Originally Posted by VinceBird
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