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Setting dwell on a 1964 259 ci V8

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  • #16
    Yes, it takes a specific gap to get a specific dwell.
    But one way you will know what your dwell is, and the other way you can only guess.
    The point I was making is that to instruct a person that has not years of experience, the dwell should be verified with a meter...insuring the proper gap has been set..
    The question deserved a proper answer, and that should be taught first before shortcuts (no matter how good) are taught.



    quote:Originally posted by Mike Van Veghten

    Some of you guys are funny.
    1. Dwell angle is just a number.
    2. The gap is just a number.
    3.They will BOTH net you the same thing in the end.
    Without the fact that there is a "window" in the cap (Glen hasn't stated that fact!)...you CAN'T set the dwell without taking half a day.
    AND...one is JUST as good as the other...!!!
    Funny thing about point gaps.....ALL racing magneto's until just the last few years...the points were set with.....wait for it....."feeler gauges"...!

    I stand by my feeler gauge statement and will put it up against anyone dwell meter on the drag strip...ANY time.

    Mike
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

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    • #17
      Obviously, points can be set with a feeler gauge and/or a dwell meter. I also know "mechanics" who eyeball the gap setting and insist that it's good enough. Some set their timing "by ear", too. I personally prefer the dwell meter and a timing light. The purpose of setting the dwell angle is to ensure maximum coil saturation, and in turn the best spark.

      When setting new points with the feeler gauge, there is a bit of technique involved in ensuring that the rub block is exactly at the high point, holding blade exactly parallel to the point face, and deciding just how snug the points should be on the blade. Is a feeler gauge close enough? Possibly. Someone new to breaker points may not have this skill, and would be better served by the meter. Someone highly skilled, using the gauge, would still benefit from checking their work with the meter.

      However, once a set of points has been used, pits and spikes begin to build on the point surfaces. IMHO and experience, the gauge method is now inaccurate, since the point surfaces are no longer flat.

      quote:Without the fact that there is a "window" in the cap (Glen hasn't stated that fact!)...you CAN'T set the dwell without taking half a day.
      A '64 259 would have a Prestolite single point (windowless) distributor. With the methods previously noted, accurately setting the dwell with a meter would be closer to half an hour. BTDT many times.

      Setting the points also has an effect on the timing. It is good practice to check the timing after setting the points.

      Finally, a dwell meter is also a good distributor troubleshooting tool. Hook it up and watch. If the reading is not steady at idle, there are problems in the distributor, such as worn bushings or a worn cam. Pull the vacuum advance hose off and on. If the dwell reading changes, there is wear in the breaker plate assembly and/or the ground wire may be frayed. Note that the Prestolite breaker plate assembly is prone to wear at the pivot point, which can cause the dwell angle to change significantly as the vacuum advance moves the plate. Rev the engine. If the dwell reading drops more that 2-3 degrees, the point spring is weak, or there is a breaker plate issue.


      Jim Bradley
      Lewistown PA
      '78 Avanti II
      Jim Bradley
      Lake Monticello, VA
      '78 Avanti II
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #18
        Back in the day, used to use a dime to set the points, but then gas was better then than now.

        Comment


        • #19
          One should have a point file......to gently re-dress the point surfaces. And make sure to put a few drops of fine machine oil on the tiny felt pad under the rotor, a few drops in the oiler on the side of the dist body.....lift up the tiny cup latch cover. A small additional amount of cam lube would also be a good idea.

          Just wanted to keep in all real:-)



          quote:Originally posted by Rerun

          Obviously, points can be set with a feeler gauge and/or a dwell meter. I also know "mechanics" who eyeball the gap setting and insist that it's good enough. Some set their timing "by ear", too. I personally prefer the dwell meter and a timing light. The purpose of setting the dwell angle is to ensure maximum coil saturation, and in turn the best spark.

          When setting new points with the feeler gauge, there is a bit of technique involved in ensuring that the rub block is exactly at the high point, holding blade exactly parallel to the point face, and deciding just how snug the points should be on the blade. Is a feeler gauge close enough? Possibly. Someone new to breaker points may not have this skill, and would be better served by the meter. Someone highly skilled, using the gauge, would still benefit from checking their work with the meter.

          However, once a set of points has been used, pits and spikes begin to build on the point surfaces. IMHO and experience, the gauge method is now inaccurate, since the point surfaces are no longer flat.

          quote:Without the fact that there is a "window" in the cap (Glen hasn't stated that fact!)...you CAN'T set the dwell without taking half a day.
          A '64 259 would have a Prestolite single point (windowless) distributor. With the methods previously noted, accurately setting the dwell with a meter would be closer to half an hour. BTDT many times.

          Setting the points also has an effect on the timing. It is good practice to check the timing after setting the points.

          Finally, a dwell meter is also a good distributor troubleshooting tool. Hook it up and watch. If the reading is not steady at idle, there are problems in the distributor, such as worn bushings or a worn cam. Pull the vacuum advance hose off and on. If the dwell reading changes, there is wear in the breaker plate assembly and/or the ground wire may be frayed. Note that the Prestolite breaker plate assembly is prone to wear at the pivot point, which can cause the dwell angle to change significantly as the vacuum advance moves the plate. Rev the engine. If the dwell reading drops more that 2-3 degrees, the point spring is weak, or there is a breaker plate issue.


          Jim Bradley
          Lewistown PA
          '78 Avanti II

          Comment


          • #20
            The information you all have provided is great.

            I installed a rebuilt original type Prestolite unit, as this was the easiest thing for a novice like me to do and also the car is not being driven very much by the owner (20 miles a week or so), and she wanted to keep costs down.

            I set the points with a gauge and just borrowed a dwell meter so I'll be checking it on the next weekend.

            Comment


            • #21
              dwell angle is the length of time the coil is saturated {while the points are closed}. when they open, the coil goes to secondary windings, making 30,000 or so volts for spark. the engineers figure out optimum saturation time for overall use and recommend that. Nothing set in stone, just best overall. KP

              Ken Pyle

              Comment


              • #22
                Got to agree with RERUN. Use a dewell meter, and CHECK THE TIMING. Points adjustment changes timing. You may get the points perfect, and still have the engine run like crap because you unknowingly changed the timing. Timing adjustment does not change the points. Do it right or give it to someone that knows how to do it right.

                So much wine. So little time.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Thanks! I also borrowed a timing light and will check it again after setting the dwell.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    ALWAYS use a dwell meter. To set points with a feeler gage you have to clean the gage with denatured alcohol and let it air dry and keep it clean. It is so easy to use you eye to set the gap and then use the dwell meter. You can even pull the sparkplugs and use a cranking tool to turn the engine over to set the dwell with a dwell meter and have it set righ on the first try. I always pull thye felt wicks because with modern point grease they are useless and often lead to felt causin the points to burn out prematurely.

                    If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                    65 2dr sedan
                    64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                    61 V8 Tcab
                    61 Tcab 20R powered
                    55 Commander Wagon
                    54 Champion Wagon
                    46 Gibson Model A
                    50 JD MC
                    If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                    65 2dr sedan
                    64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                    61 V8 Tcab
                    63 Tcab 20R powered
                    55 Commander Wagon
                    54 Champion Wagon
                    46 Gibson Model A
                    50 JD MC
                    45 Agricat
                    67 Triumph T100
                    66 Bultaco Matadore

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I have never heard of the felt causing the points to burn prematurely. What does the felt under the rotor have to do with burned point surfaces? Cam lube slows down the wear of the point rubbing blocks.


                      quote:Originally posted by studebakerkid

                      ALWAYS use a dwell meter. To set points with a feeler gage you have to clean the gage with denatured alcohol and let it air dry and keep it clean. It is so easy to use you eye to set the gap and then use the dwell meter. You can even pull the sparkplugs and use a cranking tool to turn the engine over to set the dwell with a dwell meter and have it set righ on the first try. I always pull thye felt wicks because with modern point grease they are useless and often lead to felt causin the points to burn out prematurely.

                      If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                      65 2dr sedan
                      64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                      61 V8 Tcab
                      61 Tcab 20R powered
                      55 Commander Wagon
                      54 Champion Wagon
                      46 Gibson Model A
                      50 JD MC

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Not the felt under the rotor the wick that rubs against the dist. lobes.

                        If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                        65 2dr sedan
                        64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                        61 V8 Tcab
                        61 Tcab 20R powered
                        55 Commander Wagon
                        54 Champion Wagon
                        46 Gibson Model A
                        50 JD MC
                        If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                        65 2dr sedan
                        64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                        61 V8 Tcab
                        63 Tcab 20R powered
                        55 Commander Wagon
                        54 Champion Wagon
                        46 Gibson Model A
                        50 JD MC
                        45 Agricat
                        67 Triumph T100
                        66 Bultaco Matadore

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          You speak of the type of points that Standard Motor Products used to make many years ago....they called them Lubi-points. They were never very popular here in the NYC area......we used the standard points from autolite etc.



                          quote:Originally posted by studebakerkid

                          Not the felt under the rotor the wick that rubs against the dist. lobes.

                          If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                          65 2dr sedan
                          64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                          61 V8 Tcab
                          61 Tcab 20R powered
                          55 Commander Wagon
                          54 Champion Wagon
                          46 Gibson Model A
                          50 JD MC

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Dwell and the gap between the pints are opposite i.e. as the dwell angle gets larger the point gap gets smaller.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Laemmie

                              No I speak of prestolite and delco distributors that have this tab on the advance plate with a wick in it.

                              If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                              65 2dr sedan
                              64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                              61 V8 Tcab
                              61 Tcab 20R powered
                              55 Commander Wagon
                              54 Champion Wagon
                              46 Gibson Model A
                              50 JD MC
                              If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                              65 2dr sedan
                              64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                              61 V8 Tcab
                              63 Tcab 20R powered
                              55 Commander Wagon
                              54 Champion Wagon
                              46 Gibson Model A
                              50 JD MC
                              45 Agricat
                              67 Triumph T100
                              66 Bultaco Matadore

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Kid,

                                Well I have to admit I have never seen such an advance plate!

                                And I have been around cars for over 50 years........live and learn!

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