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I get why people like electronic ignition!

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  • doublepaddle
    replied
    I have now spent 1 month off and on trying to time and start my truck. Bought the Pertronics unit for the distributor and a coil to match. It was from Fairborn Studebaker. Truck started right up and ran with more power than before. Wasn't too expensive and worth every penny. Thanks Phil

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  • JimC
    replied
    Gord,

    I agree, I probably didn't "need" to do a lot of that, but it's cheap insurance. I've only had the car a few months, and while I know the previous owner treated it well, I don't have a specific checklist (aside from reading his old posts here on the forum) saying exactly what he did or when he did it. That in conjunction with the fact that this is essentially my daily driver, and I'd rather do a little more work and minimize the breakdown risk. It's a lot more fun doing this stuff at my garage than it is on the side of the freeway.

    I will say that prior to those few things I swapped, the car was running pretty rough, and yesterday and today it's a lot smoother. I can't wait to get the rest of the stuff under the hood tightened to where it belongs. Then, onto the next system.

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  • PackardV8
    replied
    Now I know the traditional tune-up consisted of replacing plugs, points, condenser, and rotor, whether they needed it or not, but that was back in the day when shops actually did tune-ups. And one way to avoid costly "come-backs" was to replace all the parts involved. And the public had been conditioned to expect that, so it was an easy sell. And the parts weren't that expensive, as they were manufactured in vast quantities, and common to a wide range of models.
    Back when I was a CASO by necessity, I filed the contacts of points and plugs and rotors and caps, set the point gap and called that a tune-up.

    Today, if a Stude owner asks for help with a car which won't start or runs poorly, I won't touch it until it comes with all new ignition components. That became necessary as the cars and owners aged. Every time I asked how old the ignition parts were, the answer was always, "Just a few hundred miles ago." Maybe, but that was usually also ten or more years ago too.

    As JimC learned the hard way, with the Stude C/K V8 distributor in the world's most inconvenient location, it's impossible to eyeball changes in point gap. The procedure is to set the point gap with a feeler gauge and verify it with a dwell meter. Remember dwell has an inverse relationship to point gap. To increase the dwell degree, decrease the point gap. To decrease dwell, increase the point gap.

    jack vines

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  • gordr
    replied
    Jim, I'd say most of the work you did was unnecessary. Cleaning / filing the points (they are a pair) is worthwhile. Replacing the condenser (highway robbery at $8, too), probably not so. Likewise replacing a coil that is a "couple of ohms" out. Probably within tolerance for the part.

    Now I know the traditional tune-up consisted of replacing plugs, points, condenser, and rotor, whether they needed it or not, but that was back in the day when shops actually did tune-ups. And one way to avoid costly "come-backs" was to replace all the parts involved. And the public had been conditioned to expect that, so it was an easy sell. And the parts weren't that expensive, as they were manufactured in vast quantities, and common to a wide range of models.

    If I had a buck for every perfectly good condenser tossed in the trash can, I could buy General Motors. Condensers don't "wear out". They do eventually deteriorate, and fail when the dielectric breaks down. Some fail prematurely, but most will last 20 years or more unless abused physically or electrically. If the condenser is faulty, the tipoff is a weak spark, and a marked deterioration of the points, with one side developing a crater, and the other a matching pinnacle. Normal point wear does proceed something like that, but over maybe 10,000 miles. Accelerated point wear from a bad condenser will show up in a few hundred to a couple of thousand miles.

    And dwell a half degree off spec? That's perfect, man! I doubt your dwell meter is that accurate. And if your '63 has the Prestolite distributor, the dwell changes with the position of the vacuum advance, anyway. Between 28 and 32 degrees is close enough.

    What you do need to do is to check is that both the vacuum advance and mechanical advance are working properly, and within spec. Vacuum advance diaphragms go bad, and simply fail to work at all, and it is very common for them to do so. And Prestolites are notorious for getting an obscene amount of wear on the advance weight pivots, and over-advance something fierce as a result. Get an advance timing light, and refer to the advance curves in the shop manual, and ensure that the distributor meets those specs.

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  • 55s
    replied
    That being said, I have four cars at my home with original ignition that haven't had a tuneup in 20 years and still start very well even after a winter sleep. (I do carry a point file just in case, and I occasionally lube only.)

    If it ain't broke, don't mess with it.

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  • 64V19816
    replied
    My 66 has factory electronic ignition and I had an assortment of troubles until I looked at the Studebaker paperwork in the glove box on this and read on the troubleshooting about the battery cables being loose....which mine WERE. Tightened properly ignition system has been flawless. Quickest cold start of any car I ever owned. REAL fun is fixing points on a 58 landrover five miles back in the deep woods during a snowstorm.

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  • 63 R2 Hawk
    replied
    I have not had to make any ignition adjustments in my Hawk in seven years other than an occasional timing tweek. I have a Pertronix Ignitor, MSD 6AL and MSD timing computer. I would recommend converting any points style ignition to a good electronic system.

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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    In addition to not having to set the points, I noticed a newly found smoothness in Lark V-8 engine with the Pertronix. My girl friend at the time even commented on it.

    None of mine have caused any problems, either. I suspect that I should grease the advance weight pivot points occasionally, though.

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  • JimC
    started a topic I get why people like electronic ignition!

    I get why people like electronic ignition!

    Yesterday I took a break from parting out the hardtop to start a tune-up on the '63. The point looked really good for the most part, so I filed the contacts down per the instructions in the shop manual. The condenser looked fairly ancient and they're 8 bucks, so I swapped that out. I tested the coil, and it was definitely a couple ohms higher than what I wanted to see, so I swapped that out as well. I didn't have time to swap the plug wires or clean/regap the plugs, but there's tomorrow for that.

    So after I did the fun maintenance stuff, I put my dwell meter on the coil, and found out that I was outside of the shop manual specs by half a degree. so I pop off the distributor, remove the rotor, make an adjustment. Put it back together, and the car doesn't start - I moved it too far! And so the games begin. For about an hour it was the same thing, over and over - Cap off, rotor off, adjust gap, replace rotor, replace cap, start car, take reading. By the time I got it to a half a degree above the minimum setting (close enough, right?!), it was getting dark, and so I didn't get to finish the tune-up. I did pop my timing light on the engine just to see where it's at, and actually with the dwell adjusted it's pretty close.

    All that is to say that setting your point is a real pain in the #*%, and when I have the cash saved up, I believe a pertronix unit will be in my future.
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