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Discovered a leaking diaphragm in the vacuum advance unit on my 55.  I ran fine at idle, but surged on the highway.  Anyhow I replaced the diaphragm and installed a lighter spring.  The lighter spring is an experiment that can be changed without removing the distributor.  This will keep the ignition advanced longer when vacuum level drops.  It runs fine now, but may end up with part throttle detonation in hot weather.  Either way it should improve the gas mileage which had been dropping off lately.

While I had the distributor out I changed the points and condenser.  I use old stock Standard Blue Streak products which will last 30,000 miles while maintaining consistent gap/dwell.  The products in the picture were $11 with free shipping...I will look for more in the next 4-5 years.  I also installed a new rotor that fit tightly unlike the currently available sloppy fit units.  Another reason for the long life is the electric fuel pump used to prime the carburetor, reducing cranking with full voltage  going to the distributor.

The one thing I did not do was replace or modify the distributor cap.  The currently available caps require 'gorilla hands' to latch.  I finally got it latched in my shop, but don't think I could latch it if I looked inside while traveling.  I may just put on a crusty old cap that will latch with one finger.

And yes, I did lubricate the distributor inside and out Bernie;).

 

 

 

ignition.thumb.jpg.46f577fd2a51916ccb23f65bbe9132a8.jpg

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1 hour ago, TexasJohn55 said:

You know you can bend those clips to increase or decrease clamped tension.

 

I generally use a large flat head driver to push in the middle arch of the clip.  It does the trick.  Never the less, thanks!  

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On 1/20/2021 at 2:14 PM, avgwarhawk said:

 

I generally use a large flat head driver to push in the middle arch of the clip.  It does the trick.  Never the less, thanks!  

 

Me too,

and I do the rear one first since the first on seems to clip more easily,

and then I have aneasier time both reaching, as well as finding a leverage point, to use the screwdriver to clip the one I can actually see -

same procedure for 331 ci Cadillac engine's distributor

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Well, I like those lubricated breaker plates, for sure.

 

Modern ignition parts have failed me badly. I try to use old stock, Echlin, or just adjust my olds stuff.

I do have a nice old Sun tester.

I004.thumb.JPG.03d8a97b507caa0a536c98ba54def71f.JPG

 

It has a KV scale for the secondary side of the ignition.

001.thumb.JPG.1e671706312293012df9a94799ff52b8.JPG

 

And an inductive pick up I can use on each plug wire to compare my sparking voltage. Before and after checks and other good diagnostics.

003.thumb.JPG.caa8c3a2cf27a528a89c44eb08bd6a59.JPG

 

In some instances it is handier than an oscilloscope. I think I bought it 35 years ago, but they are still $30 swap meet items, worth having. You could compare your old and new caps.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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Do those point sets have the little vial of point grease with them?  Hopefully not dried-up from age?

 

Any particular place you generally find these NORS items?

 

NTX5467

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3 hours ago, NTX5467 said:

Do those point sets have the little vial of point grease with them?  Hopefully not dried-up from age?

 

Any particular place you generally find these NORS items?

 

NTX5467

 

Ebay...look up by part number.

No supplied grease.  I use Silglyd on the cam.  These points have a wick that supposedly supplies lube.

 

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Yeah, those clips are a bitch every time I have to replace the Chinese condenser or adjust and lube my Pertronix unit............Oh..... Wait..............Never mind....... Bob

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55 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

Yeah, those clips are a bitch every time I have to replace the Chinese condenser or adjust and lube my Pertronix unit............Oh..... Wait..............Never mind....... Bob

yeah, right Bob....those parts are old stock USA pieces and i only have to do it every 30,000 miles (my pertronix lasted less than 5,000 miles);)

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39 minutes ago, old-tank said:

yeah, right Bob....those parts are old stock USA pieces and i only have to do it every 30,000 miles (my pertronix lasted less than 5,000 miles);)

 

There's is no right or wrong, good or bad, Willy.  I have pertronix units in all five of my collector cars. The oldest at least 20+ years. Zero failures. Biggest thing for me is no dicking around trying to reach the distributor buried WAY in back. Or fumble fingering little bits that fall and go......somewhere? Dwell meter? We don need no stinkin dwell meter. Timing light? Yeah, I think I remember using it once. Removing the distributor to work on it? Oy Vey!

Either way. They both do what they were meant to do and what was made by the hand of man will, at some point, fail.

In the mean time I'll opt for easy peasy............

Peace and happy motoring, Bro............Bob

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15 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

Biggest thing for me is no dicking around trying to reach the distributor buried WAY in back.

 

That would give me time to line up the slots on the rest of my Phillips head screws.

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15 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

Biggest thing for me is no messing around trying to reach the distributor buried WAY in back.

 

Bob, I fixed that for you. When I selected it for a quote, my computer kicked one word out with a red squiggly red underline, so I naturally had to correct the spelling.    John

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1 minute ago, TexasJohn55 said:

 

Bob, I fixed that for you. When I selected it for a quote, my computer kicked one word out with a red squiggly red underline, so I naturally had to correct the spelling.    John

I thought that 'PC' meant "personal computer"....not "politically correct".:P

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43 minutes ago, TexasJohn55 said:

 

Bob, I fixed that for you. When I selected it for a quote, my computer kicked one word out with a red squiggly red underline, so I naturally had to correct the spelling.    John

 

When I use a word it means exactly what I choose it to mean. Neither more nor less.

Please unfix it for me.........Bob

 

Dick around in American English ..........Collins American dictionary

Slang                                                                                                                                                                                     

1. to spend time wastefully or unprofitably

2. to be busy in a desultory way

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56 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

Dick around in American English ..........Collins American dictionary

 

Means fussing around putting things in alphabetical order as in dictionary.

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5 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

 

 

Please unfix it for me.........Bob

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

 

  Not a chance.

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"No stinking dwell meter"??  In an old service manual I saw years ago, it mentioned that the way to adjust the points on a GM "window" distributor was to raise the metal cover, insert an appropriately-sized Allen wrench, turn the wrench one way (with the engine running!) until it mis-fired.  Then turn it the other direction until it mis-fired again . .  noting the number ot turns of the wrench between the mis-fire points, then turn the wrench BACK from the second mis-fire point, but only 1/2 the number of total turns.  THAT would be the correct point adjustment, they claimed.  With the dwell meter reading, for those times, being "30 degrees".  THEN set the ignition timing.

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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2 hours ago, NTX5467 said:

"No stinking dwell meter"??  In an old service manual I saw years ago, it mentioned that the way to adjust the points on a GM "window" distributor was to raise the metal cover, insert an appropriately-sized Allen wrench, turn the wrench one way (with the engine running!) until it mis-fired.  Then turn it the other direction until it mis-fired again . .  noting the number ot turns of the wrench between the mis-fire points, then turn the wrench BACK from the second mis-fire point, but only 1/2 the number of total turns.  THAT would be the correct point adjustment, they claimed.  With the dwell meter reading, for those times, being "30 degrees".  THEN set the ignition timing.

I've done it both ways.  I'd add that one service manual recommended turning your Allen wrench clockwise to achieve the final setting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Condensers.  As noted I use old-old stock USA condensers with good service and performance.  A friend recently had his car towed due to a defective condenser.  Now I have a question:  Is there any reason the condenser cannot be mounted outside the distributor?  This would make it easy to change or just test a different one.

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Many other makes and models put the condenser on the outside of the distributor. There is no reason I can think of for it not to work.

 

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FYI

 

The iffy condenser issue has recently been solved over on the “Stovebolt Forum”.  After much research 

a guy there has sourced USA made condensers for GM ignitions.  $12 as I recall.

Getting good reviews.

go there and do a search for the threads....... I’ll do same and post if I find it.

 

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On 2/5/2021 at 11:13 AM, old-tank said:

Condensers.  As noted I use old-old stock USA condensers with good service and performance.  A friend recently had his car towed due to a defective condenser.  Now I have a question:  Is there any reason the condenser cannot be mounted outside the distributor?  This would make it easy to change or just test a different one.

 

Well, could be a problem, willy. With an extra 4 inches of wire that would delay the timing by 1  483,600,000th of a second. I'll leave it up to someone smarter than me to figure the fraction of a degree one would need to advance the timing to compensate........Bob  😋

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