64 Riviera will not run - timing?

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5 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

The ballast resistor on the coil is now considered suspect. Anyone know the part number as I can’t find a source for one (I’m in the UK)





  Not sure exactly what you are running for an ignition system but if you no longer have the original ignition point system then you dont need to reduce key-on voltage to the coil. Electronic ignition generally uses full system voltage at the coil.

  The original "ballast resistor" in your Riviera is a resistant length of wire which starts at your ignition switch "looks cloth wrapped" and runs to the bulkhead connector. If you desire to eliminate this reduced voltage leg of the circuit you wil need to run a new wire to replace the original resistant wire or use an engine compartment switched voltage source like the downshift or wiper circuit. I prefer to run a new wire originating at the ignition switch so the ignition system is not on a shared circuit but either method will work.

Tom Mooney

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)
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I am confused. They have a resistor wire. So there is no need for a ballast resistor. If you have a flamethrower coil it is internally resisted. If you have a petronix ignition for conversion the coil should be 1.5ohms as they recommend. 

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On 12/8/2018 at 6:50 AM, Chewbacca said:

I would try to get it running with minimal parts change as not to complicate things.  Make sure that you can read dwell, you can actually set the timing statically by putting the number one cylinder on top dead center and the zero mark on the crank pulley, that way you will know that the ignition is correct, and if it still will not start and run, like a previous post said, try to run it on spray gas into the carb (carefully!!) and see if you can keep it running.  Did it run before the carb switch?




By next week the car will have


New Flamethrower coil

Electronic ignition

New distributor cap

New rotor arm

New plug leads

New plugs


Fuel is getting in via the EFI and it has brand new fuel pump, filters and lines.


The distributor was 180 degrees out and the plug leads had been moved around to get it to run. This has now been put back to the correct position.


I'll let you know how we get on. Thanks for the advice so far.


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Talk about a waste of time & dollars. Throwing time & dollars into something rather than diagnosing is a TOTAL waste of ones time & resources. Get a book, start reading, start to understand how & why systems work, then start with diagnosing  the problem. There MAY be more than one problem which can sometimes throw a snag in things, but you need to start SOMEWHERE.



Tom T.

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This set of books is on the shelf right above my monitor:




They are fairly common and highly recommended. You can never have enough references to the basics. My Mother helped me buy my set in 1959 and I still read them for just pleasure.


Books like this will give you a much better grounding in car operation and really help you enjoy your car a lot more. It looks like a big stack and a lot of reading but you can pick your topic and work through bits at a time. Combined with the factory manuals you will be well prepared.


Good luck, even though luck is not so much what you need.



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