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Need help with the ignition of my 1947 Lincoln V 12


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Hello !

Our 1947 Lincoln stands still since ca. 6 Months. Now I have a problem to start the engine. It has no longer a spark at the spark plugs. I found out that at the two terminals at the ignition coil ( two red leads ) are two different voltage. As I started to measure the left terminal had ( ignition on, of course ) ca. 6 volts, the right one had ca. 2.2 Volts. After I tried to start the engine it had on both sides just 2.2 Volts which is of course to less. These two leads go through the firewall under the dashboard and ends at a kind of "resistor" or so.

Then at the ignition coils ends at the two condensers two yellow leads. With ignition on the is no voltage. These two leads ends at a box which is mounted at the firewall.

Why is there just these 2.2 Volts ? This can't be correct, or ? We really want to drive this beautiful car but I need your help.

Has someone a wiring diagram for me ?

Thanks for your help

Tom

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Hello Tom, I believe that when the resistors are in place, you are supposed to have 2.8 volts at the inlet screws of the coil, could be several reasons for you only having 2.2, a weak battery, a coil that needs rebuilding, bad condensers, and probally a few other things, sounds like a job for the erstwhile Jake Fleming in Texas, I think ignition problems are the number 1 culprit in all V-12 problems, Good Luck, Rolf

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Guest imported_V12Bill

Thomas, The voltage reading at the coil terminals reads less than 6 volts in order to prolong the life of the points. You should get a reading of 2.8 to 3.4 volts (varies with strength of battery, condition of points, condition of resistors etc). If the points are open on one side you will read 0 volts as there is a break in the completion of the circuit. If the car ran when parked 6 months ago, try to check the points to see if they are clean. Its possible a condensor or both are bad. This should not be a complicated problem. The Lincoln ignition system can be intimidating while you are learning it.

Bill

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The leads that go from the coil to the "box on the dash"( engine side) are for the overdrive kick down. They're function is to momentarily "Kill" the engine, thus releasing pressure on the pawl that engages the overdrive and allowing the overdrive to shift back into direct. The "box on the dash" is the overdrive relay. You might try disconnecting these wires from the coil. If the car starts you may have problems in the overdrive relay or solenoid or even a shorted kick down switch. Make sure these two wires are not shorted in side the wire loom on the left side.

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Hi Peecher,

tried this in the morning but the car will not start.

I read again the voltage at the two terminals at the ignition coil : Before I started : Left side 2.8 Volt and right 3 Volts. After I tried to start the left side had just 1.9 Volts and right hand 2.10 Volts. The battery reads 6.85 since I have a charger on it. So the battery actually has enough voltage to deliver these 2.8 to 3 Volts to the terminals when the engine is not running.

Some more ideas ?

Thanks again for your help.

Kind regards

Tom

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Dear Rolf,

thanks for your information but you gave me just "Jake Fleming in Texas". I belive you that he is a great guy regarding Lincoln problems but how can I contact him ? In the AACA Forum I saw that he is a member of the LZOC and found his address and phone.

Since I live in Germany it would be great to have an Email address of Jake or a Fax Number.

I don't ignore him but I don't know him. So if I would have the contact information I would ask him. To call him is not possible for me since my English is not the best.

Thank you and have a nice day !

Tom

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Hi Tom, I suggest you write him a letter, to Dallas Texas where he lives, he doesn't have e-mail, he is the Technical Director of the LZOC, and has made a science of perfecting the Lincoln distributor, he has also devised a method to rebuild the coils, a real wonder to me, but they work great, he built his own machine to properly set and synchronise the ignition points, and can check out all related parts like condensers and such. I have only heard glowing praise from anyone who had himm set their distributors and rebuild their coils, we are lucky indeed to have such a Wizard in our midst, to me, it seems like your coil is suffering the ravages of time, that fluctuating voltage I believe is a sign the coil is "breaking-down", and you can't just stop in at the auto parts for a replacement anymore. Jake's prices are very reasonable, and if you want your '47 to be dependable and run as good as it can, this is the route to go, you will have to send the complete assembly to Jake, he has a pretty fast turn-around time, good luck, Rolf

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What Rolf is saying is correct. I sent my distributor out to have Jake set it up, rebuild the coil and check the condensers. I am not as zealous as Rolf however. If you take a reading at one of the condensers or a test light while turning the engine over, the light should alternate on and off as the ignition points open and close. If you ran the car before, have current at the condensers that alternates with the opening and closing of the points, you almost have to have spark at the plugs. Keep chasing the spark and let it lead you to the problem. If you can get spark and get it running however well or poor, then send your distributor off to Jake, but with spark, air and fuel mixed with a little compression, it has to run. Don't over analyze, just follow the spark. good luck.

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Oh Dave, we always seem to get into it!!! If I am hearing you right, I think you are saying that any old V-12 distributor with any old tired coil will run your engine, it may, but unless it is properly set it will be the sourest, ill performing, mechanical contrivance imaginable!! I learned this lesson in the 1950's, and always had a properly set distributor with a good coil in reserve in the trunk of my Lincoln, didn't you note a marked improvement when you installed your new Jake distributor?? If not, you are the first I have heard of who didn't, Rolf

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Hello you all and thanks for your tips and tricks.

Would like to let you know what I did in the meantime.... :

Yesterday evening I removed the two "distributor caps" on the right and left side oft the dist. I saw that all the contacts where very oxidized. Actually there can't jump a spark from the rotors to the caps. I cleaned them and now they looks like new in shiny brass. I also checked if the contact points are also clean and measured if there will flow current between the two contacts of the contact points. Yes, it does with no resist.

An interesting point is, as I tried some days ago after a long time of not trying, the engine had some ignitions. Now after trying and trying is has no longer an ignition. ( of course I charged the battery over night ).

I forgot to mention this : It could be that my father forgot to switch of the ignition one time in the past. And : Some month ago I tried already to start the engine and it turned so slow that I used a 12 Volt Battery. There it made some revolutions but the engine didn't run longer.

If I will have no chance for me to do it, I have to contact Jake. At the Lincoln it is so hard to find the problem since it has this distributor. On other dists. it is easy to check if the coil has a problem.

Kind regards

Tom

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Thomas,

Jake is the guy, wonderful man and super with V12 distributors. I just wanted to say your English is fine. If I had to share my problems in German, I would be lost. Please continue to update us on your car and thanks for keeping the V12 alive in Europe!

Ace Collins

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Guest imported_V12Bill

Thomas, If the ignition key was left on for an extended period of time the points burned up. Its possible that the coil is shorted out also. The distributor is easy to remove( 3 bolts and the vaacuum advance line). NOTE THE TANG THAT DRIVES THE DISTRIBUTOR FROM THE CAM IS OFF CENTER. When you reinstall the distributor make sure the tang is in the correct position or you will ruin the distributor.

Now that the distributor is off the car you can check the points for corrosion and gap. Use an OHM meter and check the coil to see if any windings are burned through. If you have not moved the points too much you should have your engine running. If the points are old and way out of adjustment, it would be a good idea to send the whole works off to Jake Flemming. Each set of points have to fire in alternate coordinated intervals and only someone with the correct equipment can do this.

Bill

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Rolf, I am not denying that Jake is the way to go.

I will be the first on your list to say that I have NOT noted an improvement after installing the dist/coil back on the V-12 after getting them back from Jake. Mainly because I haven't started it again yet.

Rolf, what I was trying to do was offer help in a common sense sort of way. Get the engine running by tracking down the problem where the spark seems to no longer spark. I appreciate your zealous flag waving for Jake but this gentleman is in Germany for crying out loud! As I think it was V-12 Bill pointed out (pun intended) the key could have been left on welding at least one set of points togeter, break them loose, file a bit, start the engine, runs like crap, THEN send it half way across the world knowing that when it returns the problem wil be no more. Of course if Uncle Adolph accidentlly cut the wires under the dash that lead to the coil, the package returned from Texas USofA wouldn't cure dukey. (that's duke-ie) like puckey..teaching new english phrases to our German friend.

It can be sour and ill running but at least you know it runs.

I sent Jake two setups. He called and advised that both my coils were weak but he recomended rebuilding the best of the two and for me to keep the other as a spare. Wouldn't run superb but would run, same for weak condensers. They will run in pretty bad shape.

Dave

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello you all.

I let check the ignition coil yesterday at a Bosch Shop. It is absolutely ok and sparks really good. So it can't be the coil.

The contacts make contact. I tried it with an ohmmeter. Seems ok.

Is there anything I can do it by myself before I have to send it to Jake ? What about the small ignition resistor. Could there be the problem ?

Regards

Tom

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  • 1 year later...

Hello !

Since our Lincoln stood still for more than 2 years, we bought a rebuilt distributor and coil. Now the Lincoln is ready for the street...

But one question : I can't remember if the oil pressure gauge worked before but at the moment it shows nothing. How can I find out if there is an oil pressure ?

Greetings

Tom

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I had this same problem after having everything rebuilt by Jake and found out that it was the resistors under the dash. you will have to take them out and check them but they do sometimes get a loose connection on one of the ends which can be fixed very easy by cleaning the area and resoldering it. they might look good but check them by moving the resistor coils and looking at the ends where they are soldered, if they even move a little it will cause low voltage at the coil. check them before spending the money on anything else. and if they are shot you can replace them with ones for a V8 ford, they used the same resistors and you can buy them new form Vintage Ford in Sacramento, about 9 dollars each.

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Also not to bad mouth Jake, but the distributor he set up for me was perfect on his machine and perfect on my old allen machine but when bolted on the car the dwell would change, Jake told me that was a problem with some of the V12 dist. and he didnt know why. lucky for me I have a dwell meter and some patience as it took me 3 days to get the dwell set perfect on the car as this is the only way you will be able to set up a dist that changes dwell when bolted on.

After you check the resistors and know they are good, check the resistance in the coil wires while they are disconnected to rule them out, condesers would be next item to check, and I would buy some new ones 2 sets to be safe as they can be bad even when new.

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Concerning the oil pressure. If the lifters are quiet you probably have oil pressure. The sending unit may be bad. It is located behind and next to the oil filter where the feed line comes in. To be sure you could use a regular pressure gauge and line screwed into the fitting after removing (un-screwing) the sending unit to check the oil pressure. You might also try disconnecting the condenser at the sending unit and check it for shorts. The sending units are regular Ford 50 psi rated.

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Hello again.

I try to run the engine with the new dist. and coil of our Lincoln but have always the same problem : The two outer spark plugs at the drivers side are wet and the two in the middle are ok. Do you have any idea where the problem is ?

Compression in the cylinders are ok / the same as in the two in the middle.

By the way : When I want to set the carb : Is the mixture richer or leaner when I screw the srews out ?

Thank you

Tom

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fuel mixture will get richer when you turn the screws out but that doesnt seem to be your problem. If you have the engine running pull the wires from the plugs that are running rich and check the spark jump, should be about 3/16 of an inch if its not pull the dist cap and make sure all the wire are seated in the contact plate firmly, I seat them and then check them with an ohm meter to make sure I have good contact. also what type of plug wire are you using? The best I have found is Packard 440 wire, If the dist and coil, condensors are good and you have good contact from dist cap to plug you should have a good spark, mine throws a spark a little over an inch from plug to wire.

Good luck

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Hello !

I did this : I blow pressure air into the plug holes to dry out the engine at the valves ( I hope you know what I mean ). Now the plugs which were wet are dry but the engine runs not good. Sometimes runs a bit faster, a bit slower... I can screw at the mixture screws at the carb but actually it makes no change. Also the idle adjust screw is now at the fastest position but the engine runs slow.

I will try the thing with the ignition cables as you wrote. I have "normal" cables, nothing special.

Greetings

Tom

Where is actually the condensor for the contact points at the distributor ?

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Tom, The fact that the idle screw adjustment makes no difference might indicate that there is gas leaking in the carb. I would check the power valve as if it is leaking the fuel will be drawn in directly to the manifold. This is a common thing to happen with these cars when you can "seat" the two idle mixture screws with no effect on the engine idling. It's also possible that the float is sticking/set too high.

The condensers(2) are located on the back side of the coil. they are attached to 2 prongs with small hex head screws. They are under the all the wires that go to the coil.

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Hi Peecher,

I am sorry, but where can I find the power valve ? I have no shop manual to this car and it seems that I am the only one in Germany who has such a Lincoln.

Could you say me how I can set the gas level in the carb ?

Yes, I can screw the mixture screws in and the engine runs...

Do you know the best way to check the condensers ? How much microF should they have ?

Thanks for your help.

Tom

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The power valve is screwed in to the bottom of the carburetor body. You need to separate the body from the base to get at it. Any dampness in the cavity of the base that fits over this valve might indicate the center portion (diaphragm) of the valve is leaking. The carburetor on your lincoln is the same with a few differences as those used on Fords and Mercurys of the same era. Repair kits for the Ford/Mercs will contain this valve along with new float valve, gaskets etc. With the carburetor top (airhorn)removed and inverted the measurement from the top part of the float ( not the seam) to the flat surface of the mounting should be 1-5/16". You should probably check the carburetor thoughly while you have it apart. Bad inlet valve, incorrect float level, leaky float along with the power valve can all cause flooding/rich mixture.

An auto electric shop should be able to check your condensers. be sure they check the when they are warm as that is when they usually break down. Can't remember the exact rating on the condensers but i believe they were between .33mfd to .37mfd. These are unique to the Lincoln in configuration but some people have modified the '37 to '41 Ford V8 units to work. The regular V12 type are availble from the supplies listed in the "sources" at the site. Hope you find your troubles.

PS, you might find this site useful for carbs and kits. http://www.thecarburetorshop.com/Carbindex.htm

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Hi Peecher,

thanks for your help.

Today I removed the carb. and checked it. Float setting is ok, float is ok, Gaskets ok, power valve leaks just a very, very few but it don't drip gas down of this valve.

Seems that everything is ok with the carb.

I started the engine and the first 10 seconds it ran great but then came the rough idling again. But engine picks up really good speed when I press the gas pedal down and it seems that NOW all cylinders are running. Before I had a sound like bbbbrrrrrommm and now it is gone and sounds good. Exhaust is light blue when I press the gas pedal down. Perhaps a problem because the engine didn't run 3 years or so and will be better when we drive the car ?

I drove a bit on our ground and it seems that the engine has now a good power to test it on the streets but why this bad, slow idle ? It is a pity...

Greetings

Tom

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Tom, the power valve on the carburetor cannot leak at all. This valve gets vacuum from the engine and any small leak will cause the engine to run rich and mess up the idling. I think you should replace this valve if you detect any leakage.

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You can use Holley power valves with the same vacuum rating which is the numbers stamped on the valve. if you cant find the power valves there try summitracing.com they run about 7 us dollars, I have some extras at the house if you send me the size you have I will send you one, I will need your address though.

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Hello !

since I removed the power valve to take its size, the engine has now a better and faster idle... but it should be better to change the power valve. V12lincoln, I sent you some photos and size. Now both mixture screws are screwed out just a half turn and the engine runs not bad. Is this normal or indicates this a bad power valve ?

A question for the oil pressure : How much should actually show the oil pressure gauge.

Greetings

Tom

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  • 4 years later...

on this subject of the voltage at the coil. this is just my way of thinking

the voltage at the coil is around 5 volts, then when a set of points close

it will drop to about 2 to 3 volts due to the points being closed.

when they open it will go back up to about 5 volts,

on the oil pressure, head on down to auto zone and buy a mechanical gage

remove the sending unit and screw in the gage

fire it up and you will know for sure what the oil pressure is.

'gene

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  • 2 weeks later...

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