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Distributor on 1953 Super


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Can someone take a look at the photo and tell me if the distributor looks seated properly/all the way. Is there supposed to be a gasket or something between it and the block? Also am I correct in not having to need a ballast resistor with a pertronix electronic system?

post-31222-143138768753_thumb.jpg

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Will

It appears that it is NOT seated. If you use the Pertronix, use a stock coil (not the 'flamethrowe' coil) and wire as original, including the ballast resisistor.

The following is one of my previous rants about Pertronix:

There is nothing special about installing electronic ignition in a stock distributor. Maybe if you adapted an HEI to your engine you might get the advantage of the larger distributor cap, thicker wires and the ability to install plugs with a wider gap. Any ignition system, electronic or points is just a switch, with electronic only having the advantage of working at high rpm (6,000+).

Also I have had some disasters with the Pertronix unit. It worked (same as stock with no increase in mpg, power or driveability) for 5,000 miles and then my rotor burned. Burned as in it literally caught fire inside the distributor and burned the tip off. The next year a friend had the exact same thing happen. Not heeding those incidents, I put the same unit in another engine with you guessed it... It seems that the carbon rod between the center and tip of a 55 rotor is what burns.

Calls to Pertronix were useless, since they offered no technical support. The original instructions for wiring to the car called for bypassing the resistor on the firewall. This is supposed to result in a hotter spark if used with their 'FlameThrower' coil. Internet research showed new installation instructions: use a stock coil and don't bypass the firewall resistor. I have not tried this and you should not either just to pay for an expensive switch.

Stock points/condensor will last 30,000 miles and will serve you well, just like they did when these old cars were contemporary. I would rather change them when I want to, not in the hot parking lot of a truck stop in Little Rock, AR. I still have the Pertronix and might sell it to someone I don't like, but would not sell or give to a friend.

And now the picture:

post-30648-143138768806_thumb.jpg

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Thank you so much for your help Willie. I'm learning as I go. I don't know crap about cars but I'm having fun. I've had this baby for 10 years and its never been started, but I'm getting so close to everything put back together. my dad bought me the pertronix ignitor and the flame thrower coil for my birthday but I still have the original coil so I'll just use the original as you suggested.

So I've got a couple more questions:

what is the appropriate way to seat the distributor? Do I just keep trying to re-seat it and finagle it?

How do I tell which "plug" on the distributor cap is #1?

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That's really strange,Willy. I have a Pertronix in all 6 of my old cars from 15 to 1 years without a bit of trouble (knocking on wood here). When I build up an engine I don't I don't even test start it with points. A pertronix goes in from the git go. They should have nothing to do with the rotor. As you say. the unit is nothing more than a switch as are the points. I agree that 53 distributor is not seated correctly............Bob

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thanks Aaron. yeah, it seems I can feel the teeth engage a bit, but the "flat head screwdriver end" in the distributor's shaft isn't sitting in the "flat head screw" slot of the pump shaft. Sorry about my terminology! i've been fiddling a while, but it still won't seat properly. guess i'll just get a hammer - hah! just kidding. i'll keep working on it...

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So I've got a couple more questions:

what is the appropriate way to seat the distributor? Do I just keep trying to re-seat it and finagle it?

How do I tell which "plug" on the distributor cap is #1?

#1 is the second terminal past the front clip (clockwise) and near the middle of the vacuum advance. Paragraph 10-45e in the shop manual has your other info for installation.

Willie

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Paragraph 10-45e in the shop manual has your other info for installation.

Willie

dang how did i miss that? oi, maybe it was the 8 hours I spent in the garage yesterday and my eyes going crossed eyed...

thanks Mike and Willie. I realized that I didn't have an O-ring. I couldn't find one at any of the box stores, so maybe that's the reason I couldn't get it seated yesterday. The universe was trying to tell me, "hey man, aren't you forgetting something?" I'll try again once I the O-ring I ordered arrives at my front door. in other news I finally finished the entire wiring harness! (sans the distributor/coil)

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Will

A little confession...I have never replaced the distributor o-ring. I just use a liberal coat of Sil-Glyde. Before you install the new o-ring, demonstrate that the distributor can be installed and seated completely with the old o-ring or without any o-ring. New o-rings can be resistant to installation.

Willie

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