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Hot Rods Mallory crab shell distributor

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Departed, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    I have a 1940 Ford with a 59A converted to 12V with a Mallory crab shell 3 hole distributor. Been driving it without issues for over 2 months now. But today as I was driving, I lost spark. Just like you'd turn the key off while cruising. I got the towing to bring me back home and then when I got there, took the car off the tow truck and started right up. Running a brand new flamethrower 1.5ohm coil. No ballast, as I had enough resistance required by the manufacturer.
    I can't find the smoking gun, has anyone encountered such a problem running a similar set up.
    Thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  2. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

  3. 42merc
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 701

    42merc
    Member

    Explain - What is a crab shell distributor ?
     
  4. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,520

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Is this a '42 Ford distributor? They don't have three bolts. Or do you have a modern Mallory?

    It's not well known, but Mallory designed the '42 distributor (as well as many other years) for Ford.
     
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  5. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,996

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Points or electronic ignition? If the former; condenser or coil failing when hot. If the later, could be a bad unit. If either, check your ignition switch and wiring. I had that happen to me once.

    Nice lookin' car. I've had a soft spot in my heart for '40 tudors ever since I towed one home when I was 16. (My dad wouldn't let me keep that one either.):(
     
    Departed likes this.
  6. slack
    Joined: Aug 18, 2014
    Posts: 534

    slack
    Member

    I've got the same set-up (sans crab shell) on a 40 Ford and it quit firing while in the garage, luckily. The coil is mounted upside down (it came that way) and while it looked like the coil wire was hooked up, it had come out enough that it went from rough firing to nothing. Probably not your issue but something to check.
     
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  7. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    Deuces likes this.
  8. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    I didn't run out of fuel as I checked and I could see gas squirt out of the accelerator nozzles when throttling up. I wish I had at least a test light to check if I had 12V to the coil. I didn't have time to check anything as it started first try once I got home. I know it's gonna get me back when I least expect it.
     
  9. tom in nh
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 67

    tom in nh
    Member

    Check, clean, and tighten all connections.
    It might look good from a distance, like a whore at 3 AM. But you might see all the warts when you look closely again at 3 PM.
    Good luck,
    Tom
     
  10. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    Hahaha!! thanks Tom, quite the comparison.. haha

    Update...
    This morning I let the car idle for 10 minutes and it shut down again. Had power going to the coil but the distributor wasn't triggering when I was cranking the motor over. I'm quite disappointed in Mallory as this unit is brand new with maybe 1000miles on it. I have everything up to the manufacturers recommendations. I'm running a 1.5 ohm coil. No resistor required. I now ordered a new module and I'm gonna install a 0.5ohm resistor on my line for extra precaution. the flathed should run fine at 6 amps.
    I'll write an update when I get the new module.
    Thanks guys
     
  11. Dak Rat
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 383

    Dak Rat
    Member

    Tell us how you managed to get that perfect stance--I like it.
     
  12. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    4" drop I beam with reverse eye leaf in the front. Rear is a 48-52 ish open drive rear end from a pickup with parallel. Running big little on 15" wheels. that's pretty much it right there....
     
  13. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    RocketRoach and dwollam like this.
  14. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    "UPDATE"
    for those who care, lol
    I have diagnosed it down to the photo eye sensor. it's garbage and I've read a lot of other reviews saying it was too...
    So I contacted Speedway and I'm sending back to Mallory Distributor and ordered myself a Stromberg E-Fire distributor. By the looks of it, they seem to be a pretty reliable unit.
     
  15. In my professional world, I work on vehicle electronics every day. It’s very common for electronics to fail when hot, but work fine when they cool off. My first thought when I read your post was the pick up unit in the distributor.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    Departed likes this.
  16. Do you know if the photo-eye sensor failed electronically or was it maybe obscured by a deposit or film on the sensor lens or the light trigger source. I've seen similar ignition systems act up after things inside the distributor get a bit of an oily film on them. Is the distributor housing vented, or how is your crankcase venting set up?
     
  17. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,520

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Would a point file clean this shmutz off?
     
    ClayMart and Ebbsspeed like this.
  18. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,035

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It started right up after it cooled off, so probably not an issue of being obscured by a deposit or film on the sensor lens or the light trigger source.
     
  19. And how ! :p
     
  20. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    I took the photo sensor out and it was like new clean. I did open up the sensor to see if any visual electronics were burnt or damaged. I couldn't see anything so I believe that it might be a crack in one of the electronic components that when it gets a little warm, it quits working.
     
  21. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,043

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Departed and F-ONE like this.
  22. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 97

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    So I got myself a Stromberg and swapped it with the Mallory.. I'm not impressed, the thing runs crummy and even worse when the car gets hot. it's got no power and when it gets hot, it starts misfiring and even popping through the carb. I changed the coil thinking it was bad but the new coil did the same thing. I have it set to 4deg with the light, modern plug wires, 1.5ohm coil gapped the spark plugs everything is up to the manufacturers specs. I'm disappointed in the Stromberg..... the Mallory (despite the fact that the module give up on me) never skipped a beat and ran flawlessly with plenty of power.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020

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