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-   1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14)
-   -   timing question from a newb. (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=9300)

Dakota Boy 07-24-2010 06:31 PM

timing question from a newb.
car acts like it has no spark when engine is cold. So I adjust the timing by turning the distributor clockwise ('73 460 engine) a bit, and it fires up.

Then when the motor is hot, and I go to start it again, it wont hardly turn over, like the battery is very weak (it definitely is not).

So again, I turn the distributor a bit COUNTER-clockwise.... and it starts up.

What the heck? Is it that sensitive that I have to have the distributor set within a millimeter or two of the "optimum" position, or is there something else I am missing?

JohnG 07-24-2010 09:13 PM

The part where it won't turn over well when hot makes me think it is too advanced, but this is based on really old recollections and questionable.

I would want to get a timing light on it when running and see about where things are and more, if the advances (mech & vac) are working. Always possible for one to have rust and the other a leak.

Dakota Boy 07-24-2010 09:45 PM

that sounds logical.

the car has just started acting this way in the last month or so.

simplyconnected 07-24-2010 10:26 PM

John's right.

I would like to know if the vacuum advance works properly. Also, what cam are you running? Do you have good vacuum at the distributor? Do the counter weights and springs work?

Ignition timing is spread over a WIDE range when everything works correctly.

Understand, when you pull the vacuum hose off to time the car, your timing retards, and THAT is where you set the distributor. Return the hose, and your idle immediately jumps up because the vacuum advance arm pulls the points plate back until vacuum drops off and the rpm's get high enough for the counter weights to take over.

When you start, there is little or no vacuum and the timing is retarded for easier starts. Folks who run with a broken vacuum diaphragm never get that strong, slow, smooth, idle from the vacuum advance. - Dave

Rigormortor 07-30-2010 09:55 PM

Yep, I would check the timing with a light, disconnect the vacuum line and plug it with a golf T or anything.... set the timing then reconnect the vacuum line. I see a big problem with my car if the timing is way off, it acts the same way, like the battery is dead. I agree with the others as the timing being off.

Dakota Boy 08-15-2010 03:04 PM

This morning at church, I was talking to a guy who has several old cars. A hot-rodded 40's Chevy truck, a Corvair, a couple old VW bugs (apparently one of them can trounce alot of Mustangs)...


He said he had a car that, when the motor was hot, it would act like mine (would not/would barely turn over when trying to re-start the motor). It drove him crazy for a while, but then he put a new starter on the car, and that solved it.

He also said to try to shield the starter from heat as much as possible. The exhaust pipe on my car is maybe 2 or 3 inches from the starter motor.


thanks guys

simplyconnected 08-16-2010 03:06 PM

Here's one opinion:
Did you ever have a power window that got REAL sluggish? Then, after replacing the motor, it sprang back to life? Why?

Disregarding mechanical drag (because it is the same for both motors), what happened to the old motor?

* Brushes wear down to nothing,

* Overloaded starting (from cranking too long, or timing is too advanced) will cook field and/or armature windings. As a result, the copper can no longer pass as much current (because wire resistance increases).

* Starter motors have a 'Duty Cycle'. Cranking at 300-amps for ten seconds, they may need as much as ten to fifteen minutes to cool down. There are NO provisions for cooling a Ford starter motor. Excessive cranking causes windings to become hot enough to melt the solder connections at the commutator segments, too.

So, a symptom of past abuse is slow cranking.

Dakota Boy 08-16-2010 10:00 PM

With all my little issues over the last year with this 'n that, I probably have made life a little hard for my starter. :o

Any recommendations for replacements? One of those $200 "high-torque" Powermaster units? New? Rebuilt?

One of these units for 50 bucks?

Oh, and I'm making a neat little heat shield out of some stainless sheetmetal we have lying in the junk bin at work. Or is that a waste of time?

simplyconnected 08-17-2010 03:37 AM

Greg, keep things in perspective. If your starter needed a heat shield it would have come with one.

I can see having a spare starter in your garage (just in case). But, these old engines had low compression ratios. The original type starters worked just fine. If your starter still works ok, there's no reason to run out and buy another at a high price.

If you happen to see a good one for a decent price, you may want to buy it as a spare. You know the drill: When a starter goes out, the only ones available are usually high priced and you need one now. Check out your local Auto Electric shops. Those places sell good stuff with a written waranty. Buying on eBay is like shaking dice, "with no waranty expressed or implied".

Dakota Boy 08-18-2010 09:17 PM

thanks all

I learn more and more with each passing day.

I've had this car for just over a year now, and it's been a good experience so far. I'm also learning that patience is a good virtue to develop when dealing with these old machines.

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