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55 Wagon carb vs ignition diagnosis


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A couple of NOS Niehoff caps and NOS Delco rotors in addition to loaded Delco breaker plates are currently on order from eBay. 
I guess I will not smash the Pertronix, but anybody who wants it can have it.
 

I’m also kinda bummed that I can’t buy ignition parts from Rockauto since I had become a huge fan of that platform.  

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1 hour ago, buick5563 said:

A couple of NOS Niehoff caps and NOS Delco rotors in addition to loaded Delco breaker plates are currently on order from eBay. 
I guess I will not smash the Pertronix, but anybody who wants it can have it.
 

I’m also kinda bummed that I can’t buy ignition parts from Rockauto since I had become a huge fan of that platform.  

 

I purchased a pertronix.  Never installed it after reading the nightmares it can produce.  As far as ignition parts....once the NOS are in you'll have many years running them.  Your Buick is an occasional driver that has maybe 3k miles out on it per year?  Quite frankly I have not pulled my ignition cap on my 54 for 7 years.  No need.  I don't see a need to for another 7 years. I check dwell with my dwell meter once a year.  Always in spec. Buick runs great. I would not worry about Rockauto for ignition parts. 

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2 hours ago, buick5563 said:

 

I’m also kinda bummed that I can’t buy ignition parts from Rockauto since I had become a huge fan of that platform.  

(Look again)

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I have used Rockauto for years for all of my customer Buicks. The rotor I installed is a Delco. I would have had no way of telling that there was an issue if I had just installed the rotor and cap. It would have just jammed. 

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(Wondering if the rotor issues, sparks going everywhere but where they are supposed to, might be due to ozone formation inside the cap?  As this was an issue with some of the "high power" ignition systems of the '80s, which resulted in the larger diameter caps needed to combat such cross-fire, OR drill vent holes in the cap?)

 

How different is the buick distributor cap from that of a similar Chevy V-8?  Diameter of the case and of the spark plug towers?

 

I've seen rotor tips get corroded, even on stock points systems.  Just scrape the ends with a flat-bladed screwdriver and go on.  But no contact with the spark plug contacts.

 

NTX5467

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Ethanol-FREE gas . . . .at most of the local WalMart/Murphy gas stations, when they rebuilt them several years ago, the added ethanol-free fuel to them.  Normal "regular" grade, for about 40cents/gallon more than normal unleaded.  Down the street is a QT that sells E85, for about 35cents/gallon less than E10.  Most of the newer suburban QTs also sell E15, for about 7cents/gallon less than E10, with only ONE more octane point.

 

Seems like there's a website that lists the ethanol-free stations, nationwide.  Most are near marinas.  Some with higher octanes, too.  Not all are name brands, though.  BUT, that information is available.

 

NTX5467

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Update number 2:

Got NOS parts at the same time I received some Rockauto parts in addition to having various “new in box” parts on the shelf. 

Rebuilt and “pre-timed” two different distributors I had. One was my travel spare that had old parts of unknown vintage and the ex-Pertronix that was already in the wagon. Both got NOS Delco loaded breaker plates (with points and condensers). Filed the points to make sure there was no corrosion. Set gap to between .012 and .014. New coil. Checked to make sure resistor was working. 
Easy, yeah?

Nope.

I did everything to try and get the car to start. Pulled and adjusted BOTH distributors numerous times each (which as you know is not a fun job to do at the back of an engine compartment). Somehow I even reversed the distributor one time so I got an awesome backfire that made me poop myself. Made sure I was at TDC and stuck it in again. Still no dice. Mind you, this is the third day I am working to complete this one hour job. Checked spark again. Where’d the GD spark go? 
Bad Standard coil right out of the box. New (old) coil started immediately. 
No hesitation upon acceleration, so that wasn’t a carb / accelerator pump issue after all. Who knew? Leather pump might eventually wear out, but this one is still healthy. 
Thank you all for your advice. Wave as I pass you.

Mike

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Ben,

I believe the rotor was the initial culprit. Perhaps caused by Pertronix. 
I installed a new coil (the bad one) when I replaced the distributor with new points installed. 

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1 hour ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 In The box?😛

 

  So, Mike, the culprit was the coil?

 

  Ben

 

No sir. In the distributor.  

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3 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 Not in mine!  Electronic for almost 20,000 miles.  Never going back.

 

  Ben

 

That's great!   Glad you have gotten good service.  I'm not game for taking the chance as points have not let me down.     

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I desperately wanted it to work for me. It’s conceivable they work on other cars in other situations. Points ARE a pain in the butt. If they weren’t, nobody would have invented something to replace them. 

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15 minutes ago, buick5563 said:

I desperately wanted it to work for me. It’s conceivable they work on other cars in other situations. Points ARE a pain in the butt. If they weren’t, nobody would have invented something to replace them. 

The trouble with point is that they will last so long that you will forget the pain-in-the-butt when they next need to be serviced.:D

Oh, and write down the mileage.  Every year I check the dwell before charging across the country with the Texas Road Warriors.  Every year the dwell was right on the money and the one spark plug I inspected looked good.  I checked my notes and it was 6 years and 30,000 miles since the plugs and points were changed.:o

15,000 miles is a better service interval...how many years??

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, buick5563 said:

I desperately wanted it to work for me. It’s conceivable they work on other cars in other situations. Points ARE a pain in the butt. If they weren’t, nobody would have invented something to replace them. 

I never thought points to be a pain other than where the distributor is located and ease of access.  Points have never let me down. I check dwell once a year. Always on the money. As little miles I put on my Buicks I simply don't worry about it. Updated replacement component does not always translate to satisfactory performance.  Sometimes it translates to making a profit on something that may or may not perform making life better as advertised.  Some call it snake oil. But, at the end of the day your Buick is running like a top. You are happy as a frog at high tide.  That's all that matters! 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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23 hours ago, buick5563 said:

I desperately wanted it to work for me.

It can work in the early nailheads:  just install Pertronix in a 57 or later nailhead distributor and replace the original.  It won't pass the sniff test at shows, but parts are cheaper too.  Big disadvantage is it will be a lot harder to get that &*^%$ distributor hold-down installed!

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