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Spark? problem; or, i swear i am going to kill my truck with me in it.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by general gow, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    so me and the fellas in the massachusetts hamb group have been trying to solve my truck not starting issues over the internet, which i recognize is not an ideal way to go about it. as evidence to that, the truck is still not starting after about 12 hours of messing around with multi meters and coils and ballast resistors and points and condensors.

    but i have decided to give it one last try before i climb into the truck bed and set myself on fire. so here is a little background.

    1. i have a 1960 international b100 with a 266 v8 with 55k original miles. i have owned the truck since the week before christmas. it was delivered on a flat bed, and started when i parked it in its spot at the time of delivery.

    2. i have had very little success getting it running since it came home a few weeks ago. i did get it to fire once while jumping it from another source and cranking it over repeatedly. after about an hour of trying, it finally fired and ran wonderfully. i tried fuel and starting fluid in the carb. i have since learned from a few sources that starting fluid in a gas engine isnt a great idea. but i dont think it's what got the thing started anyway, because i can see and smell fuel in the carb when the gas pedal is pressed.

    3. it will turn over, but it will not fire. it seems to have intermittent spark at the wire when removed from the dizzy and held near a good metal source like the intake.

    4. i have replaced the coil and gotten the same results.

    5. i have gapped the points to .020

    6. i have tested the coil with a multimeter, and i get 11.96 volts with the ignition on.

    7. the wires, plugs, cap and rotor, points and condensor, and previous coil were all replaced 5 years ago, since which the truck has been driven a reported 2,000 miles or less.

    some say that i shouldn't expect to see spark at the coil wire when i check it the way i did. some say i shoudl see good bright blue spark. when i do have spark there, it is always a yellowish white, and pretty steady. but sometimes i don't have any at all.

    i am fairly certain (in that i have checked the fuel coming into the carb) that it is a spark issue.

    does anyone have any advice on where i can go from here? or tell me that i am a dope and have been doing it wrong all along?

    right now, i am planning to give it a new cap and rotor and points and condensor and wires even though they are essentially new (althought 5 years old, with no useage).

    if you have advice, please help. i dont want to set myself on fire.

    thanks,

    mark
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  2. Rocket Scientist Chris
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    Rocket Scientist Chris
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    That voltage seems a little low for the "start" circuit bypass. It should be equal to battery voltage. Unless you have a weak battery! :confused: Check that first! Then check the starter solenoid "start" contacts for any resistance. It may be a little corroded in there. Also check the starter switch contacts in both "run" and "start" positions. Any resistance is going to drop the voltage to the ignition system and give you a weak spark.

    Hope this helps! :D
  3. 31ACoupe
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    31ACoupe Member

    Sounds like the coil. Try a new one out and if that don't work then go back to basics. Check the fire at the plug, hold the plug wire an inch or less from the plug while turning over and you should get a good zap from each one. If you are getting a good spark to the plug then pull a plug or two and check them out for residue, fuel buildup-carbon, if they are okay then you probably have a fuel issue, maybe the pump, prime it and see if that helps. You might have build up gunk in your fuel line from the tank to the pump and you can try to blow that clear. Make sure you have a good inline filter before the pump and between the pump and carb. It is probably something really simple.
  4. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    chris, the voltage is the same at the battery, according to the multimeter, 11.96 volts.

    and even if i try to start it with jumper cables, it still won't.

    still though, it cranks pretty hard and doesn't sound like a tired battery.

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  5. JustplainJ
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    JustplainJ Member

    Mark, what is the voltage at coil while you are cranking the motor? had the same problem when i would try to start car... voltage would drop to 6.7 volts....make shure you know what coil you have... some require a ballast resistor... if your running a ballast resister get a 12v source to pos. side of coil while cranking only... good luck
  6. BuiltFerComfort
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    BuiltFerComfort Member

    Also try replacing the coil to distributor wire? I've had one go bad, took a while to figure out.
  7. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    i know that i have a ballast resistor type coil, and i have the resistor on it. i have only tested the voltage with the ignition on. not with it cranking though. so maybe there could be a short in the system that doesn't show up until it cranks? hmm.

  8. mike bourg
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    mike bourg Member

    the one I had timed from the # 8 cylinder. hope that helps
    Mike B
  9. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    tom- i was thinking that it could be that simple. i am stopping by the auto parts store tonight for a few things to get this solved.

    i am sure it's something simple and stupid and i am just dumber than the truck.
  10. Lobucrod
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    Lobucrod
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    Points could be oxidized. It happens when they sit for a long time and moisture gets into the dist. Happens a lot in humid environments. File them some and see what happens. Of course new points will fix that.
  11. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    i cleaned the points and gapped them. i have new ones too, but the ones in there look newer than the new ones.

    i have been trying to fix it by doing one thing at a time, but i might just throw all new stuff at it and see what happens.
  12. JustplainJ
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    JustplainJ Member

    Mark, Just make shure you have 11-12 volts going to coil while cranking the motor.... ballast resister only drops coil voltage while motor is running. you need a start bypass wire from ignition switch to pos. side of coil to give to give 12 volts during the cranking cycle only! the coil Just wont work with low voltage while cranking the motor.
  13. noboD
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    noboD Member

    Concentrate on one thing at a time, forget the gas for now. If you have good voltage at the coil, you say you do, work down stream. Does the distributor shaft have sideways movement, meaning bad bushings which would make dwell qustionable? Do you have GOOD constant spark at the points WHILE cranking? Is the point plate grounded? Check with an OHM meter, plate to engine block.
  14. Rocket Scientist Chris
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    Rocket Scientist Chris
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    A battery with a bad or weak cell can still turn over a low compression motor, but it will be slow and spark will be weak. 11.96 volts at the battery is too low. It should be greater than 12 volts for a good battery. When its charging it'll be around 13 volts. You can check each cell of the battery with your multimeter by touching (-) terminal with (-) probe and dipping (+) probe just into the cell water. Each cell needs to read more than 2 volts. A battery will sometimes compensate for a low cell by making another higher. The result is near specified voltage, but a decrease in capacity. Bottom line is a car (or truck!) that's hard to start! :)

    Chris
  15. dbradley
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    dbradley Member

    First, you don't have "good" voltage from your battery. You should have a reading of 12.5 to 12.8 as a minimum of a properly charged "good" battery. A 12V battery supplies 2.1 volts per cell and has 6 cells. You're probably looking at a cell that has sulfated to the point that only marginal voltage is present. You need to install a FRESH, fully charged battery and good, clean cables. "Jumping" will only help to a certain extent. It would be better to remove the battery from the circuit and crank with the "other" battery than to include a "dead" cell.

    After you have a good strong battery in there, pull one of the plugs.... take one of the jumper cables and connect the hex of the plug to engine ground. (one end of cable to plug, the other to ground connection) Connect the plug wire to the plug and crank the engine and look for spark on the plug. If you get a good clean spark, remove all the plugs and clean or replace them. You should be ready to go with the ignition.

    Another item that occurs from sitting a long time is carb flooding. Make sure that the needle and seat aren't stuck and letting fuel dump into the intake. A flooded engine can 'sometimes' be started by tying the choke open and cranking at full throttle till the cylinders clean out enough to fire. But if the needle and seat are stuck open, it probably wouldn't idle and would be puffing black smoke.

    Hope this helps.
  16. Unclee
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    Unclee Member

    Replace the condensor! Those things absorb moisture from the environment. The spark should be strong and bright blue.

    P.S. About $7 at NAPA.
  17. Brad54
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    Brad54 Member

    If you don't have a factory shop manual, get one. It will help you chase wires, and will answer things like timing issues, etc.

    Have you checked the grounds? One could be lose or missing. It could even be a broken wire inside the insulation. I had that happen on the Pertronix on my Buick. The black wire coming out of the distributor was fine, but only the insulation. From the outside it looked good. When I tested for continuity, it was spotty. When I pulled the wire off, it didn't have continuity, indicating it was busted inside the insulation. When installed, sometimes the wires inside would make contact, sometimes they wouldn't.

    -Brad
  18. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    thanks guys. taking notes...
  19. C9
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    Did you adjust the points with the rubbing block on a high point of the distributor cam?

    If you did it with the rubbing block on the low area of the distributor cam, the points will never close and the coil won't get saturated.
  20. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    oh gosh jay, now you've gone beyond me...
  21. Van Dutch
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    Van Dutch Member

    Jesus this is exciting...should be a game show. You guys covered everything so far, can't wait to see what was wrong...I think sitting around in MA is the best clue..my guess is spoiled condenser and points. But also see Ryan's post on bad Chinese ignition parts...even stuff you replace is bad once and a while...you never know.
  22. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    i can't wait to see what happens either. :)
  23. C9
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    C9 Member Emeritus


    It's a common mistake and more than a few have done it - including me....
  24. missysdad1
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    missysdad1 Member

    Just a wild-ass guess, but my son and I bought a really great '68 Caddy Coupe for practically nothing from a guy who was fed up with trying to get it to run. Everything seemed to test good, but it wouldn't run. Turned out to be a bad condenser. We had it running in a couple of hours...man, was that guy pissed! Hope this helps.
  25. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    i'll try the condensor first. i have a new one for it.

    love the sedan in your avatar. i have a '54 business coupe exactly the same color.
  26. paperdog
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    paperdog
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    Good ass kickin blue spark at the plug gap ? .. Go ahead hold it while cranking you'll know quick if its right ..
    Check all circuit connections with a 12v test lite power to coil- coil to dist - outsde of dist to inside of dist .-to points .. Test light should lite at all these junctions

    coil wired right +..-

    neutral safety switch?
    Shifter in neutral right?
    Engine to frame ground strap ?
    All clean a n tight!
    Starter bolted in clean and tight !
    Disconnect all bogus battery wires .. For stereo, extra lites etc.
    Cigarrete lighter pushed in and stuck in?
    Got gas? Take off the gas cap which may have vent in it plugged

    by pass ign with jumper wire ? Leave ign on jump at solinoid


    intermiitant starts are a wiring problem in the start /run circuit

    throwing alot of new parts is just asking for trouble without narrowing down the culprit wire or connection

    when it turns out to be your ign switch ?key/ tumbler or dash ain' t grounded...


    Sell it move on .....
  27. rustyford40
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    rustyford40 Member

    Try the jumper before you take anything apart
  28. noboD
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    noboD Member

    Is anyone else noticeing he's not answering ANY questions? I like playing the game, but I need hints every once in a while.
  29. Weasel
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    Weasel Member

    I had a similar scenario over the weekend but with a 6V car and foot starter - turned out to be an intermittently loose connector from the ignition switch. Tighten nut on ring terminal and bingo!
  30. general gow
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    general gow Moderator Staff Member

    what questions do you want me to answer? i told you everything i know in the first post. and i work a day job, so the truck is at home and i am not...

    i haven't heard too many questions, either. just suggestions.

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