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57 Ford 223 won’t start

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Doyle_57FordCustom, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Hey guys I’m absolutely stumped and looking for some help with my car. I have a 57 Ford Custom 300 with the 223 in it. About 2 months ago, I drove it into my garage to park it for the winter. I installed Pertronix and it never started. After much frustration and testing I decided to put the points back in. Car won’t start. New points, new condenser, new rotor, new cap, new plugs. Wires are newer. It’s getting fuel as the plugs are getting fouled. It just won’t catch. Turns over and over. I’ve tried multiple tests. Spark is good and wiring appears to be intact. I’ve checked all grounds and checked and rechecked all the connections. I’ve been told to check the timing but I never changed the timing so how can it be out? I just can’t figure it out. Any advice is appreciated.


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  2. Larry Goebel
    Joined: Aug 14, 2018
    Posts: 63

    Larry Goebel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from michigan

    did you change the coil ? check the coil to to see if you are get a hot enough spark.
     
  3. Larry Goebel
    Joined: Aug 14, 2018
    Posts: 63

    Larry Goebel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from michigan

    also if you changed the coil. make sure you have the wires on the right posts
     
  4. Thanks Larry. The coil is newer as well and gives good spark. Wires are on properly too. Points are gapped to spec and plugs are gapped to spec as well.


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  5. Larry Goebel
    Joined: Aug 14, 2018
    Posts: 63

    Larry Goebel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from michigan

    ok, make sure the distributor wire go to the neg side of the coil and the positive side wire goes to the ignition. because if its reversed, it'll act like you have a bad condenser. the is a step up coil. meaning it takes 12v and steps it up to 20,000 v to fire the plugs. the condenser acts as capacitor and absorbs the extra voltage. also try a little fresh fuel down the carb.
     
  6. Thanks again Larry! The coil gives me a good blue spark and the wires are on the correct terminals. I’ve checked and rechecked this. I think I am getting weak spark at the plugs though. There is definitely spark at the plugs but it seems week.


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  7. Larry Goebel
    Joined: Aug 14, 2018
    Posts: 63

    Larry Goebel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from michigan

    if it were me, if you have the old condenser. I'd put it on and try it. it truly sounds as if it were a bad condenser. you the old saying . just cuz its new. does not mine its good.
     
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  8. AVater
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,601

    AVater
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    Definitely worth retrying the old condenser. Been there with a bad new condenser
     
  9. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,782

    Budget36
    Member

    You never took the distributor out for either conversion?

    Did you take the wires off the cap for either conversion?

    What’s odd is you have good spark from the coil, but weak at the plugs. Personally I would rule out the points, condenser and coil and look at whatever other new parts were put in, maybe the cap is an issue or the rotor? Seems wires would all go bad just sitting for two months
     
  10. Ice man
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 984

    Ice man
    Member

    Why not change the plugs. I remember a time my BIL had a old F800 Ford that set for yrs and it was sold. They tried all day to fire it up, several battery's, starting fluid, everything and nothing worked. I came home after work to find several frustrated men ready to set it on fire. Got a new set of plugs and she fired up almost as soon as we hit the button. Plugs were soaked and the porcelain lost its insulation so no spark. Iceman
     
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  11. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,830

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Check all your wires on the ignition circuit....all of them from the distributor to the switch. Check all grounds especially the primary cables.
    Pay special attention to the coil wires. The wires can break inside the connectors causing an intermittent connection. It's maddening. You have spark, then you don't. It's positional. Check all of those wires....you were in there with petronix install so something was disturbed....
     
  12. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,563

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    I would change the plugs . Usually well damn near all the time, if the condenser is bad the spark is pink. Cold engine and wet plugs just tend to get wetter. Lippy
     
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  13. 37 caddy
    Joined: Mar 4, 2010
    Posts: 401

    37 caddy
    Member
    from PEI Canada

    Maybe the compression is low from the cylinder walls being "washed down" with raw gas,also would try new plugs,when you have them out ,squirt some oil in the plug holes and spin it over to lubricate the rings.if everything else is in working order it should fire up easy,it will smoke too.:eek: Harvey
     
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  14. If it is a 12V points ignition it needs 12V to the coil to start. It does not run @12v to the coil but it needs it in start mode. Make a jumper wire to the coil from the battery and see if it will start. If that is the case then you have a problem with the start circuit.
     
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  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,618

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Since you have a nice blue spark that pretty well eliminates the ignition including all the wild ass guess to sound knowledgeable things from the list. Hot blue spark = condenser is ok.

    Cylinders washed down because you have been trying to start it and pumping the gas pedal off and on all this time, extremely possible, especially with the carboned up plugs.

    Do as he said, pull all the plugs, squirt a few shots of oil in each cylinder, crank it over for a few seconds, clean the plugs and put them back in and go for it.
     
    Budget36 likes this.
  16. Wrench97
    Joined: Jan 29, 2020
    Posts: 436

    Wrench97

    Blue spark from the coil wire, do have the same blue spark from the spark plug end of the plug wires?
     
  17. HSF
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 143

    HSF
    Member
    from Lodi CA

     
  18. HSF
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 143

    HSF
    Member
    from Lodi CA

    Did either of those happen that budget 36 replied with? Also, where do you live? Maybe someone close can give you a hand.
     
  19. Wayne3207
    Joined: Mar 27, 2011
    Posts: 11

    Wayne3207
    Member
    from WestTN

    After building and wiring Chevrolet ( I know yours is a Ford) engines since age 14 (60+ years) I had a similar issue on a sbc recently. After pulling my non-existing hair for a couple of days I discovered I had installed the plug wires assuming the wrong distributer rotation. Some times all the mental cylinders don't fire either.
     
  20. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,684

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Does it even cough or sputter or pop back in the carb?
    Even an incorrectly wired setup will do SOMETHING.
    Nothing points to bad wiring or component.

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  21. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,782

    Budget36
    Member

    As @Mr48chev says, but to add. Spark at the end of the wire can be checked. I always used a Phillips screw driver. If good spark there, then you know if weak on the plugs what the issue is.
     
  22. I drove daily a 1980 Mercury Zephyr (many years ago) with the 200 6 cyl. Parked it in the driveway one evening (as usual), wouldn't start the next day. Timing chain had jumped. New timing chain and I was back on the road.

    Since you've been monkeying with the ignition, I would guess that is where your issue lies but ... stranger things have happened.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  23. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,946

    goldmountain

  24. Zax
    Joined: May 21, 2017
    Posts: 243

    Zax
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. 1952-59 Ford Social Group

    So it was running when you pulled it in to the garage for winter storage. You yanked the points to install Pertronix and it has not run since?

    If that is the case walk backwards every step of your Pertronix install. If the Pertronix install never worked and the reversal of the Pertonix install and re-install of the points did not work something in the removal of points and install of Pertronix is where the problem likely was caused. One more thing to check is the wire from the negative side of the coil to the bottom of the distributer you would have removed to install the Pertronix. Are you sure it did not get damaged in the removal and reinstall? Also the small wire from the connection point on the distributer to the condenser would have been removed for Pertronix. Is that connection tested and verified good?

    I did a Pertronix conversion on the 223 in the f100 in my avatar. One thing I remember is that the model numbers for the correct Pertronix with the load o matic distributor is often listed incorrectly. What was the model of the Pertronix unit you installed?
     
  25. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,030

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Make sure you timed the disturber right, first! Then change the plugs! Sometimes gas soaked plugs will just not fire! This happen to me when I was a youngun. I was working on a Ford 170 six. I can’t , in my old age, remember everything, but I got a brand new set of plugs gas soaked. The engine wouldn’t hit a lick! I took the plugs out cleaned them put them back in , nothing! I couldn’t believe that brand new plugs wouldn’t fire. But I was getting a nice spark! Out of frustration I bought another set of plugs and the engine fired off and ran perfect! A lesson I learned at an early age.








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