Beemon

Me and my beautiful 1956 Buick

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Hopefully . . . you collected and disposed of the drained liquid in an environmentally-responsible manner?

 

NTX5467

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Yes sir, we may be out in the middle of nowhere, but we are with moral compass. After talking to local government on the phone, they said there's no EPA regulation and that the scrubbers in the sewage plant are more than capable of filtering the coolant. I was instructed to dump it down the toilet.... but I took it to the landfill instead, where they recycled it. 

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On 9/16/2017 at 3:53 PM, Beemon said:

but I took it to the landfill instead, where they recycled it. 

 

...by flushing it down their toilet!  :lol:

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Just now, EmTee said:

 

...by flushing it down their toilet!  :lol:

 

Maybe... but at least it won't come back on me. lol the local parts guys here were scratching their head over this because apparently no one has ever asked. Kind of interesting, but I guess at a college town no one really doesn't their own car work. I have seen a late 60s Ford pickup and a late 60s early 70s Chebby station wagon hot rod. Aside from that, everything else around here is electronic.

kinda unrelated, but I got some looks yesterday because the road draft tube was venting at idle. I'm avoiding a compression check because I don't want to disappoint myself! I want to say my other engine puffed like a steam train, but we know how that one ended.. It's not a lot, nothing in comparison to Nailhead 1 (RIP). When I make it big, I'll sleeve that block and make it right again.

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Drive on!  (with an extra quart in the trunk, just in case...)  ;)

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15 hours ago, Beemon said:

 

the local parts guys here were scratching their head over this because apparently no one has ever asked.

I had a similar experience when taking my old coolant to the central recycler here... they didn't want to take the coolant I placed in the distilled water container.  He said it has to be in the container it had come from.  I explained to him that you mixed coolant and distilled water 50/50, and so it would be impossible for me to bring it back in only the coolant container as I had no way of separating it.  He finally agreed to take it, most likely due to the fact the water container was clear so you could easily tell what was inside!

Edited by dmfconsult (see edit history)
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Wow!  I've never heard of such troubles.   Here in NC any "convenience site" as they are called, takes trash, recyclables, oil, coolants, and batteries.  Then a few take paint, tires, electronics, and appliances in each county.  Our local auto store chains also take oil and coolant.

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16 hours ago, Beemon said:

kinda unrelated, but I got some looks yesterday because the road draft tube was venting at idle. I'm avoiding a compression check because I don't want to disappoint myself!

 

Leave it alone.  Make it big first, then the rest of this will be easy.

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10 hours ago, dmfconsult said:

I had a similar experience when taking my old coolant to the central recycler here... they didn't want to take the coolant I placed in the distilled water container.  He said it has to be in the container it had come from.  I explained to him that you mixed coolant and distilled water 50/50, and so it would be impossible for me to bring it back in only the coolant container as I had no way of separating it.  He finally agreed to take it, most likely due to the fact the water container was clear so you could easily tell what was inside!

It is my firm believe that every amateur hobbyist should have a chemical distillery in their garage. :P Fortunately back home, we had a once-a-week waste disposal place that was within 10 miles. Not so much the case out here.

 

9 hours ago, wndsofchng06 said:

Wow!  I've never heard of such troubles.   Here in NC any "convenience site" as they are called, takes trash, recyclables, oil, coolants, and batteries.  Then a few take paint, tires, electronics, and appliances in each county.  Our local auto store chains also take oil and coolant.

Back in the urban environment of greater Seattle, we had many places that took just about anything. Now I'm in a small town out in the Washington wasteland where we have one O'Reilly's, one NAPA and one ma and pa auto store. I think there's only one repair shop in town, too, but I didn't bother stopping in to ask them, because they're on the other side of town. Most likely: "drain it down the toilet".

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Autozone will take anything around here.  I just did a oil change, transmission flush, and differential flush and dumped the old fluids into various oil antifreeze and milk jugs.  They took them all without question.  I would've taken taken some old, open brake fluid as well but I forgot to throw it in the crate.

 

We used to have an 5-gallon bucket that we dumped old fluids in.  When it got full, we'd pour it on the brush pile and burn it all.  Those were different days. ;)

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Today I linked up with the local student car club. Needless to say, I'm the oldest car by at least 40 years.

 

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And here's that super beetle:

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(There was someone taking vanity photos :P)

 

It's what you'd expect, Hondas, Toyotas, Subarus, Mistubishis... Overall, it was a nice cruise. We went from a store in town over to Cheney, which is a smaller town between rolling hills and met with others for lunch. We then went down to Spokane to meet up with another group. There, I met a father/son duo who were working on a 74 Super Beetle. They put in a 1904 with dual carbs and dyno'd it at 95HP, which is probably pretty good for a Volkswagen? Anyways, we got to talking about old cars and it came down to the subject of the future of classic cars. Kids today just aren't interested in carrying the flag, and everyone who knows the ins and outs of the hobby are either dying, dead, or sitting on wealth and only sharing with you if you pay a hefty price. Unfortunate, but probably true. A couple guys at the meet made comments like "I'm glad I don't have to deal with a carb", even though they've never touched one in their life. All in all, a short 200 mile round trip. The WCFB is performing as it should. If the gas gauge is any indication (and accurate, of course), then I'm at 1/8 tank with 223 on the odometer. Usually at just about E, there's about 3 gallons left in the tank, so I'm looking at about 14.9MPG.

 

On an unrelated note, the green suburban in the picture above has this really wicked sound system in it. I was talking to the owner about it, he's got two car batteries and three alternators running the show there. I ordered some Packard 440 wire for the Buick, so I told him to enjoy it while it lasts. :ph34r:

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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I'm glad the Buick is holding up for you. But I am sorry to hear the report on the potential future for classic vehicles. Sounds like this small subset of the age group has next to zero interest in anything older than they are.  In a way it represents the same values I myself followed.  At their age i did not want a car from the 30's or 40's . i wanted one from the late 60's cause that was what i really remembered growing up.  Also it had to run and be inexpensive.  I only got into the 56 cause the neighbor gave one to me. 

If this attitude persists today then might as well drive what I have to my own end, and forget about restoration alltogether.

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Goodbye carbon-core wires. I don't want to be that guy where I say "Wow, after changing them the car runs better!" But really, it does. What I don't get is that the OEM rotor is 10,000 ohms of resistance, but spark plugs are made for 5,000 ohms of resistance... why not make the rotors 5,000 ohms of resistance, too, to keep in line with OEM specs? The other alternative would be to find 10kohm park plugs and a resistor free rotor from a 50s Chevrolet. This is why we can't have nice things.

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Nothing is ever simple......

 

Still, It isn't that critical. I always ran resistor wires on cars of that vintage. Not the carbon ones, but the silicone/carbon type (accel, etc.. and most modern resistor wires). Resistance was added for radio noise suppression. In years past, the rule of thumb on cars with points ignition was to run either resistor wires or resistor plugs but not both. I guess now that non-resistor plugs are getting so hard to find, maybe it is time to give copper wire another look.

 

On a points ignition, the design-limiting factor for spark energy is the points. You can only ask them to carry so much current for so much time before the life gets really short. There is only so much time to charge the coil before it needs to fire again. The more cylinders you have, the worse it gets.

 

When the ignition fires, the voltage rises until a spark initiates. Instantly, the voltage goes WAY down, as the voltage needed to maintain a spark is much less than what is needed to initiate one. The spark will continue until the coil is discharged enough that it can no longer maintain this lower voltage. More resistance raises these voltages a little. More gap raises them a lot. You can see all of this on an ignition scope.

 

The lower you can make these voltages, the longer you can keep the spark going. Some companies, mostly European ones, (Bosch, Marelli, etc.), liked to run real narrow plug gaps, like maybe .021 or .025 because they felt the long duration spark was most important. I don't agree with this. I find that nearly everything with points will run better and be less susceptible to fouling at about .035 . This is assuming that the coil and the insulation in the system can support the higher voltage.

 

Under acceleration, the voltages go up because the higher cylinder pressure makes it harder to initiate and maintain a spark. At high rpm, the coil has less time to charge. The coil has to have enough headroom to keep firing under any conditions. If you raise the gap very much, you will probably bump into the limit (and run out of spark) on a points ignition.

 

Some guys put "40,000 volt" or "50,000 volt" coils on thinking they are raising the voltage. They aren't. The spark plug gap, (and to a much lesser extent the wire resistance, rotor resistance, carbon button, etc) sets the voltage. A higher voltage coil increases the headroom, probably at the expense of points life.

 

On a points ignition car, if you can run .035 and the spark never goes out under high rpm or high load, you are good. It really doesn't get any better.

 

Many years ago, one of the hot rodding magazines, probably Popular Hot Rodding, ran some tests with plug gaps on a dyno. They found modest increases in horsepower up to about .050, and measurable though insignificant increases up to .060 . After that, the law of diminishing returns kicked in. This probably had a lot to do with minimizing the burn time variations in 1980s unleaded fuel that had octane boosting chemicals floating around in it at levels around 10% (much like today). In the 50s, with Tetraethyl Lead I suspect they would have found less difference.

 

Another limiting factor is insulation. On many cars, the weakest spot is the bit of plastic or bakelite between the contact on the center of the rotor and the grounded metal below. If it burns through, the car could stop running. It usually doesn't. It usually keeps running and slowly trashes the advance mechanism. It will look like a combination of wear and rust has nearly cut the pins off.

 

Most electronic ignition cars can do .045 no problem. It is a great place to be. Some are specified lower or higher. At .060 it is tough to keep the insulation good. You have to have really good wire insulation, boots, rotor, cap, etc. You cant have wires in metal looms or anything like that. Spark tries to get out everywhere. You can probably get this to hold together until the next 30,000 mile tune up (on an electronic ignition car). Any higher than .060 and it is impossible. GM released some cars that ran at .080 . They could blast through the insulation somewhere or another in about 2 weeks. In the field we set those at .057 and let them burn open to .060. They last a while that way. .045 is a much better place to be. That same HEI ignition used on the .080 cars ran 50000-60000 miles with no maintenance at all at .045 on other cars.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo
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Thanks for the explanation, Bloo. I had done some research on solid core wires before making the purchase. A lot of arguments against solid core point to the additive resistance of the cap/rotor, wires and plugs creating a larger spark to overcome the resistance, which is fine as you pointed out for electronic ignition systems. When I first started driving the car, I had used suppression wires and AC Delco R43S plugs. They're rated for 6-15kOhms, which is a very large range. When I replaced them with Champion plugs, rated at 5kOhms, it ran much better. I now run NGK 5858s, also rated at 5kOhms. As you said, the points are the weak 'point' of the system and if the charge cannot overcome that resistance, then you have a significantly weaker spark.

 

Maybe if I get really bored, I'll pull my plugs and heat them with a butane torch to release the loctite on the terminal end. All you have to do is unscrew the terminal and pull the carbon resistor out and substitute with a solid copper core wire... but that's a lot of work and a lot of risk. Is $2/plug really worth it? Might be easier to empirically figure how much to remove of the resistor on the rotor to achieve that 5kOhm resistance to bring the system back from 15-16kOhm to 10kOhm, as the Buick engineers in 1956 intended.

 

Also I wanted to note that the radio works perfectly fine in the car after the addition of solid core wires. Other people's radios? Eh... Also through my research, I found that solid core wires generate RFI range in the 2.4GHz range, which is where wifis and bluetooths live. Essentially, everything inside the car would be protected by the chassis ground acting as a Faraday cage. I often wonder what it was like to live in a period where you knew who was driving down your street based on the sine waves displayed on your TV.

 

Speaking of radio, I replaced all of my vintage capacitors today with ignition capacitors (that's all that's available) at the .18-.2MFD range. I know the coil capacitor and generator capacitor is supposed to be within .3MFD (the wire was pulling and fraying out the front of the can) and the voltage regulator is supposed to be .5MFD (it had leakdown issues). I would like to at some point open up one of these cans by removing the plastic cap on the end and shoving a modern electrolytic capacitor in there of equal value. Anything is better than nothing, and I was only getting slight popping before (leaky and faulty capacitors). Now it's crystal clear.

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)

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Then its fine. You have resistor plugs. In theory you don't need resistor wires. It sounds like you have it well sorted.

 

A few ohms too much or too little isn't going to make a discernible difference. If you eliminate all the resistance, it will just make noise. Thats why the carbon wires came about. They weren't reliable, but the modern silicone stuff is fine.

 

The gap is what makes the difference. The resistance of the gap is WAY higher than the additive resistance of the plugs, rotor, etc. The total resistance is what determines how high the voltage spikes before it fires. The gap swamps everything else.

 

If you exceed what the system can do, the spark doesn't get weak, it just plain goes out. This is really obvious when you have one open spark plug wire. It might run ok under light load, but accelerate hard and that cylinder will drop, because the voltage does not rise high enough to overcome both the gap and the open wire. The voltage rises as high as it can go, and the spark never happens

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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ma0512_underhood5.png

 

Here is a trace for one cylinder. Thats time on the x axis, and kilovolts on the y. You can see it took about 14 kilovolts to initiate the spark, and less than 2 kilovolts to maintain it.  Graph only goes to 21 kilovolts. Thats probably a little more than a typical 12v car with points can do. It has some headroom. Tightening the gap will give it more headroom (by lowering that spike), opening it will give it less. Want to know what it can do? Pull a wire off with the scope connected. That spike will rise to its maximum. The only caveat is the maximum falls off with RPM.

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Thanks for the graph, really puts into perspective how much resistance can hurt an ignition system. If your headroom is 21kV and you need 22kV to fire at high RPM, you're going to stall under load. Exaggeration of course, but probably a reality with 6-15kOhm plugs, 1000Ohm/ft wires and a 10kOhm resistor rotor. Also kind of explains why dual point systems work, because they can open longer to maintain a positive spark. Funny you mention checking by pulling wires... was doing my "okay this one is arcing..." go to grab the coil wire and almost fell over! lol. With the addition of these wires, I've picked up throttle response and a slight lean bog is pretty much gone. I didn't bother measuring the resistance of my old wires, but they would probably yield some interesting results. They're from Pertronix, and just like everything else made by Pertronix, they left me disappointed (at least they didn't leave me stranded).

 

By the way, for anyone interested (and wish I had seen these earlier):

.5MFD voltage regulator capacitor

.3MFD generator capacitor

.3MFD coil capacitor

 

I guess the Chevy crowd is good for some things...

 

 

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Yeah, dual points increase the dwell, which increases the charge time, and allows the ignition to keep up at higher RPM than it could otherwise.

 

 I doubt you would be able to see 5k ohms difference... at all. The resistance of the gap is so unbelievably high, and it is in series. I really think you, or the scope, (or the car) would have a hard time seeing 5k.

 

Are you even sure this had copper wire when it was new? I just looked in the manual and they really dodge the issue. I'm pretty sure carbon wire was commonly available by 1956. If it had resistance wire, you are already at about the same total resistance.

 

If you have the plugs at .035 it can pull a steep hill under hard acceleration without cutting out, and it is not missing at high RPM, then it is as good as points ever get. Really. Remember the best thing an ignition could possibly do for you is light the mixture perfectly every time. If it doesn't miss, there is very little room for improvement.

 

The biggest disadvantage to points on a street engine is that they start degrading as soon as you drive the car. The rubbing block wears, retarding the timing, closing the gap, overheating the points, etc. This is where electronic shines. 20,000 or more miles later, the dwell and timing are still the same! You can wear out a set of plugs, and never even have to set the carburetor.

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I've personally had more luck with points than anything else. Curious to try the MSD, but that's an expensive venture and knowing me, I'll just take it back off and put the original distributor back in..

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MSD isn't a direction I would go. IMHO it makes troubleshooting difficult. They do work well.

 

If you really want to ditch the 5000 ohms....

How about these? (similar to the ac44 the book recommends, a step colder than what you have now)

https://www.ngk.com/product.aspx?zpid=10036

 

or these (one step colder yet, similar to the books ac42 "for commercial ot sustained high speed operation")

https://www.ngk.com/product.aspx?zpid=10037

 

Edited by Bloo
.. (see edit history)
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I'm assuming you're talking about the msd distributor not the boxes.. I've been running their distributor for a few years..expansive yes.. Works well. Yes lol

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