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Old 08-27-2019, 03:38 PM   #1
LEM
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Default Distributor body failure

What would cause the failure of a distributor body that has steel contacts, when there is no cracks or visible damage? The contacts are totally enclosed so why do they go bad?
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:18 PM   #2
J Franklin
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Default Re: Distributor body failure

Do you have a photo of what you are talking about?
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Distributor body failure

Garbage repo? A continuity check confirmed it is open?
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:38 PM   #4
rotorwrench
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Default Re: Distributor body failure

Steel is good for a lot of things but it isn't a very good conductor for high tension electricity. My guess would be a crack or corrosion. A person would have to break the plastic apart and look at it. Copper, aluminum, and brass are the normal metals used in the construction of distributor caps and the like. The old model A distributor body or cap assembly had likely been made out of all sorts of materials over the years. Steel was likely used to hold the spark plug terminal conductor strips better. The design works but I like the B distributor better.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:33 PM   #5
Joe K
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Default Re: Distributor body failure

He may be talking about the distributor cap? And not the top part?

These can be bought either brass contacts or steel (plated) contacts.


Some of the earlier ones are made using a "bakelite" material which is porous internally. The exterior is usually somewhat water-tight. But an invisible crack might be enough.

Now I believe they're pretty much made of thermosetting plastic. Probably a PVC.

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Old 08-27-2019, 07:52 PM   #6
ryanheacox
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Default Re: Distributor body failure

Yep my old one had no visible cracks but the ignition leads would arc to the body sometimes. Fixed it temporarily with electrical tape on the trouble spot, must have been the Bakelite beginning to break down.
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:15 AM   #7
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: Distributor body failure

If the plug wire strips are contacting the bakelite-plastic where it lays over the cap body it can conduct through the bakelite and cause a slight melt under the plug wire strip .
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