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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: 174

    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: 174

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

  3. 42merc
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 789

    42merc
    Member

    Explain - What is a crab shell distributor ?
     
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  4. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,448

    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: 5,908

    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.):(
     
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  6. slack
    Joined: Aug 18, 2014
    Posts: 533

    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: 174

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

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  8. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    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.
     
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  9. tom in nh
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 75

    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: 174

    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
     
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  11. Dak Rat
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 454

    Dak Rat
    Member

    Tell us how you managed to get that perfect stance--I like it.
     
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  12. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    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....
     
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  13. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

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  14. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    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.
     
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  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
     
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  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?
     
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  17. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,448

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Would a point file clean this shmutz off?
     
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  18. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,663

    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.
     
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  19. And how ! :p
     
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  20. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    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.
     
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  21. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,300

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

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  22. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    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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  23. jose gonzalez
    Joined: Dec 24, 2016
    Posts: 28

    jose gonzalez

    how did the Efire work out I'm on my second one and it failed on me
     
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  24. jose gonzalez
    Joined: Dec 24, 2016
    Posts: 28

    jose gonzalez

    same issues I had with both of mine finally they both stop working
     
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  25. Dak Rat
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 454

    Dak Rat
    Member

    I feel your pain! What I did on my '39 was to convert to a 2-bolt front cam cover and the '42 style distributor. Fire one set of points with an MSD 6A unit. Just follow the MSD directions to the letter--very reliable unit.
     
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  26. 1947coupe
    Joined: Feb 20, 2014
    Posts: 26

    1947coupe
    Member

    Had a similar issue , running stromberg e-fire and 1.5 pertronix coil [new] on a cruise about 100 km out at every stop was hard starting, another 30 km going into lunch stop motor died, turned out to be the new coil, went to Napa and picked up there 6 volt brand coil, end of problem.
     
  27. 19Eddy30
    Joined: Mar 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,355

    19Eddy30
    Member
    from VA

    I have ran a newer Mallory Many miles with No issues, I have only had a problem with the pick up eye because I was lazy one day & did not disconnect battery before welding, & All the ones I seen go bad where wired Incorrectly . By chance you received a bad pick up eye, Mallory will warranty . I run 9 deg of initial timing on my Flat Head
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  28. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    I ended up sending it back and they reimbursed me full with shipping cost. Great service and good to deal with. \I was just not lucky and ended up going with Pertronix conversion on the original dizzy.
    I'm thinking about trying another Mallory, it's the best working unit I've ran out of the 3 I tried. I'm thinking I might have damaged it because I had a dead short once from alt. to ground on the engine.. maybe that's what damaged it ?? I ended up sending it back before I got the E-Fire.
    everyone will say go back to points, I would if I had a jig to set the points and timing with. I hate to go with guessing it's set right over knowing it's set perfectly. Just MHO.
     
  29. Departed
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 174

    Departed
    Member
    from Canada

    I'm thinking about installing a 48-53 side mount dizzy on my 40. I have the timing cover and the distributor, just need to swap it. I can split the tube and put a clamp to hold the distributer in place.
     
  30. Dak Rat
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 454

    Dak Rat
    Member

    You do know you will have to deal with the cam-shaft difference if you go with the '49-'53 distributor?
     
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