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Technical Have you ever used a Dwell Meter?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rex_A_Lott, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,053

    Rex_A_Lott
    Member

    I had put a set of points in one of my old cars the other day and was checking the dwell when my son-in-law came over and asked me what I was doing. He had no clue. He'd never used a dwell meter, and had never seen one used. Now he's no dummy, he works on rental equipment for a living. Scissor lifts, genie booms, generators etc. He's had the motor apart in his late model truck, replacing the VVT lifters and reprogramming the computer to delete the MPH limit and some other things, none of which I can do. It just struck me as funny that somebody that can do the things he does never learned something as basic as a dwell meter.
    I'm sure most of us had to learn this at sometime in our past, but it amazes me there is a whole generation that never needed to learn it.
    So I was just curious, how many people on the HAMB have managed to Hot Rod and never had the need for a dwell meter?
    I'd really like to know how many can use one and properly check a dual point distributor?
     
    dana barlow and SS327 like this.
  2. Haven't used mine in a long time, but still have it. Although I never had occasion to do dual points; there is a process to that.
     
  3. I am the guy at my workplace that folks give their dwell meters and other obsolete tools to... Pretty sure I have been given 2 or 3 dwell meters, a few timing lights, etc. So, yes, I have used one. :D
     
  4. I am 40 years old, and I have a dwell meter and dual points in my 261 powered 53 Chevrolet and my 261 powered Model A racecar!
     

  5. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,794

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Matchbook cover,{they are about .016},I did after some time, buy a Dwell Meter,ya still need matchbook cover part for dual points on side your not adjusting. Matchbooks are getting hard to comeby too,it seems. The striker strip of matchbook can be used to clean burned points too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2022
  6. das858
    Joined: Jul 28, 2010
    Posts: 845

    das858
    Member

    American cars quit using points around 1975 , he's just too young ! Where I used to work my boss didn't know how to set points , repair carburetors , or work on drum brakes !
     
    X-cpe, tractorguy and Rex_A_Lott like this.
  7. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,769

    goldmountain

    Tried using my old dwell meter the other day. It was a dead player. The needle was stuck and didn't move. Tried finding another one on Amazon with no luck. We are getting obsolete, guys.
     
  8. Mike Lawless
    Joined: Sep 20, 2021
    Posts: 263

    Mike Lawless

    I had one when I was young. Learned to use 'em in high school. The last time I used one was in the mid 70s, when I converted my '72 340 Demon from the factory electronic ignition to a dual point.
    The dual point was not better. But that's what all the cool kids had.
    There's a lot of car stuff young people today have never heard of. Just as the is a bunch of stuff they know that we never had to deal with. Some of us, including myself, don't wanna learn it either
     
  9. TA DAD
    Joined: Mar 2, 2014
    Posts: 746

    TA DAD
    Member
    from NC

    IMG_0675.JPG A dwell meter is invaluable when working on a breaker ignition system. I still use one all the time. I have spent the afternoons this week watching Dragweek and refurbishing a dual point that you have to have a dwell meter to set when all assembled. Plus when using a dwell meter you can adjust the points to make allowance for a loose distributor shaft.
     
    alanp561, winr, Blues4U and 2 others like this.

  10. I have an apprentice text book from 1954 I used to give to all my apprentice’s when I was in automotive .

    it was a great teaching tool for them as I explained .

    mid you understand how it was done mechanically, you will understand how it’s done now electronically.


    I know it’s intimidating on newer cars but all these famgeled electronics are simply trying to copy what was done years ago mechanically or by vacuum , etc .

    I still use a dwell meter on occasion and a timing light at work .

    crap , even the fancy engine diagnostic machines from the 80’s and 99’s that took up a whole wall in a shop are obsolete and those function can all be done from a lap top or handheld scan tool .


    We’re a dying breed with our old junk .
     
  11. i.rant
    Joined: Nov 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,795

    i.rant
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. 1940 Ford

    I have used and owned a dwell meter. Probably used last on an OT Chevy a long time ago.
     
    lothiandon1940 and Rex_A_Lott like this.
  12. lucas doolin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2013
    Posts: 491

    lucas doolin
    Member

    If you can't find a matchbook cover, you can use a business card which is the same thickness. Trick I learned from a small engine mechanic for setting the engine module on a Lawn Boy lawn mower. Some one still has to cut the grass at our house.
     
  13. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,746

    BJR
    Member

    Another thing young people don't know how to do is pack front wheel bearings as all the cars are either front wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
     
  14. TA DAD
    Joined: Mar 2, 2014
    Posts: 746

    TA DAD
    Member
    from NC

    A dwell meter will also allow you to watch the dwell as you increase the rpm to see if it changes , it is the best way to adjust points. Unless your working on a slant six.
     
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  15. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,460

    vtx1800
    Member

    I've still got the dwell meter that I bought in the late sixties? and have a couple of more later versions..but to be honest I haven't set points since the last century:)
     
  16. Lone Star Mopar
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 3,345

    Lone Star Mopar
    Member

    A freind gave me a "new" 30 plus year old Craftsman engine analyzer with a Dwell meter, tach and a few other bits. He says "Ive had it this long & never used it, hell Im not even sure how to use one"... So Ive had this thing probably 10 years now and have to admit Ive never used the damn thing either. I still have a couple cars running points, but never needed this to set em. Maybe next tune up I'll dig it out, not use it again and find someone that wants it .
     
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  17. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,321

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    The electronic stuff for me has so many glitches, and it's so frustrating to diagnose. So I prefer points and carbs over the electronic gizmos. I don't switch to electronic ignition unless I race it, where I need the red limiter and the high RPM capability. But I collect old cars, so I do have a dwell meter, and use it regularly.
     
  18. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,792

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    Yes, they were especially nice with the General Motors V8 distributors with the window cap that you could adjust while running.
     
  19. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 1,345

    SS327

    If you do decide to get rid of it let me know. I’ve got 3 cars with points still and my old Craftsman tach and dwell that I inherited from my uncle in 1970 gave up the ghost. He bought it in 65 or 66 so it was as old as me. Yea, I’ve set a lot of points.
     
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  20. CME1
    Joined: Aug 10, 2010
    Posts: 252

    CME1
    Member

    I have one I haven't used for I don't when the last time! Image (12).jpg Image (11).jpg
     
  21. I carry this one in the Roadster. 20220922_110320.jpg 21317912_1530662123645960_3606499656123278933_n.jpg
     
  22. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,053

    Rex_A_Lott
    Member

    Well the window of opportunity was 50 years ago, but what I could never figure out was why somebody never made a cap and a kit to make the Ford distributors like the Chevrolet, so you could set the dwell with it running. It's such a PITA to get the dwell right on a Ford.
     
  23. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,321

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    What I could never figure out is what kind of a brain dead moron would design a V8 engine with the distributor in the back!
     
  24. I got a used one from somewhere back in the late '60s when I was weekend drag racing my street'n'strip car. I recall that it was easy to learn and then easy to forget when I had a big lifestyle change that kept me away from the drag strips.
    The dwell meter was mostly just feeding back assurance that my ignition was fine. But because I was 'upgrading' a piece at a time every few weeks in an attempt to constantly lower my ETs, it did help me stay on the bubble I guess.
     
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  25. ras
    Joined: Apr 28, 2013
    Posts: 87

    ras
    Member

    In the late 70's I had an off topic Plymouth that I put a Dual Point Accel distributor in. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I realized the Accel cap had windows in it just like the GM products. That was probably the last time I used a dwell meter, now you've got me wondering where in the shop is that dwell meter.
     
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  26. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,739

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Of course! All SBC guys have used them. Delco made the job easy by including a window in the distributor cap.
     
  27. LOL
    The car I raced, in my post #26 above, had the distributor on the back........ directly below where water would drip from the back of the hood when it rained. :p
     
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  28. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,739

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Makes it easier to add a blower :D
     
  29. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,792

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    I don't bear any emotional scars from it.
     
  30. What's the status on your '55 Chevy, any good news. HRP
     

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