failed points

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  #1  
Old 04-29-16, 09:18 AM
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failed points

My tractor wouldn't start this morning and when I pulled the distributor cap I found that while there was power to the points, they wouldn't spark. I replaced the points and it fired right up. The points I took out had less than 40 hrs on them and looked good but wouldn't spark.

Used the tractor for about a half hour up top [running great] and then went to the bottom to scrape my gravel out of the road and scooped up some gravel/slate to bring towards the top. Went about 200' up the driveway and the tractor just quit. Pulled the cap and no spark at the points. I took a stick with the ignition on and after opening/closing the points multiple times I got a spark. I buttoned it up, started it and headed up the driveway spittin and sputterin. A few hundred feet from the top it started running good again.

I've doubled checked the point gap and all the wires seem to have good connections. Anyone have any ideas?
 
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Old 04-29-16, 09:33 AM
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Is there a condensor there as part of the system ?
 
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Old 04-29-16, 09:51 AM
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Ya, but it's always been my understanding that when a condenser fails it's all or nothing. I tuned it up last fall and replaced the condenser, points, plugs, wires and all at that time. I'll have to look and see if I have an old condenser although the one that's on there came from NAPA so it should be good.

Forgot earlier but it's a 1953 Ford NAA.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 10:28 AM
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Assuming the dwell angle is correct, it's possible that a little bit of oil on your fingers might foul them. Use a q-tip and some denatured alcohol and swab them.... see what happens.

Dad had a similar tractor... think his was a Jubilee. The ground/posts on your battery cable are good and clean, right?
 
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Old 04-29-16, 12:07 PM
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Mine is a jubilee also [1953 anniversary model] They made the NAA for 2 years - 53 & 54

While I haven't checked the battery cables lately, they should be clean and at any rate the starter spins over good and gauge indicates it charges after cranking on it. I changed mine over to 12 volt negative ground 10-15 yrs ago.

I've doubled checked the points gap and it's right on the money but it's still running good for a short while, starts sputtering and then runs decent again. Any way I'm tired of messing with it today, and won't have time tomorrow. I guess I'll see if I can get new points and condenser next week and see if that fixes it.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 12:19 PM
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Two possibilities:
Did you change polarity on coil when you changed the battery and charging system? They don't fire very well when coil polarity is reversed.

Small wire from "hot" terminal on side of distributor goes under point plate on this vintage model Ford. Check it for continuous continuity and/or insulation worn away causing intermittent shorting.

Have found and repaired both of these problems during my career.

RR
 
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Old 04-29-16, 12:28 PM
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I swapped out the coil when I switched to 12 volt. As mentioned above that was done a long time ago and for the most part it has run great since switching from 6 volt. I replaced the wire from the coil to the points/condenser last fall when I tuned it up but I probably should double check it.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 12:35 PM
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Mark, I moved your thread to Gasoline Powered Equipment and Small Engines. I think it will get more views. Heck, Cheese might even see it and have a comment. PM me if you want me to move it back.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 01:11 PM
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I don't know how yours is wired but is there a resistor in 12 volt system to coil. Does it bypass when starting? ignition switch could be sticking in start. Would send full 12 volts to points when running.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 01:41 PM
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[QUOTEI replaced the wire from the coil to the points/condenser last fall when I tuned it up but I probably should double check it. ][/QUOTE]

I am referring to the small primary wire UNDER THE POINT PLATE.

Fixed one 50 years ago for a man that hadn't driven his car for several years because he didn't know about that wire.

RR
 
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Old 04-29-16, 02:12 PM
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I am referring to the small primary wire UNDER THE POINT PLATE.
Ok, is this just a short wire under the plate? I've never dug that deep into the distributor before. The only wires I'm familiar with is the one from the negative side of the coil which attaches to the points along with condenser.

is there a resistor in 12 volt system to coil
I don't remember if it had one when it was 6 volt positive ground but it doesn't now. I'm pretty sure the 8Ns had one.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 03:27 PM
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Chevy use to use a resistor wire on trucks instead of a resistor so you couldn't just use a piece of wire as a replacement. Probably doesn't apply in your case since we aren't talking Chevy.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 03:30 PM
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Ok, is this just a short wire under the plate? I've never dug that deep into the distributor before. The only wires I'm familiar with is the one from the negative side of the coil which attaches to the points along with condenser.
That is the one I think RR is referring to, at least is the one I would suspect. Might have a grommet or some such where it goes into the dizzy and this is a prone area.
I also would not rule out an intermittent condenser, it is solid state afterall.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 06:57 PM
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The resistor was the first thing I thought of too. It should start on 12 volts with the same power that goes to the starter solenoid, then the ignition wire should run to a resistor. Otherwise you are running the points at 12 volts all the time and that burns 'em up.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 06:17 AM
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I am referring to the small primary wire UNDER THE POINT PLATE
I removed the plate and there is no wire unless you are referring to the wire that connects the negative side of the coil with the points. It just loops thru a hole in the dist and up to the points and is replaceable and mostly visible without removing the plate. That wire was replaced when I tuned it up last fall.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 07:09 AM
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What about the main coil wire to the distributor? Make sure that the spark has a blue tint to it.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 12:52 PM
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I removed the plate and there is no wire unless you are referring to the wire that connects the negative side of the coil with the points. It just loops thru a hole in the dist and up to the points and is replaceable and mostly visible without removing the plate. That wire was replaced when I tuned it up last fall.
Lucky You. You have the "good" style of distributor. Thanks for checking.

Now see if the condenser is tightly clamped in its holder. If it is loose in the clamp then intermittent firing.

RR
 
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Old 05-02-16, 02:09 PM
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I went to NAPA and bought points/condenser .... and they were proud of them - $20. When I got home I noticed they were made in Mexico. I know a lot of mexican points aren't very good, hope these are. They said back in the fall that the points were made by whoever bought out bluestreak.

The condenser I installed last fall was loose, never fit the holder good. This one is tight! had a hard time starting the screw. Never knew that a loose condenser could be problematic.

The tractor seems to run good but it started raining as I was finishing up so all I did was rev it up in place and back it out/in of the barn.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 02:40 PM
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The condenser I installed last fall was loose, never fit the holder good. This one is tight! had a hard time starting the screw. Never knew that a loose condenser could be problematic.
The outer case of condenser is the continuation of the circuit to ground. Necessary for it to work.

First encountered that on a H Farmall in 1959. It was running rough and a little sleuthing led to discovering loose condenser. An inch of baling wire between condenser and clamp to make the fit tight and it was running as should.

Bet your problem is now solved.

CHEERS!

RR
 
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Old 05-02-16, 02:50 PM
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Thanks, I hope you are right
 
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Old 05-02-16, 03:08 PM
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Thanks, I hope you are right
I've got the coffee, you can bring the donuts!

RR
 
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