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Old 07-26-2016, 11:54 AM   #1
stan35
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Default Wet Distributor

Took a nice ride in the '35 Cabriolet yesterday with temps in the 90s. While returning home I encountered a tremendous rain storm. I was just 5 minutes from home when the car started to lose power and conked out. I was on a two lane road during the rush hour. With traffic backed up luckily a police car arrived right away and covered my rear. I called for a tow and waited. The storm passed quickly and the sun came out. At this time I opened the hood and saw that the dizzy was wet. Luckily I had a large towel in the car and dried it off as best I could. Went back into the car and after a few tries it started up. I then was able to drive home. My question is how do I prevent it from happening again? All responses will be appreciated. Stan.
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Old 07-26-2016, 12:01 PM   #2
BUBBAS IGNITION
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Default Re: Wet Distributor

WD 40 is your friend!! Spray inside and out with wd40 and wipe off excess with towel , then spray the wires etc. WD is a water depersant . Works very well.....
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Old 07-26-2016, 12:29 PM   #3
JM 35 Sedan
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Default Re: Wet Distributor

Do you have the sheet metal splash pan in place that covers the area below the radiator and under the distributor? Sometimes this and the engine splash pans are left off for various reasons when servicing the car. This splash pan will keep a lot of water from getting on and around the distributor. Also if you have good gaskets on the distributor between the coil base and the aluminum housing, between each end cap and housing, the rubber boots between end cap and wire looms, and the little rubber plugs in place in the two holes at the bottom of distributor housing, you should not have any problems with water getting into the distributor. I have all of these items in place on my '35 fordor sedan and have no problems with moisture getting inside the distributor. This includes driving in heavy rain, running through puddles, and washing/hosing the engine down.
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Old 07-26-2016, 01:06 PM   #4
JSeery
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Default Re: Wet Distributor

Don't really think there was moisture inside the distributor, it there was it wouldn't have been that easy to restart it. More likely is that the moisture on the outside of the distributor was providing a high current path from the plug wires to ground and cross fire between each other. Keeping the outside dry in the first place as John suggests would be a good solution, but there could also be an issue with the wiring or caps themselves. They may not have the required insulating properties when damp/wet.

Anytime I've had moisture inside of a cap it required removing the cap and drying out the inside.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:17 PM   #5
Matt in Alameda
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Default Re: Wet Distributor

I have a Pertronix (?) conversion in my crab distributor on my 59AB motor.....can I spray WD40 inside that? Matt in Alameda
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wet Distributor

Make sure you have all of the gaskets and boots that are supposed to be in the distributor / spark plug wire tube(s) assembly.

I rebuilt the distributor on our 37 sedan and have driven the car in pouring rain. The engine didn't miss a beat.
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Old 07-26-2016, 05:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wet Distributor

Thanks for the replies. JM35 I do not have the front shield on the car. I tried installing one a couple of years ago but was unable to get all the holes lined up. I think I will take Bubbas advice and keep some WD40 in the car. This is the first time I got caught in the rain in the four years that I have owned it. It started right up today. All wires and connections look good. Thanks, Stan.
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