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Mertz 05-12-2003 11:27 AM

Distributor wire
The wire in the distributor that goes to the points on my 428 Pontiac keeps breaking or melting so that the car will not fire.

What kind of wire do I use for a replacement? Is this a zero resistance wire? If I can using any type of wire what guage would be best?


PrimeMover 05-12-2003 11:47 AM

Most auto parts stores have distributor leads in stock. They have a moulded rubber piece on them that secures them properly where they exit the dist.. they are zero resistance in most cases and the terminal ends have been soldered as well as crimped.

4 Jaw Chuck 05-12-2003 12:23 PM

Copper braided wire is what you need in there Mertz. Are you using solid core wire?

Mertz 05-13-2003 06:48 AM

The wire in the car is the original that came with it. I had this problem once before and was stranded at the airport while trying to pick up my son. I only found the problem when I tried to turn over the car with the cap off and saw sparks in the wire.

I tried getting a new one at Napa when it happened but they did not carry one so I fixed the old one. I will try again to get a new one.

What really is a zero resistance wire? Is that possible?

PrimeMover 05-13-2003 05:55 PM

No. Zero resistance is not possible in any braided or solid copper conductor, but close to zero is good enough for a distributor lead. The longer the wire gets, the more resistance it will have. The resistance in a foot long piece of #16 braided wire is so miniscule, you'd need to set a digital Ohmeter on R times 1000 to detect it. Ballast resistors or "resitance wire" is used in-line at the (battery) positive supply side of the coil.

The distributor lead wire from the coil is simply a messenger to ground.

Mertz 05-16-2003 07:01 AM

I took apart the distributor last night and found a very large wire for the zero resistance wire. Would this be a problem if it is only for a ground or does the low resistance work better? I also found my vacuum advance is not working. Could this be a contributing factor to my over heating problem since it runs retarded? I plan on putting in a Pertronix unit while I have it out of the car. Does anyone have experience with the IgnitorII versus the I? Is it worth the extra cost if your not racing?

PrimeMover 05-17-2003 06:28 PM

Mertz - most generally, there is an uninsulated braided copper conductor that goes from the breaker plate, where the points are mounted, to the body of the distributor. This wire is designed to handle plenty of flex since the breaker plate moves every time the vacuume advance operates. If the wrong type of wire is used there, it's possible for a potential continuity failure. If this happens, you will get only occasional and very weak spark... The breaker plate MUST be grounded to the distributor housing, and the dist. housing MUST have good solid electrically conductive contact with the engine block.

Mertz 05-19-2003 04:10 PM

The ground wire does exist but it is not the one causing the problem. The wire you are talking about goes from the breaker plate to a screw holding the vacuum advance. It is grounded to the boldy of the dist. The wire that is giving me problems is the wire from the points to the negative side of the coil. I will be eliminating it by going to the pertronix ignitor where only 2 wires are required.

PrimeMover 05-23-2003 07:17 PM

Okey Dokey - :)

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