couple of choices.

        • #8
          Bad ignition switch?

          Comment


          • JohnnyDeMichael
            JohnnyDeMichael commented
            Editing a comment
            No, it was one of the first things I checked.

        • #9
          Hmmm, very interesting comments regarding the distributor. I had thought this one was original. How did they look as coming off the line in 1929? Here’s mine . . .

          Comment


        • #10
          Here is a picture of my original wired lower plate and top plate.
          Notice how the wire terminal needs to be bent up the side of the nut, so it doesn't short against the spring.

          Distributor Restore 2.jpg

          Comment


        • #11
          Johnny, I'm not Mitch, but to answer your comment question, Yes, the stock plates keep the condenser on the bottom as it is now. The basic difference is that the brass plates you show are removed and a hard wire replace them connecting the upper and lower plates for a much better connection.
          "We do not stop playing because we grow old;
          We grow old because we stop playing ...
          NEVER Be The First To Get Old!" Pilfered from the MAFC SA Newsletter

          I JUST CAN'T FIX STUPID!!

          Comment


          • JohnnyDeMichael
            JohnnyDeMichael commented
            Editing a comment
            DaWizard . . . Thanks! I was hoping I could buy the upper lower plates, but all that I find has the condenser on the top plate. Do you know where I can find the plates as you describe?

        • #12
          Well, right off the top, maybe Bert's or CW Moss should have the stock upper and lower plates.

          https://cwmoss.com/collections/model-a/ignition-parts

          Row 7 and 8 on my page, your screen may vary. Also, get the Point Block.
          "We do not stop playing because we grow old;
          We grow old because we stop playing ...
          NEVER Be The First To Get Old!" Pilfered from the MAFC SA Newsletter

          I JUST CAN'T FIX STUPID!!

          Comment


          • #13
            All the vendors have the stock plates, it's best to get NOS or NORS points on Ebay as the contacts on the new ones do not line up.
            https://www.brattons.com/distributor-lower-plate.html
            https://www.brattons.com/stock-distr...per-plate.html

            Bob

            Comment


            • #14
              Some of the repro lower plates are thinner than the original, and this will allow the ignition cable to more easily bend it to touch ground.

              Comment


              • #15
                Any chance your dwell meter says to use the 8 cylinder scale and double the reading for 4 cylinder engines?

                Comment


                • #16
                  I received the new plates . . . I’m keeping the condenser in his original place below. I have a installed the bottom plate in the distributor and hooked up the condenser. I’ve never seen this before so I have no I Idea where to hook the wire. It makes sense that it should be attached to the points body, but where do I attach it? I’m sure it should not touch anything other than the body of the points. The only possible place to me would be the post holding the points-spring. But I do not understand how you attach it under the top plate to that point? Or if you attach it to the top plate is there enough room and where does the wire come up from the bottom plate to get on top of the top plate? Is this really the way Henry did it? Please let me know where to attach the loose wire. Thanks!
                  Last edited by JohnnyDeMichael; 10-26-2018, 09:24 PM. Reason: fix mess ups

                  Comment


                • #17
                  I do now that you reminded me. It took a few days for my order. I did look at that arrangement, but didn’t think I had enough room. Mitch, thanks for bringing the pics to my attention.

                  Comment


                  • Mitch
                    Mitch commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Glad to help, and keep us updated on the progress
                    Just make sure that the lower plate wire flag terminal does not touch the distributor housing or the center spring. Another words it can't ground out against anything.

                  • Mitch
                    Mitch commented
                    Editing a comment
                    This exploded view may help you out also. Notice the spacer that goes under the flag terminal
                    https://www.brattons.com/assemblies/...-assembly.html

                • #18
                  And don't forget the thick insulating washer under the head of the condenser screw.
                  Without that thick washer the screw can bottom before the condenser terminal is tight to the strap, and then the terminal can turn and ruin a new condenser.

                  Comment


                  • #19
                    Thanks to Tom’s pic, I successfully attached the wire to the top plate. I used an ohm meter to test for separation between the points and the top plate. If you have not done this before, keep in mind when the cam is off, an ohm meter will always show continuity between points and the top plate . . . so remember to place an insulating washer between the points before testing. I was hoping I could get it back together before leaving for vacation but didn’t make it. When I try to move the spark lever fully up, I cannot due to it hitting the distributor body. I can’t see any adjustment how the spring or steering column can be adjusted. Will re-examine when I return home. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
                    Last edited by JohnnyDeMichael; 11-01-2018, 10:35 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #20
                      Are there any posts addressing the problem of the arm on the distributor plate hitting the side of the distributor housing not allowing the spark control lever on the steering column to move completely to the top?

                      Comment


                      • #21
                        Originally posted by JohnnyDeMichael View Post
                        Are there any posts addressing the problem of the arm on the distributor plate hitting the side of the distributor housing not allowing the spark control lever on the steering column to move completely to the top?

                        If you have a two tooth box, loosen the lower clamp at the box and also loosen the column clamp inside the car. Then rotate the whole column til you get an even throw.
                        2 1930 Tudors

                        Henry Ford said
                        "It's all nuts and bolts"


                        Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                        Comment


                        • JohnnyDeMichael
                          JohnnyDeMichael commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Mitch . . . no problem finding the column clamp inside the car, but need help with lower clamp. I really don't see any clamp . . . not sure if I have two tooth box?? About where the grease jerk is, on the engine side is a box with 4 bolts. Is that close to where I should be?

                          Also, inside the car, when I remove the 2 bolts holding the clamp should there be a padding or anything around the steering column ? Before I removed the clamp I could see air all around the clamp . . . in other words, the clamp doesn't seem to be doing anything. (?)

                      • #22
                        Johnny, you could have a 7 tooth which does not have the separate tube to make that adjustment. Also, Yes, there should be at least a split rubber gasket of some type on that inside clamp. My PO used a piece of body webbing and it holds great.


                        You should measure the length of the rod and maybe call Bert's and see if he has an original. Do not bend the rod to get the right distance, if you really need to, you can cut it and place a sleeve over it to hold the length, or cut and weld it back together, whichever suits yer style.
                        "We do not stop playing because we grow old;
                        We grow old because we stop playing ...
                        NEVER Be The First To Get Old!" Pilfered from the MAFC SA Newsletter

                        I JUST CAN'T FIX STUPID!!

                        Comment


                        • #23
                          This is what you need to properly insulate that upper clamp. It has ridges on the sides to prevent it from sliding out

                          http://www.mikes-afordable.com/product/A3521.html
                          2 1930 Tudors

                          Henry Ford said
                          "It's all nuts and bolts"


                          Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                          Comment


                          • #24
                            DaWizard and Mitch, thanks for your help. I’ll measure the rod. If welding is the answer, my son is a welder. Thanks!

                            Comment


                            • #25
                              My 28 has original parts with the 7 tooth steering box, so I can measure the spark rod later today.

                              Comment

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