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Subject: 9N Spark/No Spark

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John Parker    Posted 01-20-2019 at 12:05:50 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • 9N Spark/No Spark
  • My 9N starts with good spark and runs good for about 2 minutes and loses spark. It does the same thing consistently every day after sitting overnight. After losing spark checked voltage to coil (6.24 DCV). Replaced the following: Sleeve bearings, points, condenser, condenser insulator, coil, coil wire, rotor, distributor cap, and the resistor. I checked continuity to make sure nothing is grounded. I'm way past plan A. Any suggestions?

    K.LaRue-VA    Posted 01-23-2019 at 18:21:29 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • New parts are no guarantee that they are good parts. That may seem wrong but the fact is replacement parts from China are not getting any better. When there is a problem, just replacing parts is more likely to create new problems than fix anything. Based on repeating identical symptoms this seems like a coil heating up and breaking down. After the coil cools it starts working again.

    Look at the ignition resistor and wiring ahead of the coil. Has the resistor been bypassed? If so, that's a good way to quickly fry a new coil.

    A bad or improperly rated condenser would cause the points to quickly become pitted and fail. If the faces of the points look nice and smooth, the condenser is good.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 01-22-2019 at 17:20:58 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • How are you 'losing spark' and how are you checking for spark? If tractor starts and runs for a few minutes then quits, seems to me it is a more of a fuel issue. Do you have the fuel sediment bulb valve open 2 Turns? Have you performed the fuel flow test? By the way, what are sleeve bearings??? If you pass spark and fuel flow test, the next step is wiring. And, NO, NO, NO, EI or a 12V switch out job is not a fix for your issues. If it ain't running now on 6-VOLTS, how will these fix the problem??? Don't be sucked into that mental-midget thinking 12v or EI is better; they have their merits, but in no way are they the cure-all for non-starting/non-running 6V/POS GRN systems. Your 6V/POS GRN wiring should have the OEM Ballast Resistor, 6V coil, ammeter, 1-wire starter motor with NO solenoid, 1 wire/3-Brush generator, Round Can Cutout; ignition switch, and neutral safety starter pushbutton. Lights were options. If you have them disconnect until you find the true root cause of your problem. Do you have an I&T FO-4 manual?

    Tim Daley(MI)

    9N WIRING:


    John Parker    Posted 01-22-2019 at 20:16:25 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • I have a plug spark test light hooked up to a plug so I can watch the spark. It starts and runs a couple of minutes with good spark off the generator. I can see the spark quit like turning out the lights. I took a reading on the coil and it was 6.24 dcv. So I never lost power to the distributor. I crank it over again and there is no spark. When I come back the next day it does the same thing and every day thereafter like clockwork.

    I do not plan on changing from the positive ground 6 dcv system. The generator and starter have been rebuild. It cranks over good and keeps the battery charged.

    I gotta believe it is something in the distributor. The wires, wire harness and cutout are less than 2 years old. The resistor, coil, points, plugs, condenser, cap, rotor and bushings are new.

    Prior to all this it was becoming difficult to start do to sloppy bushings. However, when started it ran like a watch. The current issue started after the bushings were replaced but that could just be a coincidence.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 01-23-2019 at 07:33:03 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • OK - good start John. Lets back up a bit. Verify fuel flow test passes or fails so a the fuel flow issue can be identified or eliminated. Wait several hours to do any live electrical/spark testing - you don’t want a fire igniting from any spilled fuel. You have a VOM, digital hopefully, so I suggest to pull distributor off, go thru it thoroughly per Bruce(VA)'s rebuild and continuity testing instructions before it gets re-mounted. Our good friend Farmer Dan (Howe) is currently constructing a unique front mount distributor testing/application gage that will also verify if the coil and condenser are good or bad. Dan also has a half dozen front mount distributors already rebuilt with quality Blue Streak Points, fully tested, and ready to go. If you want a quality OEM rebuilt distributor, contact Dan. Now, I've done many front mount rebuilds in my time and have never encountered one with overly sloppy cam weight bushings and had to replace them. I've never seen/had one with more than maybe .005" - .015" wiggle room at most so have never had to replace any. That doesn't mean others have not had the same luck, I'm just saying I don't think your cam bushing was the root cause problem unless it was very worn and sloppy. I suspect you have a wiring issue for sure and it's just a matter of pinpointing the true root cause/area. Is your generator the OEM 1-WIRE/3-BRUSH unit? Is the Cutout in the circuit? Is the starter motor the OEM 1-Wire unit or does it have a solenoid attached? If the latter, the that means the OEM wiring has changed. Rebuilding the starter and generator should not be an issue unless done incorrectly. Once distributor passes and is re-mounted, get the lights disconnected and out of the circuit for now. BEFORE cranking engine, go thru the wiring –not just a visual check or color code check –colors mean nothing. Use a fully charged, fully tested battery. Simply putting a charge on a battery does not mean it is good to go. The battery must sustain a full charge under load, measured by the specific gravity on each cell. Get a copy of WIRING PICTOGRAMS BY JMOR from our HOW-TO’S forum –see LINK below. Locate your 9N setup and use the previous original diagrams I posted or if you have them, are also in the SERVICE and FO-4 manual as your wiring guides.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    deanostoybox    Posted 01-22-2019 at 21:25:14 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • If you still have the old condenser, try putting it back in. The new one may be defective.

    John Parker    Posted 01-21-2019 at 20:15:10 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • I appreciate all the responses. The odd part of the spark issue is that it will start every day after sitting for a period of time, usually overnight, run for a few minutes and lose spark. There is still 6.24 dcv to the coil with no spark to the plugs. The tractor has gone through a restoration and is kept inside out of the weather. The following has taken place since the spark issue:

    1. Replaced the insulator under the brass concave head screw.
    2. Continuity between the the coil pigtail and top of the coil good.
    3. Copper strip intact and not grounded.
    4. Distributor to block clean and grounded. Points plate clean.
    5. Continuity between top of coil and yab good.
    6. Spring clip in proper position and condenser wire not grounded.
    7. Distributor mounted tight with gasket.
    8. No moisture issues. Tractor stored inside.
    9. Replaced bushings with no shaft movement side to side. Points replaced, gapped to specifications and checked for continuity when closed.
    10.Replaced the Distributor cap, rotor, coil, coil wire and resistor.

    I have considered a new distributor or electronic ignition. But I like the idea of keeping the tractor as original as possible.

    Would the weights and springs affect the way it is acting? This seems to have started after I had the bushings replaced. Prior to that is was just hard to start because of the sloppy shaft movement and point gap changes do to worn bushings.

    Jack - Iowa    Posted 01-22-2019 at 07:26:44 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • Was it running with the original coil? If so, and you still have it, try it again. New coils have been known to be bad and the symptoms seem to say coil to me.

    steveVa    Posted 01-22-2019 at 06:21:52 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • Sounds to me like a bad coil.
    I had a 601 that drove me nuts for a day or 2 because it would start and run great for 5 minutes then cut off or start missing. It was the coil. Ever since then, I keep a spare around just to make sure thats not it. Your key switch going bad can do the same thing,
    Good luck.

    Jack - Iowa    Posted 01-22-2019 at 07:28:16 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • Sorry Steve! Should have read your post first.

    Farmer Dan    Posted 01-21-2019 at 18:38:57 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • Wonder if the ballast resistor is failing.. I hear they won't run without it.

    HCooke    Posted 01-21-2019 at 18:01:32 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • I did not see anyone mention the ignition switch. Next time it has no spark run a jumper wire from the non grounded side of the batter straight to the top of the coil. If that fixes the no spark issue, then the problem is located between the batter and the coil. Next just jump around the ignition switch. Or you could just replace the ignition switch since it seems you like throwing parts at it.

    Jim Rushford, CA    Posted 01-21-2019 at 11:11:38 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • Makes me love my electronic ignition.

    Bruce (VA)    Posted 01-21-2019 at 17:18:09 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • Yep.

    Easy to fix.

    No spark, replace the $100 module.

    No need to troubleshoot anything.

    Bruce (VA)    Posted 01-20-2019 at 17:49:57 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • The first thing you need to do is charge the battery as Kevin said. If that does not work, the problem is in the distributor.

    Assuming that the bushings & advance weights are ok (*see below), & that you have correct voltage to the coil , the most common reasons for no spark or a weak spark on the front distributor are below. Check each one carefully. Even if you find a problem, check all 10:

    1. The insulator under the brass concave head screw & where the copper strip attaches. (it's fiber & will wear out; poke & prod w/ your meter leads to make sure it still works) If you need to replace the insulator, use a .250 x 3/8 nylon square nylon anchor nut available at most big box home stores.

    2. The pigtail at the bottom of the coil not making contact w/ the concave head brass screw inside the distributor. (With the coil on, the pigtail must firmly contact the brass screw. No contact = no spark) Check for continuity between the top of the coil and the pig tail; a 6 volt coil will be around 1 ohm & a 12 volt coil should be 2 to 3 ohms.

    3. The copper strip is broken or grounded to the plate. (look very carefully for cracks & breaks) .

    4. The distributor is not grounded to the block because of paint or grease acting as an insulator. Or the points plate is covered in oil.

    5. The tab on the bottom of the coil not making contact w/ the brass button on the cap. (With the cap on, the tab must firmly contact the brass button. No contact = no spark.) Check for continuity between the top of the coil and the tab; you should see about 6k ohms.

    6. A grounding issue inside the distributor: Incorrect positioning of the spring clip on the plate causing the pigtail to ground. (the open part of the clip goes between 7 & 9 o'clock on the plate. That puts the straight part of the clip opposite of the timing screw at 3 o'clock) or the condenser wire is grounding to the plate or side of the distributor.

    7. Incorrect seating of the coil on the distributor due to a loose bail or no gasket.(the coil must not move at all; if it does, replace the gasket or bail. Or stick some cardboard under the bail).

    8. Water/moisture inside the cap due to gasket failure or the absence of a gasket. (the cap AND coil have gaskets)

    9. Dirty/corroded/burned/incorrectly gapped or misaligned points. I use only Wells, Blue Streak or Echlin brand points (* *see below). If you are using quality points and cannot get the gap to open to .015, chances are you need to replace the bushings. If the shaft has any sideways movement AT ALL, the bushings must be replaced. (*** see below) If the tractor has been sitting unused for a few months, it’s highly likely that the points are glazed. Dress them with brown paper or card stock. Do NOT use a file or sandpaper. That removes the thin metallic coating on the surface and reduces point life considerably. With the points closed, you should have continuity between them; high resistance means they are glazed.

    10. Burned rotor, cracked/carbon tracked cap. Brass “dust” in the cap is a sure sign of bushing wear.

    After find the problem & re-check the point gap, do a continuity check before you put the distributor back on the tractor. Before you start, make sure your meter/light works.

    With the distributor still off the tractor, follow these steps:

    1. Coil off, cap off, points open. One probe on the brass screw & the other on both sides of the open points. On the side closest to the cam, you should have continuity. Not on the other side! If you do, you will also have continuity everywhere because the points are grounded.

    2. Coil off, cap off, points open. One probe on the brass screw & the other anywhere on the body of the distributor. You should have no continuity! Now, rotate the tang on the distributor....as the points open & close, you have continuity (closed) and lose it when they open.

    3. Put the coil on the distributor, cap off, points open. One probe on the lead on the top of the coil, the other on the cam side of the open points. You should have continuity!

    4. Coil on, cap off, points open. One probe on the lead on the top of the coil, the other anywhere on the body of the distributor. You should have no continuity!

    At this point, I just put the distributor, coil & cap all back on the tractor as a unit. The reason I do this is because it is real easy to get the cap or coil misaligned trying to put it back together, one piece at a time. The result is something gets broken or you get a 'no spark' problem.

    It's possible to put it back on wrong & break it. Look at the slot on the end of the cam shaft. Whatever angle it happens to be, turn the distributor tang to match it. Make sure you can tell the wide side from the narrow side on both the cam & distributor! (close counts). Place the distributor on the front of the engine, gently push it in place & slowly turn the distributor body until you feel the tang slip into the slot. Rotate the distributor body until the bolt holes line up. Hand tighten the two bolts until the distributor body is flush with the timing gear cover.

    * Unscrew the plate hold down screw & remove the C clip to get the plate out. Remove the shaft & weights. The weights should freely move. The tracks should not be wallowed out.

    ** NAPA part numbers:

    . Points: FD-6769X or ECH CS35

    . Condenser: FD-71 or ECH FA200

    . Rotor: FD-104 or ECH FA 300

    . Cap: FD-126 or ECH FA 350

    ** Distributor cam lube NAPA:


    *** There are three ways to replace the bushings in a front distributor:

    1. Buy new bushings (part numbers 9N12120 front & 18-12132 rear). Press out the old ones, press in the new ones and ream to fit. CAUTION: do not try this unless you have a press & know how to use it. If you break the base, a new one costs $130. If you bend the tower which holds the front bushing, a new plate will cost you $30. Resist the temptation to buy a new plate; most are pot metal and the threads will wallow out about the third time you change the points.

    2. Take the new bushings and distributor to your local machine shop.

    3. Send the distributor out for bushing replacement if you do not have a local machine shop

    K.LaRue-VA    Posted 01-20-2019 at 12:27:16 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 9N Spark/No Spark
  • At 6.24V a 6 volt battery is only 80% charged. Add any resistance anywhere else and there may not be enough voltage to make sparks.

    By coincidence my 6V 8N suddenly dropped dead while grading a low spot in the drive yesterday. It was running fine but I did have it idled down to move as slow as possible. Suddenly it just quit. No sputter or anything, just dead. Checked gas, ok. Checked spark, nothing. Hiked back to the shop and got my meter. Measured 6.24V at battery, key switch, and at coil. Still No spark. Last time this tractor failed to start it turned out to be some sort of deposit on the points. Hiked back to the shop to get a small file and burnisher tool. Aggressively filed the points, polished them with the burnisher, then reset the gap. Tractor fired right up. Set revs higher so it would bring the battery back to full charge. Ran it for close to an hour with no trouble. It is past time to go thru the electrical system on this tractor and shine all the connections, especially with all the rain and damp we have had for the last few months. Dampness just accelerates corrosion on everything.

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