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broke down at car show


Guest laddy
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1939 4 door luxury liner. Went to car show going up an incline to the entrance gate and car died. Drifted back and got it out of the way. Figured it was gas walked 2miles home got 5 gal. gas....no not gas. No fire. Figured it was coil....new coil put in today...Not coil. With ignition swich ON. no current to poles on coil with starter or without. I have to think it is the ignition switch,, Do you agree or is there someting else in the chain I am not thinking of. Thanks for your help Fred

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There are no fuses in the system. When ignition switch is turned on and a volt meter is placed on the coil connections there is no power to the positive pole (this is a positive ground system). If you touch the negative pole to the engine block you have 6 volts. Only thing in between is the ignition switch, correct? Any other ideas? Thanks Fred

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do not let the markings on the coil fool you. they do not always correspond to battery polarity. if memory is still there i believe the + pole is to the ign. switch and the - pole is to the distributor on a positve ground system. someone ont this thread can hopefully clear this up. capt den

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There are no fuses in the system. When ignition switch is turned on and a volt meter is placed on the coil connections there is no power to the positive pole (this is a positive ground system). If you touch the negative pole to the engine block you have 6 volts. Only thing in between is the ignition switch, correct? Any other ideas? Thanks Fred

On a positive ground system, the power from switch goes to the Negative side. If you have power there, but no power at the Plus side, the following items need to be checked:

- the points are closed..Then it will not show power.

-the condenser is shorted out

-Coil is bad

-wire that goes to dist from coil is shorted out.

Narrow it down first:

-disconnect the plus wire at the coil. Now check for voltage at both plus and minus sides of coil. Both should have power now, but if the plus side still has no power, replace the coil.

- If you do have power at both plus and minus after taking the plus wire off, now rotate the motor until the points are open. Reconnect the plus wire at coil, and you should have power to both plus and minus.

- If you now lost the power to the plus side again, with points open, replace the condenser OR disconnect the condenser and again check for power at the plus side. If you now have power, the condenser is bad.

-If you disconnected the condenser and still have no power at the plus side of coil, you have a short in the wire from plus side to the dist...or..the connector insulator inside the dist for the points is shorted to ground.

Confused? On a working points system...The test light placed at the plus side, should blink on and off as the points open and close. That's why when the points are closed, there will not be power showing at the plus side of coil on a pos ground system. If it was a neg ground system, the ign switch sends power to the plus ide and the minus goes to the dist..but the light will still blink on and off as the points are operating.

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28Chrysler

Thanks for the help that is exactly the confirmation I was seaking. The coil was the obvious target when you are away from home and no tools. The ignition switch is now the obvious being at home with a meter and a new coil. Thanks for the help Fred

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Guest De Soto Frank

Does your Dodge have its coil mounted through a hole in the firewall ?

If so, it's pretty hard to get the coil polarity reversed: the "distributor" terminal is on the "engine side" of the firewall, and the "ignition" terminal is on the "dash-board" side, usually under a metal cover with an armored-cable running to the ignition switch.

The factory shop manual should have info about getting access to the "ignition" terminal, and how to remove that cover & armored cable.

For what it's worth, my '41 De Soto is still running on its original "Solar-Spark" firewall-mounted coil... 70 years and 105,000 miles...

I would suggest checking the little insulated jumper wire inside the distributor that connects the distributor primary terminal to the points - these are known for either chafing and grounding against the insides of the distributor or for the wire strands fatiguing and breaking. Both scenarios can cause intermittent ignition failure.

Good luck !

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De Soto Frank hit the nail on the head. All looked just finetill I touched that jumper wire and the wire was broken right at the contact with the clip. You would never have spotted it by visual inspection. Thanks to all very much for you help and advice, hope I can return the favor Fred

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First order of business when there is no fire should be to check the battery cable terminals to see if electricity can even get out of the battery.

It's usually a simple thing when it happens all of a sudden.

My 2 cents worth.

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