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Folks Of Interest What’s wrong with points and other “upgrades”

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by VANDENPLAS, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Points for me for OEM cars.....maybe a duel set on some........
  2. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 9,389

    Johnny Gee
    from Downey, Ca

    ^^^^^ Dual points can be combative to some. :D
    Hnstray, KevKo and Montana1 like this.
  3. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,743

    jimmy six

    After 2 bad experiences with condensers I changed to a Pertronix ll . Actually the both ran and started the same. I haven't changed plugs in 6 years but that's because of milage. I still use the ballast resister.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,579


    Condensers can be a pain these days...they don't make them like they used to. If you can find NOS stuff, at swap meets or on ebay, it's worth trying.

    I ended up with a condenser from the electronics store on one of mine. 0.22 uF at 1000 V, I think. They seem to make them better.
  5. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,262

    from Michigan

    Where's the point?
    Where's the beef?
    Where's the bathroom?

    Thanks, Squirrel!
    I'm gonna remember that. I hope.

    Definitely prefer sitting alongside the road fiddling with points than needing a tow truck.

    One of my fonder memories due to a set of points needing attention...

    Sandy and I were enjoying a ride in the country in our '47 Hudson coupe. Out in the middle of nowhere, the car started sputtering a bit. We pulled over and I took a few minutes to clean and re-gap the points. I was a little concerned that I had disrupted our fun. But it was actually nice. Such a beautiful traffic...birds tweetin' Sandy just sat in the car and read a book while I sat on the engine. The Hudson hood tilts forward, so we could see each other.
    I'd stop and ask her,
    "You ok?"
    "Yup"...with a big smile.
    "Sorry about this."
    "No problem! I love you, RB."
    She was enjoying the momentary pause as much as I was.
    I love points.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  6. I really haven't had much trouble with Points through the years but I had GMC Bubba convert my Pontiac Mallory dual point to a pertronix and reset the it! Semi-rant over.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  7. You can limp along with points until you can get to parts or a shop. Case in point: a friend and I were in the mountains of Colorado when his OT compact started bucking back in '86. We pulled to the side of the road, I diagnosed the problem with the ignition, re-set the points as best I could, drove to the nearest town of several hundred population and took it in to a fairly young mechanic at the service station. He checked out the ignition, found a failed condenser (brand new tune-up just prior to the trip). .Swapped it out, charged us minimally so we doubled it. Car ran fine all week and got us back to Kansas City by Sunday.
  8. jimmy bruns
    Joined: Jun 21, 2011
    Posts: 79

    jimmy bruns
    from Chatsworth

    Best thing to do is ditch those fucked up points and throw a petronix plate in your stock dizzy keep the look but have all the performance of a electronic ignition..
    dan griffin likes this.
  9. I hate the points "float" that I get when I approach 10,000 rpm!:D:eek:
    i.rant, joel, egads and 11 others like this.
  10. I certainly understand what all of you guys are saying about simplicity. Especially since I spend my days working on late model trucks with hundreds of wires everywhere and modules with 50 or so wires in and out of them, But.... Where on earth do you find quality parts anymore? Case in point, 5 years ago, I did a complete tune up on Dad’s Farmall Cub Loboy for mowing season. New points, condenser, cap, rotor, wires, and plugs. Within 3 weeks it quit running and I switched it to Pertronix. These were Car Quest’s best parts. I’m afraid all of our “vintage” ignition parts are now made in China.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    danman55, Blues4U, VANDENPLAS and 2 others like this.
  11. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 21,666

    Staff Member

    when I am at a swap meet I buy every one of those blister packed tune up kits that I find. Man they are usually only a dollar or two. I bet that I have more than a lifetime supply of points and condensers for all the cars I own. I don't understand why people are so afraid of point ignitions. I personally find it therapeutic to do the periodic maintenance on my old cars. Of coarse maybe that comes from the fact that I used to be a mechanic in a small town service station. This was in the '70's and we would fix things instead of replace them. Hell I still change brushes and starter drives instead of replacing starters. I guess it is a generational thing but I get a great deal of satisfaction out of sliding under my 40 with a grease gun and lubing its dozens of grease fittings and oiling the pivot points like the clutch linkage and door hinges and latches etc. Remember packing wheel bearings? It is all part of giving your vintage cars a little lovin to make sure they perform as they should. I think people are a little spoiled with the modern seemingly maint free commuter car crap that we drive to work, I know I am but I really look forward to getting my hands dirty doing some periodic maintenance on my older cars.........
    i.rant, warbird1, mkebaird and 18 others like this.
  12. Had a GM magnetic pickup and reluctor installed inside original distributor. Mounted a GM module on the cowl.

  13. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,854

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    the majority of our cars are driven so little that I question the reasoning of more dependable/less need
    to maintain. If you drive it 5000 miles a year I do not think you would need to adjust or replace the points more than once a year. F & J is an exception, and yes condensers are a problem.
    VANDENPLAS and squirrel like this.
  14. 427 sleeper
    Joined: Mar 8, 2017
    Posts: 1,299

    427 sleeper

    Nice. OEM parts = thousands of trouble free miles.
  15. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 654


    Yes Yes Yes . I have a Vertex on the shelf begging to be used.
  16. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 654


    Oh Please!
  17. Funny most of the guys who "upgrade" for driveability and safety with electronic ignition, dual master cylinders, disc brakes very rarely drive their cars.
    I have talked to a few of the upgraders and asked "Why don't you drive your car?" most of them trailer their cars.
    The answer I get is "I have so much invested I don't want to crash!"
    I really pissed one guy off when I pointed out his "upgrades" were made for safety so he wouldn't crash!

    I still run the stock single master cylinder and front drums on my 53 Chevrolet, the rear is a 1960 Chevrolet with the stock drums all rebuilt and adjusted. I also run dual points, new copper brass radiator with the stock mechanical fan.
    I have never had an issue. I still run a BlueFlame 6 261 dual carbs Isky cam rebuilt by my father and meself.
    I drive the car a lot! I have driven it to Worcester, Massachusetts 181 miles one way this includes travel on the Mass Pike. I have driven to Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ I-87 176 miles one way.

    Oh wait, my dad and I put the 60 Chevy rear and late 50's Corvette three speed in as upgrades I am a hypocrite?
    I couldn't keep the stock 3 speeds behind the hopped up 261!
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019

  18. Yesterday I head down to the parts store because they actually had a rebuilt C3 vette master cylinder on the shelf and it was just $15.99. I needed it bad too. When I get there and open the box it's wrong and rusty. So in desperation iasked for a rebuild kit for mine. $48.00 and five days out.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  19. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 783


    With a Pertronics set up , I carry points for a back up. Haven't needed them in 15 years. Yes you can reset points on the side of the road , if you do routine maintenance it shouldn't be necessary.

    Sent from my LG-TP450 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    427 sleeper likes this.
  20. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,176


    Hmm. I have had points ignition as well as electronic both leave me dead on the side of the road. Today's parts houses might not have points or condenser in stock. They will have factory type electronics though.
    danman55 likes this.
  21. xsquiden
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 111


    I'm 40 so not old but my body reminds me every day that im not as young as i was. My family has worked on cars since we bought our first one, it's because when you are broke you learn how to fix your own stuff. My dad apologized to me one day for teaching me carburetors and points and not being able to teach me about computers. I told him it actually worked out to my advantage because it is very rare to find anyone that can actually fix the old stuff around here, so people actually come find me to work on their old cars and tractors. My largest problem is finding a reliable supplier for points and condensors I think they all come from the same sweat shop in china. Sorry about the rant I'm kinda long winded don't get me started on people's ability to "kit" a carburetor. Later yall Squid
  22. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,891

    from Nicasio Ca

    Wonder what Ford and Mopar thought of GMs externally adjustable points. Jealous? Waste of money?
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  23. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817


    Seeing how they pretty much ignored them, I'd say it was a good deal for folks who had the distributor at the wrong end of the engine. Not an issue for the rest.
    RMR&C and xsquiden like this.
  24. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,891

    from Nicasio Ca

    Good 'point'. Perhaps even the impetus behind them?
  25. VERY BAD ADVICE.....
  26. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,297


    I have a 67 Ford F350 with a 352 that I've owned for 40 years that gets about 2000 miles a year change points and plugs every 10,000 miles until about 1990 added a petronix It still has the same plugs.
    Montana1 likes this.
  27. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,622

    ramblin dan

    Been there, done that. I carry a few sets of points, a few condensers ,a ballast resister and a emery board in my trunk everywhere I go. My question is as much as people want to keep their cars looking traditional, would the hot rodders of yesteryear use the kind of upgrades we have today if they were available back then?
    jvo likes this.
  28. I have a mechanic apprentice text book from the mid 50’s that I reference from time to time.

    I have lent that book to many apprentices over the years. And always a few days later they come into the shop and ask “ why would you give me a book from the 50’s about carbs, flat heads, points, regulators etc ?
    Always tell them, you will probably never fix or even see this stuff, but if you know where cars came from and how they worked then it will help you immensely with the modern stuff.
    Why? Is what I get asked.
    Because all this new computer, can data buses, fibre optics etc is all just trying to replicate what was once done manually or mechanically.
    There are more wires and “black boxes” on car now, but they are still doing the same thing they were doing a 100 years ago.
    Suck, squeeze, bang, blow! Throw in some gears and oil and down the road you go.
    Johnny Gee and 427 sleeper like this.
  29. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817


    You could survey the whole Hamb and get different results from everyone. I have been installing DS2 in almost every Ford I've owned since the early nineties, mostly Falcons with sixes. Doing this eliminates several design flaws in the Loadamatic ignition/carb system that really needed to be gone. I've only owned a few early sixties Mopar cars and never had any problems with their ignition. Never owned a truly old GM. Lots of foreign stuff with their own quirks.
  30. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,848

    from Ioway

    The arcane rituals and seeming voodoo associated with points & condenser are probably a bridge too far with some folks.

    A worn out distributor soured me a little when I first started working with automotove points I couldn't figure out why the Dwell was never the same twice in a row or couldn't be adjusted into spec. If using points it's critical that the internal distributor clearances aren't excessive, i.e. Shaft, bushings, reluctor. Even the distributor cam can wear flat spots.

    I spent a little while building up a spare distributor w/points & condenser to drop into the engine should there ever be an issue with the Pertronix module. I re-discovered the pain in the ass that points can be. It's a good exercise though. Switching back to points on the side of the road might not be as quick or easy as it might seem.

    Points need to have around 3 ohms resistance in the primary circuit or they will burn due to excessive current flow. Not a huge deal but needs to be addressed, most people remove or bypass ballast resistors when using electronic modules.

    NOS condensers are starting to show their age. They need to be tested for leakage, insulation resistance, at their rated voltage. This is about 500 volts DC, a voltmeter or DVOM can't do this. A scope will show problems, but most people don't have these.

    I had good results building up a spare distributor substituting modern high voltage poly film capacitors. The problem was almost all the used and NOS condensers I have on hand were duds or defective in some way. So looking around settled on 0.22uf @ 600 volt "Orange Drops". The Model T guys already hashed this out. Automotive service is tough duty for a condenser, they need to be able to handle the current flow. Simply meeting the voltage rating isn't enough, the specification is "dv/dt rise time" or somesuch. All that means is you can't install a capacitor the size of a match head and expect it not to burn out. Suitable capacitors are fairly chunky. And that's the gist of it anyway - the manufacturers can no longer make an automotive condenser that will last, at a certain price point anyway.

    Sprague 715 or 716 won't break down and is probably a good choice for any automotive point system. The leads should be supported to prevent stress or work hardening.

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