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Subject: Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)

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K.LaRue-VA    Posted 07-30-2019 at 18:59:44 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)
  • The last update was almost 2 months ago, but I wanted to wait long enough to be fairly sure of the root cause. Basically the points were frequently becoming non-conductive. No sparks at all. Pull dist cap, file and polish points and it would fire right up. It quit cold a couple of times while running. Same symptoms, no spark until points were cleaned up. I tried different sets of points but that made no difference. I replaced the wire from the coil to the points thinking maybe it was frayed or insulation damaged. Wiggling that wire while working on points could cause an intermittent problem to go away for a while. This distributor does not have the bolt and insulator contraption. I tossed that in the trash long ago. I found nothing wrong with the old distributor wire after peeling several pieces of heat shrink that was acting as a grommet where the wire went thru the distributor. I thought maybe the coil was going bad but the failures were completely random and the coil didn't seem to be getting hotter than usual. The coil is one of the more expensive parts to replace, so it usually makes sense to spend elbow grease rather than cash. Coil failures are rare, especially since this tractor is still 6 volts. Finally it quit and the usual fix didn't work. Voltmeter showed voltage where it should be and I could see points open and close electrically, but it would not make sparks. Replaced the coil. It fired right up. I've cranked it up and used it many times for several weeks now without a single failure. It seems the coil had been going bad for some time. I'm wondering if the coil was doing something that created the deposits on the points. They never looked burned, just showed substantial resistance when closed until whatever was on there was polished off.

    WayneIA    Posted 07-31-2019 at 19:03:13 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)
  • For what it's worth!!! 60 years ago when learning the Ford trade at a dealership I went to the country to replace points in a side mount 8N, twice in one day. Was informed by the older fella mechanic, on the second trip, make sure "you put a dab of grease in the notch lining the cap and dust cap to the distributor", to keep the dirt out.

    Larry Holbrook    Posted 07-31-2019 at 04:46:55 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)
  • Yours is a good example of how these old tractors are so simple but at the same time can be so complicated and confusing.

    JMOR    Posted 07-30-2019 at 23:39:31 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)
  • Was "months of frustration" worth $20?

    K.LaRue-VA    Posted 07-31-2019 at 08:11:45 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)
  • I did consider going the "just replace everything route". I already had a new coil still in the box and a rebuilt distributor ready to go. It's been much wetter than normal for many months now, much longer than I've been fighting this problem. It seemed like weather might be contributing. At some point I did try putting the new coil on it, but the old coil must have been in a happy moment when I did that test. In hindsight, I should have just left the new coil on it. Ain't hindsight great.

    duey    Posted 07-30-2019 at 22:13:12 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)
  • Thanks for the follow up... some forensic engineering can't be summarized without 59 pages of report... but it is clear from this that failures do come in all sizes and shapes...

    K.LaRue-VA    Posted 07-30-2019 at 23:14:04 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Problems with Points - Side Distributor Engine (update)
  • It's difficult to boil months of frustration and experimentation down to a few sentences. I thought it was fixed several times only to have the darn thing fail again.

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