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Old 02-27-2018, 07:41 PM   #1
TJMack
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Default Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

Someone told me about this problem when I first got my model “A”. They said that if the car just quit for what seemed like no reason it might be the condenser had overheated.

It happened to me twice. And here’s a tip in case it happens to you and leaves you stuck on the side of the road. I wet a rag with water and held it against the condenser for a few minutes, changing the wet spot on the rag occasionally. It was enough to cool the condenser down and allow the car to start and run again. As long as you keep moving to keep air flowing it will probably last until you get to your destination.

I added a heat shield below the distributor, and so far, so good. I also purchased a new upper plate for the distributor that holds the new style points and condenser, getting the condenser away from the heat of the exhaust manifold.

This sounds like a good idea to me, but I ran into problems right away after I installed it. It ran fine for about an hour and then the same problem arose. I barely made it home. When I put the old condenser back in, everything was good again. The new condenser supplied with the top plate had crapped out that quick.

I contacted Mike’s A Ford Able part and talked with one of the “tech” guys. He said they get the condensers from the same source that they have used for years, but the quality had diminished greatly. He said it’s not unusual for 5 -10 out of 100 of them to be bad. He offered to send me another condenser, but told him not to bother.

Napa lists three different condenser part numbers for V-8 Ford’s in the 1970’s. There is a “standard” grade, a “premium” grade, and a “hi performance” grade. I tried to find out the difference by calling a phone number provided by my local Napa store but the guy who answered wasn’t much help.

He did verify that the capacitance of all three was the same, and theorized that the difference in grade, and thus price, was probably due to better materials being used in the higher grade. He couldn’t substantiate that the “hi performance” one would be better at heat resistance, but surmised that that was most likely the case.

I had him order one for me. It’s about $13, which is cheap if it solves the problem. The part number for it is ECH FA8200.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:29 PM   #2
Corley
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

The difference between the 3 grades of Napa modern points is mostly in the contact materials, as delineated in a previous post regarding this subject. Short story is:. You should only buy the premium version.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

One rule of thumb of troubleshooting is that when you have the same problem after replacing a particular part, it might not have been that part that was mis-behaving after all. Normally a Model A engine won't routinely overheat enough to toast a condenser. When you stop the engine and cool it off with the wet rag, you might be giving something else time to cool down and resume working. Maybe the coil, maybe the ignition switch, etc.

On the other hand, maybe your new capacitor will do the trick. Let's hope.
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:11 AM   #4
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

buy a condenser from A&L --stock condenser, then no more problems, I have run it hot enough to melt solder many times, still working more than 25 years
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

Next time, try throwing some water on the carb bowl.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

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The condenser is filled with an insulating material that was poured into the casing as a hot fluid. So the insulating material has a relatively low melting point. Original condensers and early repros had wax in them. The current repros are superior, and I suspect it is because the insulating material has a higher melting point.

Failures of condensers is not a common occurrence these days as it was many years ago. My thought is that the exhaust manifold may be running unusually hot. Perhaps the fuel mixture is too lean, or the ignition timing is retarded. Also, those heater manifolds may cause condenser failures.
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:12 PM   #7
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

Go over to the Mustang boards and you will find guys complaining about the new caps. They are sourced from china and the QC is not so good, this is for even the 'better' brands.

Get the A&L where they spend the extra bit of money for a better rated cap and they don't seem to fail.

As for the points. Original plates that are not worn are likely a better fit then new. Depends on a few factors and will affect point gap as you move the plate. It is likely that a quality set of used original points will give you decades of use. Just make sure you use a good wire between the lower and upper plates.

Basically, original done right with a A&L cap is likely to be basically trouble free (occasional adjustment and correct lube) for as long as you own the car.
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:22 PM   #8
modela4shane
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

What is a A&L condenser? Please elaborate. Thanks
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:49 PM   #9
Brentwood Bob
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

You can go to the website listing at the top of this discussion forum.
Look under parts houses for the a&l specialities phone number.
They supply the best condenser.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

This reminds me of an old saying; "If your condenser goes, you don't".
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:36 AM   #11
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

Quote:
Originally Posted by modela4shane View Post
What is a A&L condenser? Please elaborate. Thanks
A & L is a company in CT known for quality parts. They don't have a website, but their phone number is 860-693-0112 and their e-mail address is anlel@aol.com . They will mail you a catalog.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:15 PM   #12
duke36
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Default Re: Engine quit ------ Condenser overheated

Are folks using the (same) A&L condenser used for both 6 volt and 12 volt systems ?
Also, we found the A&L points fit better than some other repros which have the arm contact too far towards the end and don't align exactly, even with the point block adjusted.
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