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  • Engine: Dwell? Should I Fix?

    Driving on Sunday to RI for the meet and just so happens yesterday an old guy gives me an old (But new in the box) dwell / RPM meter. I read the instructions and check my V-8 Hawk which is running great and find the dwell is 22 and the book says like 27-32. Should I attempt to fix that which is not broke? I don't know what dwell is but I know it has to do with the point gap so I can play with that. The trip is 225 miles each way. I suspect I have to open the points...just a guess but they must have worn? The car is running very well. Thanks. Jim

  • #2
    Does your dwell meter have a 6cyl and 8 cyl setting?

    As gap increases, dwell decreases, so your point gap would need to be closed up to increase your dwell.

    If your engine is running great, I would suggest checking it in three weeks.
    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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    • #3
      That is too little dwell, Jim, and it should be adjusted to spec before you leave. However, make sure you have the meter scale set to 8 cylinders and not 6 (or something else) before making the adjustment.

      Simply stated, Dwell is the number of degrees the distributor shaft rotates (out of a 360-degree circle) while the points are closed. As soon as the distributor cam comes around and opens the points, breaking the circuit, the dwell can be determined. Of course, all this happens rapidly while the engine is running.

      Reset your points carefully with a feeler gauge. Then check the dwell and it should be within spec. BP
      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

      Ayn Rand:
      "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

      G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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      • #4
        Me, I'd reset the points, or install a new set and set to the highest recommended dwell to account for wear in of the point block. If the rub block wears some more, it won't be "running very well", and might catch up with you just when you don't want it to. Hold on to that old dwell tach they are getting harder to find and are indispensable setting point type distributors and setting timing without trying to see the car's tach-if you have one.

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        • #5
          If he changes the dwell, Jim will need to re-set the timing.
          This is a decision point on all Stude's on all road trips.
          Of course it should be tuned to the peak of efficiency before leaving.
          Is Jim in a position to do a thorough tune up?
          Having just been handed the most basic of tune up tools, I would not suggest learning tune-up 101 with a road trip facing you.
          IMOHO, if the point surface looks good, and the engine is running great, I'd leave it alone until after the meet.
          Either all in or all out.
          Get someone to help with the tune up, or wait until you get home.
          Just an opinion... I am making an assumption about Jim's tune up ability.
          So if I am out of line...slap me down,
          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


          • #6
            Thanks for the suggestions. To hear from Bob Palma is an honor! DeepnHOCK you did not nearly insult me. I'm pretty good with this old gal and have always just set the points and did the tune up, for over forty years. Never had a dwell meter. Now I'm dwelling on this (pun). I'll take the advice and play with the points. The following (blue) was taken from some internet site, so Ill error on the side of too little, meaning I'll look at the Shop Manual and aim for the smaller number, which I believe was 27. Either way I'll be in RI. Me and this old Hawk go way back, I'll kick it down the road or we'll fight along 95 in CT. Thanks again! Too little dwell and the coil will be undercharged resulting in a weaker spark. Too much dwell and the coil will overheat. An overheating coil will breakdown easier, won’t store as much energy and will result in a weaker spark

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            • #7
              Well you know it's true if it's on the internet!

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              • #8
                If timing was set with the dwell correct, re-setting the dwell back to correct will bring the timing back to correct also.
                sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
                1950 Champion Convertible
                1950 Champion 4Dr
                1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
                1957 Thunderbird

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                • #9
                  Aren't R-1s supposed to have dual point distributors?

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                  • #10
                    I would check the meter against a known good one befor useing it.I have seen some go bad(read incorrect)over time.

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                    • #11
                      I think you are mistaking R.I. for R1 , state vs engine. as Abe Lincoln once said " you can't believe everything you read on the internet". Doofus

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jg61hawk View Post
                        Thanks for the suggestions. To hear from Bob Palma is an honor! DeepnHOCK you did not nearly insult me. I'm pretty good with this old gal and have always just set the points and did the tune up, for over forty years. Never had a dwell meter. Now I'm dwelling on this (pun). I'll take the advice and play with the points. The following (blue) was taken from some internet site, so Ill error on the side of too little, meaning I'll look at the Shop Manual and aim for the smaller number, which I believe was 27. Either way I'll be in RI. Me and this old Hawk go way back, I'll kick it down the road or we'll fight along 95 in CT. Thanks again! Too little dwell and the coil will be undercharged resulting in a weaker spark. Too much dwell and the coil will overheat. An overheating coil will breakdown easier, won’t store as much energy and will result in a weaker spark


                        A few weeks ago, I created a perfect example of the problem you describe in the above quote. On one of my six cylinder Studebakers, I installed a new set of points without truly "setting" the gap. What I did, was pop them in, and left the eccentric adjustment screw untouched, and merely "eyeballed" the point gap, and called it "OK." Not that I can't set the points, but, this time, I was impatient, and in a hurry to move on to other things. I simply popped the new points in place, slapped the distributor cap back on, and was impressed when the engine fired right up.

                        The slower than usual cranking over of the engine should have been a clue. But, I didn't pay enough attention. I backed the car out of the barn, and parked it in the yard, to hose the spring pollen off. I left the car setting in the yard while I took care of other chores. Later in the day, I noticed thunderheads coming over the mountains. So, I scrambled to fire up the car and get it back under shelter. However, not only did the engine drag and turn over slowly, it dragged the battery down to the point that I had to grab my wheeled heavy duty battery charger. Using the "boost" starter, the engine fired up and I was able to get it in the dry before the rain started.

                        Realizing, that I had used an "eyeball" set on those points, the next day, I took my trusty feeler gauge set, and checked my "eyeball" accuracy. The manual calls for .020 for this six cylinder. My "eyeball" set was over .040! Which proves that these engines are more forgiving than you would think. But, at the same time, the settings are there for a reason, and, although the engines might run with the settings off...they run much better with the settings "CORRECT!" With the points set correctly, they are not opening too soon, trying to fire the piston on the upstroke. That was the reason for the slow reluctant cranking speed. With correct points gap, the engine cranking speed is quick and crisp, with the engine firing up almost instantly.
                        John Clary
                        Greer, SC

                        SDC member since 1975

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                        • #13
                          Getting older then when I bought the car 40 years ago, but not too lazy to work at night. Dwell is now 29. Checked with the old one the guy gave me, and me being a little nuts, I bought one at Auto Zone (who thought they would have one)>both 29 and no real variation when gas is moved so I think that shows the distributor bearings are OK.

                          HAVING SAID THAT, I'LL RISK HERESY HERE. Maybe that Ford 289 with the distributor in the front ain't so bad after all! I forgot how much fun crawling into the back of the motor was, especially hoping my ass don't hit the prop rod and close the hood on me.

                          See you in RI. (God willing)!

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                          • #14
                            Dwell is actually more important than the point gap itself. The gap is a "suggestion" to get it close for the dwell. The ideal location is the center of the range. Studebaker gives a very wide range in the book compared to some other makes.

                            I have mine set at 29 as well and it starts on the first turn every time. It has excellent power, and runs smooth. Yes, it's a pain to adjust it multiple times to change the dwell by 1 degree.

                            Gotta get your idle set correctly first though. I have a really hard time with my car idling at 500 RPM in D. Just feels like it's going to die. It feels happier idling at 800.
                            Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
                            1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

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                            • #15
                              Good advice from the above posts. In addition, some dwell meters also have a scale for checking the condition of the points. Basically it is a measurement of the current across the points. Too much current and the points have too high a resistance and need replacing. A quick way to determine condition. This feature, if available, should be covered in the meter's instruction manual. Thanks.

                              (o{}o)

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