View Full Version : Got her running

08-28-2012, 10:04 AM
Hi all,
I got my 390 4 speed running - now I find 2 issues.

1: When I let out the clutch I really have to gun the throttle to keep it from stalling. Does this sound like a carb issue, or a timing issue, or even a dwell issue? I have a manual for my 1959 T-bird, will the settings for the 352 motor I used to have be the same as this 1967 390? Can anyone tell me what the timing advance should be set at?

2: The alternator doesn't seem to be recharging the battery. If I check the battery while not running it is at 12.8 volts. If I start the motor it is at about 12.4 volts. If I drive the car about 5 minutes and then turn it off the battery will barely start the car. I'm guessing that the car isn't running on the alternator, it's running on the battery????

appreciate any input, thx, Dave J

08-28-2012, 10:52 AM
The timing will be between 6 and 10 degrees BTDC. Anything between that should be fine although too advanced and your engine will probably ping using regular gas.

If you aren't seeing at least 13.5 volts then your alternator isn't charging the battery. How do you have it wired.


08-28-2012, 12:44 PM
Idle speed should be about 600-650 rpm. To obtain a smooth idle at 600 you need to have everything tuned up properly, from the ignition timing to the idle mixture. Also the dashpot that works on the throttle linkage acts to slow the transition from moderate throttle to idle, reducing the chance of stalling.

08-28-2012, 09:47 PM
Thx gents,
John, when I took out the 1959 352 and put in the 1967 390 I decided to use the alternator and voltage regulator from the newer 1967 390 car. I found this article online and wired mine the same as the diagram he shows. If you open this link then scroll down below all the pictures to the first wiring diagram you can see the way I did mine. I basically had the 64 1/2 setup and rewired it like the 65-up. http://www.blert.net/comet/gen2alt/

If you open this link and scroll down to page 22-6 (just below the picture of the alternator) you'll see figure 4. It shows a schematic that I followed. The schematic is from FordForums web site.

I installed a new starter and solenoid.

Thx, Dave J

08-28-2012, 10:37 PM
Is your generator light on? If not you have something wired wrong. If you went by the 65-up diagram you should have the I terminal on the regulator wired to the old yellow/black wire that goes to the generator light. This needs to be connected or it won't charge.


08-29-2012, 12:10 AM
Your 390 will really respond well to more initial timing. 12-16 degrees or more depending on altitude and how much cam you have, but you can't just add initial with out cutting back on mechanical advance. Having a professional re-curve your dist. will give you a very noticeable improvement in performance for around $80. Not saying you don't have fuel issues, but dealing with timing is a good first step, then tackle carb tuning. Mike

08-29-2012, 09:14 AM
John, the generator light comes on. And I do have the "I" wire of the regulator installed as in the picture. I'm guessing I can check the output of my alternator recharge to the battery somehow? Or also check the output to the engine? Can you tell me where I would check that current?
If it turns out to be the alternator I suppose I should replace it with a more modern one that has the voltage regulator internal - I read something about that while looking for wiring pictures.

Mike, is the 12-16 degrees "initial" timing the same as just setting the timing. Right now when I hit it with the timing light it is at 10. The cam and engine is stock. What does it mean to "re-curve" the distributor? I'm ordering a Petronix ignitor setup today, will I still need to do the "re-curve" thing or does the Petronix Ignitor take care of that?

Thx in advance, Dave J

08-29-2012, 12:48 PM

If you are getting 12.4 volts when the engine is running then I would suspect the alternator first. Most auto stores will check it for free. If you are confident that your wiring is correct it can only be the alternator or voltage regulator. Since you already have the wiring done I would stay with the external regulator. The later internal regulator models may not mount the same.


08-29-2012, 04:17 PM
Ah yes, thx John! I forgot that the newer alternator articles said I would have to buy and modify the brackets.

All these parts sat on a 67 LTD for several years on some land in Northern NM - not surprised that they don't work, although it did fire up and run before I pulled it all last winter. When I first checked out the car it was on flat tires and settled into the earth up to the axle. It had a dead (foot long) furry rat skeleton on the intake manifold! I even took pictures if you care for me to post them.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that most of the parts should probably be suspect and should be replaced anyways.

thx again, Dave