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Old 09-30-2020, 01:41 PM   #1
Jeff/Illinois
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Default '36 Pickup electrical issue

Running a 59AB Flathead. 6V POS ground as original. Cranks to beat the band but she won't fire.

Driving home at highway speed, the motor died and I coasted off the road. Wouldn't start. Got flatbedded home.

First thought was condensor, being a Model A guy that is your first go-to point in these situations. Tried two known good condensors and that wasn't it. Swapped out coils and that didn't work.

I'm running a crab type distributor that has been checked out by Bubba, and it is working perfectly. He sent me a 2.0 Ohm 'Made in Germany' coil as the points were a little dirty, and thought the 2.0 would be better than the 1.5 Ohm coil I was running. He did a check on the condensor it was fine. He ran the distributor for quite some time and told me it was working real well. This coil as well as my other one have internal resistors so I moved the wire on my resistor bolted under the dash, to by pass it. Did that quite some time ago. The truck ran fine that way.

Here's what I have come up with.
Ignition 'on'-----
6.02V at the NEG post on coil
.03V at POS side of coil
.03V at Condenser on the Distributor
6.3V both sides of the Buss fuze
6.2V at the yellow wire connection, back of Ignition switch
.2V on other side of Ig. Switch, red/black tracer wire (to coil if I remember ) If you go to a ground point off of the red/black wire you pick up 6.3V

Ignition switch 'Off'----
6.3V to ignition switch yellow wire
Unhook the two wires at the switch and I get 6.4V to the yellow wire (power feed?) and 6.4V to the red/black tracer (to coil) I get the same 6.4V when I touch both of these wires unhooked from the switch and when I check both against a ground point on the body??

I checked the two terminals on the back of the Ign. Switch for resistance against each other, wires unhooked, and get 0.0 Ohms.

Is it my Ignition switch?? I'm getting power to the coil and it's not getting to the distributor. I also switched out the coil wires with a different, known good one, and still the same results.

Thanks for any advice, it has to be something simple and I'm missing it somehow. I'm not one to just start throwing parts at the truck I want to know what happened Trying to learn here,, as Flatheads are still new to me I've been a Model A guy for 49 years! They seem simpler to keep on the road than a flattie.

Also, how do you change that keyed switch on the steering column ( this is the one I've been calling the Ignition Switch, has the little lever above the key 'On' -'Off'. Like I said the truck cranks like crazy, starting circuit has to be fine. It has a push button starter on the dash not using the original foot operated switch. I got froggy and thought I'd run a jumper across the two wires I took off the switch, didn't make any difference I just wanted to see if I by-passed the switch if it would start. Left that wire on for less than 8 seconds or so got real hot real fast That's when I decided THAT was not a good idea!
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Points are either closed or a bad component or ground ,should not have 0 volts at condenser
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

I would start by disconnecting the low tension wire from the coil to the distributor at the distributor and removing the HT lead from the distributor cap. Then, with the ignition on and holding the end of the HT lead near the block or head and touching the LT lead to the block a few times you will be able to check the operation of the coil i.e. you should see a good blue spark jumping from the HT lead to the block. Be careful not to get your hand too close to the end of the HT lead as it might bite you.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

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Originally Posted by meric42 View Post
I would start by disconnecting the low tension wire from the coil to the distributor at the distributor and removing the HT lead from the distributor cap. Then, with the ignition on and holding the end of the HT lead near the block or head and touching the LT lead to the block a few times you will be able to check the operation of the coil i.e. you should see a good blue spark jumping from the HT lead to the block. Be careful not to get your hand too close to the end of the HT lead as it might bite you.
Thank you meric42 I will get on it tomorrow morning and give that a try.

I'll report back what I found.

I also see in Joe's Antique Auto Pats catalog on p. 51, the 'innards' of the ignition switch.
He shows an Ignition Switch Body part # B-3704 and also an Ignition Switch Contact Points part # B-3709 that fits '32-'37 Fords. That contact points looks interesting, looks like a thin strip of brass. I'll dig into that next. Not sure how it comes apart first time for me working on these.

Thanks again Don and Meric42!!

Last edited by Jeff/Illinois; 09-30-2020 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

the 'innards' of the ignition switch.












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Old 09-30-2020, 09:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

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Thanks Pete.
One dumb question from a Model A guy,,,, how do you take that apart? Is there like one screw on the back of the Ig. Switch housing? Do you have to take the steering column out of the truck? I'd think Ford wouldn't have made that repair that difficult.

Thanks for the pics I am studying them in detail and I'll be back out in the garage tomorrow morning. This little project really has my interest, learning a LOT!
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Old 09-30-2020, 11:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

You don't have to take the steering column out of the truck to remove the ignition switch assembly. There are two screws holding the ignition switch assembly to the steering wheel column drop. You might want to disconnect the battery first before removing the ignition switch assembly. I found it best to turn the key to unlock the steering wheel for disassembly and reassembly of the ignition switch assembly. Disconnect the two wires to the ignition switch assembly and then remove the two screws holding the switch housing can to the column drop. The entire ignition switch assembly will drop down into your hand.

Ignore the plate with the tab in the picture below. - that plate applies to the 1932 model year only....The dual contact brush pivots on the indented small hole inside the metal housing can....

Pictures courtesy of 1935fordtn - Third Gen Automotive
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Last edited by petehoovie; 10-01-2020 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Got it thanks much
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

One thing I do in removing the switch unit, which helps a fumble fingers like me, is to wrap a thin piece of electrical tape around the joint before I remove the screws. This allows me to keep it all together and get it to my work bench where I can take it apart at will instead of picking up the pieces of it off off the floor of the truck. Put the tape back on when installing the unit and remove the tape after the screws are in.
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

MGG good advice! I just came in from the garage, was CAREFULLY taking it apart so i would know how it all went back together, and of course it all fell into my hands in pieces. As a matter of fact I came in to get a piece of tape to hold it all together to put it back on, it is kind of tricky otherwise I see what you mean. After monkeying with it for about 20 minutes I too thought of the tape trick.

I was hoping to find that pivot doo hinky broken but everything looks fine. I took some emory cloth and dressed the contacts a bit but they really are OK.

There was that metal tab with the tang that fell down with the switch in my hand, I think I have that figured out how it goes back on, by the paint overspray and all from when the truck was restored. I'm guessing the tab part goes away from the on-off pivot arm. Thanks fellows!!
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:17 AM   #11
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by meric42 View Post
I would start by disconnecting the low tension wire from the coil to the distributor at the distributor and removing the HT lead from the distributor cap. Then, with the ignition on and holding the end of the HT lead near the block or head and touching the LT lead to the block a few times you will be able to check the operation of the coil i.e. you should see a good blue spark jumping from the HT lead to the block. Be careful not to get your hand too close to the end of the HT lead as it might bite you.
meric42 just tried what you said and didn't get any spark. I had a weak trickle spark off of the distributor lead, and nothing at the HT coil wire lead.

I must have a broken wire somewhere I'll keep digging. I tried taking the ignition switch apart but that looks fine too.

Thank you for the advice.

Oh I also thought 'maybe' the 20AMP fuze was bad sometimes they burn out under the metal part and not that thin strip, I looked at that early on, tried another fuze, didn't make any difference. I checked continuity of both fuses and got 0.0 Ohms off of each of them. Thought maybe the replacement was a bad one. It was one I had laying in the tool box. I need to get to the Auto Parts store and buy some more anyway to have on hand. I use them in the Model A too.
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by petehoovie View Post
You don't have to take the steering column out of the truck to remove the ignition switch assembly. There are two screws holding the ignition switch assembly to the steering wheel column drop. You might want to disconnect the battery first before removing the ignition switch assembly. I found it best to turn the key to unlock the steering wheel for disassembly and reassembly of the ignition switch assembly. Disconnect the two wires to the ignition switch assembly and then remove the two screws holding the switch housing can to the column drop. The entire ignition switch assembly will drop down into your hand.

Ignore the plate with the tab in the picture below. - that plate applies to the 1932 model year only....The dual contact brush pivots on the indented small hole inside the metal housing can....

Pictures courtesy of 1935fordtn - Third Gen Automotive
Pete I had that plate with the tab fall out in my hands with the other small parts. This is on a 1936 Pickup. It looks old has to be original.
I assume that raised tab part that juts out goes away from the pivot arm of the on-off switch, right? Towards the RH side of the vehicle?
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

I too had that plate fall out in my 34 switch before I came up with the tape trick. From memory, I think it can only go back in one way for the switch to work and with a little fiddling I figured it out.
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I too had that plate fall out in my 34 switch before I came up with the tape trick. From memory, I think it can only go back in one way for the switch to work and with a little fiddling I figured it out.

When I removed and disassembled the ignition switch assembly in my '34, that plate with the tab was not present. I contacted the vendor of the replacement assembly and was told that the plate was unique to the '32 model year only....
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Run a jump wire from the Battery ground post to the sw coil terminal then do what Merc 42 said ,should get a snap of the lead ,this will tell you if the fault is south of that ,
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:23 PM   #16
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

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Run a jump wire from the Battery ground post to the sw coil terminal then do what Merc 42 said ,should get a snap of the lead ,this will tell you if the fault is south of that ,
Thanks will do that Friday I'll let you know.
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Old 10-08-2020, 01:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Thank you to all that submitted tips!

Turned out the new coil was junk, because I got a NAPA IC7 at the suggestion of Charlie here on the FB, put it on and after the second crank of the motor she fired up and sat and purred like a kitten. Running great now and starts right up.

That explains power all the way to the NEG on the coil and then nothing.

Plus before when I'd touch the ground connection at the battery I would get a weak spark, with that other coil. None now.

Lesson to be learned is, just because the part is new doesn't mean it is any good. This one was pure crap. That really throws you off.

The bad coil was a cheapo Bosch knock-off. Does not say 'Made in Germany' all it says in little print is 'germany'. Even painted in Bosch blue. Found out it came out of South America.

Thanks again and happing V-8ing to you all
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Old 10-08-2020, 03:49 PM   #18
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Isn't it great when you have to go through multiple "NEW" parts to find one that works!
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Old 10-08-2020, 04:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

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Old 10-08-2020, 06:49 PM   #20
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Default Re: '36 Pickup electrical issue

Just went through the same issue on a friends roadster. It was a new Pertronix coil. Changed the coil and put in another one and it fired right up.
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