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VinceBird
05-08-2013, 09:12 PM
I have a 56, 100% original but it hasn't ran in a long time.

I just bought it!

It seems to cranks slowly (compared to what I'm used to) and has no spark. I have 12 Volts, to the distributor (at the buss bar) but not in the distributor.

Also, is there fusable link going from the Buss bar to the coil? That is burnt and smoking!

How do I test further? Are these distributors relatively straight forward?

paul274854
05-08-2013, 09:44 PM
By "Bussbar" do you mean the ignition resistor? The Tbird used a upright metal clad resistor, not the ceramic unit seen on some cars.

Do the points spark when turning it over?

Start tracing where you have voltage - at the coil, solenoid etc. Remember the ignition switch has to be turned on.

There is no fusible link on an early Bird

I have a 56, 100% original but it hasn't ran in a long time.

I just bought it!

It seems to cranks slowly (compared to what I'm used to) and has no spark. I have 12 Volts, to the distributor (at the buss bar) but not in the distributor.

Also, is there fusable link going from the Buss bar to the coil? That is burnt and smoking!

How do I test further? Are these distributors relatively straight forward?

simplyconnected
05-08-2013, 11:36 PM
I have a 56, 100% original but it hasn't ran in a long time.

I just bought it!

It seems to cranks slowly (compared to what I'm used to) and has no spark. I have 12 Volts, to the distributor (at the buss bar) but not in the distributor.

Also, is there fusable link going from the Buss bar to the coil? That is burnt and smoking!

How do I test further? Are these distributors relatively straight forward?

Welcome to Squarebirds, Vince. The '56 T-bird is a great car and built like a tank with a full frame. Many of the components are nearly identical to the Ford Cars.

1956 was a transition year, as Ford switched to 12 volts and negative ground. Your starting and ignition circuits are the same as all the Ford cars in '56. The starter should produce a very healthy spin IF your battery is good and all your connections are clean and tight. 'ALL your connections' include the neg (ground) side as well.

As with all cars, make sure your engine AND your body is grounded. If you have a weak ground, current will find the path of least resistance which is usually through bearings.

Do you have a VOLT METER? Put it across the battery while you start the car. What is the voltage reading during cranking?

Next, make sure your coil and distributor's point plate is grounded. There should be a short braided copper wire screwed to the points plate.

After determining that everything is ok, then check for voltage at the coil with the key ON. At this point, you should follow the instructions in the Shop Manual. If you don't have one, this book is the single most important tool your Thunderbird will ever have. You will always refer to it. All the vendors sell them.

We can offer free schematics from our Techncial Resource Library (TRL), but the Shop Manual will guide you through each procedure and show you what results to expect. - Dave

VinceBird
05-09-2013, 03:11 PM
Paul,
Yes by Bussbar, I mean Ignition resistor (didn't know what it was called)! I lower wire coming off of the ignition resistor smokes when the key is on and the wire is fried. Is this just a regular wiring w/ clips (for replacement)? Is that lower wire supposed to be on the positive or negitive of the coil?

At the top of the ignition resistor I have 12V... Also on one wire of the coil (can't remember if it's "pos" or "neg" post). I do not have 12 V at the points.

SimplyConnected,
Battery and starter are both new... I will focus on the ground wires for the slow cranking.
I have not checked the voltage during cranking!

This is just a quick post to elaborate a little but I'll go back out tonight and be more clear as to what I'm facing. Thanks

BTW... where do I buy a shop manual (that you spoke about)?

YellowRose
05-09-2013, 04:12 PM
Hi Vince, Casco is the company that has 1955-1957 Babybird parts. Check our Advertisements Forum down further on the Forum and you will find the information on how to contact and their website there. You should be able to get a shop manual from them for your Tbird. Also Tee-Bird Products specializes in 1955-1957 Babybird parts, as noted above, and it is also in our Advertisements Forum.

jopizz
05-09-2013, 06:29 PM
I also recommend Tee-Bird Products in West Chester, PA for 55-57 parts http://tee-bird.com I've ordered from them a few times and they really know their stuff.

John

Joe Johnston
05-09-2013, 10:24 PM
Also check the insulation on the wire going to the points. If bare this will ground the ignition.

simplyconnected
05-09-2013, 11:32 PM
I also recommend Tee-Bird Products in West Chester, PA for 55-57 parts http://tee-bird.com I've ordered from them a few times and they really know their stuff.

John
I'm with John. Ask for Bill or Ellis. These guys will answer any questions. The will physically get a part out of stock and give technical answers about it. That's my kind of vendor. Oh, and their prices are hard to beat.

Replace any burned wires with stranded copper wires. There is nothing special about them. Make sure your connections are tight. - Dave

KULTULZ
05-10-2013, 07:30 AM
Paul,

Yes by Bussbar, I mean Ignition resistor (didn't know what it was called)! I lower wire coming off of the ignition resistor smokes when the key is on and the wire is fried. Is this just a regular wiring w/ clips (for replacement)? Is that lower wire supposed to be on the positive or negitive of the coil?

At the top of the ignition resistor I have 12V... Also on one wire of the coil (can't remember if it's "pos" or "neg" post). I do not have 12 V at the points.

SimplyConnected,

Battery and starter are both new... I will focus on the ground wires for the slow cranking.
I have not checked the voltage during cranking!

This is just a quick post to elaborate a little but I'll go back out tonight and be more clear as to what I'm facing. Thanks

BTW... where do I buy a shop manual (that you spoke about)?

With the wire smoking and burnt, it suggests to me that it is grounded at some point. You should have BAT VOLT @ the current entry at the resistor and reduced volt (approx 9V) at the exit.

This wire will go to the + side of the coil and the black lead from the distributor goes to the - side.

As for starter drag, GOOGLE Starting System Voltage Drop Test.

VinceBird
05-10-2013, 06:10 PM
I have made it back to the car... at the top of the ignition resistor I have 12V. At the bottom I have about 5V and the resistor gets very hot (can't touch it)!

I have 5 V going into the coil (+ side), 0 out (- side)

Another question... I have two wire hooked to the negative side of the coil. 1) goes directly to the distributor, the other is in the same wire bundle as "source power" and goes back through the firewall... what is the other wire?

Also... for future... what should I have out of the - side of the coil? 12V or 9

simplyconnected
05-10-2013, 10:02 PM
Look carefully for the ignition coil on this diagram:
http://www.squarebirds.org/Diagrams-Schematics/1958-1968_Wiring_Diagrams/Thumbnails/59wiring_diagram.jpg
This is the same as your setup.
Coil (-) has one wire. It goes to the distributor's points.
Coil (+) has two wires. One comes from the resistor. The other comes from the starter solenoid (push-on connector). You don't have overdrive so disregard the third wire.

That is your setup. Wire your car to match this diagram. Did you replace any of the burned wires? Did you order a Shop Manual? - Dave

KULTULZ
05-10-2013, 10:14 PM
I have made it back to the car... at the top of the ignition resistor I have 12V. At the bottom I have about 5V and the resistor gets very hot (can't touch it)!

I have 5 V going into the coil (+ side), 0 out (- side)

Another question... I have two wire hooked to the negative side of the coil. 1) goes directly to the distributor, the other is in the same wire bundle as "source power" and goes back through the firewall... what is the other wire?

Also... for future... what should I have out of the - side of the coil? 12V or 9

The resistor getting hot to touch is normal.

Both power leads (as Dave mentioned) should go the the + side of the coil. Only one goes from the coil - terminal to the distributor.

The value of the resistor should be given in the Shop Manual.

simplyconnected
05-15-2013, 09:20 PM
Hmmm... wonder what happened to poor VinceBird. Hope he didn't get shocked.

DKheld
05-16-2013, 01:56 PM
Shoot no - with all the good help around here - he got it going and is out enjoying it - no time to reply....:rolleyes:

Eric