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  • 59 Lark 6 won't start, help!

    Hello everybody out there in Sudeland! My family has many Studes and much knowledge on these matters but they are a state away in Or. and I thought I'd try to fix this problem myself, with your help of coarse.
    So driving back to Seattle from the Oregon coast a few weeks back my power steering belt fell off and landed on top the engine. No big deal, just a little harder to steer and a little bit faster. I took a break in Tacoma visited some friends, spent the night.
    Next morning, we pile into Gretta ('59 black hardtop, 6, PS, PB, automatic) I turn the key the starter goes fine, give it gas, still won't fire up, I cranked on it for 5 minutes or so. We walked to breakfast. Came back, looked under the hood, checked carb. and poured some gas into it, that didn't help. It cranked, and cranked, and cranked. Finally it got going, died when I started to drive off, started back up again right away, and awaaay we go! Got back to Seattle fine.
    The next morning, back to work. Hopped in Gretta, same problem. The starter is doing it's job, it just won't fire up. I checked the distributer cables to sparkplugs, while a friend cranked on the starter, and low and behold, no spark. O.K. so it's gotta be the distributer or the coil, right? I hadn't checked the points since I've had the car so I changed the points, I'm pretty sure they're gapped right and all, I also put in on a new cap. Still more of the same, hasn't started since Tacoma. Do I need to get the coil checked? If so where? I'm gonna put in on a new router on today, but the old one looks fine. Any help would be very welcome. Thank you so much.
    Keep on driving the finest, Jsin.


  • #2
    Well - troubleshooting without diagnosing CAN be effective - eventually. But it's also not very economical.[B)]

    When it won't crank, you need to confirm whether or not there's fire at the plugs. Of course, now that you're a good part of the way into replacing just about the whole ignition system, you might as well finish it up.[:I]

    You didn't mention the condensor. I would never change just the points without the condensor as well. Do that and the coil and you've done the better part of a tune-up. Yeah - you can do plugs as well (and maybe inspection of them would warrant that), but the fact that it DOES run when it takes a notion to pretty much negates any problem being caused by the plugs.

    Coils do funny things when they go bad. One that has a broken internal connection can go bad on increasing temperature(and then right itself after things cool down a bit). The fact that this one did so AFTER it had set off for awhile might be because the highest heat in the engine compartment can come AFTER you've shut off the engine. Once the usual airflo stops, you get a "heatsoak" period where temps really go up. Naturally, it takes everything some time to cool back down to where it's the same as if the engine were running. So, yeah - the coil's a legitimate suspect.[^]

    Miscreant adrift in
    the BerStuda Triangle

    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe

    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well - troubleshooting without diagnosing CAN be effective - eventually. But it's also not very economical.[B)]

      When it won't crank, you need to confirm whether or not there's fire at the plugs. Of course, now that you're a good part of the way into replacing just about the whole ignition system, you might as well finish it up.[:I]

      You didn't mention the condensor. I would never change just the points without the condensor as well. Do that and the coil and you've done the better part of a tune-up. Yeah - you can do plugs as well (and maybe inspection of them would warrant that), but the fact that it DOES run when it takes a notion to pretty much negates any problem being caused by the plugs.

      Coils do funny things when they go bad. One that has a broken internal connection can go bad on increasing temperature(and then right itself after things cool down a bit). The fact that this one did so AFTER it had set off for awhile might be because the highest heat in the engine compartment can come AFTER you've shut off the engine. Once the usual airflo stops, you get a "heatsoak" period where temps really go up. Naturally, it takes everything some time to cool back down to where it's the same as if the engine were running. So, yeah - the coil's a legitimate suspect.[^]

      Miscreant adrift in
      the BerStuda Triangle

      1957 Transtar 1/2ton
      1960 Larkvertible V8
      1958 Provincial wagon
      1953 Commander coupe

      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've had condensers fail that did the same thing. Suddenly no start.

        Mark Anderson
        Member SDC and FMCA
        Keeper of the Studebaker Cruiser Registry
        http://home.alltel.net/anderm

        My next Studebaker is in the future, but now getting my hair messed up in a Sebring ragtop!
        Almost as fun as a Studebaker!

        Comment


        • #5
          I've had condensers fail that did the same thing. Suddenly no start.

          Mark Anderson
          Member SDC and FMCA
          Keeper of the Studebaker Cruiser Registry
          http://home.alltel.net/anderm

          My next Studebaker is in the future, but now getting my hair messed up in a Sebring ragtop!
          Almost as fun as a Studebaker!

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for the input. I replaced the router, the condenser I got from Napa doesn't look the same so I left the old one on for now, I did find a local place that has the right one and I'll pick it up next week. I put in a new ignition coil and still no luck. I checked and the plugs aren't getting any spark. Any other ideas? A local SDC member contacted me, and I'm really excited to meet somebody with more experience than myself. I am so happy to get feedback. Thank you everybody.[8D]

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you for the input. I replaced the router, the condenser I got from Napa doesn't look the same so I left the old one on for now, I did find a local place that has the right one and I'll pick it up next week. I put in a new ignition coil and still no luck. I checked and the plugs aren't getting any spark. Any other ideas? A local SDC member contacted me, and I'm really excited to meet somebody with more experience than myself. I am so happy to get feedback. Thank you everybody.[8D]

              Comment


              • #8
                Perry
                \'50 Business Champion
                \'50 Starlight Champion
                \'60 Lark Convertible,
                \'63 GT R1,
                \'67 Triumph TR4A

                Comment


                • #9
                  Perry
                  \'50 Business Champion
                  \'50 Starlight Champion
                  \'60 Lark Convertible,
                  \'63 GT R1,
                  \'67 Triumph TR4A

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This sounds like it could be a problem with primary power to the ignition coil, i.e. the 12 volt supply. Either the (+) side of the coil is not seeing 12 volts from the battery, or the points are not getting a good ground. It could be a bad ground pigtail between the breaker plate in the distributor and its case, or it could be a problem with the source wire to the coil.

                    First thing I'd try is hook a clip lead from the positive battery post to the (+) stud on the coil. Crank the engine. If it starts, leave the key in the "run" position, and disconnect the clip lead. If the engine quits, you have a problem with the ignition switch (not rare) or a bad resistor (resistor wire in some cases). If the engine fails to start, then we can assume it's either a bad coil or something in the ground leg of the primary circuit, either within the distributor itself, or possibly the lead connecting it to the coil. While coils DO go bad, the odds favor a problem in the distributor, simply because it has moving parts and is subject to wear and tear.

                    You can do a rough check of the coil on the car: Ignition off, pull the center coil lead from the distributor cap, and hold the end about 1/4" away from the engine block. Use a clip lead to connect the coil (-) terminal to ground. Connect another clip lead to the battery (+) post, and just scratch the other end on the coil (+) stud. If the coil is good, you will see a spark jump from the coil HV wire to ground. It might not jump the fill quarter inch, but it should. If you get nothing, or maybe only a weak red spark MUCH less than a quarter inch, you can rightfully suspect a bad coil. If the spark is anywhere near a quarter inch, the coil may not be perfect, but it ought to at least START the engine. Don't be trying this test if there is any spilled fuel on top of the engine!

                    If the coil checks out OK, I'd remove the distributor and check it out on the bench where you can see it better.

                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This sounds like it could be a problem with primary power to the ignition coil, i.e. the 12 volt supply. Either the (+) side of the coil is not seeing 12 volts from the battery, or the points are not getting a good ground. It could be a bad ground pigtail between the breaker plate in the distributor and its case, or it could be a problem with the source wire to the coil.

                      First thing I'd try is hook a clip lead from the positive battery post to the (+) stud on the coil. Crank the engine. If it starts, leave the key in the "run" position, and disconnect the clip lead. If the engine quits, you have a problem with the ignition switch (not rare) or a bad resistor (resistor wire in some cases). If the engine fails to start, then we can assume it's either a bad coil or something in the ground leg of the primary circuit, either within the distributor itself, or possibly the lead connecting it to the coil. While coils DO go bad, the odds favor a problem in the distributor, simply because it has moving parts and is subject to wear and tear.

                      You can do a rough check of the coil on the car: Ignition off, pull the center coil lead from the distributor cap, and hold the end about 1/4" away from the engine block. Use a clip lead to connect the coil (-) terminal to ground. Connect another clip lead to the battery (+) post, and just scratch the other end on the coil (+) stud. If the coil is good, you will see a spark jump from the coil HV wire to ground. It might not jump the fill quarter inch, but it should. If you get nothing, or maybe only a weak red spark MUCH less than a quarter inch, you can rightfully suspect a bad coil. If the spark is anywhere near a quarter inch, the coil may not be perfect, but it ought to at least START the engine. Don't be trying this test if there is any spilled fuel on top of the engine!

                      If the coil checks out OK, I'd remove the distributor and check it out on the bench where you can see it better.

                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Gord, you alligator clips are a good idea.

                        However.

                        I was installing a new ignition system last year and used a couple of clip jumpers as temporary wiring. Unfortunately the jumpers were over 20 years old and corrosion had disabled both of them.

                        This is just a reminder to check continuity in your jumpers before depending on them to trouble shoot a problem.

                        [img=left]http://www.alink.com/personal/tbredehoft/Bothcars4.jpg[/img=left]
                        Tom Bredehoft
                        '53 Commander Coupe
                        '55 President State Sedan
                        (Under Construction) 134 hrs.
                        '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
                        All Indiana built cars

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Gord, you alligator clips are a good idea.

                          However.

                          I was installing a new ignition system last year and used a couple of clip jumpers as temporary wiring. Unfortunately the jumpers were over 20 years old and corrosion had disabled both of them.

                          This is just a reminder to check continuity in your jumpers before depending on them to trouble shoot a problem.

                          [img=left]http://www.alink.com/personal/tbredehoft/Bothcars4.jpg[/img=left]
                          Tom Bredehoft
                          '53 Commander Coupe
                          '55 President State Sedan
                          (Under Construction) 134 hrs.
                          '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
                          All Indiana built cars

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Looks like the trouble shooting is all posted, and a very good
                            step by step. I thought of one thing to add but probably not the problem. Is the distributor shaft turning. I have had this on V8
                            from the pin in the gear shearing and once with a stripped cam
                            gear. Not that familiar with the 6 set up.

                            leroy

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Looks like the trouble shooting is all posted, and a very good
                              step by step. I thought of one thing to add but probably not the problem. Is the distributor shaft turning. I have had this on V8
                              from the pin in the gear shearing and once with a stripped cam
                              gear. Not that familiar with the 6 set up.

                              leroy

                              Comment

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