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Old 09-23-2020, 03:47 PM   #1
shew01
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Default Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

I have a 1931 Victoria that ran fine on Sunday, and I drove it for about 100 miles. The car sat in the garage on Monday, and it would not start on Tuesday. It cranks fine, and I can smell gas when I choke the carburetor.

I have a (Dick Crabtree) rebuilt pop out switch that is about 6 months old. I haven't had any problems with the switch.

I pushed a spark plug tab away from the distributor about 1/4 inch, and I didn't see any spark going from the tab to the top of the plug.

I've read many, many condenser threads. So, today, I replaced the condenser with a new one from Bratton's since that was an easy change. That did not help.

With the ignition switch on (i.e., popped out), I have power going to the movable point arm when the points are open. I have power going to the driver side of the junction box, but I have no power on the passenger side of the junction box.

I'm not sure of the electrical path inside the dash or through the coil, and I don't have a lot of experience with a Model A ignition system. So, I thought I would post to get help. Can someone point me in the right direction?
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:17 PM   #2
jg61hawk
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Here is a copy of a post Mike V posted. LOOK at the junction box ...should be power on both sides. If not the Amp gauge is bad. Jump across the two lugs of the junction box to bypass meter.


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Default Re: Coil problem?
Mike V Florida has posted this and I think it's wonderful:

This is my generic no spark troubleshooting list,

No Spark
Some possibilities are:
1.Blown or defective fuse (use of a fuse is an aftermarket item)
2.Bad connections at ammeter, or ammeter itself (t0 find out put a jumper wire from one post of the terminal box to the other to take the ammeter out of the circuit temporarily)
3.Bad ignition switch and/or cable, or loose cable connection at the switch.
4.Loose or broken wires at bottom of coil
5.Loose or broken wires inside terminal box
6.Loose, bare or broken pigtail wire under distributor plate, or wire grounding to plate or distributor body
7.Points not opening, or point arm grounding to cam due to worn rubbing block
8.Worn electrode in underside of distributor cap
9.Loose or broken high tension wire from coil to cap
10.Condenser burned out or grounding (some condensers are too long and can touch the distributor body inside)
11.Weak coil
12.Rotor not turning due to loose cam screw or bad timing gear.


Ok now break out a volt meter (a light bulb can give false readings).
Start at the fuse block, you should have voltage on both sides of the fuse. If you only have voltage on one side, replace the fuse or fuse block.

Now with voltage on both sides of the fuse, move up to the junction box. There should be voltage at both terminals. If voltage is present only on one side the problem is at the ampmeter and you should Jumper the ampmeter for now.
You should have voltage on both sides of the coil. If not,
remove the red wire on the coil and check again. If you now have voltage on both sides, you have a problem further on. If the voltage is still only in one side you have a bad coil.

Open the points with a piece of paper and remove the condenser. Turn the key on and you should have voltage at the points.
Replace the condenser and you should still have voltage.

If the voltage is missing, remove the top plate and check for voltage on the bottom plate.

Check if the connector from the ignition switch screwed in too far? Do you have voltage on the wire to the upper plate?

Is this wire shorting to ground or broken?

Remove the paper from the points and see that the points are closed. You should not have 0 volts at the points. If you do, the points are dirty or the distributor is not grounded well to the engine.
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Old 09-23-2020, 05:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

check the fuse by the starter , after checking everything , I checked this fuse last , that was it .
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

jg61hawk: I jumped the ammeter, but it didn't make a difference. I need to work through the rest of the list.

vernlee: The fuse on the starter looks good.

Should the coil have 6 volts on both poles?
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Do you have horn, and lights? At any rate if you are sure there is not 6volts on both junction box terminals stop right there. The power goes to the ampmeter before it travels on to "light up" both sides of junction box. Confirm you have no power on both sides and guys can better help.

You should have voltage on both sides of the coil. If not,
remove the red wire on the coil and check again. If you now have voltage on both sides, you have a problem further on. If the voltage is still only in one side you have a bad coil.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

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With the points open if you have power to the movable point arm you electrical system is good up to that point. The problem is that the juice is not going through the points to ground. Either your points are bad or you distributor is not making ground contact with the engine. Try cleaning your points first. That is easy.
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

What WMWS said.
If there is power to the open point arm then there is power to both sides of the coil and thru the terminal block.
It doesn't sound as though you checked the points closed for no power. Clean the point contacts and check that the distributor set screw and jam nut is/are snug.
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Old 09-24-2020, 09:24 AM   #8
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Are you using original points or the "updated" style of points??
Paul in CT
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Coil maybe?
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

I got my volt meter out tonight. With the ignition on (i.e., popped out), I'm getting:

6 volts on movable arm with points open (this looks correct)

6 volts on movable arm with points closed (this does not look correct, but I cannot explain it)

6 volts on both sides of the coil

.2 volts on driver side of junction box

0 volts on passenger side of junction box

When I put a jumper across the junction box, I get 0 volts on both sides of the junction box (I cannot explain this)
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Quote:
Originally Posted by jg61hawk View Post
Do you have horn, and lights? At any rate if you are sure there is not 6volts on both junction box terminals stop right there. The power goes to the ampmeter before it travels on to "light up" both sides of junction box. Confirm you have no power on both sides and guys can better help.

You should have voltage on both sides of the coil. If not,
remove the red wire on the coil and check again. If you now have voltage on both sides, you have a problem further on. If the voltage is still only in one side you have a bad coil.
I have horn and lights.

When I turn on the main battery kill switch, I see the ammeter move a tad left. So, the ammeter looks good. Tonight, my multimeter shows that both sides of the coil have 6 volts. Last night, I was using a test light. That light is unreliable.
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmws View Post
With the points open if you have power to the movable point arm you electrical system is good up to that point. The problem is that the juice is not going through the points to ground. Either your points are bad or you distributor is not making ground contact with the engine. Try cleaning your points first. That is easy.
I'm getting 6 volts with the points closed and open. I'm thinking I should get only 0 volts with the points closed.
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1931 flamingo View Post
Are you using original points or the "updated" style of points??
Paul in CT
I'm using original points.
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Old 09-24-2020, 09:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Look at the attached image, originally posted by another member. It is one of the best, simplest diagrams to understand the Model A ignition circuit. If you have power to the points if opened and closed, you have dirty points or a grounding problem.
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Old 09-25-2020, 04:28 AM   #15
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Default Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRutter View Post
Look at the attached image, originally posted by another member. It is one of the best, simplest diagrams to understand the Model A ignition circuit. If you have power to the points if opened and closed, you have dirty points or a grounding problem.

Thanks. I printed out that diagram a while back. There is another one that seems to be pretty good too.


Iím leaning toward a grounding problem. The voltage is not correct on the junction box or open points, and the car was running too well before it suddenly wouldnít start. Iím wondering if the rebuilt pop out switch is the culprit.

Both is these diagrams seem to oversimplify the junction box. More than just the ammeter is connected to the junction box.

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Last edited by shew01; 09-25-2020 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:27 AM   #16
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Well have you done anything about trying to clean the points or changing them. Lets hear what action you have taken.
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Post 6 and 7 haven't been responded to. Sometimes you have to wonder.
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

A weak or poor connection can show voltage and not a good enough connection for power! At one point he had voltage on the movable point, and voltage on the fixed point, I think?
I agree that the problem is probably with the points, but a bad weak loose connection could be the culprit anywhere from the battery to the points. I had a no start checked for voltage at battery, fuse, terminal posts, coil, and the movable side of the points. All was good ! cleaned the points that looked good and went for a drive!
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Old 09-25-2020, 11:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

Check your pigtail in the dissy.
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Old 09-25-2020, 05:44 PM   #20
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Default Re: Car Will Not Start--No Apparent Spark

After work, I cleaned the points. No difference.


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