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  • Vacuum advance

    The vacuum advance in my '58 is not going to work. The return spring has way too much pull, so in effect it is disabled. My breaker plate moves easily with the vacuum advance taken off.

    The replacement advances I've found all have the off-center arm. My '58 has a straight arm for the vacuum advance.

    Should I just get a rebuilt distributor that has everything upgraded? Sources, suggestions?
    sigpic

    CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

  • #2
    Hey James,
    I was fiddling with mine and broke one of the screw bosses off my distributor. I went to O'Rielies auto parts and had them get me a new one. I marked the way rotor button was, took old one out, put new one in and changed out guts. Button everything down got in Christine and she fired right up. Had to take timing light and fine tune.
    Richard D. Hord
    sigpic'60 Thunderbird "Christine"
    Registry #33436

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    • #3
      The answer depends on a couple things:

      * how fast do you want it up and running properly

      * how original you want to keep it

      * how you want it to perform.

      I found the timing was flaky on mine and that lead me to finding the bushing in the distributor was worn out. I walked into the auto parts store and had a replacement within a few hours. Maybe $60 ?? So that was the quick fix.

      You can send yours out and have it rebuilt. In the process you can have it "curved" to get near optimum performance. This will take longer and cost more. They decide when it should be firing at full advance and then put weights and springs in that accomplish this.

      You can get a junker and steal parts from it for yours. I would want to make sure the diaphram was working properly and had no holes in it, not to mention the bushings (does it have much side to side play?)


      John
      1958 Hardtop
      #8452 TBird Registry
      http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...tryNumber=8452


      photo: http://www.squarebirds.org/users/joh...d_June2009.jpg
      history:
      http://www.squarebirds.org/users/johng/OCC.htm

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      • #4
        Thanks for the suggestions. Oreily's is not able to look anything up directly for a pre-1962 car. Are all the 352 distributors the same, i.e. a '63 Galaxie? Are other FE engines the same, like 390 or a 360 truck?
        sigpic

        CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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        • #5
          Hey James,
          The 352, 390, 406 and 427 are the same blocks! (I think that is correct, I know the 352 and the 390 are the same) You are correct O'Rielies book and computers only go back to 1962. Have someone there call the main company, they will cross reference it for you. Mine was for a 1962 390!
          Richard D. Hord
          sigpic'60 Thunderbird "Christine"
          Registry #33436

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          • #6
            I've got a '62 Fairlane 390 distributor ordered from OReily's. We'll see how it compares when it comes in tomorrow. Thanks for suggestions everyone!
            sigpic

            CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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            • #7
              I think I'm going to have two options. Get the rebuilt one now to get going quickly and keep the old one to be rebuilt possibly at some time later.
              sigpic

              CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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              • #8
                [quote=Astrowing;35619]I've got a '62 Fairlane 390 distributor ordered from OReily's.quote]

                Hi Astrowing, I'm not sure you've got the right one coming. To the best of my knowledge 1962 was the first year of the compact Fairlane, which never had a 390 - its V8 was a windsor small block. I'd hate for the wrong one to turn up, it might pay to double check?

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                • #9
                  You are probably right if it is for a Fairlane. Most of them were 260's or 289's. I did see the 390 on the order form though, so who knows what I'll get.
                  sigpic

                  CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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                  • #10
                    It was for a 390 and the correct one. Got it installed this evening and working. I believe I'm getting better combustion so the timing is more accurate than the original distributor. I don't think anything had ever been done to it. We're talking original over 50 years old!

                    I was also working on the brakes this evening so didn't get a chance to really play with the timing because I had to move it over one tooth to get the vaccum advance away from the fuel pump lines. Once I get the timing light out and set it all up, I think it will be much better.

                    Is everyone using vacuum advance from the base of the cabuerator, which was the factory way to do it? Or the other option is to use full manifold vacuum?
                    sigpic

                    CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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                    • #11
                      Good skills! Sorry to scare ya!

                      the 390 in my '62 has a hard line from the vacuum canister (the smaller of the two lines in the photo) that threads into the side of the carb rather than the intake manifold, this is how it came as stock.

                      Glad it's all working out

                      Cheers

                      Alistair
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Vacuum advance

                        If you will do a Search on "Timing" you will find some very good posts on how to time these old Tbirds. Often times a timing light can be a waste of time. Keep in mind that, after 50 years, the timing mark that you see when you put your timing light on it might have slipped! There is rubber between those two units, and if it has dried out, it might have allowed there to be slippage. As I recall, when they were trying to time mine right with a timing light, they finally figured out that the timing mark was not in the same position where it was supposed to be when it was new. It had slipped, so they relied on timing it by ear, as others have done, and test driving it.

                        Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                        '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                        "It's Hip To Be Square"
                        Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                        Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

                        http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                        • #13
                          What is there that is rubber that would affect the timing? There is a metal timing chain between the crank and the cam and the distributor is driven by a metal gear off the cam. The metal timing chain could have "stretched" and then you have a valve timing issue also. Thanks for suggestions!

                          So far it seems like the engine likes more advance at idle, but less advance under load than I can set it up for. It could be that I don't have good enough gas in it yet; still has some regular gas. Once I get it driveable, I'm going to put some premium in it.
                          sigpic

                          CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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                          • #14
                            Vacuum advance

                            I was speaking of the crankshaft damper where the timing marks are. The section in the middle is made of rubber. Over the years, the rubber can dry out or wear, causing the two parts to slip some, which can put the timing mark in a different location than it was when it came out of the factory. Which means that your timing mark is no longer where it should be. Maybe one of the guys can explain it better than I can. I might be using the wrong terminology.

                            Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                            '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                            "It's Hip To Be Square"
                            Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                            Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

                            http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                            • #15
                              Ray, you got it. AKA Harmonic Damper, Harmonic Balancer.
                              Ken
                              1959 J Convertible
                              1960 J Hardtop

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