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1937 Buick No spark, back again


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It's me again, Jakes. It's back again, no spark. In my last entry I mention that after installing a new coil, points & condenser it had very good spark. Well, didn't last that long. It was cranking and producing a very good spark. I thought that finally after over 20 years not starting (due to restoration and a professional engine rebuild) it would fire up. It tried to start a number of times, then that dreaded no spark issue returned. I rechecked everything that I could think of but nothing worked. I'm lost, again. Thanks for any help that you may provide. 

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I would do the following....

 

1) Make sure the distributor is turning when the engine is cranking

 

2) Check with a test light or meter that there is 6 volts (or something close) on the (+) terminal of the coil.

 

3) Check with a test light on the (-) terminal of the coil. It should be on with the points open and off with the points closed. It should blink while you are cranking.

 

If the light stays on whether the points are open or closed, there is an open circuit. Either the points are not closing all the way, or there is a problem with one of the wires inside the distributor.

 

A 37 Buick has two little wires inside the distributor. Current flows from the (-) terminal  on the coil, through a wire to the distributor binding post, and then from the binding post through the first little wire to the points and condenser. From the breaker plate the points are mounted on, current flows through the the second little wire back to the distributor case and ground.

 

These are special wires, meant to be able to move many times without breaking. They have strands of spring steel, and strands of copper. Both wires must be present. They should not stretch, if they will stretch they are broken inside.

 

If the light stays out whether the points are open or closed, look for a wire shorting to ground inside the distributor.

 

4) When you have the light blinking while cranking as it should, if there is still no spark, replace the condenser. There is no good easy way to check it without special tools.

 

5) If the light is blinking as it should, and you have tried a condenser, and there is still no spark, replace the ignition coil.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Thanks Bloo for the great advice. I did what you suggested and found that I did have 6+ volts at the + side of the coil. However when I tested the - side of the coil there was power at the points opened or closed. When I first started working on this problem, I made a new wire which ran from the binding post on the distributer to the points, because the original one was very frayed. I did not, at that time, realize that the wire had both steel and copper strands. The one I made was made of copper only, so that may have been one problem. The other problem was that I had only one wire, not two. Just now I ordered the two wire set, and expect them to be delivered in about 1 week. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks again, Jakes.

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If there is power at the points when they are closed that is a problem The points contact to ground so either your points are baad or they are not closing all the way,  That wire may be the issue but 

look carefully at the point operation. make sure nothing is sticking them, that they close firmly, and that there is space under the rub block at the low point of the cam. 

Edited by Oldtech (see edit history)
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If you look back at his last post, the ground wire was missing. I'm pretty sure this is going to run when his parts get here.

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I'm not real familiar with the 37.distributor.  the b-in-law has one, may go there and have a look next weekend.  

My experience with old distributors is to pull em out, take them apart and go through everything. Bushings, advance mechanism, and all the wires and insulators.  Clean and replace as necessary. Then they work. 

 

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True enough (and good advice)... but he has some real basic problem where the points are not grounding the coil.....

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