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41 Frank
07-18-2015, 08:16 AM
Is there a website that will tell me how to diagnose the Pertronics unit in my 63 V-8 Lark to see if it is good or bad. Doing a search here produced nothing I can use and the Pertronics website is not particularly helpful either. This is not a new installation, this unit has been in the car for quite a few years. There is no spark and no sign of current at the negative terminal of the coil while cranking.

Dick Steinkamp
07-18-2015, 10:12 AM
Frank,
I've had to call the Pertronix Tech Support a few times and always got someone on the line that could help

(909) 547-9058

BTW, I've converted 2 cars from Pertonix back to points. I'm OK with replacing points every 10,000 miles or so and don't see any difference in normal driving between points and Pertronix...and I understand points ;). Of course you can run a wider plug gap and get a hotter spark with a Pertronix unit and their coil which is a plus for your race car.

41 Frank
07-18-2015, 10:22 AM
Hi Dick, thanks,you're up early! I will call Pertronix's tech line Monday if I don't solve the problem by then. The '63 Lark had a dead short in the alternator that burned the wiring harness to the ammeter. Almost lost the car. Luckily I was standing next to the car and the hood was up so was able to turn battery disconnect knob. I have since installed a 50 amp main fuse in the main battery wire to the ammeter. Now that I have that fixed it no longer starts. I will check the coil first before condemning the module. if you are referring to my 41 it has a Mallory Unilite.


Frank,
I've had to call the Pertronix Tech Support a few times and always got someone on the line that could help

(909) 547-9058

BTW, I've converted 2 cars from Pertonix back to points. I'm OK with replacing points every 10,000 miles or so and don't see any difference in normal driving between points and Pertronix...and I understand points ;). Of course you can run a wider plug gap and get a hotter spark with a Pertronix unit and their coil which is a plus for your race car.

Dick Steinkamp
07-18-2015, 10:51 AM
WOW! Close shave. I'm glad you were right there.

I sure thought those "idiot lights" were wrong when they first came out to replace the ammeter, but in hind sight they really aren't a bad way to monitor the electrical system...and a lot safer than running 100% of the current through the ammeter.

Yes, I was referring to your R3+ powered 41. That Unilte is the ticket. THAT must be the reason you cleaned my clock in Omaha :o

;)

41 Frank
07-18-2015, 12:39 PM
I also think running 100% of the current through the ammeter was a bad idea. As I said earlier I now have a 50 amp main fuse installed under the dash in the battery wire that comes from the battery side of the solenoid to the ammeter. I originally thought the ignition switch shorted against the brace behind the dash, but no not the case, but at least I am now protected. As far as the diagnostic procedure of checking the Pertronix I did finally find it in my stuff so I'm good. Anyway it states that while cranking if the voltage shows a constant 1.0 to 3.5 volts the power transistor is shorted. It should fluctuate between 1 to 2 volts to a range of 10 to 12 volts. This is by no means the whole procedure but only what pertained to my problem. I pulled the distributor and this afternoon will put the points back in.

WOW! Close shave. I'm glad you were right there.

I sure thought those "idiot lights" were wrong when they first came out to replace the ammeter, but in hind sight they really aren't a bad way to monitor the electrical system...and a lot safer than running 100% of the current through the ammeter.

Yes, I was referring to your R3+ powered 41. That Unilte is the ticket. THAT must be the reason you cleaned my clock in Omaha :o

;)

41 Frank
07-18-2015, 12:47 PM
As far me cleaning your clock at the drags in Omaha. You cleaned mine the first time and I returned the favor the second run as I recall, so we are officially 1-1. GGG

I also think running 100% of the current through the ammeter was a bad idea. As I said earlier I now have a 50 amp main fuse installed under the dash in the battery wire that comes from the battery side of the solenoid to the ammeter. I originally thought the ignition switch shorted against the brace behind the dash, but no not the case, but at least I am now protected. As far as the diagnostic procedure of checking the Pertronix I did finally find it in my stuff so I'm good. Anyway it states that while cranking if the voltage shows a constant 1.0 to 3.5 volts the power transistor is shorted. It should fluctuate between 1 to 2 volts to a range of 10 to 12 volts. This is by no means the whole procedure but only what pertained to my problem. I pulled the distributor and this afternoon will put the points back in.

oltrknut
07-18-2015, 01:29 PM
Frank you are right about 1 thing , maybe there was an earthquake in Bellingham. Couldn't resist.

41 Frank
07-18-2015, 01:45 PM
Hadn't looked at it that way Allen!

Frank you are right about 1 thing , maybe there was an earthquake in Bellingham. Couldn't resist.

GinettaG12P
07-18-2015, 02:27 PM
WOW! Close shave. I'm glad you were right there.

I sure thought those "idiot lights" were wrong when they first came out to replace the ammeter, but in hind sight they really aren't a bad way to monitor the electrical system...and a lot safer than running 100% of the current through the ammeter.

Yes, I was referring to your R3+ powered 41. That Unilte is the ticket. THAT must be the reason you cleaned my clock in Omaha :o

;)

I don't know why more cars didn't use an induction ammeter like the one in my '49 Mercury. The hot wire just went through a loop at the back of the ammeter; there was not connection to the ammeter, so there were no bare wires or terminals.

41 Frank
07-18-2015, 04:02 PM
I totally agree. It is so simple. Evidently the bean counters put thumbs down on that idea for other makes.

I don't know why more cars didn't use an induction ammeter like the one in my '49 Mercury. The hot wire just went through a loop at the back of the ammeter; there was not connection to the ammeter, so there were no bare wires or terminals.

41 Frank
07-18-2015, 04:14 PM
Put the points back in and the car runs perfectly again. By accident I found the battery has now changed polarity. None of my timing lights would work unless I hooked them up back wards. Same with my dwell meter and battery charger. Talked to my battery buddy (green53) and he said this happens sometimes if something is hooked up backwards or wires short out or a dead battery is charged backwards. The battery is over 7 years old, time to get a new one.

Dick Steinkamp
07-18-2015, 10:55 PM
Put the points back in and the car runs perfectly again. By accident I found the battery has now changed polarity. None of my timing lights would work unless I hooked them up back wards. Same with my dwell meter and battery charger. Talked to my battery buddy (green53) and he said this happens sometimes if something is hooked up backwards or wires short out or a dead battery is charged backwards. The battery is over 7 years old, time to get a new one.

Wow! I've never heard of that, but I know Denny knows his batteries. I guess that means I'm not too old to learn. :)

Green53
07-19-2015, 12:48 AM
It doesn't happen often but when it does it can sure screw things up. Weird things happen. When someone would would bring one in that way the first words out of their mouth was this battery won't hold a charge. No foolin Sherlock

Denny L.

TWChamp
07-19-2015, 05:30 AM
It doesn't happen often but when it does it can sure screw things up. Weird things happen. When someone would would bring one in that way the first words out of their mouth was this battery won't hold a charge. No foolin Sherlock

Denny L.

Yep, and the risk of a blown battery isn't worth it to try to drain and charge it back to the correct way. I've seen a reverse charge on two batteries and they couldn't be drained and recharged correctly and hold a good charge.

Bud
07-19-2015, 08:43 AM
Reversing battery polarity on a 6 volt cars is a problem I've seen several times in the past. I recently had to reverse the battery polarity on a Model A Ford because the owners son replaced the battery and didn't know that many 6 volt cars used a positive ground. I also found the same problem with a 55 Thunderbird when a local garage owner couldn't figure out why 3 Pertronix modules didn't work when he installed them. The fuel and water temperature gauges also started working again when the battery polarity was changed. Many mechanics under the age of 60 don't know about 6 volt battery polarity. Bud

41 Frank
07-19-2015, 09:48 AM
Just so we are all clear on this. The battery was not in backwards but the battery itself changed polarity. I had never heard of that happening either. This pretty much explains why the Pertronix stopped working since it won't function on pos. ground systems.

Green53
07-19-2015, 10:28 AM
It's hard telling why Frank's battery changed polarity as he didn't do anything wrong to cause it.

Denny L

TWChamp
07-19-2015, 12:15 PM
I don't see how a battery can be polarity changed unless it's drained dead and then someone charges it backwards or the generator lost it's residual magnetism and switched polarity.

41 Frank
07-19-2015, 06:44 PM
No generator on this 63 Lark. It has the Prestolite alternator. As Denny said above, if a dead short occurs, as happened in this case, or unintentional ground as is the proper terminology, a battery can change polarity. Battery was never dead to the best of my knowledge during storage as it had a maintainer on it all winter.I had never heard of this happening either but I talked to an old time mechanic at our chapter meeting today and he has seen this happen as well. I never have and I was in the automotive repair trade for 45 years. Do we have any electrical engineers among us here to explain this phenomenon?


I don't see how a battery can be polarity changed unless it's drained dead and then someone charges it backwards or the generator lost it's residual magnetism and switched polarity.