The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by trevorsworth, Aug 4, 2020.
Damn. Soft spot here for cats and kittens, so this hit me right in the feels. Sorry for your loss.
So sorry for your loss. You did everything you could for her, and I know she loved you for it. We lost our black cat last year, so I feel for you.
If you’re still needing tires, Coker has free shipping right now until Monday.
Aw man. Appreciate the heads up. I just had to put shoes on my OT daily truck, it wiped me out. Next time!
The car hasn't run for several weeks, but I think I have what I need. A new friend and I swapped spare parts around and I'm about to dive in to the distributor rebuild. I'm doing a comprehensive overhaul with all new internals, a new 12 volt condenser, and a Model B style distributor cap with cloth covered wires. It should run as nice as it will look once it's back together.
Also got some other goodies... a really nice Zenith carburetor (which I can rebuild with the kit @RMONTY gave me when I first picked up the coupe if it needs it), a nice set of NOS .020 over pistons in case I end up needing to have the engine rebuilt, and a new throwout bearing for the transmission. Not ready to mess with that right now but at least I have the part on the shelf now.
Any tips for jumping in on the distributor? It looks pretty straightforward, just lots of little fiddly bits.
As with carbs, the first time or two it helps to have a clean work area and lay out the parts as you disassemble. Clean and lube as needed (points lube is REQUIRED), make sure the center shaft and plate don't have slop, since this would ruin the tight tolerance between the points and the cam.
The mechanical parts are designed to open and close the points a set amount at the right time. Think it through and it should make sense. The electrical parts must reliably provide the make-break and not get shorted or develop weak connections.
On or off the car, a screw starter is helpful so little parts don't get lost.
Rebuilt the distributor - still no spark. All new internals, new cap, new wires, new coil, still nothing. For the purpose of testing I have bypassed the ignition switch so that can't be the issue. I can't get my head around this shit...
Test light/voltmeter on + side of coil, points OPEN. Should have 12V.
Test light/voltmeter on - side of coil, points OPEN. Should have 12V.
Test light/voltmeter on lead on points, points OPEN. Should have 12V.
Point contacts should be clean and have a small spark each time it is opened.
Gap is roughly 18-20 thousandths of an inch (0.018") when the point rubbing block is at the top of the cam on the shaft. This is physics and is required to prevent arcing at the points. Dwell varies depending on number of cylinders.
If you set up the coil wire with a gap to the head and manually open and close the points (power to coil, cap off), there should be a spark at the end of the coil wire.
Check the wire under the points plate, quite common for that to wear through the insulation and earth out
Nopee, not that. Wire’s brand new and not contacting anything it isn’t supposed to (as far as I can tell).
Thinking the new ignition coil is faulty - no flow across the posts. Went back to the 6v coil and I'm at least getting continuity across the coil posts but still not seeing spark at the points.
You can do this! Turn everything off.
1. Pop the dist. cap and look at the points. You want it 'up on the cam' so the points are open. See picture in past post. Just rotate the fan to turn engine over to correct place. Smart to go clockwise (top of fan toward driver side) but it's not critical. Clean the contacts with paper and maybe sand or file them to ensure clean bare metal. If the crank turns but the dist. does not, you have internal engine problems.
2. Disconnect negative coil wire. Connect the battery to the coil and check for voltage at the coil. It should be the same on both terminals. Yes, go to next step. No, replace coil.
3. Connect negative coil wire. Connect the battery to the coil and check for voltage at the coil. It should be the same on both terminals. Yes, go to next step. No, negative coil wire is shorted to ground somewhere. Fix this by replacing wire, fixing insulation or moving wire so it doe not contact ground.
4. Check for voltage at the points lead. Yes, go to next step. No, fix wiring between coil and points. IT is either a poor connection or the wire is broken.
5. Disconnect battery to coil. Roll engine over to where points are closed. Run big fat coil wire (dist. cap end) to head or other ground and watch this for a spark in next step. You want a small gap (around a 1/16") between the end of the wire and ground.
6. Reconnect the battery to the coil. Turn ignition switch on (this completes the grounding on the Model A). Using a small screwdriver or punch, carefully reach in and open the points by moving the point arm out from the center without contacting any other metal. This should cause a good spark at the coil wire and a tiny spark at the points. The small spark won't zap you, the big one will!
If yes, you have a working primary and secondary ignition system. If no, go to next step.
7. If no little spark, you need to check the ground of the primary side (in the dist.).
If it has little spark but no big spark, check/replace the secondary side (coil and coil wire).
This is basic tuneup troubleshooting stuff and should be in your bag of talents for when you are out on the road.
Once this is done, check point gap, assemble everything and see if you have spark out to the plugs.
I fixed it. I had forgotten a fiber washer that isolates the top plate from the points arm.
I'm a few beers in so no test drive tonight but at least we're back in business. Looks like I got the timing dead nuts on first try.
/Casey Putsch voice/ YEESS!
Geeez.......took you long enough. One more day and I was gonna drive my ass over there and make you figure it out! You have to quit saying you don't know shit about electrical. You know the basics anyway. You got your buddy's car to run. Good Job Trevor! Lets go for a ride in your banger hot rod soon!
Felt good to hit the road in the coupe today. I need that every once in a while to remember why I'm doing this... that's why I'm so bent on keeping it running and driving through as much of the project as possible.
Come on by any time man. This thing is a hoot. If I could just keep the positive battery lead from falling off I'd be doing great. Lol
Shot a flyby... battery died at the end of this road and I had to push it 3 blocks back. Only 97 degrees outside!
Some news... pretty soon the stock intake/exhaust is going away and being replaced with a dual updraft intake and lake header that are being built right now.
I will be running both of my Tillotsons in this setup. The throttle will be easy, and supplying them fuel shouldn't be too hard, but how I'm going to operate both chokes/GAVs will be an interesting challenge.
More power is almost always nice, but get the brakes and tires up to snuff too.
The electrical causing issues each test drive (battery falling out, cable coming off) should also be a priority too, unreliable power is < than reliable driving at stock levels.
Electrical is high on the list. The custom intake/exhaust setup is being made gratis by a friend, so it's just happening in the background and will go on the car when it's done.
My current goal is getting the generator rebuilt for 12 volts and wired in. At that point I will be moving the battery to the trunk to better protect it and clean up the underside of the car. I only wanna see brake rods down there once the muffler is gone. I have the battery cables secured now, I had to take the leads off and reshape the clamps so I could properly seat them and tighten them down. I'm not going to do anything more permanent until the generator is ready to wire in since I will end up having to redo all the wiring anyway.
Took the coupe out of the neighborhood today on its first errand.
Did great. No issues at all this run.
The vent on the shift tower was plugged. I guess that pressurizes the transmission case and makes the oil want to leave. The seal for the torque tube is the easiest way out. Hopefully that's resolved.
I decided I'd better just rip the band-aid off and remove the roof. This promptly kicked my ass. I managed to get two screws out, partly remove 3 others, and break one. In the process I destroyed a screwdriver and 3 bits. Only like 50 screws to go! Decided to soak everything in aerokroil and give it time to think about what it's done.
I dropped a bit and had to get down on the floor to find it. While standing up I managed to impale my kidney on the lowermost door hinge. Lots of blood!
While sitting on the floor wondering if I was going to bleed to death in my garage, I noticed oil seeping out from between the head and block on the driver side, so I guess I need to do the head gasket.
Not looking forward to eventually having to fill all these little screw holes.
My 31 sedan has a roof insert similar to yours..in fact there’s tons of “fabricated” aluminum bits and pieces. Guy who did the “restoration” in the 70s must have worked on aircraft or something cuz the roof insert is multiple pieces and is fastened with a slot head screw every inch. I’m definitely not looking forward to the job of removing them all when the time comes. I’ll try and get a pic later this week, it’s a little excessive
here’s the only pic I have, kinda gives you an idea
See iffen I can help, w/o pics. ;( . Sorry, hope words will work ok.
To lessen the stuck-screw-removal-syndrome pia, get an air-hammer & an adj swivel for the air hose, so you can turn down the "hit". Next, get or make, an attachment(that holds 1/4" screw tip bits) that snaps onto or is welded onto, a air chisel (needle point style adapts best), & fasten a handle (w/rubber covering where you hold it, as the vibration form this will actually hurt like hell.). So as you apply the air hammer, the vibration loosens the rust-grip, & you slowly & gently, turn the handle to rotate the screw out. You do have to hold the air hammer in tight & hard to the screw so things don't slip out, but the air pressure required is variable, as you don't want to blow or push the screw into or thru the surface it's located on.
I don't know what this tool is called, tried looking for it, but couldn't find one like my friend had, but aircraft mech do use them, which is where he got his, but didn't remember from whom or what co. I made my own, it looks like a sideways "T", although when used hard for very large screws, like 50's door hinge screws, I eventually broke the handle off at the weld. NBD, as I expected that, since the air hammer tool is hardened & doesn't like being mig-welded. Braze might work better. but it's not a hard fix.
I'd also suggest foam ear plugs while using this.
^^^^^ Is this what you're referring too? Eastwood screw buster $19.99
Pulling the head tonight. So far so good, except most of the studs want to come with the nuts...
I was expecting much worse. Cylinder bores are great and pistons are nice. No marring, scores or any kind of damage at all on the cylinder walls. Pistons are .060 over stock. Looks like it's been sleeved. Also, we were running a little rich...
No visible damage to the head gasket?? It was definitely seeping oil. Head could be warped. I will check for that once I get the distributor body out, it is seized.
Happy with this amount of progress for tonight. I feel a lot better about this engine overall.
@Shadow Creek, I read your post earlier but the image didn't load then. Your roof is almost exactly identical to mine, even cut the same, using the same type of screws spaced at the same interval. You don't live that far from where my coupe was fished up. I wonder if there's a relation.
I added the pic later instead of making a second post, probably why you didn’t see it originally. My sedan actually was in Missouri for a good portion of its life til coming to Texas about 20 years ago. To my knowledge it hasn’t been touched or worked on in probably close to 40 years. It’s a project for the wife, patiently waiting its turn which will likely be 5+ years from now since there’s other projects and other priorities right now. Kudos to you on your perseverance, if you ever need anything you can PM me and I’ll help if I can.
Dizzy is out, had to soak for a while in kroil before it wanted to cooperate.
Picking up feeler gauge tonight and we’ll see what I find. I’m concerned about the fact that there was no visible damage to the head gasket. It was definitely seeping oil.
I'm a little confused... What would be a source of oil on that side, unless it's blowing out of that cylinder, which would be evident if the gasket was blown. My guess is antifreeze/coolant.
Separate names with a comma.