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1942 Lincoln Continental Vapor Lock or Failing Coil?


Will C.
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Hello my name is Will I am 21 and currently maintain a small collection of classics in the pacific north west. At the moment I am working on a 42 Continental, while on a drive the other day the car started to lug and loose power, it was able to limp off of the interstate but once the engine had been shut off it did not start again until it had cooled down for about 30 minutes. I have seen two schools of thought when it comes to diagnosing this issue, first it could be vapor lock, or it could be that the coils are starting to fail and after heating up for a period of time the winding has started to expand and separate causing a weak spark. I am not very familiar with how the ignition system function in these old flat head V12's. Any ideas on how I should isolate the problem to a fuel delivery issue or a failing ignition? 

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Sounds like vapor lock, was it a hot day?  You can test a coil be removing the high tension lead from the coil to the distributor where it joins the distributor then holding the end about 1/4" away from the block while flicking the points open and closed.  If the coil is OK it  should give about 1/4" spark,  with the ignition on of course.

If it's vepor lock a very wet rag to cool the carburetor and fuel supply parts should give immediate but temporary relief.   Ethanol fuels significantly  increase the tendency to vapor lock. 

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I'd say it is fuel related, today's fuel are different compared to the fuel quality that the car was designed for back then, which was heavier.Now they also add butane to make fuel cheaper

I would think that it is percolation, where the gasoline boils in the carb and floods the engine. Does it smell like gasoline when you open the hood ? Also, try pulling the choke if you have one, if it gets worse then it is percolation for sure.

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