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Technical Losing my mind flathead running issue

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by fastmike, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. I had a couple flatties do this. we decided it was a flaw in the cap that caused the tracking
  2. Flathead47
    Joined: Feb 13, 2011
    Posts: 50

    from ontario

    When you went on your 200 mile trip did you put any new fuel in the truck along the way? I had a problem with my OT truck while pulling a 29 foot travel trailer , filled the tank up during the trip & about 1 hour later started to get service engine codes in. The truck went into limp mode so as soon as I could put the highest grade fuel in it I did & it started to clear it self ..... the codes directed me that way. The first fill up was at a good name brand station & high test .... Bad Fuel ...... so do not rule your fuel out as even the best name grade fuel can be bad .... just my 2 cents
  3. 38jon
    Joined: Oct 28, 2007
    Posts: 82

    from York,PA

    Like Tman said, had a flat tie with similar problems, it was the cap.
  4. In the post it says he's tried 3 coils.
    stillrunners likes this.
  5. Kevin Ardinger
    Joined: Aug 31, 2019
    Posts: 769

    Kevin Ardinger

    Or if the stations tank had diesel in it. It will look and smell like gas but you need to build a fire to get it to burn!

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  6. x77matt
    Joined: Mar 2, 2004
    Posts: 812


    a cool trick I learned is to pull #1 plug then you can take a zip tie and put the fat end down far enough to get on top of the piston and rotate the engine. When the piston just about tops out it will kiss the end of the zip tie. Mark that point, pull the zip tie, go just over TDC out the zip tie back in and rotate back and hit the zip tie again. Mark that location. TDC should be half way in between the two marks.
  7. fastmike
    Joined: Aug 6, 2013
    Posts: 290

    from Mesa AZ

    So just to update this.. I put the points back in the distributor and kept the new Pertronix coil on the engine and it fired right up. Super weird since I tested 2 other coils and they tested fine but the truck ran terrible. So maybe this coil fixed it? Who knows, I'm just glad its running again. Now I'm fighting bad fuel issues since its been sitting for 6 months haha. Thank you to everyone who commented I really appreciate it!

    I also believe the pertronix I put in the truck wasn't working because I have solid core plug wire. I think that was mentioned before. I think that's the reason I've gone through 2 of those units. I'm just not ready to give up my cloth plug wires just yet though.
  8. FlatJan
    Joined: Dec 13, 2013
    Posts: 306

    from Germany

    pertronix may need an extra ground cable compared to points
    did you check/replace the small ignition cable from negative coil to the dizzy? if this shorts it may cause ignition problems. and that's a tough one to find..
    btw like your truck, great details!
    fastmike likes this.
  9. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 2,430


    OP said.............."It won't even RUN now" Sooooo it will be hard to run it at night!

    Just read through and glad you found the prob!!
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
    fastmike likes this.
  10. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 20,266


    Another Pertronix success story. :rolleyes:
    fastmike, Truck64, Elcohaulic and 8 others like this.
  11. neds29
    Joined: Dec 25, 2013
    Posts: 75


    I generally don't care for chopped vehicles but yours is an exception- very neat looking truck! Glad you found the problem.
    fastmike likes this.
  12. rodbiz
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 167

    from Illinois

    Mike. Glad you found the problem, you know how I feel toward flatheads
    fastmike likes this.
  13. Tow Truck Tom
    Joined: Jul 3, 2018
    Posts: 1,796

    Tow Truck Tom
    from Clayton DE

    Just found this thread, close as I can see (failing peepers) Surprised no one mentioned this but first sign of trouble came from burning gases leaking out the pipe. This indicates an exhaust valve leak.
    A common performance remedy back in flathead era was called valve-top oil. It was available at every station, every brand had their own. Periodically a small can ( perhaps six ounces ) was dumped into the gas tank. The result was a smooooth running motor Today we have Marvel Mystery Oil. While many naysayers like to scoff at the name, the fact remains that while OHV engines get oil supplied to the valve stems from from above, the flattie's valves are treated to fire from above, and the stems of the valves have to hope for upward migration of oil, while gravity helps the OHV valves it does nuthin for the flathead motor.
    Upscale rebuilders prefer bronze valve guides. Very well but in place of this remedy, Get Marvel Mystery Oil and treat each tankfull to about 4 oz. per 10 gallon. You won't be disappointed.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
    phelan9251, fastmike and Atwater Mike like this.
  14. If you have a decent points distributor, swap out the Pertronix and see what happens. I always carry a points distributor just in case. If it fires and runs, it’s your Pertronix unit. I always run the old Chrysler ballast resistor with them as they tend to burn up coils - Bubba came up with this solution. I am using the Ignitor II - if you are running the older version, it might be time for an upgrade.
  15. 34 5W Paul
    Joined: Mar 27, 2020
    Posts: 295

    34 5W Paul
    from Fresno CA

    Good on ya FastMike. Well done. Sometimes when a problem is driving you crazy, it's just so frustrating you want to break something. I was sitting in my daughter's hospital room at 2 am today reading this thread. I was thankful for the HAMB and I was wishing I had that badass truck and all the problems you've endured with it. She's been released and is home now and will be fine. But from my perspective, good stuff. Try to enjoy it. All things considered.
    Fabulous50's and fastmike like this.
  16. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,984


  17. After the first backfire you blew out your power valves and they will need to be replaced with the proper ones. Once you damage a PV it will leak fuel and also have a vacuum leak.
    The newer PV's will not seat in the 94's and will leak.
    Vintage Speed modifies new PV's to fit the 94's
    stillrunners likes this.
  18. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 6,874


    Congratulations on finding the problem. Sometimes newer is NOT better.

    At least 5 people have posted solutions since the guy posted that he found the problem.

    People; read the entire thread.
  19. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 11,625

    Atwater Mike

    Great work, Mike. I suspected it would be in the Pertronics, as a few friends have had those and I have found their 'shortcomings'. (the Pertronics', not the friends'! some cases, maybe both!)
    Back in 1980, my son's pal, 'Olie', bought a cool little Swinger, 318/T.F.
    His Dad was an electronics bug, so the kid had to wait for Dad to 'tinker' with an ignition 'update', via a 'HEATHKIT'...
    Olie drove it over, asked me why it ran so bad. I looked at it, noticed a wire entering the distributor, asked "Why?" He told me "Dad was in there, converted it to Electronic Ignition!"
    I installed his points and cond., told him to drive it.
    Olie lit the tires from the stop sign and nearly climbed the opposite curb..."Wow!"
    I advised him to keep Dad out from the distributer, was wary of those 'light shows' ever since.
    Northstar can't disable my Mallory. So there...
  20. Agree but the original OP tried different set ups until - shabang it started - I'll have to take some pictures to explaine the no start prob I had intermittent as I changed all kinds of stuff.
    fastmike and F-ONE like this.
  21. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,150


    one thing that I have learned here over the years is when @Deuce Daddy Don makes a comment, it’s time to listen........
  22. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,212


    Another Pertronix horror story, I have no idea why you guys use these things. Use a good set of points and get a Capacitive Discharge box like the MSD6AL or the Vertex Z-6, the points will last forever and that box will fire those spark plugs even when soaked with gasoline.. If I had a flathead I would defiantly be running a CD box off a points distributor..
    fastmike and F-ONE like this.
  23. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 603


    In 37 years, the only time my shoebox left me stranded roadside was due to a Pertronix... just saying .
  24. Wasnt saying he was wrong, just was stating something he probably didnt read or something. No hard feelings.
    fastmike, clem and tubman like this.
  25. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,325

    from Ioway

    Yeah, that is a big no-no with the solid state ignition modules. Some people have done it and say they've no problem.

    It does seem like what is most often overlooked (whether points ignition or not) is the total current flow in the primary circuit. Too much juice is gonna let the magic smoke out. I think I've seen more trouble reported with too low of a voltage with the Ignitor. They handle 16 volts at the upper limit no problem. It's excess current that will roast them, the amperes. Heat. Electrical stuff can seem intimidating but the basic stuff is easier than it looks. Ohm's Law is your friend here.
    Fabulous50's and dirty old man like this.
  26. Was just going to add my personal issue I had with a loss of power or ignition - the picture is a factory end that goes to the coil - chased it for awhile until one night I was just watching my motor run and I saw a spark or two to ground from that end. Looked good but was broke down from the years - replaced it and no more coasting to the curb. 20210610_130909.jpg 20210610_130850.jpg
  27. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 14,659

    jimmy six

    fastmike admitted that he did not change the spark plug wiring. Pertronix ignitions will work with solid core wires until they don’t. His unit is probably junk now but as he said the coil is fine. I know folks who run Pertronix flawlessly for years. For me it’s been 8. I followed their instruction to the letter. I use a ballast resister also since it is an option. The wiring system still has its “hot” 12 volt start.
    Personally I would never put back in points or have a big “red” box ignition which has failed in our race car at the track; we have a spare that’s now in but is no longer serviceable since they changed design.
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  28. The best bet is a modified SBC points dist modified to fit an 8BA, shortened, Ford gear on the shaft, and outside housing turned down to fit in the 8BA housing. Pertronics will always fail when the components get too hot. Yes you'll have to keep an extra set of points in the glove box but you'll always get home.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    Atwater Mike and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  29. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,325

    from Ioway

    Points, shit condensers, and ignition coils fail when they get too hot just the same. Any sufficiently advanced technology looks just like magic, I suppose.
  30. v8flat44
    Joined: Nov 13, 2017
    Posts: 1,211


    I know it's been fixed, but, I read somewhere that Pertronix does NOT like a generator. Is this true ? He is running a gen. Did it kill the ptx ? Just wondering.....

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