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Technical Adjusting the points dwell Ford Y block

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by chiefchris, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. chiefchris
    Joined: Jul 11, 2017
    Posts: 8

    chiefchris
    Member

    hey guys,

    Well I got the motor running in my 53, I borrowed a Dwell meter from a friend of mine, hooked it up, and found the dwell to be at 45 deg. I read that it should be at about 28 deg, how do I adjust this, some distributors have a hole to adjust, but, did not see one on mine.

    thanks for the help
    Chris
     
  2. 57Custom300
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,263

    57Custom300
    Member
    from Arizona

    A little harder on a Ford. You have to loosen the screws on the points where you can still move them on the pivot but still tight enough to hold an adjustment. After you hook your meter up and disconnect the vacuum advance line, have someone crank the engine over while you adjust the dwell. After you have them adjusted to 28*, tighten the adjustment screws and recheck the dwell. May take a couple try's.
     
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  3. Canus
    Joined: Apr 16, 2011
    Posts: 101

    Canus
    Member

    Correct dwell will be obtained by properly setting the point gap to specifications.
     
  4. ^First take off the cap. Loosen the points retaining screw a little. Obtain a .019 feeler gauge and using the slot along side of the points gently pivot the points to obtain a snug gap. Re-tighten the hold down screw and recheck the point gap. Repeat until the point gap is correct. This should give you the desired dwell 28-32 degrees.
     
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  5. chiefchris
    Joined: Jul 11, 2017
    Posts: 8

    chiefchris
    Member

    ok, so, there is no difference between dwell and point gap, I see...

    I thought point dwell was different... sorry, I havent dealt with points for over 20 years, and even then I have seen them about once and never really had a reason to mess with them!

    I thought I had the gap right. maybe not.. I will check it out! thanks guys!
     
  6. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 40,135

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Exactly. Forget the dwell meter and get yourself an accurate feeler gauge.

    Here is something to think about, I used to play with dwell a lot using the GM window distributers just to see what happens when you screw with it. You can change the dwell reading on the meter by changing the timing as well as changing the adjustments on the points. It is fun to play with if you got the time, but in the real world just setting your point gap properly is all you really need to do.
     
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  7. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,252

    V8 Bob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Using a dwell meter is the best method for adjusting the points because there are too many variables with a feeler gauge. The correct dwell for all single point V8 Fords is 27 degrees.
    After the dwell is set, check the timing, because point gap directly affects timing, while timing does not affect dwell
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  8. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 2,167

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    If there's no difference, 1. why is it even mentioned in the shop manual, 2. why is it adjustable? GM went to all that trouble to install the window on the distributor to allow access.

    LOL

    The reason is, the points will start to wear and get deposits on one side or the other. They won't be flat. The feeler gauge gap is close enough to get it to start and run. Then the dwell can be checked.



    The dwell, as every schoolboy knows, is the amount of time the points remain closed. This is the amount of time the coil has available to recharge. That's why it's important. Keep in mind you don't give a shit what the feeler gauge gap is at this stage, adjust the points to obtain the correct dwell.
     
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,455

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    yup, you adjust the gap, and check the dwell. If the dwell is way off, you might want to figure out why.

    Maybe you set the gap wrong. Maybe there is something loose in there. Maybe your 40 year old dwell meter is out of calibration.
     
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  10. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 40,135

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Here's the deal and I doubt anyone really cares but here it is anyway.

    Dwell meters vary from one manufacturer to the next some are accurate and some are not. As Jim mentioned it could even be out of calibration. You will also get variation from one calibrator to the next.

    My best guess is that you drag it out of the box and assume that it is right. You can check your feeler gauges with a micrometer. ;)
     
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,455

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    buy half a dozen old dwell meters at the swap meet, then use them all, and average the results
     
  12. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,657

    czuch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from vail az

    If the dwell is way off, I'll mess with it. If not, I wont.
     
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  13. studebaker46
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 577

    studebaker46
    Member

    now the one thing every one failed to mention and I assume they thought the same as I that you knew,BUT when you adjust the points make sure the rubbing block on the points Is setting on the high point of the dist shaft Tom
     
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  14. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 2,167

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    I see this a lot in some of the automotive forums. People confuse the initial baseline bench setting on all kinds of components and think that's the end of it, when the manual is clear that's just the start of it.

    Carburetor tuning is classic. The manual will tell you the float height right down to the 32nd in. It may work out, but often it won't - the fuel height in the bowl is what counts, and that's what needs to checked. Holley's adjustment method is recognition of this, in the same way GM's distributor window allows for adjustment on the fly.

    If for example you adjust the dwell and get it in spec, but then check the physical gap and find it out of spec, you don't re-adjust the points to an arbitrary .018" or whatever. The proper dwell angle is the goal here. If you use shitty tools, you may get shitty results, but that's not news.

    Idle mixture screws are another. 1.5 turns out from seated isn't the final adjustment, it's just an initial ballpark setting on the pig-rich side so the damn thing will start and idle on its own. Then it can be tuned to that particular engine. You don't adjust for highest vacuum and then crank them back to 1.5 turns out, but I've seen this done. Can you say "unclear on the concept"? I knew you could.

    When points were in wide use, and needed replacing often, a lot of people wouldn't touch the condenser during a tuneup if it was otherwise running good. The reason was, due to production tolerance the exact capacitance varied somewhat. Even the length of the condenser lead will cause this to vary. What happens is one side of the points or the other will build up deposits. Points aren't too big of a deal now because most people don't drive 15k miles a year in a car that uses them. If the condenser was good, leave it alone. The points will wear evenly and last a lot longer.
     
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  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,455

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The way they make condensers these days...yeah....that's a good plan.

    And carry an old spare or two
     
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  16. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 2,731

    slowmotion
    Member

    I've always set the gap on the points, then fine tune if needed with the dwell meter. Worked so far...
     
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  17. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,197

    Dan Timberlake
    Member

    too much dwell is too little gap.
     
  18. TRUCK. I like the window that G.M. put in their dist. Caps.I have an old tool like a long screwdriver that I can put thru the window and adjust the points and dwell while the cars is running. Problem is now I have a Chrysler.LOL. Bruce.
     
  19. Truck.I agree with you about the condenser.Who would think something so small could cause so many headachs.Bruce.
     
  20. Slowmoyion.That's the same way I do it. Bruce.
     
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  21. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,304

    56premiere
    Member
    from oregon

    The points are set static{ not moving } dwell is checked moving. That is my understanding.
     
  22. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,455

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is correct.
     
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  23. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 710

    UNSHINED 2
    Member

    I have always just set the points. So I dont have the proper edumacation on dwell.....

    My question is: why did Ford chose 27 degrees dwell....Chevy "x" degrees.....etc?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  24. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,455

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It probably has something to do with the shape of the cam lobe, the configuration of the points, how well it works under different conditions, etc.

    And the dual point systems get quite a bit more dwell, so they can get more juice into the coil at high rpm.
     
  25. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,303

    sunbeam
    Member

    Unless you are talking high Rpm dwell is not a big issue if it's not right on. Points tend to wear the cam follower even with lube so dwell tends to increase over miles driven
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
  26. NielsK
    Joined: Jan 16, 2008
    Posts: 189

    NielsK
    Member
    from Denmark

    If you are not experienced in dealing with points:
    1: Obtain a quality set of points
    2: make sure everything is clean and neat.
    3: Install point and set the gap, carefully.
    4: Check static ign. timing!!!!!
    New points are not worn on the small block, so a new set of points advance the timing a little.
    I've got a bad back, so i normally pull the dizzy. Put it in a vice and clean and lubricate it. Install and adjust the points and drop the dizzy back in. As you all can guess: No flathead crab dizzy for me
    Always had cars with points. Stopped many years ago readjusting points. If coil and condenser are good. Points last long and are not worth messing with when worn. Put some new ones in instead and never worry about ign. failures. By the way: I always buy points with "bakelite blocks". If you have those with nylon blocks they dont like oil. Lube them with silicone instead. But avoid them if possible.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  27. SHARKO
    Joined: Mar 7, 2010
    Posts: 57

    SHARKO
    Member

    My new NAPA Echlin points came with a condenser in the way of using a feeler gauge!
    With my trifocals it was going to be braille anyway. So I got some young eyes and set the points open enough to see movement. It runs but my new dwell meter shows about 42 when it runs well. ?????
    Thanks for help
    Pat
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  28. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 426

    Terrible80
    Member

    My problem is I can't find book matches everywhere anymore!
     
    46international likes this.
  29. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,455

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    they still sell feeler gauges at the auto parts store
     
  30. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 2,167

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Let them run in about 50-100 miles. Then set the dwell to spec. This may or may not coincide with the feeler gauge spec. You did apply a small amount of distributor grease to the cam and on the follower didn't you? The point block will tend to wear at first, and then settle down for the life of the points. With the el-cheapo imported junk, the rubbing block will just continually wear down to a nub (in just a few miles.)
     

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