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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    Sometimes, just being flooded one time with today's gas will leave deposits on plugs which will not be visible and the plug will still jump a spark in the open air but under compression the spark will run down the deposit on the insulator.

    jack vines

    I have found that to be the case a few times with lawn mowers. It was surprising, as the plug looked OK.

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  • PackardV8
    replied
    Originally posted by Dan Timberlake View Post
    [/LIST]One of the sabotage tricks used in the Plymouth trouble shooting contests was a thin coat of clear nail polish on brand new points. The voltage drop test would make it clear where the problem was.

    Parts swappin' without confirming diagnosis netted a poor score, even if the young tech got the car running.
    And yes, back in the day, we filed points and rotor tips, filed plug gaps, sandblasted spark plug insulators; once I remember spacing apart arcing plug wires with wooden sticks and electricians tape. Today, not so much.

    FWIW, over the years, as our cars and owners have aged, I've gotten requests to help troubleshoot no-start and poor running problems. Old gas is the first suspect and after that, the most likely problem was almost always old ignition components. Now, I tell anyone asking for help, "Don't bring it here until you've drained and refilled the gas tank and changed the fuel filter, and installed new spark plugs, ignition wires, cap, rotor, points and condensor." Nine out of ten times this solves their problem and I never see the car. When a CASO says, "Well, the ignition stuff doesn't have that many miles on it." I say, "But how many years does it have on it? The components rust, oxidize, the insulation breaks down just sitting there."

    One local guy refused to replace the spark plugs on his Champion; they looked like new. When, just to prove a point, I took over and installed a new set of plugs; the car started immediately and ran perfectly. Sometimes, just being flooded one time with today's gas will leave deposits on plugs which will not be visible and the plug will still jump a spark in the open air but under compression the spark will run down the deposit on the insulator.

    jack vines

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  • nvonada
    replied
    I file my points when they need it. If they only last half as long that is still years with the amount of driving most of us do.

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  • jclary
    replied
    Originally posted by studegary View Post
    The chemical symbol for Tungsten is W for Wolfram. You might try that to widen your search.
    YEP..that was at the very first site of my two-day excursion on the web. But...since you don't speak with a drawl...perhaps you can do a ten-minute search and enlighten those of us who live below the Mason Dixon. (Friendly sarcasm...no charge)

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  • studegary
    replied
    The chemical symbol for Tungsten is W for Wolfram. You might try that to widen your search.

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  • jclary
    replied
    Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
    Instead of a file, there is a something called a contact burnishing tool. It's a thin strip of stainless steel impregnated with something. It's used in pinball machine repair and used to be a favorite tool of telephone repair people.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...+tool&_sacat=0
    Thanks, Roy...looks like using the word "Burnishing," is a lot more lucrative than using the word "file." And...these tools might be more gentle on the material than a file so I'll plead ignorance as to my reason for being a bit skeptical regarding one's effectiveness over the other. But, the commandeering of my wife's glass fingernail file seemed effective and easier to justify than buying a rarely used tool that costs way more than several points sets. When it comes to electronics/electrical stuff, I will always defer to a guy with "RADIOROY" as his screen name and the credibility I have attached to your skillset and experience.

    Due to contributions to this thread, I was inspired to try a little more internet searching in order to gain more insight into breaker points and their construction. Specifically, I wanted to know if the little dots of material known as the "points," were made of solid Tungsten, an alloy, or some material made of some other metal coated with Tungsten. Off & on, over two days, I have attempted to search with a lot of reading and (somewhat) wasted time. Like a lot of searches, the search terms used lead in many directions. Often, to more information than you want, or nothing close to the information you are seeking. I have yet to find any source saying "contact points are specifically made this way..." But, I have learned that Tungsten is a "refractory" metal, and has the highest melting point of any metal. It is also very difficult to use in electroplating. It is available in drawn wire, rod, and sheet material. So... until someone provides a definitive answer, I am going to conclude that the tiny points are solid tungsten made from either wire or rod (possibly sheet?).

    One helpful website I stumbled across was this one https://www.hemmings.com/stories/art...t-to-the-point It is a basic review of the traditional points ignition system and I don't think any harm can come from all of us reading it and bookmarking it for future reference.

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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    Instead of a file, there is a something called a contact burnishing tool. It's a thin strip of stainless steel impregnated with something. It's used in pinball machine repair and used to be a favorite tool of telephone repair people.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...+tool&_sacat=0

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan Timberlake
    replied
    A volt meter can provide a pretty good assessment of the points' electrical health. (not their gap/dwell adjustment)

    ".... checking the voltage drop at the coil negative terminal when the engine doesn't start:
    • Key on, points closed-approximately .2 volt. Higher voltage indicates excessive resistance between the coil negative terminal and ground. ............."
    One of the sabotage tricks used in the Plymouth trouble shooting contests was a thin coat of clear nail polish on brand new points.
    The voltage drop test would make it clear where the problem was.
    Parts swappin' without confirming diagnosis netted a poor score, even if the young tech got the car running.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lynn
    replied
    John: While I am glad you got a good result, your results MAY be short lived. I only file points for emergencies, and then only use them short term. On most points the layer of tungsten is very thin, and once you start filing them, it is compromised relatively quickly.

    I see others have mentioned quality of the replacements. Surely someone has a good source for quality ignition points.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bud
    replied
    I had the same problem with a 50 Land Cruiser. There was spark at the coil but not at the plugs. It turned out that the rotor was bad and allowed the spark to go to ground through the distributor shaft. Fortunately I had the same problem with a Chevy doing the same thing so the diagnosis for the Land Cruiser was easy. If you have a good spark leaving the coil. then there shouldn't be a problem with the points, condenser or the coil. The rotor may look good, but I'll bet it isn't. If the rotor isn't the problem then it's the cap. Bud

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  • tsenecal
    replied
    Good points ( no pun intended) on both the availability, and the quality of the new replacement parts. Many on here have suggested trying to find NOS ignition parts at swap meets or ebay, as they have better quality. Happy to see that you have the car out to enjoy it.

    Leave a comment:


  • jclary
    replied
    Originally posted by tsenecal View Post
    She's a beauty, and probably very happy to be out of that shed. Great troubleshooting on the no spark issue. I'm interested in professional opinion here when it comes to filing points. I had an old timer tell me that it was fine to file them to get running, and get back home, but that they needed to be replaced after that. He felt that they wouldn't be dependable. Maybe it was just his personal idea.
    Worth discussing...I think the points contacts (I believe most are tungsten) can be burned so bad that they will no longer be conductive and therefore unusable. Same if they become so pitted and deformed as to not be able to provide a consistent gap adjustment. There are three wear parts of a points set. The contacts, cam rub block, and the spring tension conductor. My experience is that the small tungsten contacts fail most. While points are enclosed under a distributor cap...the caps are not sealed and therefore subject to the atmosphere, humidity, and airborne contaminants, leading to wear degradation and failure. As available and inexpensive as point sets used to be, a replacement made great sense. However, with everything going solid state, computer, closed-loop instant ECM systems...either retrofitting our vehicles or tinkering, repairing, and extending the life of these obsolete parts is our future. We are already encountering shortages of these items in parts stores, and blank stares from young counter clerks who are totally unfamiliar with vintage auto and engine components.

    Now that we have seen how unreliable some "off-shore" suppliers are at reproducing some of these products...some of us should consider investigating the feasibility of establishing local "cottage industry" type manufacturing or repairing of certain things like point-sets, carburetor parts and other components that are becoming difficult to source. Not necessarily to get rich, but to preserve our hobby and hopefully do a little better than break even.

    Leave a comment:


  • tsenecal
    replied
    She's a beauty, and probably very happy to be out of that shed. Great troubleshooting on the no spark issue. I'm interested in professional opinion here when it comes to filing points. I had an old timer tell me that it was fine to file them to get running, and get back home, but that they needed to be replaced after that. He felt that they wouldn't be dependable. Maybe it was just his personal idea.

    Leave a comment:


  • altair
    replied
    I have had that same issue with points where crankcase vapor has migrated in to the distributor and created carbon on the points, it is almost invisible until you file/replace.

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  • kurtruk
    replied
    Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
    Very nice looking Business Coupe John!

    Funny story, I looked at that First Pic really hard, trying to figure out WHY I could not see the Right Rear/Side Window, I had forgotten it is not one of the more common Starlight Coupes, and wondered WHAT was blocking that Window!

    It was very clear what was happening, when viewing Pic #2!
    Rich, the two-piece windshield could have been a clue...

    Leave a comment:

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