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Old 08-02-2020, 01:30 PM   #1
flat-v8
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Default Busted Crab but what happened?

Man I really screwed this one up! But what happened? It felt like it was seated good and flat, turned over the engine, after it didn't start this is what I found. Brand new rebuild from Bubbas.
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File Type: jpg Broken dizzy 1.jpg (115.3 KB, 160 views)
File Type: jpg Broken crab.jpg (81.0 KB, 164 views)
File Type: jpg Broken dizzy.jpg (62.8 KB, 157 views)
File Type: jpg Busted Crab Dizzy.jpg (112.0 KB, 156 views)
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:34 PM   #2
alanwoodieman
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

not aligned, tab was 180 degrees off
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:40 PM   #3
my4dv8
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

Ouch that hurts. I think the only way this could happen is the tang on distributor was 180 degrees out and not seated in the offset slot in the cam . Kind of hard to see down there .
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

Put the cap and rotor on and turn by hand .Make sure they rotate before installing on engine.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

That does hurt!! I'm in the camp that thinks you put it on 180* out. Those tangs on the end of the shaft are offset....but only by a little. I've done this too, but all I got was no start and some backfiring.

So now, I make sure everything turns in my hand and then put it on the block mounting holes and turn the rotor until it seats flat and I'm sure I've connected with the end of the cam.

You need a new case and rotor. Thinking maybe you can reuse the points, condenser, and vacuum brake. How's the distributor cap?
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:26 PM   #6
Jack E/NJ
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

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Yes. 180* off. Picture on left is likely how the tab was misaligned 180* with cam slot. So tab didn't nest in the slot. Then when you tightened the bolts, the tab busted thru casting inside. Picture on the right is probably how the tab should've been rotated. Jack E/NJ


https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/attac...1&d=1596399814
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

Well I already have the truck running fantastic again! Thanks for your comments! I had bought a backup dizzy from Mike at Third Gen, put it on, it fired right up so went for a drive. same damn problem, idles great then driving it spudders and wants to die. I am basically a parts changer not a mechanic. So since everything was recently changed except the coil and I had a Chinese coil here, I tried it and Wahoo that was the problem all along! I thought those distributors were keyed to only fit one way? Oh well lesson learned, must be very careful!
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flat-v8 View Post
Well I already have the truck running fantastic again! Thanks for your comments! I had bought a backup dizzy from Mike at Third Gen, put it on, it fired right up so went for a drive. same damn problem, idles great then driving it spudders and wants to die. I am basically a parts changer not a mechanic. So since everything was recently changed except the coil and I had a Chinese coil here, I tried it and Wahoo that was the problem all along! I thought those distributors were keyed to only fit one way? Oh well lesson learned, must be very careful!

As the saying goes, " The man who never made a F--K Up " never made anything. I have made plenty along the way and still learning from mistakes.
Good its now sorted.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:49 PM   #9
Jeff/Illinois
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

Ouch, I learned a valuable lesson from your mistake. Thanks for posting.

I need to get a back up crab dissy for my 59AB, and they seem to be kind of hard to locate.

Good to know about your coil. I was having very similar problems this spring, cylinder type coil with built in resistor. I checked it with an ohm meter and got 1.5 ohms, tried another coil no difference not getting any spark , I have these coils over at Bubba's now he is checking out them, the dist., and the condensors to get me squared away.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

yep thats right; ask me how I know
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:44 PM   #11
Bored&Stroked
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

I haven't made that mistake, but I'll share a fun one. When I built my first "hotrod" flathead, I was 15 years old - 4 1/8" stroke 3 5/16 bore, 284 cubes, Weber F6 cam, Navarro heads, Edelbrock 3x2's intake . . . lots of good stuff.

I acquired a Harman-Collins Dual-Coil distributor (looks like a crab, with a few extra pieces). Anyway, got the engine all together and was going to start it on the engine stand (just couldn't wait to complete the rest of the car! - had to see it run!).

Now imagine, you're 15, you've been working on this engine with the help/mentoring of Joe Reath (and others) . . . it is ALL you've thought about and slaved over for a couple years. You have a lot of your own hard earned money in it - too many hours to count as far as time . . . and you built and assembled it yourself (with some great assistance along the way - thanks Joe!). AND - you've never built a flathead before.

Back to the Distributor: I had Joe Hunt (another great mentor) run-up the distributor for me - he checked it all out, put new points in it, checked the advance out, etc.. Heck, I had help from a lot of experts, but I'm still nervous as Hell, but excited as all get out . . .

So my wonderful Mom is in the garage to participate in the BIG MOMENT. She's always been my "HotRod Buddy" - even went to Bonneville in 2013 with the FlatCad crew (flew out to Salt Lake all by herself, rented a car and met us on the salt - at 81 years young!).

Time to Fire Her Up: I pump the accelerator pumps on the three 97's a few times, then hit the starter button I'd rigged up (to a Mustang solenoid). Crank, crank, couple coughs, couple spits out the zoomies. More fuel, crank it some more . . . crank, crank, BLAM! - huge backfire - flames out all three carbs. The backfire was big enough to create a huge amount of crankcase pressure . . . blew that nicely chromed dip-stick right out of the pan and hit Mom in the chest! You should have seen her eyes - like saucers . . . and I'm sure mine were as well.

Well, something was OBVIOUSLY wrong with my ignition system - was firing at the wrong times. Hell, the distributor has an indexed slot/tang - it only goes in in one way (unless you try hard to get it 180 degrees out. ). I knew I had that right . . . so what was it ???

Firing Order - Dual Coils - Firing Order - Hmmmm: Well, I sat there and I looked at that distributor and knowing that it was a custom rework for dual coils, dual points, 4 lobe cam, etc - there was something I didn't know - what was it? The rotor had TWO contact tips on it - one for each coil. Ah Hah! The firing order had to be different than what was on the stock Ford cap - as it fired back-n-forth across the rotor (switching sides each time). So I traced it out and put stickers on the cap for the four cylinders that were off, put the plug wires in the now "custom/correct" position and off she fires. Mom and I are now laughing hysterically over our prior "dip stick" incident! (PS: Saved that dip stick all these years - put it in my 32 Cabriolet and sent Mom a picture - asked her if she remembered our little 'incident' 40 years prior . . . she did!). It ran like a beast . . . we were both relieved to say the least.

Custom Distributor Cap: I didn't know there was such a thing as a custom "Harman-Collins" crab cap - where they used hot steel lettering punches to melt in the new firing order . . . didn't see one until years later.

Experiences, Fun Times and Good Memories: So yes, maybe one of the added benefits of these old cars is that because of our work on them, our blunders, our falling down and getting backup up, the problems we resolve, the "helpers" we rely on - we actually learn a lot of things (and we make a lot of friends along the way).

Experiences that last a lifetime . . . with others who enjoy our madness.

THANKS MOM!
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:13 AM   #12
JM 35 Sedan
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Default Re: Busted Crab but what happened?

idk, looking at those pictures, the tang on the end of that distributor shaft looks like its closer to the center line of shaft as compared to the helmet style distributors that I'm most familiar with.
One thing that I find that helps me align these front of engine mount distributors is having threaded stud alignment pins (made from bolts by cutting off the heads) screwed into the timing gear cover prior to installing distributor, and aligning tang in offset slot on front of cam. Once distributor is correctly in place on timing gear cover, I remove one aligning stud/pin at a time, and replace it with correct hex head mounting bolt. This has been a fullproof way of correctly mounting the helmet and the crab style distributors for me.
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