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Old 08-18-2018, 07:08 PM   #1
Colonel
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Default Engine Dies

My car always starts and runs well. Yesterday if kept dying after about 15 seconds. The choke could not save it. I started moving the spark lever up and down and the motor would come back to life. Then it would die again and I would find a different spot on the lever that would bring it back. This was the only way to keep it running. The spot on the spark lever seemed different each time. Finally I shut it down. Checked timing and points and both were right on. What is going on?
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Engine Dies

Check inside your distributor. Something could be grounding out as you move the advance back and forth. You know it’s going to be a simple problem. Enjoy.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Engine Dies

Crud in the interior of the gas cap. Start and the second it dies remove the gas cap slowly. If you hear a whoosh the cap is not venting. Remove cap and start. if it runs fine that's the culprit.
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Engine Dies

Pull fuel line from petcock, check that you have good fuel flow .
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Engine Dies

I would pull a spark plug wire a 1/4 inch away from a plug and watch the spark when it starts acting up. If spark stays steady and strong, check for fuel issue. If not, troubleshoot on the spark side. First step is always isolating issue to either spark or fuel. Resist the advise to start throwing parts at it. I can hear it already... "change the condenser", "Change the coil", "Check the blinker fluid", etc. "My car did the exact same thing, and it was the wrong weight oil in the rear end"!
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:58 PM   #6
Bob C
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I would check the connection between the upper and lower distributor plates.


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Old 08-18-2018, 10:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Engine Dies

What Bob said. Something shorting inside the dizzy.
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Old 08-19-2018, 05:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Engine Dies

Your spark rod is probably moving your ignition cable causing it to short out. Raise the hood at night and turn key on. Now move spark lever and look for a arc. I have found a couple over the years where the wire inside the cable housing is bad.
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Engine Dies

I would tend to agree with the primary ignition issue. I'd recommend checking for spark, remove plug and place 1/4" or so from good ground and crank the engine. If no spark then check the primary lead from key switch to distributor and internal distributor primary lead to make sure the insulation is good and not grounding. The internal wire is kinda sorta special, many many very fine strand wire that is able to withstand the bending twisting from the lever and plate, Its available from the venders or possibly from local electrical store.

If there is spark and engine won't start, then I'd recommend looking to gas cap and then fuel flow.

Last edited by Patrick L.; 08-20-2018 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Engine Dies

I'll bet Wick is right. Something's shorting out as the distributor plate rotates, and that's why it sometimes revives as you move the spark lever. IMO.
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Engine Dies

If it's original, my money is on the pigtail wire.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: Engine Dies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred S View Post
If it's original, my money is on the pigtail wire.
That's probably it, Fred, but folks are AFRAID to take that "MYSTERIOUS" distributor apart, to check it.
EVERYONE should have an OLD Distributor, to take apart & "practice" on. Even Doctors are always "PRACTICING"--Do they ever get it RIGHT???--BUT, they're sure good at ADDING DOLLAR AMOUNTS!
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Old 08-21-2018, 04:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: Engine Dies

Thanks for all the responses. It turned out to be the pig tail. Made the fix and all works well now. You guys are great.
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