buick5563

55 Wagon carb vs ignition diagnosis

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37 minutes ago, buick5563 said:

5AAA00CE-505B-4C4C-9DB8-526E2AB0B214.jpeg

 

Yep, arcing on the carbon rod, which would soon pop out or catch fire!  It is already scattering spark around inside the distributor firing all but the correct cylinder.  All of you hard-headed dudes running pertronix in the early nailhead distributor, please check the rotor frequently!...or get rid of pertronix

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I’m super hard headed I’m running a msd distributor and box..gasps heard around the room lol

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3 minutes ago, 1956322 said:

I’m super hard headed I’m running a msd distributor and box..gasps heard around the room lol

Yours has a different rotor and will work much better.

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The Pertronix HAS worked for some people. I ran one of the first gen versions for a long time. I can’t explain why they appear to live shorter lives now. Maybe the gas is worse (it is). Maybe the summer is hotter and longer (it is for me). I’m not going to try and change anybody’s mind. BUT this is the second violent failure in the second car I have used one in. It sure seems like a good idea. Points are a straight up pain in the butt to install and even more so as you get older and have to hunch over the fender. 
Damn, that’s the first time I have admitted on the internet that I feel old sometimes. 
 

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1 minute ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 Doesn't the spark strength derive from the coil?

 

  Ben

This park is hotter because the ballast resistor is bypassed if you don't bypass it and it runs like crap.

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I have had pertronix now in the 49 for quite some time.  Haven't even looked at since i installed it. Runs fine with a hair miss once and a while put I can't focus on the timing light or mark so most likely just timing off a hair

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20 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

I have had pertronix now in the 49 for quite some time.  Haven't even looked at since i installed it. Runs fine with a hair miss once and a while put I can't focus on the timing light or mark so most likely just timing off a hair

The early nailhead has a distributor with a unique rotor which gives problems with pertronix...other models are probably unaffected.

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Don’t worry old tank i was just teasing you a tad i understand why the original set up has issues with hotter sparks:)

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UPDATE:

This is a weird development. I was trying to fit the new cap and rotor and they wouldn’t turn. I wonder if the newer caps are “universal fit” because the nub is bigger than the distributor notch. I widened the notch, and then the rotor would stop spinning. This happened on all three distributors I have with the new rotors I have. It didn’t happen with older used Delco rotors. 
I will wait for the NOS parts I have on order. 
I wonder if the rotor expanded in the heat and was grinding against the cap.

I took video of it but I guess the file size is too big. I will text or email to anybody who wants to see or help me post it. 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, buick5563 said:

UPDATE:

This is a weird development. I was trying to fit the new cap and rotor and they wouldn’t turn. I wonder if the newer caps are “universal fit” because the nub is bigger than the distributor notch. I widened the notch, and then the rotor would stop spinning. This happened on all three distributors I have with the new rotors I have. It didn’t happen with older used Delco rotors. 
I will wait for the NOS parts I have on order. 
I wonder if the rotor expanded in the heat and was grinding against the cap.

I took video of it but I guess the file size is too big. I will text or email to anybody who wants to see or help me post it. 

 

 

I would say the parts you received are incorrect.  Wait on the NOS parts. 

 

EDIT:  If I remember correctly I had a cap and rotor that simply did not work on my 54.  The rotor broke on the first start.  It stuck the inside of the cap.  

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Your cap is not seated on the distributor and is cocked, not allowing the rotor to turn.  All of the replacement caps fit too tightly if at all.  On top of that the replacement rotors made in Mexico fit too loosely.  Take an old cap and it pops right on and may even rattle a little and the latches work easily (another thing on the replacements that it takes a gorilla to snap).  Take the coil wire out and try tapping with a mallet while in a vise to see where you need to be after it is installed and the cap fitted again.  I have broken caps with that maneuver.  Now if I have to use one of those caps, I chamfer the edge of the cap and apply some silicon grease there and it seems to behave (except that the latches are still hard to get snapped).   If you have an old cap and it passes inspection use it.

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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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 Another thread for support of keeping points in their place! 

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Glad you got er going Mike!  This failure of brand new parts is really discouraging. 

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