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Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: SpyderMan ()
Date: April 14, 2018 12:11PM

I drove my wagon to a small show this morning about 45 miles away. Most of the way was Highway, when we were just around the corner from the show my wagon died. Some nice folks help me shove it off to the side of the road. It seemed ignition related and sure enough I had no spark, I messed with points but everything seemed fine, I pulled the coil wire out of the cap and I had weakish spark. I then tried the plug wire and still had no spark. I had a known good rotor in my tool box I put in with no change. As a hail marry I swapped in a new condenser I had with me, it fired right up.

I got back in the car and drove around the corner to the show and it died again in the lot. At this point o thought it was an over heating coil so I grabbed a new one from the store down the street. Once it was on the motor had cooled off quite a bit and it fired right up. I thought that the hot coil was the culprit and we had it solved.

We drove about a mile and a half away from the show and it died again. Once again I had spark at the coil wire but not at the plugs. Have you guys ever had a bad cap that acted this way?

At this point I am getting it towed home as I do not trust it even if it does fire up but I am still at a bit of a loss as to what would cause this. Any advice would be a big help.

On a side note driving a Corvair wagon, being in a wheelchair and having a cute eleven year old girl helping you on the side of the road is a potent combo for getting people to pull over and offer to help.

Sam Russell
Durham NC
1962 Monza Wagon
1964 Spyder coupe


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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: 63turbo ()
Date: April 14, 2018 12:38PM

I think there is probably something going wrong with your main power connector
between the engine compartment and the front of the car. I had the same problem
and thankfully, it quit and would not re-start, instead of re-starting only to die a little while later. To verify, pull the connector apart and look at the connections, paying particular attention to the large wires... if there is something wrong, the contacts will be black/discolored and the connector housing will probably be melted.

------------------------------------

Kevin Nash
Friday Harbor Washington
63 Spyder, Daily driver, EFI read about my project here: [corvaircenter.com]
first test start on EFI here:[www.youtube.com]
first official EFI boost test here:[www.youtube.com]
My new fan! [corvaircenter.com]
engine less 62 Spyder
Canadian 64 Monza Parts car



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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: April 14, 2018 12:41PM

Next time it dies.... have a 12 volt jump wire handy...

Without touching anything... Jump Bat POS to Coil POS.... if it starts....wiring harness resistance wire..





MODERATOR
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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Date: April 14, 2018 01:07PM

That's a tough one, Sam.
I presume you are testing for spark with your lovely assistant operating the key switch, right?
When turned to "Start" you get full voltage thru the solenoid 12V coil output bypass, and it should also show spark at the plugs.
How are you testing for that? At the cap towers? or At the plug end?
Possible a bad key switch? In the IGN position perhaps it's intermittent.
Could test for that by running a temporary wire to the coil + post.

Good Luck!


Dan Davis ~ Pierce County, WA ~ CORSA Western Director + Corvairs NW + North Cascades Corvairs + Corvanatics
1966 Corsa Turbo coupe ~ ~ 1966 140 Corsa ~ ~ 1965 Monza 140/4 'Vert Sierra Tan/Fawn ~ 1964 Monza 'Vert (SOLD) ~ 1960 Monza Ermine White/Red PG ++ ~ 1965 Monza 140/4 Evening Orchid w/ ivory/black interior ~ 1962 Monza Wagon 102/4 ~ 1963 Rampside/Scamper ~ 1963 Red/Greenbrier ~ 1969 Ultra Van #468



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2018 01:08PM by 1966-Corsa-GT-180.

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Wagon Master ()
Date: April 14, 2018 01:32PM

Agree with most of the above posts. You need to address the weak spark out of the coil wire. That can't be from a cap or rotor.

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: 7004doorL ()
Date: April 14, 2018 02:17PM

I am leaning toward the Coil Wire also.

Look at each end very carefully and put an Ohm Meter on it to check for continuity.

I had a similar experience on the Highway once. Kept on dying then a little later would restart then die.

I stripped off some of the insulation on the coil wire to get enough of the conductor thingie to contact the Brass end good. And it was fixed.

Mike
1960 4 Door
80 HP PG

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: SpyderMan ()
Date: April 14, 2018 07:38PM

All great things to check I had not tought about checking up stream. I will check my coil and plug wires as well. It just seemed so odd that it seemed to die at the cap.

Sam Russell
Durham NC
1962 Monza Wagon
1964 Spyder coupe


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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: April 14, 2018 07:51PM

Hmmm, sounds just like my friend's 63. Ran great after the engine rebuild. Then he started having it not start after going in a store. AH, I said, not listening fully, vapor lock. But, but after further questions, it would not start, not fire. Vapor lock is when it starts, then dies after sitting 5 minutes at the store.

All he had to do was wait a while, and it started up and drove fine.

I went to see the car at the store the next time it failed to start. It was only a few minutes from work, so no time for it to cool off, and the no start was still just that when I got there. I got the weak spark like Sam did from the coil wire, and NO spark from a spark plug wire, trying different metal objects stuck in the spark plug boot end to ground.

What the???? Bad distributor cap?

Nope, cleaned the points!

A new set of points and the problem has not returned in a year of driving.thumbs up

Added: We knew it was not the wires, as they were new Seth wires!grinning smiley

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2018 07:52PM by Frank DuVal.

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: SpyderMan ()
Date: April 18, 2018 01:04PM

I got time to test things and see what the trouble is with my wagon. I started at the battery and worked my way to the coil and distributor. Every thing checks out and is just as it should be until I tested the wire from the coil to the distributor. In its relaxed state it is dead and when you move it around it has a bunch of resistance. I do not have an old one to try but I think this has to be my trouble.

I was able to start it before I did all of my checks and i got it to die while idling and not restart just like it was doing before I jumped 12v direct to the coil with no change.

I am going to order a new set of wires and I think I will be set.

Sam Russell
Durham NC
1962 Monza Wagon
1964 Spyder coupe


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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Seth Emerson ()
Date: April 18, 2018 01:52PM

The points open/closed signal wire is often the culprit. The outside gets hard and the copper will pull apart. If you replace it with new, buy a replacement T-shaped rubber grommet where the wire exits the dist. (grommet applies to 62-up, not sure on 61s.)

Seth Emerson

Check my new Performance Corvair Web site [www.perfvair.com]

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: SpyderMan ()
Date: April 18, 2018 02:07PM

Thanks Seth, it is a good check for sure. I replaced mine a number of years ago and it is still in good shape.

The thing that through me was when I checked for spark at the coil wire I had it stretched out to a ground source and it worked, but when it was relaxed plugged back into the distributor it would not function consistently.

Sam Russell
Durham NC
1962 Monza Wagon
1964 Spyder coupe


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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Wagon Master ()
Date: April 18, 2018 05:34PM

Seth, I believe Sam had a failure of the high tension lead not the signal wire.

'29 Ford Model A Tudor
'61 700 Lakewood 110 4 speed
'69 Monza Convert. 140 Auto.
'70 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 4 speed

Been aircooled since 1973
Northwest Ohio

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Gregory_Miller ()
Date: April 18, 2018 06:23PM

Yes, I believe he is talking about the common HT wire as well. Get Seth's wire set, he stands behind them too. I have a set and they work great and they are pretty. smiling smiley

Greg Miller
Eugene, Oregon

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: stitch ()
Date: April 18, 2018 07:00PM

Gregory_Miller Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, I believe he is talking about the common HT
> wire as well. Get Seth's wire set, he stands
> behind them too. I have a set and they work great
> and they are pretty. smiling smiley


X2! smileys with beer

"If you can't fix it with a Hammer, you have an Electrical problem."
Stitch...
Schertz, Texas.
(Smallish town/burg 17 mi. NE of San Antonio)

!967.. 4th body
8th off the line

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: April 18, 2018 07:55PM

X3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For testing, I always had an old distributor cap with wires hanging around to swap into a not running well engine.

You don't have a coil wire (HT) sitting around the shop? confused smiley

You know you can always shove any wire into both towers as long as it does not run past a grounded surface. House wiring would work for testing!

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2018 07:59PM by Frank DuVal.

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Seth Emerson ()
Date: April 19, 2018 12:15AM

Frank writes: "You know you can always shove any wire into both towers as long as it does not run past a grounded surface. House wiring would work for testing!"

That said, if it is running don't push it in by hand while you are leaning on the car. "You" might be the "grounded surface". Wheee!

Seth Emerson

Check my new Performance Corvair Web site [www.perfvair.com]

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Gregory_Miller ()
Date: April 19, 2018 07:35AM

That can be a truly electrifying experience. Sorry, had to.

Greg Miller
Eugene, Oregon

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Tom Z ()
Date: April 19, 2018 08:17AM

Sam-on one car I opted to locate the trouble red wire to the starter solenoid,using the big battery cable as one 'leg' rather than both ways thru the connenter..I had replaced everything else anyhow,as you should (from the sounds of it)

Tom Z,,Rochester NY

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: April 19, 2018 10:22AM

Quote
Seth
"You" might be the "grounded surface".

Not might, WILL! Electrifying to say the least. eye popping smiley

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA

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Re: Bad distributor Cap?
Posted by: SpyderMan ()
Date: April 20, 2018 06:08AM

Well.....

I got a new coil wire and the problem is still there. Currently I can start the car cold as normal then within a minute or so the idle suffers and the car will die and not restart for a few minutes. It will stay running if you keep it reved but as soon as you let it idle it dies and will not restart. I need one of my girls here to help me run the key from the front to do more checks.

I know the carb bowels are full as once it dies both accelerator pups squirt a healthy stream and it still will not start. So I still think it is ignition related. Any way a bad set of points could behave this way? I will report back after I have a chance to do more checking.

Sam Russell
Durham NC
1962 Monza Wagon
1964 Spyder coupe


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