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Old 05-07-2021, 03:22 PM   #1
Marv 49
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Default 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

After inheriting grandpas car last year I knew plug wires and some preventative maint on the distributor was on the short list of up coming work. Last Saturday on the way home from the boys soccer game I had a plug wire boot fall off. They are all rotted away so I making my list of supplies I need. I would like to go through the distributor and replace the points and confessor, cap and rotor and wondered what else I should do the distributor while I did all this other work. Also what are the preferred points and condenser for this car. The car is stock and just fun to drive. Thanks for any advise, let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:38 PM   #2
corvette8n
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

I think NAPA has everything for your ‘49.
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:22 PM   #3
tubman
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

Boots for some reason, are difficult to find, as were distributor and spark plug terminals.

I was finally able to find what I needed at "The Brillman Company". NAPA (at least my local store) had NO traditional ignition terminals.
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:41 PM   #4
paul2748
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

I would advise you to re-use the old condenser. There are lot of bad condensers out there, so if you have one that works ok don't change it.
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

Very good advice about the condenser. Back in the day, the "Rule of Thumb" was to not change the condenser unless there was abnormal wear on the points.

I guess there really IS nothing new.
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:43 PM   #6
Marv 49
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

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Thanks for the advise on the condenser! I will check with my buddies at Napa for my parts, I do get most of my parts there and I know that’s where my grandpa got most things. Just want to make sure I got the most reliable parts that others had success with. Also, are there any specs on tolerances for endplay or anything else that I can check on the distributor. I want to do this work once and right for maximum reliability. Thanks again fellas
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:12 PM   #7
Charlie ny
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

Marv,
Don't forget the vac diaphragm can, Napa used to have them...if not VanPelt
has the best ones.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:06 AM   #8
mfirth
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

I would check the wire under the points plate too. They can rub the insulation away & shut you down. Took a few days to figure that out......
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:33 AM   #9
Terry,OH
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

NAPA sometimes sells plug wire (Wire core such as Packard 440) so they may also have rubber boots, if not Brillman sells wire, terminals and boots.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:34 AM   #10
tubman
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfirth View Post
I would check the wire under the points plate too. They can rub the insulation away & shut you down. Took a few days to figure that out......
I had one that broke inside the insulation. That one took a few weeks to figure out. Since the insulation was intact, it was very intermittent.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:59 AM   #11
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

Napa does indeed sell a universal 7mm plug wire set with plug ends/boots installed.
The distributor side has to be cut to length as necessary and ends/boots installed.
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Old 05-08-2021, 09:06 AM   #12
Marv 49
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

Charlie, I did replace the vacuum diaphragm last fall when I was trying to get the timing set. Grandpa had a new one in the in one of the MANY boxes of parts I brought home. I also have a spare distributor but the mount for the diaphragm was broke off. Any ideas on what I can do with that one?
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Old 05-08-2021, 09:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: 1949 Merc distributor maintenance

There may be a few parts left there for salvage but the broken body won't likely be worth repair efforts. Your 1949 likely has the old cast iron 7RA long body distributor that was used before the change over in 1950 to the short body aluminum OCM-12127 distributor. There are likely still plenty of those old distributor bodies out there for replacement parts since they were used in pickups & trucks starting in 1948 and in cars and trucks in 1949. Some of the earlier 1950 models may have them but I think Ford eventually changed most cars over the the later type distributor. The trucks likely used them longer.

Engines do get changed out though so there is always a possibility that it may have the later distributor and aluminum timing gear cover that works with it.
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