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View Full Version : 63 Avanti - died while driving it - spark resolved



sbca96
02-25-2007, 09:33 PM
Edited for new picture locations - 1/2/2010

OK ... I tried another coil/ballist resistor on it from the R1 I got
a few months back. No dice. It cranks, kicks once and cranks more.
It died while I was driving it .. just tapered off and quit. Its got
gas, I can see it squirting into the carb. I cant leave it where it
is right now, and my back is killing me from pushing it a block by
myself. Some of the connections are kinda suspect, so I will crimp
on a few new connectors. Oh yah, and its raining.

Anyone got any bright ideas .. or perhaps a troubleshooting plan? I
pulled the coil wire and its got a weak spark thats not to consistant.
It seems to spark once right when you stop cranking.

Tom

'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

JDP
02-25-2007, 09:40 PM
"It seems to spark once right when you stop cranking."


That should be a tip. The only time you are collapsing the field on the coil is the off and on from cranking. Check the points.


64 Commander 2 dr.
64 Daytona HT
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black) #2
63 Avanti R1
63 Daytona convert
63 Lark 2 door
63 Lark 2 door #2
62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
62 Lark 2 door
62 GT Hawk 4 speed
60 Lark HT
60 Hawk
59 3E truck
52 Starliner
51 Commander

sbca96
02-25-2007, 09:46 PM
Yah ... should be a tip, but I forgot it even HAD points![:I] I havent
been dealing with points on a regular basis since I converted the Hawk
to an HEI distributor. Thanks for the tip .. I will go back over and
pop the cap off the distributor.

UPDATE: I JUST got back, the points look fine, gray but not burned,
they are opening and closing and there is a gap. The rotor is also
turning, so nothing there broke.

There is a condensor inside ... I have the HEI distributor from the
Hawk engine, but I wasnt planning on putting that in yet. The one
from the other R1 (the Lark one) is a window distributor. Think its
worth while swapping that in at this time?? The HEI requires all the
wires to be changed.

Tom


quote:Originally posted by JDP
That should be a tip. The only time you are collapsing the field on the coil is the off and on from cranking. Check the points.

JDP
02-25-2007, 10:00 PM
"It seems to spark once right when you stop cranking."


That should be a tip. The only time you are collapsing the field on the coil is the off and on from cranking. Check the points.


64 Commander 2 dr.
64 Daytona HT
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black) #2
63 Avanti R1
63 Daytona convert
63 Lark 2 door
63 Lark 2 door #2
62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
62 Lark 2 door
62 GT Hawk 4 speed
60 Lark HT
60 Hawk
59 3E truck
52 Starliner
51 Commander

sbca96
02-25-2007, 10:06 PM
I checked the points ...... anything else?

Tom

Karl
02-25-2007, 10:13 PM
Tom,
What year of HEI? Some of those had a ign module in them that would fail. Its about the size of a quarter. When it failed the car just quit![}:)] Hope this helps;)

63 Twin Supercharged Avanti
64 Avanti R3w/NOS
88LSC Avanti 350 Supercharged w/NOS

sbca96
02-25-2007, 10:31 PM
No no no ... the 63 Avanti still has points[:I]. The HEI I have on an
engine in the garage. I could swap it in, but its too much trouble.

I changed the end on the distributor wire, still no spark. I am going
to try the coil wire off the R1 in the garage.

Its soooo freakin cold here.

Tom

Scott
02-25-2007, 10:38 PM
Tom, check your ignition switch and switch connections. A loose connection will play havoc with everything and will send you on a wild goose chase checking everything else.

JDP
02-25-2007, 10:41 PM
Turn the key on and open and close the points with a insulated tool of some sort. (stick, plastic knife, etc. You should get a decent arc at the points and a nice hot one from the coil wire.

64 Commander 2 dr.
64 Daytona HT
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black) #2
63 Avanti R1
63 Daytona convert
63 Lark 2 door
63 Lark 2 door #2
62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
62 Lark 2 door
62 GT Hawk 4 speed
60 Lark HT
60 Hawk
59 3E truck
52 Starliner
51 Commander

sbca96
02-25-2007, 11:05 PM
OK .. just got back again ... couldnt feel my hands. Ran hot water
over them. I put all the connections back on the original coil. I
needed to get the extra coil out of the way to get the cap off. I put
two crimp connectors onto the two that were suspect - no change. I
will go back over now and try the key on, spread points with plastic
knife deal to see if I get a spark. Its consistant in sparking when
I stop cranking. Its a faint blueish spark. This sucks. What is it
if I dont get the hot spark when I spread the points?[B)]

Tom

Jessie J.
02-26-2007, 12:03 AM
I once had one, that the metal contact that is on the edge of the rotor cap had risen up far enough to make contact with the dist. cap, and bent the contact over to one side, the contact is not supposed to "contact".
It only happened one time when I revved past 5800rpms. don't cost nothing to check.

gordr
02-26-2007, 01:53 AM
Tom, you could have a shorted condensor or a short to ground within the ignition points or the pigtail lead from the points to the coil.

The fact that coil sparks once when you stop cranking tells me that the coil is probably OK, but that something is wrong on the breaker plate of the distributor.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

sbca96
02-26-2007, 02:47 AM
JDP sent me on the right track, and yes gordr thats what it was. When
I got the extra coil out of the way, I was able to get the cap off
enough to look right down at the distributor. First thing I noticed
was that its a dual point - I didnt know that. Second thing was that
the wire from the condensor was shoved down between the plate and the
outer edge of the distributor housing. I was concerned about this,
since the plate moves!! I pulled the wire back out and looped it up
away from the plate and housing. I noticed that the backside had a
hole through the insulation!!! I left it looped up out of the way, and
tried the spark test again .. NICE SOLID SPARK. Put it back together
and it fired up right away. Runs better now even. I need to source
a new condensor, but I was able to get it home & back in the garage.

Thanks for all your help!! You guys are great.[^]

Looped wire :

http://www.emperorjordan.com/sbca96/images/Avantinewimages/avanti_problems/nospark005a.jpg

Dual points :

http://www.emperorjordan.com/sbca96/images/Avantinewimages/avanti_problems/nospark007a.jpg

Tom

gordr
02-26-2007, 03:57 AM
Good pictures, Tom. Glad you got her going again. Looking at the pictures, I think I might see some powdered rust in there. You might be well advised to take the distributor out of the car, on a nice day, and remove the breaker plate, and check the condition of the pivot points for the two balance weights. Could be they are dry and need oil. Without lubrication, the laminated steel weights wear out real fast where they are mounted on the pivot pins, and the holes wallow out. In extreme cases, the weights can begin to "mill" the inside of the distributor body. Before this happens, your centrifugal advance curve is all messed up. This is a known weakness in Prestolite distributors. Take the time to do a little preventive maintenance, and avoid another roadside breakdown.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

sbca96
02-26-2007, 04:08 AM
I appreciate the heads up on the weights. I feel though that if the
distributor comes out of the engine, its not going back in.;)

I have plans to use the HEI that I have on the Hawks engine. I just
havent bothered with it since I always have more important things to
mess with. The whole reason the Avanti left the garage today was to
get some new pictures of it for a magazine. If these get accepted it
will be kinda funny, I just took them where the car died!![:I];)

Tom


quote:Originally posted by gordr

Good pictures, Tom. Glad you got her going again. Looking at the pictures, I think I might see some powdered rust in there. ... Take the time to do a little preventive maintenance, and avoid another roadside breakdown.

Scott
02-26-2007, 09:29 AM
TOM! I'm shocked that you have such a nice car and yet your distributor looks worse that anything I've seen on a running Studebaker! Finally I have found something on your car I don't envy even a little.
;) Glad you found the trouble.

sbca96
02-26-2007, 07:16 PM
Yah ... my old 60 Hawk was all pretty under the hood, and
the outside needed paint, etc. The Avanti looks good on
the outside, and under the hood is ugly. If you think it
looked bad in those pictures, you should have seen how the
engine looked before I Simple Greened and high pressure
washed it!!!;)

Tom


quote:Originally posted by Scott

TOM! I'm shocked that you have such a nice car and yet your distributor looks worse that anything I've seen on a running Studebaker!

Laemmle
01-03-2010, 01:03 PM
I have always put a few drops of sewing machine oil on the wick under the rotor, and followed that up with a few drops in the cup of the oiler on the side of the outside housing........keeps everything nice and lubed up.....:-)




quote:Originally posted by gordr

Good pictures, Tom. Glad you got her going again. Looking at the pictures, I think I might see some powdered rust in there. You might be well advised to take the distributor out of the car, on a nice day, and remove the breaker plate, and check the condition of the pivot points for the two balance weights. Could be they are dry and need oil. Without lubrication, the laminated steel weights wear out real fast where they are mounted on the pivot pins, and the holes wallow out. In extreme cases, the weights can begin to "mill" the inside of the distributor body. Before this happens, your centrifugal advance curve is all messed up. This is a known weakness in Prestolite distributors. Take the time to do a little preventive maintenance, and avoid another roadside breakdown.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

WCP
01-03-2010, 02:01 PM
An interesting post from the past! A failing or faulty condenser will result in the same symptoms, of course and condensers do occasionally fail. A replacement condenser (not made in the US) had me buffalo'd for several weeks many years ago on a '73 Chev Biscayne wagon. The condenser had been in service for less than a month when the car started to stumble & stop several blocks from home. Was able to coax it back to the house with repeated restarts, but then spent many days trying to locate the problem. At that point it wouldn't even start. Just one fire. I was convinced it was fuel related since the ignition system had been refreshed. It was only after I dragged my old scope out and hooked it up was the cause apparent. Put the old condenser back in the distributor and it fired right up. Talk about feeling stupid - but happy.

sbca96
01-04-2010, 04:12 AM
quote:Originally posted by WCP

I was convinced it was fuel related since the ignition system had been refreshed. It was only after I dragged my old scope out and hooked it up was the cause apparent. Put the old condenser back in the distributor and it fired right up. Talk about feeling stupid - but happy.

I had a similar issue with my 1993 Camaro Z28. Unfairly so, people
have stamped the LT1 as being a trouble prone engine because of the
optispark. I had put a new high performance Accel coil on the car and
roughly a month later the car developed a serious stall problem under
load, and on hard takeoffs it would die and recover when let off. The
people on a few forums were saying it HAD to be the optispark since it
had 154K on it. So I bought a new optispark from the Dealer, which at
the time was the only place you could buy it - $628 dollars. I went
though the trouble of installing the opti- which requires removing the
water pump - same problem. I went through every sensor, racking up a
large bill, and gave up bringing it to the Dealer. Turned out it was
the stupid Accel coil. I "KNEW" it couldnt be that because it was a
new coil - now I dont trust new parts, and always keep the old one in
case I need to trouble shoot.

Tom

Bud
01-04-2010, 02:34 PM
I've had 2 MSD coils fail in my cars and I just had to replace a Pertronix coil on a 57 T-Bird and the Pertronix coil was only a couple of months old. I called the Pertronix tech rep and he said that Pertronix has had a run of defective coils. Both my 62 Hawk and my 63 Avanti have old NAPA Echlin gold high performance coils on them and I've never had trouble with either one. I wouldn't doubt that the high performance ignition manufacturers are having their parts made in China, Mexico or some other third world country which would explain the quality control issue. Bud