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Old 03-13-2021, 02:29 PM   #1
Jakno
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Default 59A Engines Distributor Options

Would like to convert my 35 pickup 59 24 stud engine to something other than a helmet or crab distributor. Other than an electronic set up, is there another good option. 80 years old and standing on my head while trying to read thru dbl vision glasses
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Old 03-13-2021, 02:48 PM   #2
drolston
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

Hard to beat the crab style for ease of installation. What problem are you trying to solve that couldn't be solved by a better pair of glasses?
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Old 03-13-2021, 03:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

The pictured 40B distributor is incorrect for the 59A engine, so yes, an upgrade is certainly in order, but I would recommend a crab over anything else for ease of installation and service, as well as clearance in the limited space available in your application. I hear you on your physical issues, but any helmet or crab is a bench set-up, requiring only the installation itself while in an awkward position.
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Old 03-14-2021, 09:03 AM   #4
JM 35 Sedan
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

In my opinion the Ford helmet and crab distributors are both very good distributors, and once set up properly with quality components and timing set correctly, will work well for many trouble free miles. The crab version is a bit easier to remove and reinstall compared to the helmet, but once they're removed from engine and on your workbench they are equivalent in terms of ease of rebuilding, IMO. Another key to success with either of these distributors is making sure you have a known good coil (I prefer a Skip Haney rebuild), condensor, ignition resistor, and ignition switch.
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Old 03-14-2021, 09:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

My Bubba built crab dizzy in my old '29 roadster was trouble free. The only issue I had was getting the right and good condenser.
And yes, a 2 bolt remove/install made it pretty easy.

If I remember correctly with the right parts you can convert to the later top mount dizzy 8BA style and add a Chev dizzy if so desired.
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Old 03-14-2021, 03:23 PM   #6
Jakno
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

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I have contacted Charlie in NY about converting the helmet to a chevy distributor on my 59A engine . I haven't asked Charlie yet about using this Mercury timing cover to adapt a Chevy Distributor. Has anyone ?. I'm not sure of the Mercury year engine . its embossed on the heads 8CM with M169 underneath on a metal tab.
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File Type: jpg Merc head.jpg (51.4 KB, 31 views)
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Old 03-14-2021, 05:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

Jakno, if you're talking about standing on your head, are you trying to service the distributor on the car?

You set it up off the car and bolt it on as a unit.

I personally like the crab type.

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Old 03-14-2021, 05:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

You are going to have to replace the camshaft, since the 59A has no gear to drive the post distributor. I seem to remember someone making a bolt on gear, but I am not clear on that.
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Old 03-14-2021, 05:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubman View Post
You are going to have to replace the camshaft, since the 59A has no gear to drive the post distributor. I seem to remember someone making a bolt on gear, but I am not clear on that.
Yes there is a bolt on gear. Have just changed a camshaft with one fitted when fitting a 1CM camshaft.
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Old 03-15-2021, 12:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

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Originally Posted by tubman View Post
You are going to have to replace the camshaft, since the 59A has no gear to drive the post distributor. I seem to remember someone making a bolt on gear, but I am not clear on that.

Will the post distributor be doable in a '35 pickup? I'm sure anything is possible, but isn't there a clearance issue due to the generator mount fan?
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Old 03-15-2021, 12:23 AM   #11
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

Why? I could think of many things outside of replacing a crab. Less you talking a zephyer setup? or something with a dual coil... but I'm always surprised

Last edited by Tinker; 03-15-2021 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 03-15-2021, 05:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakno View Post
I have contacted Charlie in NY about converting the helmet to a chevy distributor on my 59A engine . I haven't asked Charlie yet about using this Mercury timing cover to adapt a Chevy Distributor. Has anyone ?. I'm not sure of the Mercury year engine . its embossed on the heads 8CM with M169 underneath on a metal tab.
Think this is a lot more work than you may realize. It is not just changing the front cover, a LOT of other parts will need to be changed.

Something doesn't add up here, you are concerned about bending over and around to work on the distributor (something that might occur once ever 5 or 10 years) but are looking at major rework of the front on the engine? There is more bending and reaching around involved in that approach that you could every dream of just maintaining a crab distributor.

As has been posted, Ford designed the distributor to be very easy to maintain. It is somewhat of a set and forget operation. You unbolt it, get it setup and bolt it back on. About the easiest distributor installation there is. You don't even have to mess with it, couple of bolts and it's off, send it to someone to setup, then bolt it back on.
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Old 03-17-2021, 10:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

Dont get any better than this ........
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Old 03-17-2021, 06:16 PM   #14
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

"Forget About The Shrimp, I am coming Home With The Crabs."
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Old 03-18-2021, 10:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

Just came across this article...

https://web.archive.org/web/20160329...rsionBills.htm
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Old 03-19-2021, 12:00 AM   #16
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

looks like trouble to me !
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Old 03-19-2021, 02:44 AM   #17
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Default Re: 59A Engines Distributor Options

there is a cam made to use with early timing covers in the 59 series engines, i don't think the bolt on 8ba conversion gear will fit that cam
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