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Recurring No-Spark Condition


Hi guys. New issue to deal with... my car seems to have a no-spark condition that keeps returning. I'm running a Pertronix Igniter set under the distributor cap now as opposed to original points and condenser. The Pertronix was fine for about 600 miles the first time, then the spark on the negative side of the coil failed. Shop tested my coil, it failed the test so a new one went in. Car behaved for about 86 miles, then the same story. Started running bad (as in intermittent spark), once shut off it would turn over fine but not start, no spark on negative side of coil again. Installed new Pertronix unit, by-passed resistor wire in harness with straight-to-fuse-box wire : started right up. Ran fine again for about 10 miles. Intermittent spark again, ran poorly, and ( again ) once shut off that was the end of it. No spark at all. I've read stuff on various sites, but of course also wanted to see what you guys might have to say on this. ( My local tow truck driver is a nice guy, but I really do need to spend less time with him ).

Thx

~Gar



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Poncho Master!

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have you checked all earth continuity to the motor? All earths need to be perfect.



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Poncho Master!

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When you say no spark on the negative side of the coil, do you mean the secondary side of the coil? Or do you mean your test light doesn't flash on the negative side of the coil when cranking? Because that could be the pickup. I've seen on HEI units where the pickup wires are almost broken and the vacuum advance will pull on them and break the circuit causing intermittent no spark. If they ran fine with the advance disconnected that was usually the problem. 



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koolconvertible wrote:

have you checked all earth continuity to the motor? All earths need to be perfect.


That I know, and I've done what I can on that myself. Handed the issue over to the shop that installed the Pertronix unit. These guys are the best wrench monkeys in my town. They'll nail the problem soon enough. I'm sure they're proving all grounds as a part of the process of elimination. You're probably right though - something's amiss with a circuit ground....somewhere.



-- Edited by Tenrag on Monday 30th of May 2016 12:41:11 AM

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JC2+2 wrote:

When you say no spark on the negative side of the coil, do you mean the secondary side of the coil? Or do you mean your test light doesn't flash on the negative side of the coil when cranking? Because that could be the pickup. I've seen on HEI units where the pickup wires are almost broken and the vacuum advance will pull on them and break the circuit causing intermittent no spark. If they ran fine with the advance disconnected that was usually the problem. 


 Full of life on testing ...up to the " - " side of the coil. Then nothing. Test light is supposed to pulse when cranking, but just goes to a steady glow (dimmer) and drops about 4 volts. Replacement parts last only a few miles, then back to craziness. Can we actually call a Pertronix conversion from points /condenser a true HEI system ? Not sure myself so just asking.



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Try going back to points and see what happens.

With a point ignition system, the theory is when the points open, it removes the ground from the "-" side of the coil and the high voltage is sent from the coil to the distributor.  When points are closed, the distributor provides a ground to the "-" side of the coil, and no high voltage from the coil.



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Had pertronix on one of my cars...same problem. Pertronix pics up the signal off dizzy lobes and found that when the vacuum add plate moved it was making the gap between the lobes too far apart to work. Try unpluging vac adv and see if it still cuts out/rough running. After that was figured out still had a problem with it cutting out after about an hr, would die,.Sat on the side of the road for 15min and would fire up amd run fine for another hr then die. Went with a drop in Mallory......no more problems and swear I gained 10 hp!

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Not sure if this is the same problem. Attach a volt meter to the distributor side of your coil , turn ign. on and read the volts, should be around 12 volts...........now read the volts when you try starting the car. Now your old points system needed about 6.5 volts to start. Check your Pertronix to see  how many volts you need. If it's 12 volts you need to replace the wire coming from the engine side of the cowl to the coil with a new non resistant wire. My car would start ok first thing , but after it warmed up or should I say the coil warmed up , car would not start. I could add another battery and the extra amp would something help start the car. I placed my coil also, but there is nothing wrong with it.



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seventy2plus2 wrote:

Try going back to points and see what happens.

With a point ignition system, the theory is when the points open, it removes the ground from the "-" side of the coil and the high voltage is sent from the coil to the distributor.  When points are closed, the distributor provides a ground to the "-" side of the coil, and no high voltage from the coil.


If the problem isn't solved with a few more trial and error actions, I will do just that. ( Return to a points/condenser system ). It's cheaper to run a points system than it is to run a tow truck system.



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Poncho Master!

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If you really want electronic, go factory HEI. Won't regret it.



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hawkeye5766 wrote:

Had pertronix on one of my cars...same problem. Pertronix pics up the signal off dizzy lobes and found that when the vacuum add plate moved it was making the gap between the lobes too far apart to work. Try unpluging vac adv and see if it still cuts out/rough running. After that was figured out still had a problem with it cutting out after about an hr, would die,.Sat on the side of the road for 15min and would fire up amd run fine for another hr then die. Went with a drop in Mallory......no more problems and swear I gained 10 hp!


My engine isn't one that Pertronix sells wildly on for conversions. We'll see what my outcome is tomorrow...as my tech ( I know a lot myself, but not enough ) discovered that I had over 15 volts going to the ignition circuit. He replaced my regulator, and got the voltage back down. Testing the results of that change-out will happen tomorrow.



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koolconvertible wrote:

If you really want electronic, go factory HEI. Won't regret it.


I don't really care anymore actually. I just want the damn thing to run for more than 10 miles.



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peterpeter wrote:

Not sure if this is the same problem. Attach a volt meter to the distributor side of your coil , turn ign. on and read the volts, should be around 12 volts...........now read the volts when you try starting the car. Now your old points system needed about 6.5 volts to start. Check your Pertronix to see  how many volts you need. If it's 12 volts you need to replace the wire coming from the engine side of the cowl to the coil with a new non resistant wire. My car would start ok first thing , but after it warmed up or should I say the coil warmed up , car would not start. I could add another battery and the extra amp would something help start the car. I placed my coil also, but there is nothing wrong with it.


 " you need to replace the wire coming from the engine side of the cowl to the coil with a new non resistant wire. "

We've done that - it didn't seem to help.



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Tenrag wrote:
hawkeye5766 wrote:

Had pertronix on one of my cars...same problem. Pertronix pics up the signal off dizzy lobes and found that when the vacuum add plate moved it was making the gap between the lobes too far apart to work. Try unpluging vac adv and see if it still cuts out/rough running. After that was figured out still had a problem with it cutting out after about an hr, would die,.Sat on the side of the road for 15min and would fire up amd run fine for another hr then die. Went with a drop in Mallory......no more problems and swear I gained 10 hp!


My engine isn't one that Pertronix sells wildly on for conversions. We'll see what my outcome is tomorrow...as my tech ( I know a lot myself, but not enough ) discovered that I had over 15 volts going to the ignition circuit. He replaced my regulator, and got the voltage back down. Testing the results of that change-out will happen tomorrow.


 Should never have over 15 volts in a 12 volt system, you'll boil the bat. If you have over 15 v at ign then the whole system is at over 15 v. Had a car that was charging at 15.8 volts and just lucky I noticed with the hood open that the bat was ballooned out like crazy(also hot). Checked with volt meter and replaced regulator. All was good but had a bat blow up on me years ago because of over charging,hood was open and I was standing in front of it, made a big BOOM. Lucky for me it blew upwards hitting the hood. Now every car I have has a volt meter not amp meter! Hope putting in a new voltage reg fixes the prob, might have been getting too hot/to much voltage.






-- Edited by hawkeye5766 on Tuesday 31st of May 2016 01:46:59 AM

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Poncho Master!

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when you say no spark you have put the hightension from coul to earth and no spark?



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koolconvertible wrote:

when you say no spark you have put the hightension from coul to earth and no spark?


That's correct.  



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hawkeye5766 wrote:
Tenrag wrote:
hawkeye5766 wrote:

Had pertronix on one of my cars...same problem. Pertronix pics up the signal off dizzy lobes and found that when the vacuum add plate moved it was making the gap between the lobes too far apart to work. Try unpluging vac adv and see if it still cuts out/rough running. After that was figured out still had a problem with it cutting out after about an hr, would die,.Sat on the side of the road for 15min and would fire up amd run fine for another hr then die. Went with a drop in Mallory......no more problems and swear I gained 10 hp!


My engine isn't one that Pertronix sells wildly on for conversions. We'll see what my outcome is tomorrow...as my tech ( I know a lot myself, but not enough ) discovered that I had over 15 volts going to the ignition circuit. He replaced my regulator, and got the voltage back down. Testing the results of that change-out will happen tomorrow.


 Should never have over 15 volts in a 12 volt system, you'll boil the bat. If you have over 15 v at ign then the whole system is at over 15 v. Had a car that was charging at 15.8 volts and just lucky I noticed with the hood open that the bat was ballooned out like crazy(also hot). Checked with volt meter and replaced regulator. All was good but had a bat blow up on me years ago because of over charging,hood was open and I was standing in front of it, made a big BOOM. Lucky for me it blew upwards hitting the hood. Now every car I have has a volt meter not amp meter! Hope putting in a new voltage reg fixes the prob, might have been getting too hot/to much voltage.






-- Edited by hawkeye5766 on Tuesday 31st of May 2016 01:46:59 AM


Tomorrow will tell us a lot. You're of course correct, the voltage has to be (um...."regulated" )

 

 



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Tenrag wrote:
koolconvertible wrote:

when you say no spark you have put the hightension from coul to earth and no spark?


That's correct.  


 mate, I can really feel your pain in these posts...hope it gets fixed quick for you!!



-- Edited by koolconvertible on Tuesday 31st of May 2016 03:08:13 AM

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Thanks for all the replies, guys. Reading all the different personal experiences and opinions always helps, and it's quite educational. Cheers, Gar

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Just an update, guys ( for the bettering of the info found here in the forum ). Seems the problem was ( 1 ) a bad voltage regulator, and ( 2 ) possibly a few bad grounds that were cleaned up. The problem seems to be fixed now.
Happy Friday.
~Gar



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Poncho Master!

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Bonza!



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65 Parisienne convertible project.

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