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Old 04-22-2006, 12:30 PM
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Who is eating my condensors????

I have a GM 350 crate engine, B&M 144 blower, Comp Cam, and a Mallory dual point dist. When I put the new dual point in, it ran fine for about an hour and a half of 30-40mph cruising. It popped once, and then would intermittently start spitting and sputtering. I started checking the fuel system, clean filter, opened the top of the carb, nothing wrong. I then moved to the electrical system. Points are not burned, 26 degrees of dwell on each set, 32 degrees total dwell. Timing is OK. I have a MSD soft touch rev limiter on it. I disconnected that, no change. I tried a new coil, instead of the Accel, no change. I bypassed the ballast resistor, no change. I put an oversize condensor off of a Mallory Magneto, that I had in the shop on the dual point, and it runs like stink! What are the chances that the condensor was bad? How do I check one? Resistance? How many ohms am I looking for? What would cause it to go bad? Has anyone experienced a bad condensor before? I know we used to change them every time we changed points for a tune-up, but never gave a thought as to why.

I know I'm gonna get somebody that wants me to change to HEI, or some electronic set-up, but no thanks.

However I do appreciate any feedback as to Who is eating my condensors!




MF

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Old 04-22-2006, 01:14 PM
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ither the ballast resistor was wired wrong and it cooked the condensor or the condensor was faulty to begin with. u should have only 6-9 volt at the coil
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Old 04-22-2006, 01:29 PM
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Ballast resistor was wired correctly, the car ran for a year with the first distributor in it. Don't think that is the problem, but thanks for the help!

MF
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Old 04-22-2006, 01:40 PM
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to check condenser , take an OHM meter and set it to like 10K - 100K and put one lead to body of condenser and other lead to the wire , the needle should go up scale and then fall back toward 0 as it charges up , switch leads and it will do the same thing again. It should be good.
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Old 04-22-2006, 02:32 PM
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take you maybe a half step further,

what it's doing is keeping each coil high V/low amp output pulse from reversing and grounding out the coil (really is a capacitor)

the "spitting and sputtering" indicates a possible "leaking" condensor which translates to not able to fully charge and that will show up with a ohms test (should be 0 to infinity back to 0 for ok as discribed in the post above)

nah not gona sell ya on solid state, a weak spark on your motor is probably a good thing?
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Old 04-22-2006, 02:44 PM
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Here is a web sites that may help.

www.mgaguru.com/mgtech/ignition

vicrod
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:53 PM
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Doc here,

A Very simple test of a Condenser that you suspect may be faulty, Is disconnect it and test run it. It will run fine without it for a test.

If it runs better, then replace the Condenser.

If there is no change, Verify the Dizzy body has a good ground .(the cap won't work without one..)

Then disconnect and remove the feed to one set of points and test, If it runs better the problem is isolated to that set..If not do the other set. Could be the points are bad, or "Out of sync" slightly (bent contact arm etc..).

Verify the Wires and points aren't arcing over with movement of the advance plate..

Doc
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Old 04-22-2006, 06:55 PM
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Thanks to all of you for the links and information.

And yeah, red65mustang, a weak spark on a T-Bucket with a coil and points is easier to troubleshoot on the side of the hiway than an electronic box that has sh_t the bed!!!!!

I will start checking the condenser with my ohm meter in the morning. I bought two condensers today, one to put on, and one for under the seat, to get me home if the other one fails!!!
Try keeping a spare MSD box under the seat!!






MF
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Old 04-23-2006, 06:44 AM
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MrFix,
wasn't being sarcastic, firm believer in Max Keith's (a member) philosophy:"a lot more gooder ain't always more good"

"but" be aware the Pertronix unit ($70? constant dwell any rpm) is a strictly: unscrew remove points, screw in Pertronix in it's place....so if it did ever fail....put the spare points and condensor (and small screw driver !) from under the seat back on and drive away (don't know anybody who has had one fail over the past 10 years?)

leave your plug gap at .032"? with the Pertronix, spark is still 10,000V max, declines to "yuch" with RPM "but!" dwell is dead on constant as rpm increase

increase the gap to .037 with the Pertronix (points would mis-fire), spark is= very roughly 13,000V max, so it declines to less with rpm for more top end spark but that can cause detonation (in a blower motor)

summary: constant dwell is one less PITA variable (less back aches?)....for about $70

footnote: the red power wire on the Pertronix must be wired to a 12v source, it first converts 12V to 5V (solid state) power, only 6-9V at the coil at idle (so the points won't burn up moving so slow) so connect before the resistor or resistor wire or a different ign "on"=12V wire

Last edited by red65mustang; 04-23-2006 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 04-23-2006, 01:29 PM
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Now I'm REALLY CONFUSED!!!!

OK, I took my two suspected bad condensers, and two brand new still in the box condensers and tested them. I used my roll top Simpson 260, and my Radio Shack True RMS Digital.
ALL OF THEM TEST THE SAME!!!!!
Now what!!!!



MF
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Old 04-23-2006, 04:51 PM
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Doc here,

Disconnect the points one at a time..and test the system..If it clears up, the offender is the disconnected points.inspect or replace them..

Check your coil .. could be it's at the end of it's useful life.

Set your DVOM to Ohms R X 1 , calibrated 000, remove all coil wires, and measure the primary..It should read less than an ohm but more than 000..out of that range..toss it.

Next measure the secondary side, set your meter to R X 10K or higher, It should read between 10,000 and 11,000 ohms. out of that range, toss it..

This will test the coil statically, It will not show an internal breakdown of the Windings, (windings that have lost their Insulation property, and are internally arcing over between the winds of wire or case or core) For that you need an Oscilloscope..so If you suspect that is the case try a known good coil.



Check the + side with the points closed or jumpered to ground, If you have a ballast resistor, It should read 6 to 9 volts..Without one or points open it will read a full 12 volts..Lower voltage issues on either should be addressed.

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Last edited by docvette; 04-23-2006 at 04:56 PM. Reason: I before E .. Except after a 12 pack..
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Old 04-24-2006, 11:01 AM
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Mr Fix,

whoops, forgot to mention....

with a Pertronix, you do remove the condensor, put it with the points under the seat.....one less part to go wrong and never have to "test" again

it's screw it down in place, red wire to 12V, black wire to your existing points neg coil post....your done installing the Pertronix,

but thanks, was kind of fun to try to remember how to test a condensor...
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:09 PM
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OK, who is this guy Ohm and why does he hate me?

I started running the car with a Mallory dual life distributor. It has a Large condenser, probably 1" dia. The car ran fine with it, but the dizzy has some slop, and above 3000 it would start to crap out. I ran it easy the first summer, and put about 800 miles on it. This year I wanted to get a little more out of it, so I put a new Mallory dual point, with the standard size condenser. It didn't run right, so I checked the dwell, single and combined, and then changed to a new #400 Mallory condenser. That one ran for about 45 minutes or so before it started breaking down. This is where you guys came in. I put a large condenser, like the original one, on it and it runs fine. I bought two condensers, and checked them against the original and replacement Mallory #400. They all read the same, so I put one back on the car. Same crappy misfiring. Put the large one back on, it runs fine. Here is where I have to eat a little crow. matt167 and red65 mustang tried to tell me to check the ballast resistor. I should have listened. I checked voltage to the coil, 12-1/2 volts, after the ballast resistor. I removed it from the car, and checked it. 2.5 ohms. I bought a new one, it reads 2.5 ohms. when I put it on the battery, they both register no voltage decrease! What do I not understand about a ballast resistor???





MF
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrfixmaster
I started running the car with a Mallory dual life distributor. It has a Large condenser, probably 1" dia. The car ran fine with it, but the dizzy has some slop, and above 3000 it would start to crap out. I ran it easy the first summer, and put about 800 miles on it. This year I wanted to get a little more out of it, so I put a new Mallory dual point, with the standard size condenser. It didn't run right, so I checked the dwell, single and combined, and then changed to a new #400 Mallory condenser. That one ran for about 45 minutes or so before it started breaking down. This is where you guys came in. I put a large condenser, like the original one, on it and it runs fine. I bought two condensers, and checked them against the original and replacement Mallory #400. They all read the same, so I put one back on the car. Same crappy misfiring. Put the large one back on, it runs fine. Here is where I have to eat a little crow. matt167 and red65 mustang tried to tell me to check the ballast resistor. I should have listened. I checked voltage to the coil, 12-1/2 volts, after the ballast resistor. I removed it from the car, and checked it. 2.5 ohms. I bought a new one, it reads 2.5 ohms. when I put it on the battery, they both register no voltage decrease! What do I not understand about a ballast resistor???





MF
I can't be positive but I think it will cut current flow down when the car is running , the voltage may have to be measured with a digital ohmeter and not a 260 simpson.
I have forgotten a whole lot about voltage , resistance , voltage drop , etc. been about 25 years since my electrical days.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrfixmaster
I started running the car with a Mallory dual life distributor. It has a Large condenser, probably 1" dia. The car ran fine with it, but the dizzy has some slop, and above 3000 it would start to crap out. I ran it easy the first summer, and put about 800 miles on it. This year I wanted to get a little more out of it, so I put a new Mallory dual point, with the standard size condenser. It didn't run right, so I checked the dwell, single and combined, and then changed to a new #400 Mallory condenser. That one ran for about 45 minutes or so before it started breaking down. This is where you guys came in. I put a large condenser, like the original one, on it and it runs fine. I bought two condensers, and checked them against the original and replacement Mallory #400. They all read the same, so I put one back on the car. Same crappy misfiring. Put the large one back on, it runs fine. Here is where I have to eat a little crow. matt167 and red65 mustang tried to tell me to check the ballast resistor. I should have listened. I checked voltage to the coil, 12-1/2 volts, after the ballast resistor. I removed it from the car, and checked it. 2.5 ohms. I bought a new one, it reads 2.5 ohms. when I put it on the battery, they both register no voltage decrease! What do I not understand about a ballast resistor???





MF
Doc here,

A ballast resistor will not show a drop in voltage UNLESS there is a load on the coil..Set your points for full closed or jumper them to ground, then with a DVOM, set for Volts scale, V X 50 or autorange, measure the + side of the coil.

The reading here should be 6 to 9 volts, if you have a working ballast resistor. If you have none, or a shorted one, it will read 12 volts..an open one will read 000 volts.

Next (turn the key off..or you'll be cussing me out.. ) Remove the jumper or set the points for full open, Turn on the key, and retake the measurements..It should read 12 volts.(no coil load).

Have you performed a coil test yet as I outlined before?

Quote:
Doc here,

Disconnect the points one at a time..and test the system..If it clears up, the offender is the disconnected points.inspect or replace them..

Check your coil .. could be it's at the end of it's useful life.

Set your DVOM to Ohms R X 1 , calibrated 000, remove all coil wires, and measure the primary..It should read less than an ohm but more than 000..out of that range..toss it.

Next measure the secondary side, set your meter to R X 10K or higher, It should read between 10,000 and 11,000 ohms. out of that range, toss it..

This will test the coil statically, It will not show an internal breakdown of the Windings, (windings that have lost their Insulation property, and are internally arcing over between the winds of wire or case or core) For that you need an Oscilloscope..so If you suspect that is the case try a known good coil.



Check the + side with the points closed or jumpered to ground, If you have a ballast resistor, It should read 6 to 9 volts..Without one or points open it will read a full 12 volts..Lower voltage issues on either should be addressed.

Doc

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