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  • 29 Model A won't start

    My '29 Model A has ran perfectly for over a year. The battery was getting old and weak, but I could charge it enough to start it. I was going to take it out for a ride and it started fine after I had charged the battery. I got about 10 feet (still in the driveway) and it died! No sputter or anything. It would not fire at all when I tried to start it.

    I purchased a new 6 volt battery from Walmart, and installed it. When I turned over the engine . . . again nothing. As I turned over the engine, the amp meter did not move. With the key on, I placed the positive lead of my volt meter on an engine bolt, and using the other lead I got 6 volts at both coil connections. I removed the distributer cap and rotor and got 6 volts on the moveable arm of the points. Using a screwdriver, there was no spark. Would this narrow it down to the coil and/or condenser? Can a coil be bad and I still receive 6 volts before and after the coil? Is there a way to check the condenser . . . must I remove it to test it?

    Thanks for any help!

    Johnny DeMichael

  • #2
    Johnny
    I moved your post to the main forum, from the Technical area. With the key on and points closed do you still have 6V at the moveable points arm? If so, the points need cleaning or your distributor is not grounded. Most likely dirty points. Check that out and report back. I would regap the points too
    3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
    Henry Ford said,
    "It's all nuts and bolts"
    "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

    Comment


    • #3
      Even though all Model A vintage type electrical connections may appear to be tight, a tiny bit of metallic corrosion at an electrical connection can go unnoticed.

      Driving 10 feet with a vibrating engine can sometimes shake up an electrical connection just enough to cease electrical conductance and proper functioning.

      Testing electrical conductance from Battery to Plugs always works as well as Google Maps ..... it will get you there quickly as opposed to experimenting with several delaying alternate routes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Possibly the ammeter is toast. Is it an original or a newer repop? Rod
        "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." Thomas Sowell

        Comment


        • #5
          Check to see if the rotor is rotating when the engine is cranking. If not the tab on the distributor shaft has sheared.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rowdy View Post
            Possibly the ammeter is toast. Is it an original or a newer repop? Rod
            Beep the horn, the ammeter should go negative.


            Also, if you have a starter mounted fuse, check it. If blown allows the starter to work, but not ignition, horn, and lights.

            Comment


            • #7
              Bad condenser? Or check your point gap and check for spark!

              Comment


              • #8

                l

                Any progress?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I 2nd. That 1930

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I sure appreciate all the suggestions, but haven't had the time to put them to work. We live out of town, and have had sewer issues that have taken up my time, then my wife told me the fridge was not making ice, and finally we have a house full of relative until after the 4th! I'm printing off all suggestions and will report back asap.. Thanks to all!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JohnnyDeMichael View Post
                      I sure appreciate all the suggestions, but haven't had the time to put them to work. We live out of town, and have had sewer issues that have taken up my time, then my wife told me the fridge was not making ice, and finally we have a house full of relative until after the 4th! I'm printing off all suggestions and will report back asap.. Thanks to all!
                      I hear ya brother... Been there, done that. Hang in there.

                      Twiss Collector Car Parts

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you Johnny for the update

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Something to maybe consider today:

                          If you had $8 million dollars in the bank:

                          a) You could only enjoy (2) hamburgers at McDonalds and then you would be full; and,
                          b) If you have (200) expensive Suits, you could only wear one (1) at a time; and,
                          c) If you have (40) expensive cars, you could only drive one (1) at a time; and,
                          d) If you have (25) houses you could only live in one (1) at a time; and,
                          e) If your sewer is overflowing, and your fridge is not making ice ...... but you have a house full of sincere, loving relatives until after the 4th ...... celebrate and be thankful .........your Life on this Earth during these Holidays could be far richer than having $8 million dollars in the bank.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Very true!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Mitch, no spark at the points. Points don't appear dirty. Gap is good. Have 6 volts at movable arm of points, but no spark.
                              Rod & 1930CC, ammeter is ok. When I hit the starter, it deflects.
                              Joe, rotor is rotating.
                              JM29Henry, I decided to replace the condenser. Got one from Bratton's.

                              I removed the condenser with no problem, but spent over an hour trying to align to metal tab which I inserted the screw in with the new condenser. It's not just a wire with an eyelet (wish it was). It's a piece of metal that apparently that connects to the ignition switch via the cable that screws into the distributor. Apparently the metal tab became bent a little. Anyway, I gave up and removed the complete distributor from the car, knowing that I will now have to reset the timing. I was then able to remove the plate hiding the condensor, and slightly bent the metal and install the condensor. I reinstalled the distributor. Using an ohm meter, I discovered the moving part of the points is connected to ground! I removed the distributoragain and checked again with the ohm meter and it was not connected to ground. Hmmm. I then discovered that the ignition cable was connected to ground (the spring-loaded button). It was 90 degrees in my garage, so I called it quits. As I am writing this, I now wonder if the ignition cable-end is supposed to be connected to ground when the ignition key is in the off position, which it was. ?? I will test that next Sunday. If that is not the case, then I guess I need to start from the junction box and follow the connection to the ignition. I'm wondering if the ignition switch is to blame. ?? But it doesn't seem likely that it would fail after the engine was running, does it? Will see. I think I can eventually figure it out. Any shortcut ideas would be appreciated.

                              Thanks for all the suggestions,
                              Johnny DeMichael

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If you have an original pop-out ignition switch the sprung button contact will be grounded to the housing with the key off, but not with key on unless it's shorted internally. Test this aspect of the cable before screwing it back into the distributor, If it checks out good, keep the meter leads (or continuity checker) on there and flex the armored around a little to see if it fails intermittently.

                                The bus bar tab that gave you fits at the condenser often grounds to the inside wall of the housing. This is especially common if the switch cable is screwed in too far.

                                If either of these tests out as a problem we can go into best solutions.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I should also mention the wire from the lower plate to the post on the points. The flag terminal that attaches to the points needs to be installed leaving good clearance from the side wall of the housing.

                                  I do realize that right now the grounded points issue came about from the previous exercise and apparently is unrelated to the original problem.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    See Marco’s photo below

                                    https://www.vintagefordforum.com/for...=7942#post7942

                                    Use the washer under the condenser screw. Without one, the screw can bottom out before tightening causing a bad connection and mess up the condenser.
                                    3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
                                    Henry Ford said,
                                    "It's all nuts and bolts"
                                    "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

                                    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Johnny, if the ammeter wiggles slightly negative when cranking the motor it is a good indication the points are ok , ignition switch ok, ignition wiring ok. If you do not loosen the cam screw and move the cam timing will be ok.

                                      If ammeter is still wiggling, remove a spark plug lead/strap on one end and place it 1/8 inch from where you took it off, ignition on, crank the motor using the starter rod, should see a blue spark.

                                      if the ammeter is wiggling that also indicates the ignition cable is not screwed too far into the distributor.
                                      Last edited by 1930 Closed Cab PU; 07-28-2021, 11:27 PM.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by JohnnyDeMichael View Post
                                        Mitch, no spark at the points. Points don't appear dirty. Gap is good. Have 6 volts at movable arm of points, but no spark.
                                        Then try jumping across the points contacts with a screwdriver. Sure seems like an indication of oxidized points. Every time the 6V on the moveable point arm touches ground the coil wire should throw a good blue spark to a head nut
                                        3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
                                        Henry Ford said,
                                        "It's all nuts and bolts"
                                        "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

                                        Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                                        Comment


                                        • #21
                                          Originally posted by 1930 Closed Cab PU View Post
                                          if the ammeter wiggles slightly negative when cranking the motor it is a good indication the points are ok , ignition switch ok, ignition wiring ok.
                                          Good point!

                                          Comment


                                          • #22
                                            Just sitting here thinking about something I ran across today. Seems a new customer of mine has an original popout switch in his '30 Sport Coupe that the popout needs to be pulled out the last 1/8 inch or so so the internals make contact before the engine will start. Wondering if that could be the problem here. Just a thought.
                                            You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

                                            Comment


                                            • #23
                                              He stated above there was 6V at the moveable points arm with no spark. This would eliminate all of the above? That was before more things were taken apart, so I still say "originally" the points were not grounding. Start from ground 0 again, the points. Did I miss something? It wouldn't be the first time.
                                              3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
                                              Henry Ford said,
                                              "It's all nuts and bolts"
                                              "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

                                              Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                                              Comment


                                              • #24
                                                Things are a little confusing to me. He states 6v at the arm, did he also measure with points closed for 0v? Or check for spark doing the screwdriver thing?

                                                Post 15 says the ammeter deflects when the starter is used which I interpret as the needle wiggling which indicates the ignition primary circuit as functioning.

                                                We are attempting the same thing, seperate methods.

                                                My post 19, was further info explaining my method. I agree either method should be valid.

                                                Wiz - am not familiar with the pop out. Does the pop out prevent 6v at the points arm?

                                                Comment


                                                • #25
                                                  Originally posted by 1930 Closed Cab PU View Post
                                                  am not familiar with the pop out. Does the pop out prevent 6v at the points arm?
                                                  The popout grounds the points so it's impossible to hot wire the car without disassembly. If the spring loaded lock cylinder assembly sticks and doesn't pop out fully then it remains off.

                                                  Comment

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