Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Shocked by Distributor

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Shocked by Distributor

    59 Lark VI - Autolite dist.

    I have been having a lot of problems getting this car to run right. I posted not too long ago that I was thinking about getting a Pertronix. I'm glad I didn't as it would not have helped my problem.

    I was getting shocked by the distributor when setting timing, as I previously posted. I figured it was a bad lead wire, as it looked pretty frayed and beat up. I changed out the wire on the bench, set the points and intalled the distributor. Now when I go to set the timing I get a bigger shock on the hand than before (due to increased current through the new wire). The car does run and start easy, but runs like crap. It does not run well at all when set to factory timing specs. It needs a lot of advance. Distributor does not have excessive shaft play and advances when revved. I suppose I should check my grounds but I do not seem to get shocked anywhere else on the motor.

    Any ideas??

  • #2
    Maybe a bad distriburtor cap or plug wires. Jim

    Comment


    • #3
      It sounds like you have a problem with your plug leads as that is usually why you get a bite when you try to move the distributor with the engine running. There also could be a problem with the distributor cap, such as a crack. I would recommend finding someone with a distributor machine to check your distributor as I've seen problems with the advance mechanisms in the 6 cylinder distributors. It's not only the V8 distributors that have wear problems. The timing light will show that the spark is advancing, but it won't tell you if the advance rate is correct or advancing fully unless you have a light with the adjustable advance feature. Bud

      Comment


      • #4
        To add to what the others have said...

        Is it a 12v shock?
        Is it a 35,000 volt shock?

        Doubtful it is a 12v shock, as that would point out a grounding issue from the primary supply wire to ground.
        (you providing an easier ground than the distributor to block connection)

        But a secondary spark shock?
        That's easy.
        Bad spark plug wires. Dirty distributor cap. Bad rotor (or rotor to cap terminal clearance), Excessive spark plug gap (or dirty spark plugs)

        Remember, electricity takes the easiest path to ground.
        If that path is you, then you have to look at 'why' you are easier than the insulation on the wires, or distributor cap and rotor.
        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...)

        Comment


        • #5
          If you are getting a shock off the low-voltage terminal on the side of the distributor, don't forget that there is an inductive kick of a hundred-odd volts there every time the points open. Has to be there, or the car won't run.
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

          Comment


          • #6
            When I took auto shop in high school, we were told to never touch the distributor while the engine was running.
            Why? Because we would get bit.
            The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chris Pile View Post
              When I took auto shop in high school, we were told to never touch the distributor while the engine was running.
              Why? Because we would get bit.
              I have been setting timing for years by grabbing the body of the distributor and twisting and have never been shocked before.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DEEPNHOCK View Post
                To add to what the others have said...

                Is it a 12v shock?
                Is it a 35,000 volt shock?

                Doubtful it is a 12v shock, as that would point out a grounding issue from the primary supply wire to ground.
                (you providing an easier ground than the distributor to block connection)

                But a secondary spark shock?
                That's easy.
                Bad spark plug wires. Dirty distributor cap. Bad rotor (or rotor to cap terminal clearance), Excessive spark plug gap (or dirty spark plugs)

                Remember, electricity takes the easiest path to ground.
                If that path is you, then you have to look at 'why' you are easier than the insulation on the wires, or distributor cap and rotor.

                I do not think that the cap is that old but I guess stranger things have happened. Points look good and are set to specs. (.020) Dwell is steady and on the low end but still in spec. Ignition cables are in good shape. I guess I will get another cap & rotor and see what happens. Thanks.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Try watching the spark plug wires in total darkness while the engine is running...you may see an exciting light show...if so put new wires on. Had a Nissan truck that had the same symtoms you describe, wires looked perfect to the eye, was a different story when you lifted the hood in total darkness. I was amazed at how much arcing there was, and the truck was only five years old. Good Luck. Junior
                  sigpic
                  1954 C5 Hamilton car.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You never answered Jeff's question. Is it a primary ign. shock or secondary one?
                    Clip a temporary jumper wire from the distributor body over to the engine and see if you still have the same problem.
                    Jerry Forrester
                    Forrester's Chrome
                    Douglasville, Georgia

                    See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If one does not move the dist, how can one either advance or retard the timing?

                      Indeed the Stude shop manual advises that one has the rotate the dist to bring timing into spec......and I assume whenever a new set of breaker points are installed one HAS TO SET TIMING........correct?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ideally, an individual should have the car off, and not in the run position to play with the distributor. If one really wanted to play it safe, the engine should be off, the keys in the off position, and the individual should loosen the clamp, turn the distributor, tighten the clamp, and then start the car. If it's not correct, then the car should be shut off, and the procedure should be repeated. If the cap is off, then it really shouldn't be in the run position, as electricity is flowing through the points. In my moments of expediency I have gotten a jolt or two from grounding myself while playing with the gap between the points when the key was in the run position.

                        But in this case I usually display overconfidence in the operation of the distributor, and I've done this so many times that it's become rather convenient too. While the engine is running, I loosen the clamp, move the distributor around until where I need it, and then tighten the clamp, with keeping in mind not to touch the bare spark plug leads(if it's the leads on the 2R5), or the bare terminals on the coil, because in either case I can get a healthy jolt(I know, I've done it a few times, lol). The main idea is the plastic cap and distributor are grounded to the engine, with the plastic cap(barring nothing is wrong with the cap) also serving as an insulator, so an individual should not be able to get a shock from the actual distributor itself. Now if an individual is working with a running engine, and happens to brush up against the bare terminals of the coil or the bare metal spark plug leads while twisting the distributor, that's a whole other story.
                        1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
                        1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
                        1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
                        1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Couple of things I don't get here...
                          1) how do you get a good jolt from shorting the points on the primary circuit of an auto ingnition...aren't we talking 6-8 volts and low current while the engine is running, and 12 volts low current when the engine is cranking?

                          2) gordr says there is an inductive kick of a hundred volts every time the points open...what induces this voltage? The collapse of the coil's secondary circuit when the points open?? Why won't the car run without this induced voltage? I thought the collapse the primary circuit (points open) induced the collapse of the secondary circuit (spark at the gap of the plug, thousands of volts)

                          Been a while since I had auto shop (high school), so me thinks I need a refresher here...can any one help me understand...sorry for the tangent to the original post, but it would be nice to know. thanks, junior
                          Last edited by junior; 10-23-2010, 02:43 PM.
                          sigpic
                          1954 C5 Hamilton car.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jerry Forrester View Post
                            You never answered Jeff's question. Is it a primary ign. shock or secondary one?
                            Clip a temporary jumper wire from the distributor body over to the engine and see if you still have the same problem.
                            I will try that but isn't the distributor body grounded to the motor any way? Where it attaches it is metal to metal. I jusr took a look and I see no ground strap connected from the motor to chassis. Where is the proper grounding location on the Lark?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well I did a little testing last night and I think I will take the path of least resistance (pun intended) and order a new cap & wires. I did ground the motor to the frame with jumper cables and it made no difference, even though I still can not locate an engine to frame ground strap. I can figure out how to mount one easily but would like to know where the stock ground should be?

                              @ Junior: Nothing sparks in the dark.

                              The wires appear good but do not fit as tightly into the cap as they should. Also, after reading the manual and going through the archives I know that this car should have a ballast resistor. I can't seem to locate that and I have a newer coil that requires one. I am assuming that the resistor is a porcelain unit (like on my tractor) and later model Studes used a pink resistor wire? Where should the resistor be mounted on this model? My multimeter took a puke and I will borrow a buddy's today to check the voltage at the coil with key on. I think I should be looking for about 7.6V, according to other posts.

                              Thanks again.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X