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Dizzy Woes

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  • Ignition: Dizzy Woes

    The distributor on our '51 Champion threw a centrifugal advance weight, breaking free from its pivot and grinding out metal from the distrib. case as we merrily drove down the road, with no obvious sign that anything was wrong. We did have a high speed miss, but dismissed it as being just an intermittent short in the distributor wire to the points which I had "re-insulated" with electrical tape a year back.

    Upon removing the distributor cap and finding all the ground metal and almost 0 clearance in the points, I was quite surprised that the car had run so well.

    Comparing the replacement distributor with the original, we found that the weights were the same and the springs were identical, but the cam plates showed remarkable differences. See the pictures of old and new cam plates below. The old cam plate had large oval holes where the weights were supposed to push out, advancing the timing. The new cam plate has small rectangular holes.

    1. Has anyone else seen this kind of wear? The car has only 130k miles and I know the distrib. got oiled frequently all through its working life.
    2. Based upon my understanding, we must not have had any centrifugal advance with such large holes. It would seem that the weights could go out and not change anything. Does that seem correct?
    3. A friend with a Sun distributor machine, tested the replacement and said the new distributor gave very little advance and it came on very slowly. The replacement distrib. doesn't meet the spec in the Shop Manual, but the car sure climbs the hills around here better now. Are Champions (or Studebakers in general) built with slower advance curves?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Champ your old dist cam is slap worn out! i have seen this before. try switching springs and re- testing, if it runs good and climbs hills why mess with it. the factory timing spec is not an absolute, its designed to cover lots of different conditions you may have stumbled onto the best for your area. Luck Doofus