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davidmij
01-07-2014, 07:10 PM
Greetings, I recently took my distributor to the guy that built my motor to have him re-curve it. He said the curve wasn't far off but the vacuum advance module was. I was surprised at how much nicer it started from a dead stop once reinstalled - very smooth with no hesitation - at least for a week or so.

My problem is that it seems to have changed. The motor starts up and idles once warm at about 680 as it should. (If you remember I have a bit of a cam) Then I drive it, when I come to a stop the idle stays around 1100, it won't drop back down to 680. I checked the manual choke and high idle screw on the Edelbrock carb and they are not the problem. Sometimes when I hit the brakes coming to a stop, it will drop back down to 680, but very rarely. I'm guessing that part has something to do with the power brakes pulling vacuum and letting whatever is in the distributor module go back down. I checked all my vacuum lines. The one to the brakes - the one from the dist to the carb, and the plug in my Edlebrock carb. They are all sealed. Those are the only vacuum lines I have. (I have an electric wiper motor)

If I pull the line from the distributor it drops back down to 680. If I plug the line with my finger it stays at 680. I can suck on the line to the dist vacuum module and it goes back up to 1100. Can anyone tell me what might be wrong or what is going on?

thx, Dave J

scumdog
01-07-2014, 11:20 PM
My problem is that it seems to have changed. The motor starts up and idles once warm at about 680 as it should. (If you remember I have a bit of a cam) Then I drive it, when I come to a stop the idle stays around 1100, it won't drop back down to 680. I checked the manual choke and high idle screw on the Edelbrock carb and they are not the problem. Sometimes when I hit the brakes coming to a stop, it will drop back down to 680, but very rarely. I'm guessing that part has something to do with the power brakes pulling vacuum and letting whatever is in the distributor module go back down. I checked all my vacuum lines. The one to the brakes - the one from the dist to the carb, and the plug in my Edlebrock carb. They are all sealed. Those are the only vacuum lines I have. (I have an electric wiper motor)

If I pull the line from the distributor it drops back down to 680. If I plug the line with my finger it stays at 680. I can suck on the line to the dist vacuum module and it goes back up to 1100. Can anyone tell me what might be wrong or what is going on?

thx, Dave J

Does the vacuum hose from the dissy hook up to the carb above the throttle plates or below them??

And was the hose hooked up or not when the timing was set?

simplyconnected
01-08-2014, 02:04 AM
David, I think there are some misconceptions about curving a distributor. Each one is unique to the application. Assembly plants know the same engines are going in the same cars, so setup is all the same.

A same distributor will be curved differently for a Mustang than for a Crown Victoria, each having the same engine. Customizing the engines for different service (loads) alters specific distributor settings.

You have a new cam with a peak torque range. Timing of the cam speed to the distributor speed must be done under a load. This is impossible when the distributor is out of the engine. We can use 'rule of thumb' just to get in the ball park but fine tuning must be done by you after a set of trial runs.

Basically, you want distributor advance to follow engine speed and cam torque all the way up the power curve, just behind pinging and knocking while the engine is loaded.

CLICK HERE (http://www.squarebirds.org/penelope/390Build/Distributor.htm) for my distributor section. I hope it will give you a better idea of what's going on.

Are you using a Pertronix ignition? <--this makes a difference.

Tom is right about how you set your initial timing, it needs to be done with NO vacuum advance. So when you start the engine there is no vacuum and spark is retarded for easy starting. As soon as it fires, vacuum is produced, causing the pancake to advance the spark. As rpms increase, the centrifugal weights advance the spark to the max, which should be 'all in' at ~2,500 rpm.

There are deviations. At wide open throttle, your vacuum drops. You could be climbing a steep mountain or racing. Too much advance while climbing mountains can cause detonation (pinging & knocking), so you want to back off spark advance under extreme load. The pancake (vacuum advance) should be adjusted to do just that. When your gas pedal eases back up and the engine produces vacuum, the vacuum advance adds more spark advance, which is correct because the air-to-fuel mixture is leaner.

Let's talk about numbers. Again, they cannot be specific to your application but we can separately determine how much advance the vacuum pancake adds and how much advance the centrifugal advance adds. There are adjustment parameters (a range) on the distributor reluctor. (Refer to Picture #12) The springs counteract the weights according to engine speed.

Having a 'hot' cam, you probably need maximum advance (~38) to happen at higher rpms, because that's where your cam's torque curve maximizes. You can see this with your timing light provided you extend the numbers on your damper pulley.

Coming back down to idle speed is simply a matter of how easily things slide. Any binding with the vacuum advance linkage or plate, or binding of the center shaft in your distributor will make things 'stick'. Of course, throttle and choke linkage must work smoothly as well.

Many months back Richard Hord had a similar problem. It wouldn't kick back down to a slow idle. He noticed his linkage caused the holes to elongate. When he gave a little tap, the linkage 'let go' and the engine idled properly. - Dave

yellow98cobra
01-08-2014, 09:46 AM
I had this same problem. "Many months back Richard Hord had a similar problem. It wouldn't kick back down to a slow idle. He noticed his linkage caused the holes to elongate. When he gave a little tap, the linkage 'let go' and the engine idled properly"

I purchased a used bellcrank assembly from Bob's Bird House...

davidmij
01-08-2014, 10:02 AM
Thx Dave and Tom, your distributor section is really helpful!

First, to answer your question, I am using manifold vacuum. I initially tried the ported vacuum as the Edelbrock install DVD said to use, but I could barely get it to even run. Others on here and in articles I read on line said to use manifold instead. That worked great.

Secondly, I am using a Petronix ignition just like in your distributor section.

The engine had (and has) no pinging on any of the many steep hills around here, even while flooring it. It runs really well while accelerating, even in 4th gear at low speeds. The builder did ask me how much my car weighs before using his curving machine to set the distributor. Question; So if the car has to be under load why do they make a distributor machine that helps adjust the curve while out of the motor and on the machine? Is it just for a close base line setting? And then you need to adjust it by trial and error to fine tune it?

I didn't reset the timing after getting the distributor back. I will definitely start there! Would you guys recommend the ported vacuum or the manifold? Remember, I have a hot cam and somewhat performance motor.

If that doesn't help I will try disassembly and make sure all the moving parts of the distributor are moving freely with no binding.

One more thing; can you tell me what the adjustment of the vacuum module does? I read that it is adjusted by turning an allen wrench screw in the tube of the vacuum module. That is really all the builder adjusted - he said the rest was very close and didn't need any adjusting.

By the way, the distributor was new about 500 miles ago and has worked fine until now. So I would guess that it isn't worn anywhere. Then again, never take anything for granted.

Thanks for your help and patients with me. I know you guys are more used to helping people with a better understanding of cars and motors.

Regards, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-09-2014, 12:12 AM
David, the real question is, what is your total advance? When does it reach 'total advance'? You can answer this by using a simple timing light with a tachometer.

Why use machine? Because you can measure the above by simply attaching the points wire to a variable speed machine. It needs no timing light because it already knows the position of the drive gear. The machine cannot simulate an engine load, which is the most important part of spark advance.

No pinging or knock? You may actually need more advance (or you may not) depending... Where are you at?

Some vacuum advance pancakes are adjustable, most are not. If you are using a bone stock setup, there is no real reason to adjust. And exactly what are we adjusting? Stroke, of that little arm that pulls on the points plate. You may want more or less advance under NO load (full vacuum).

Air-to-fuel ratio (I'll call it, 'fuel mixture') is very different:
When the choke is engaged,
When the car is cruising at constant speeds,
At WOT (wide open throttle),
At normal temp idle speed,
When you press the gas pedal which squirts a shot of gas, etc.

Today's electronic fuel injection systems compensate for all that plus altitude, humidity, knock and more (without a distributor or vacuum advance module). Our classic setups are very limited in their mechanical abilities. The best we can do is tune the mixture and spark advance with the cam's torque curve at engine load. Simply called, 'tuning your engine'.

If not done right, you won't unleash all the HP your engine can produce (called, efficiency). - Dave

scumdog
01-09-2014, 01:17 AM
Thx Dave and Tom, your distributor section is really helpful!

First, to answer your question, I am using manifold vacuum. I initially tried the ported vacuum as the Edelbrock install DVD said to use, but I could barely get it to even run. Others on here and in articles I read on line said to use manifold instead. That worked great.

Would you guys recommend the ported vacuum or the manifold? Remember, I have a hot cam and somewhat performance motor.


Regards, Dave J

Stick with manifold vacuum, poerted vacuum has no place on any engine. (Except as an aid in reducing emissions).

davidmij
01-09-2014, 09:17 AM
Thx guys, I'll try to work on it this weekend weather permitting. It looks like Saturday will be the only day that it's semi-warm and not windy. I'll have my wife help me with the tachometer reading and find out what the RPM's are when it reaches total advance. I'll also note what the total advance is.

I just have to do a LOT of trial and error to feel the difference in the way it runs. I have a hard time feeling any difference in the way the car runs under load. (a "newbie" thing no doubt) Unless it's real obvious, like the way the motor would almost stall as I go from a dead stop before I had the distributor re-curved. Before the re-curve I could not let the clutch out without using any throttle. After the re-curve it was super smooth like a modern vehicle.

I'll stick with the vacuum manifold and start fresh.

Thx for the detailed info Gents, I keep learning more and more. It's fun to be gaining a better and better understanding of how everything ties together.

regards, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-09-2014, 10:37 AM
...Unless it's real obvious, like the way the motor would almost stall as I go from a dead stop before I had the distributor re-curved. Before the re-curve I could not let the clutch out without using any throttle. After the re-curve it was super smooth like a modern vehicle...You just told me that you got more HP after giving the distributor more advance at idle.

How? When you depress the gas pedal, your vacuum goes down which relaxes the vacuum advance. Letting the clutch out stalled the engine.

"After re-curve" you can let the clutch out under full vacuum advance, and it's smooth.

I'm anxious to know what your total advance is set to. - Dave

davidmij
01-10-2014, 05:29 PM
OK, the latest.
It's cold and windy but I couldn't wait to figure out what is going on so I got after it.

I reset the timing and got the idle down to 600 which is as low as I can go without it sometimes stalling at stops. I think that's to be expected with the cam. I took my tools and timing light with me and drove all over the place. Adjusting, readjusting, I went from 8 degress all the way to 12 and everywhere in between. The builder told me to set it somewhere between 10-12. As it turns out, 11 degrees seems to be the best. The high idle problem has gone away. When I come to a stop it drops back down to 600 RPM like it should. Hurray!

As best I can tell the total advance is right around 36-38 degrees. The light gets a little shaky when I rev it past the the rpm point that the advance maxes out to. (Hope that makes sense) I was alone so I don't know the exact RPM it stops rising at, but I'm pretty sure it's in the 2500-2800 range by the sound. I'll check it again tomorrow with my wife watching the tach for me.

I still don't understand how or why after setting it set it to around 680 rpm in the driveway, it would idle around 1100 rpm when I had drove it a bit and came to stops. Anyway, getting it down to 600 rpm and 11 degrees initial timing seems to have done the trick. Hopefully it stays happy.

I may drop it down to 10 degrees just because the builder said I should NEVER go over 38 total.

Any final thoughts or explanations would be appreciated.

thx a ton everyone!

Dave J

simplyconnected
01-10-2014, 10:04 PM
I'm glad you're happy. Sounds like you have improvement over the last settings and it also sounds like you are learning more as you go.

You should see the timing marks steadily climb as rpms go up. The timing marks should be rock solid if your timing chain is new with no slop, through the rpm range. (This is the reason why I love true roller chains.)

It's not a question of whether you should go over a set number, 38 is where your spark timing should peak and hold, all the way up. Rock steady.

At this point you should pay attention to the vacuum advance for a smooth idle (if you aren't already there).

I didn't hear any mention of increased HP gains... Waz up? - Dave

davidmij
01-11-2014, 10:06 AM
Thanks Dave, the timing marks do climb steadily and smoothly as RPM's go up. The timing chain is new and is a true roller. I had thought that going above 38 degrees meant that the early firing could be detremental to the motor mechanically? Can you hurt the motor this way?

The HP seems to be better. At low RPMS I don't notice much, but if I am cruising in a gear at 2500 rpm and floor the throttle (WOT) I notice it has more power and is smooth as it quickly rises and sets you back in the seat.

I think I'm pretty good with the idle, it has a rhythmic roll to it and doesn't miss once warmed up. If I watch the tach, (it's a pretty cheap tach) the needle moves between 600 rpm and 590ish rpm in a rhythmic pattern - no missing or popping.

I adjusted the idle with my vacuum gauge and it's not as rich as it was. This is probably good because we are at such high altitude. I had also pulled 4 plugs and they were slightly glossed which I read can be because of oil or a rich fuel mixture. Should I be able to see a change very soon if I look at the plugs again today after 15 or 20 miles of driving?

Also, this Edelbrock has a pump system with 3 settings. I tried them all and I don't feel any difference. I went ahead and set it on the lowest setting (less fuel squirting).

thx, Dave J

jopizz
01-11-2014, 11:21 AM
It sounds like you have the timing just about right. If you are too far advanced you will have pinging and slow cranking when hot. If you don't have either of these symptoms you are good to go. I wouldn't check the plugs until you've done a couple hundred miles of high speed driving.

John

davidmij
01-11-2014, 03:26 PM
Thx John. It'll be a while before I put that many miles on it, so I'll check it after a tank of gas.

Kind of strange again, but it's running crappy today. I went to check everything and found the distributor end of the distributor vacuum line had a little anti freeze on it. The over flow tank has a very slight seal leak and it's dripping onto the dizzy vacuum line. I pulled the line out and blew on one end and a drop of antifreeze came out the other end! That can't be good having ANY moisture getting sucked into the carb.

I fixed this tank once before but I think it's time to take it off and either replace, or have this one completely reworked. Know of anywhere with good prices on these?

thx again, Dave J

jopizz
01-12-2014, 02:14 AM
I've had my tank done twice. The first time I sent it to a place in Buffalo that was highly recommended. It cost $75 but only lasted a couple months and started leaking again. I took it to a radiator place locally and they did it for about the same price. That was six months ago and so far so good. The new ones are supposedly a piece of junk.

John

simplyconnected
01-12-2014, 06:46 AM
The old tanks are made of brass but the design is faulty.
JohnG's tank was split up the side, starting at the seam, from flexing. So, it wasn't the solder that let loose, but the tank itself.

As the tank pressurizes, the structure tends to deform into a sphere (a ball), peeling the middle seam back each time. This happens because equal pressure is exerted on all inside surface areas simultaneously. That means, if the top shell (~4"x6") sees 13-psi, then 24"sq. x 13psi =312 pounds of pressure and the bottom sees an equal 312 pounds. This increases dramatically if your radiator cap is a higher psi rating (new cars use 19psi caps). It's no wonder why these tanks leak over hundreds of heat/cold cycles.

Later model tanks featured 'ribs' which helped but didn't solve the problem. After careful examination and thinking about the design, one haunting question remained, 'how do I stop the flexing'?

I drilled three thru-holes (top-to-bottom) and soldered solid silica-bronze rods in place using close-fitting brass washers at the ends to distribute the surface area. Then I re-tinned the seam and damaged areas, and replaced the lead with silver-bearing alloy (mostly antimony and tin) which is 30% stronger than lead. No more bloating, and the seams are much happier with far less flexing. I'm showing as much reality as possible so I did not paint this tank:
http://squarebirds.org/images_ExpansionTank/DSCN0346.jpg (http://squarebirds.org/images_ExpansionTank/)
(CLICK ON THIS PICTURE to see the whole web site.)

I leak tested it and sent it back to John many months ago and I haven't heard anything negative since. - Dave

davidmij
01-12-2014, 10:56 AM
Dang Dave, you're like a cross between MacGyver and Einstein! You never cease to amaze me.

The last time I tried to solder a hole shut it wouldn't fill. I thought about taking the tank off, melting and removing all the solder and then wire wheeling it to the bare metal, then redo the entire tank. Seemed like way too much work so I opted for the old JB weld temp fix. It's held up great but now I have a small seepage from the seam. Maybe I'll coat the entire thing in marine epoxy!

simplyconnected
01-12-2014, 11:05 AM
Oh, God Bless every hair on your head, Dave Jones. Now, all I gotta do is have you speak with Robin. Maybe you can convince her of this McGyver/Einstein status.

I've been trying to convince her for many years but she ain't buyin it. But hey, thanks for the complement. It's the best one I've had in awhile. - Dave

JohnG
01-12-2014, 08:52 PM
I am happy to report that the Dave-modified tank works just fine after 1000 miles!

I was personally thinking of him more as the Feynman of Fords . . .

By the way, I too had a tank repaired by a highly reputable place in Buffalo. It lasted 50 miles before leaking . . .

Dave's approach wins because instead of applying the same old, failed solution, he thought through to the cause of the problem and addressed it. Wins all the time! :)

davidmij
01-12-2014, 11:36 PM
I had to google "Feynman". Excellent kudos to Dave, John.

So back to the original thread at hand here. The doggone car runs like crap again today. Even sputtering and a little back firing.
wEirD
One more thing I noticed. The generator light comes on at low (idling) rpms. If I rev the motor the light goes out. I don't actually have a generator, I installed the alternator setup from the donor car - a 1967 LTD 390. I is/was a new alternator 500 miles ago.
The newer (correct) damper that the builder put on the motor has a smaller pulley than the one that was with the 390. I believe he said it had to do with the AC that the LTD had. Could that smaller pulley be the problem? Definitely less rpms for the alternator.

thx, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-13-2014, 01:09 AM
Wow... first McGyver and Einstein, now Richard Feynman. I have a couple awards from Ford on my office wall but neither are quite as prestigious or complementary. John is the man, and often he doubles as my 'test guinea pig' for my new ideas. I don't have a Ford with an expansion tank and John had a couple broken 'spares'. I am happy to solve any nagging problem you guys have, especially if it means more trips for Mandy's Dairy Queen treats.

Throughout my life, I've been challenged by insurmountable goals. The name, 'David', is insuperable to live up to. Then, I learned my family was the first English-born in N. America (Virginia Dare). Dad's middle name is, Churchill and mine is Lloyd. These are our family names from Wales and are hard acts to follow.

Now, John likens me to a MIT graduate and Nobel Prize winning physicist. Well, there may still be hope because Richard Feynman died in 1988, and my ancestors are gone too, leaving some slots open as long as I'm still kickin'. Ha!

...Kind of strange again, but it's running crappy today. I went to check everything and found the distributor end of the distributor vacuum line had a little anti freeze on it. The over flow tank has a very slight seal leak and it's dripping onto the dizzy vacuum line. I pulled the line out and blew on one end and a drop of antifreeze came out the other end!..
Dave, don't mess around with this. Check your oil for antifreeze before your bearings are ruined. I would drain it into a pan and carefully inspect it. Replace with fresh motor oil, I don't care how new the old oil is.

We have all heard horror stories about how FE intake manifolds don't like to seal properly and how the coolant ports leak into the intake ports. I hope this isn't the case, but your engine is new and you don't want to harm it in any way.

Plug ALL your leaks as none of them are acceptable. Look for obvious faults, like spark plug wires arcing (inspect at night). Suspect fuel quality. Keep a close eye on your exhaust for any kind of smoke. Plug your vacuum line and re-check timing. Then, recheck your carb settings.

Damper pulley diameter and GEN/ALT lights have nothing to do with how your engine runs. In fact, if your idle speed is too low, I would expect your GEN light to shine. When I first put a 100amp alt on my Y-block, it squealed like a pig. Then I replaced the alt pulley with a LARGER one. That gave more surface area for the belt and it gave more 'lever' to turn the alt shaft more easily. Of course, the alt ran slower but that made no difference in performance. - Dave

davidmij
01-13-2014, 11:24 AM
Thx Dave, I read somewhere that the FE intakes can have air leaks too. One guy said he re-torqued the bolts and his vacuum went back up. Do you know of any way to check the intake for vacuum leaks.

The oil seems good, but I'll drain it this weekend. The amount of antifreeze involved with the tank leak was super minimal. If it did draw any into the carb via the vacuum I would think it went out the tail pipe. HOWEVER, I will definitely take your advice and not run it again until I can change the oil.

I'll check the plug wires, etc in the dark after the oil change.

I DID re-fuel at a different gas station for the first time, and now that I think about it, it did start running worse after just a couple of miles of driving. Glad you mentioned that! But would that cause backfire?

One more thing. I've been setting the timing with the engine running around 580-600 rpms. I leave it there when done and drive it like that. Should I maybe crank up the carburetor fast idle screw to around 650 or higher after I finish setting the timing - you know, because of my cam?

On a side note, my mother is a Brit, and has Wales roots. And, I'm a David. However I am a scathing example of the Albuquerque school systems short comings.
;0)

thx, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-13-2014, 12:09 PM
...I DID re-fuel at a different gas station for the first time, and now that I think about it, it did start running worse after just a couple of miles of driving. Glad you mentioned that! But would that cause backfire?...Absolutely! You might get anything from a gas station.

Start there. If you have a temporary setup you can connect with a fresh gallon of gas, that might save you a whole lot of time and headaches.

As far as intake leaks, I run an UNLIT propane torch around where the intake and heads mate. If your rpms go up, you got a leak.

Don't let your idle lope. Set your timing at low rpm, then when done, raise the idle to about 650-700rpm.

Have you got a canister fuel filter? Those are the best kind. If so, unscrew it and look inside the can. It will give you an idea of what you're feeding your holley.

BTW, what octane are you using? Start high (93), and slowly mix lower octane until you can tell a difference. I would not buy full tanks of gas at first. A quarter tank is five gal's.

Yeah, I was the last of five and really never liked school until I realized the importance of education (and how dumb I really was). Mom was an Algebra teacher at my HS. When I told her I didn't want to go to college she said, "Then, that's the last place you should go." I **** near dropped my teeth. She said, if I didn't like school that I won't do well and I would simply waste my money and eventually drop out.

All her relatives were skilled tradesmen and very successful business owners. It was Mom, who encouraged me to find a trade because I enjoyed working with my hands. Mom was one of the smartest women I have ever known. God, I miss her...

davidmij
01-13-2014, 03:28 PM
A car guy I work with asked me how my weekend went. I told him I spent it messing with my car and that I had it running pretty good, but then all of sudden it started running like crap. He said, "sounds like bad fuel to me".

The unlit propane torch is genius, thx!

Yes, I have an inline canister fuel filter. It was new 300 miles ago with the new motor. I'll check it.

The builder said premium 92 should run fine. The best they have here in my area is 91. I think I'll try 2 gallon temporary source can I have and use a gallon at a time. Then add octane booster in correct increments to see how it does. My compression is 10.5 to 1.

I never went to college either. The first job I had was working for a technical contracting company that bid and worked on all kinds of jobs, mostly government. Everything from pounding nails, to building electronic circuit boards. Worked with lathes, mills, painting, remodeling military vans inside and out, trailers, electronic racks, ALL one off custom jobs. Used every hand or machine tool imaginable. It was AWESOME. They went out of business and I got a factory job at GE. Yuck. It's been downhill ever since. Then a job here at Los Alamos National Lab doing computer desktop repair. Don't like that either, but I have just 4 more years and I can retire.
Thank god my kids are smart, and doing what the like! Must have taught them something right.

Dave J

davidmij
01-17-2014, 07:41 PM
Update on what I tried today.

Thursday night I fired up the bird after work (in the dark) and looked for any arc's etc from the plug boots and wires - no problems that I could see. I also inspected them all this morning.

Today I drained the oil and inspected it. Looks very good.

I checked for leaks around the intake, and around the carb base using the unlit propane and found no problems.

Pulled the fuel filter. I was a little surprised at the pressure, and the gas that shot out. However blowing through it backwards showed nothing but clean gas.

Double checked the timing and reset it.

Everything seems fine.

Oh, and I also added an octane booster to the approximately half full tank.

Soooo, tomorrow I guess I'll buy a 1 to 2 gallon gas can and try to figure out how to rig up a temporary tank so I can make sure I don't have a tank full of crappy fuel. Do I need to have the fuel pump in line? I think that's a dumb question because I imagine it must need a certain amount of pressure.

Stay tuned........

simplyconnected
01-18-2014, 12:32 AM
Dave, remember this?
...Start there. If you have a temporary setup you can connect with a fresh gallon of gas, that might save you a whole lot of time and headaches...

JohnG
01-18-2014, 07:40 AM
Dave, tell us about your ignition system. Is it stock? If not, what got upgraded?

Have you taken a plug out to see what it looks like? There might be potential information sitting there. Also what gap are you running?

John

davidmij
01-18-2014, 09:33 AM
Yes, I did Dave, as a matter of fact I made a list and noted all the things you said to check and went though them one at a time. I saved the temporary gas can one for last because I can't really figure out a safe way to hook up a temporary tank that I can run under a load - in other words, drive the car with the temporary tank in place. I think I have a relatively safe idea I'll try today though.

John, the system is stock but it's from a 67 LTD, not a 59 T-bird. I used all the stuff from my engine donor car. The dizzy is a stock replacement that was replaced about 500 miles ago. I inspected the dizzy cap and stock plug wires. It does have a Petronix point (non points) set up. I was thinking I would check the plugs also today. They are slightly glossy last time I checked and the gaps are all good, I believe .035? But I haven't inspected them since the problem started. I'll try to take pictures of them as well.

Thx guys!

JohnG
01-18-2014, 09:48 AM
I would suggest at some point you get a higher output coil than stock (whether Squarebird stock or '67 stock). The coil should be compatible with the Pertronix (you might get one from them). You can never have too good a spark but you can certainly suffer from a weak one. If your engine is not stock (more compression or cam), all the more reason.

None of that is to say spark is the cause of your current problem necessarily. Just that good spark is always desireable.

I am curious as to what "glossy" means with regard to the plugs. If it is like "glazed", this is not good.

simplyconnected
01-18-2014, 12:04 PM
Now wait a minute...
What's this in post #5?...Secondly, I am using a Petronix ignition just like in your distributor section.
...
Good advice on the plugs, John. High compression engines with hot cams tend to foul plugs very easily. (That's another reason why we keep rpms high.)

I had a buddy back in the old days, with Duster 340. He stuck a cam in an already hot engine. Every week he was buying plugs, but the car was screamin' fast. - Dave

simplyconnected
01-18-2014, 12:06 PM
Now wait a minute...
What's this in post #5?...Secondly, I am using a Petronix ignition just like in your distributor section.
... That means it isn't stock and it really needs that coil John mentioned.
Good advice on the plugs, John. High compression engines with hot cams tend to foul plugs very easily. (That's another reason why we keep rpms high.)

I had a buddy back in the old days, with a Duster 340. He stuck a cam in an already hot engine. Every week he was buying plugs, but the car was screamin' fast. - Dave

davidmij
01-18-2014, 01:12 PM
Hmm, the coil work well for the first 300 miles. Here's what I have; http://www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/Duralast-Ignition-Coil/1969-Ford-LTD/_/N-iqz2uZ9n80r?itemIdentifier=111849_0_17367_

Should I upgrade to this guy?
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/MSD-Ignition-Coil-Performance/_/N-a0466?itemIdentifier=139528&_requestid=1037148

So do sparkplugs fail at lower idle then Dave? I am now running the idle at 680-700 rpm.

thx, Dave J

tbird430
01-18-2014, 01:20 PM
I would add the black Petronix "flamethrower" coil & open spark plug gap some... :cool:

davidmij
01-18-2014, 01:28 PM
I just checked 4 plugs and they look much better. I recently leaned out my idle mixture screws because of our altitude. Here's a link with pictures. They used to look like the 2nd picture from left to right on the top that says, "Fuel fouled". But now they look like the 1st picture that says, "Normal".

http://autopartsinfo.blogspot.com/2012/04/bad-spark-plug-symptoms.html

Dave J

JohnG
01-18-2014, 02:46 PM
"I would add the black Petronix "flamethrower" coil & open spark plug gap some"

Yes!!

You aren't just replacing a coil. Rather you are replacing part of the system (ignition). The components need to work together, so you get a coil that goes with the triggering mechanism you have - Pertronix in your case. Same thing is true if you have points/ballast/coil. The values for each need to be coordinated. So buy what those guys recommend.

IF the spark is weak (and the ones back in those days usually were) then the new plugs briefly do ok but in the process gain small deposits which reduces the chance of the spark happening. The high compression can help snuff it out as well.

The .035" plug gap from the good old days is indicative of weak spark. Ballpark of .050" is quite possible with upgraded equipment.

As before: you can't have too good of a spark.

davidmij
01-18-2014, 04:56 PM
OK, I managed to strapped a 2 gallon gas can in above the power steering unit and run fresh gas through it - no help.
Hext I pulled one plug at a time and replaced it with an old one that was known to be good.
YES!!!
Sparkplug number 7 was the culprit.

Next question(s); Can you guys recommend a better spark plug that won't foul out as easily as the stock ones?

I am ordering that "Flame Thrower" today John. When I get the new coil what plug gap should I try first? Should I really go up to .050? Or more like .040?

OK, one more question; my oil tube for the dip stick doesn't stay in the block when I pull the dipstick out. I bought a replacement one but it does the same thing, thus I imagine the hole in the block is a little worn. Even if I attach it to the header bolt I think it will have a slight, slight oil leak.

Thx a Gazillion for the step by step help Dave Dare and everyone!

JohnG
01-18-2014, 07:19 PM
plug gap? Let's say 20% wider so .042. That should work just fine. If your other problems are solved and the car running well, sneak up on .050" in maybe 1 increment.

Sometime take a look at your spark plug wires. Consider metal core wires. That way the most possible voltage will be there and not wasted on wire resistance. I have bought new Accel wires in the past on Ebay for dirt cheap. You assemble yourself.

davidmij
01-19-2014, 05:20 PM
Greetings, beautiful day here.
I ordered the coil and wires.

I had the boss sit in the car and tell me what RPM's I was at when all out advance was reached. It didn't reach the full 38 degrees until 4200 rpm? I thought it should reach it at about 2500 - 2800? What does this tell me guys?

I also tried upping the initial timing to 13 and WOW, what difference in power all across the spectrum - especially at low RPM's. It didn't ping or miss at all. Then I had the boss check the full out 38 degrees advanced RPM's and they are still right around 38-39 degrees.

What do you guys make of this? Can you tell me anything? I had thought that it was closer to 2800 judging by ear, but I was way off.

thx, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-19-2014, 07:11 PM
...It didn't reach the full 38 degrees until 4200 rpm? I thought it should reach it at about 2500 - 2800? What does this tell me guys?..This gets back to the guy who 'curves' your distributor.

I explain all that in my site, showing the weights that throw out, the springs that hold the weights back, and the mechanical stops. Go back and read it with the understanding that the advance stops at 38 degrees.

If the weights cannot reach full advance until 4,200 rpm, then the springs are far too stiff.

I cannot help but remember that you were quite satisfied with the distributor, the way it was set up. Let me say again, that distributor has no clue as to the cam you are using, the load on your engine or your altitude. Tuning your engine will take many adjustments over many trials. You can tell when your moves are in the right direction or not.

A word of caution... Upon starting your engine, you need the timing to be retarded a LOT. Do not make the starter motor fight pistons that are firing before TDC.

So, by manually advancing your distributor at idle, you are simulating the job that your distributor curve is supposed to do.

Bottom line... If you reach a total of 38 degrees, don't advance the distributor any more. Instead, change your springs to make it happen sooner (or later). If you get any pinging, go back to heavier spring(s). - Dave

davidmij
01-19-2014, 08:51 PM
Thx Dave.

I'm finding out that my total lack of experience is handing me a large learning curve. I have nothing to compare with because I haven't ever done this before, thus, I don't know what it should feel and sound like. A prime example would be the fouling plug. If one of you guys could have driven the car I'm guessing you would said right away, "sure feels like a bad plug".

I'm surprised because I took the dizzy to the builder (who knows my motor) and he said it looked good, just needed the vacuum canister adjusted. (which by the way I don't understand at all) I found internet instructions by Moroso about an adjustable vacuum advance but that was all I could find on line. No Youtube videos or anything explaining how to adjust it and why.

I'm going to buy some lighter springs, pull the distributor and see what's in there. I'm guessing they are the heavier springs. If so I'll replace one of them with a lighter one and see how that does. Like you said, a LOT of trial and error.

One other thing; If I set my fast idle screw on the Edel carb up to 700 rpm idle and then rev the gas pedal the idle shoots up to 1100 rpm and won't drop back down unless I pull the vacuum line from the dizzy. But as soon as I plug it back in it sucks the vacuum canister arm and the idle goes back up to 1100. It seems to me that lighter springs would make it even easier for the vacuum to pull (advance) the dizzy springs. Does what I'm saying make sense to you?

Time to watch the football games I recorded - I'm tired and need to unwind with a cool one.

thanks again, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-20-2014, 01:53 AM
Hot rodding is an area where you're pretty much on your own when you deviate from 'stock'. That's not a bad thing but you really need to know what you're doing; what goal to expect and how to get there. 'Learn as you go' only works for stock motors because they are pre-engineered and come complete with a service manual.

Your guy running the distributor machine had to know when your total advance kicked in. He had to. Instead of charting it for you, my understanding is, he handed it back and said it's ok the way it is. That raised my eyebrows because stock distributors are notorious for reaching full advance at very high rpms.

You do not need to pull your distributor. In fact, you don't have to loosen any bolts. You can if you want to but that would be for the convenience of working on a bench. I carefully documented 'how to do' an FE distributor on my site, showing 18 pictures and performing these moves with instructions. I invested a long time showing as much detail as possible, including spring removal. Your Shop Manual and my site agree with each other, telling the same story a couple different ways.

Speed shops sell distributor spring sets. This is nothing new because we have recurved distributors for fifty years or more.

Let's put things in perspective. At 2,500 rpm, the distributor is moving 1,200 rpm. That speed matches a common AC motor, like a washing machine motor (which goes 1175 or 1200 rpm using 60~ power). At 2,500 rpm, you should see full advance. In my estimation, that isn't very fast and those little centrifugal weights aren't very heavy. Consequently, many hot rodders use light springs on both sides of the reluctor arm as a starting point.

Regarding your idle speed dropping down, make sure your springs are not sloppy, and that they do return the weights AND the reluctor arm and pivot plate moves freely. If your little plastic bushings are gone or the springs are not tight on their posts, that could cause the idle speed to stick. Simply go through the distributor and make sure the whole thing is cleaned, lubed, and working smoothly. This should have been done before the first attempt to recurve. BTW, the vacuum advance only pulls on the pivot plate, not the springs or reluctor arm.

All these timing components (chain, sprockets, cam, vacuum advance, distributor reluctor and bushings) are important parts of the valve and ignition system. You need to understand the role each one plays and how they interact. In a production engine, where all products are the same, many experienced engine engineers have fine tuned the system for you. - Dave

davidmij
01-20-2014, 11:14 AM
Thx Dave, I hadn't thought of just leaving the dizzy in and working on it - probably because your pictures show it out of the car. I'm sure you did that to show the best pictures and of course the gear removal.

Regarding the vacuum advance canister, does the allen wrench adjustment just make it easier (or harder) to pull the pivot plate? If so does anyone know if being clockwise or counter clockwise make it tougher to move?

thx, Dave J

davidmij
01-20-2014, 07:21 PM
I took the dizzy apart and cleaned it thoroughly. Wasn't too dirty but it wasn't super clean either. I have the 18 and 13 weights for a total of 31 in the dizzy. I had one thick spring and one thin. I decided to stretch the thick one just a tad - I'm not actually sure I did anything to it, but hey. I mark my damper with model paint at 10,20,30, and 38 degrees. I plugged the vacuum line and used a string to hold the throttle at 2500 rpms. (had no helper today)The damper marks read 34 degrees. I wrapped the string around one more time and it was at 38 degrees all in. I quickly checked the tach and it was at 3300 rpm. It was getting pretty hot (and probably ******* off the neighbors) so I shut it down.

Soooo, I don't know exactly where it hit 38 degrees, but it was somewhere between 2500 and 3300.

It's running better than it ever has, and the idle is dropping back down pretty well at stops.

I'll play with it some more next weekend - back to work tomorrow.

thx, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-21-2014, 08:06 AM
I took the dizzy apart and cleaned it thoroughly. Wasn't too dirty but it wasn't super clean either.
I'm more concerned with how smoothly the parts move, especially the reluctor arm. There should be a bit of felt on top to hold oil, and keep the center shaft lubed.
It's running better than it ever has, and the idle is dropping back down pretty well at stops...Most mechanics stop at this point, because of diminishing returns. Investing more time in it will produce better results but at the going rate of mechanics' pay, it's good enough.

This situation is different, as I'm sure you found out. The distributor guy did nothing but charge you for running your dizzy on his machine. Professional? No, but typical. He didn't know what he was doing and at the time, you were satisfied with his findings and professional opinion. Your engine wasn't happy.

This isn't one of those, 'I told you so' but the only way I can persuade you is with a much better understanding, which usually produces better results. The proof is in the puddin'.

The other factor is, you are not paying premium prices for someone else's time. I tip my hat to you for doing and learning your engine. This overturns; 'but I was told..' into 'now, you know.' If you aren't sure about something, ask an open forum of mechanics, and weigh the advice before making a move.

I am particularly delighted that you are finding better results. Your engine has 'hidden' hp and you are finding it. There is much more to 'tuning' than changing plugs and points. - Dave

davidmij
01-21-2014, 10:07 AM
Thx Dave,
To best describe the way that it was dirty - there was a fine coating of oil on everything - the oil had small bits of sand like dirt. I'm sure the abrasivness of the dirt wasn't good for the plate sliding back and forth and the pivot points. The top of the rotor where the clip is had fresh grease, but no felt. When I reassembled it I put a drop of Marvel mystery oil on each nylon pad and on the pivot points. (Just one drop.) Everything is sliding very nice and freely.

I adjusted the vacuum canister up and down the range of turns via allen wrench. I then sucked on the end to activate it and didn't notice any difference throughout the range. I left it somewhere in the middle.

I now fully understand what you preach about doing your own carb work, and doing your own timing. You HAVE to if you want to be able to get the best performance out of your set up without having to take the car to a mechanic over and over and over again. That was my intention all the time - to be able to do my own work.

I will get a buddy to help me Friday with watching the tach as I get an exact RPM reading for all in at 38 degrees.

Being that my timing light is right at 12-13 degrees shouldn't my all in be at 43 or 44 degrees? (31 plus 12-13) That would be scarey.



I really appreciate your help, sorry to be hogging all your time and knowledge on the forum.

regards, Dave J

simplyconnected
01-21-2014, 11:14 AM
...Being that my timing light is right at 12-13 degrees shouldn't my all in be at 43 or 44 degrees? (31 plus 12-13) That would be scarey...Huh???
Which reluctor arm did you use? I will assume you used L13. This is covered in my site.
Because the distributor is half the crank, 13 X 2 = 26 degrees. Now, you just added 12 degrees of initial timing, so 12 + 26 = 38 degrees!

Isn't that what we were shooting for all along? Where are all your pictures? I'd rather see what's going on, to better explain it to you.

Now that you are done with 'all in' timing, the only adjustment you need is, 'how soon does it get there'. That's what the springs do.

Vacuum advance is another story. It only comes in when your foot is light on the gas pedal, NOT when you take off at a light, not when you pass a truck, climb mountains, etc. Think about it. when your foot opens the carb, vacuum drops and so does the vacuum advance. When you're 'at speed' you get the most vacuum. So, now we have the centrifugal weights sensing engine speed AND a vacuum advance sensing acceleration.

We talked about starting. How much vacuum does your engine have then? NONE. At the same time, the weights are retracted, and that's good because we don't need pistons fighting the starter motor with too much advance. As soon as it starts, you get full vacuum and vacuum advance. As the engine speed slowly increases, the weights further advance the reluctor arm and rotor. At wide open throttle, the vacuum advance backs off. - Dave

davidmij
01-21-2014, 06:10 PM
Whoops, sorry Dave. I added the 18 and 13 to get 31 - that's totally wrong. I forgot it's 2 times the number of the side you are using. In my case the 13. So I have 26 plus my advance of 12-13 equals 38-39.

I only took two pictures for re-assembly. I didn't get one after the two plates were out so I don't have one of the reluctor arm. I never took out the reluctor arm itself, I cleaned it by holding it upside down and squirting a quick shot of brake cleaner. Then I blew it all out with the air hose.

I stretched the heavy spring by pushing a little screwdriver in between the coils and turning it. Like I said, I don't know if I really did anything at all, but I wanted to go easy cuz I knew I couldn't un-stretch it. I'll work with that some more soon, probably this weekend when I can utilize a helper for tach reading.

Thanks for the last two paragraphs, I think I understand better now how the vacuum works. With the throttle steady/constant at any speed the carb is only open so far. The engine is trying to draw more air and thus creating a vacuum. When you push the gas pedal it opens the throttle blades and allows more air, thus the vacuum drops. Am I correct?

thx, Dave J.

davidmij
01-22-2014, 05:31 PM
Found this really good timing article that helped me with vacuum advance.
http://www.fordmuscle.com/archives/2000/03/timing/index.shtml

Thought I would share.

Dave J

simplyconnected
01-22-2014, 07:33 PM
Yep, it kinda goes along with my numbers.
Did you notice they don't mind going farther than 38 degrees?
I still get irate just thinking of your distributor guy who did nothing but feed you BS.
Yes, wide open throttle (WOT) produces zero vacuum. Hot cams do the same. - Dave

davidmij
01-23-2014, 09:39 AM
Yeah, it kind of bugs me too, although I'm not totally convinced he was dishonest about the curve yet. Once I find out tomorrow what my all in RPM's are at then I'll know. And I WILL give him a call and a chance to explain what he did.

He told me he hooked it up and it looked fine so he checked the vacuum advance and it was a ways off. I should have asked what it was "all in at". Because he didn't actually have to change any springs or adjust it he just charged me $20 instead of the usual $75. However I didn't go to him because I wanted to save money, I went to him because I wanted it run the best it is capable of.

Dave J

davidmij
01-24-2014, 03:04 PM
OK, just finished checking the "all in" rpm's with the help of my father-in-law.
All in is 38 degrees.
The rpm's at "all in" were 3500.
At 3000 rpm it was at ~36, and at 2500 it was at 34 degrees.

So I'm going to get one those springs kits from NAPA and work it more toward 2500 rpm for all in. Might be next weekend before I can get to that.

dave J

davidmij
01-31-2014, 11:27 AM
Installed the new (and correct) Pertronix coil, Autolite 45 plugs, new vacuum advance canister, and Accel plug wires. Re-tuned and timed everything over and over to the point where it's running and staring real nice. Even stretched the large timing curve spring a little more as you can sort of see in this picture. Have you ever seen badging like this?

The motor seems to have a slight vibration. I installed a new fan clutch, do you think this could cause a noticeable vibration? It even feel like it vibrates while idling.

thx!