New guy with distributor/points issue

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Jcarr210
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New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by Jcarr210 » Wed May 10, 2017 11:02 pm

So I now own my dad's 61' corvair that hasn't been on the street since 07'. I bought everything tune up related and found I have a 62 and up distributor. So I replaced everything and was getting no spark so I did a google search and found some stuff here to check. Turns out I have power to positive side and all the other checks listed came out ok except a weird problem. When I spin the engine by hand when the points open I have power to the negative side, however, when the points close i still have power via my test light. If I physically open the points my test light lights up and when I let it close it stays on. The thing is if I push the back side of the points closed the light goes off. If I wiggle the points around the light will flicker on and off. Oh and I'm positive the points are physically closed and touching each other. So with the points closed but still showing power to the negative side of coil i added a ground and touched the body of the distributor and the test light dimmed significantly or if I touch the points of course it grounds and goes out. I almost went out and bought the petronix module but I don't even know if that would fix the problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

66vairguy
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Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by 66vairguy » Thu May 11, 2017 8:39 am

Well you've done some nice troubleshooting. The points connect to the coil "-" side via a wire. When the points close they ground (connect coil "-" to the distributor frame - to the engine - to the negative side of the battery) the coil "-" side. You've found the by pushing on the points you get a ground connection. So it's most likely a bad ground connection at the points plate. Not uncommon. The vacuum canister moves the entire points plate on a pivot point that is mounted on a plate that bolts into the distributor. The pivot is the only ground path. Some add a braided ground wire with a loop (to move) by soldering it to the points plate and to the lower mounting plate. Others just clean up the pivot and if it is loose they "peen" it to be tight again. I'M NOT SAYING THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM, just a common problem to check out. Oh, make sure the points and wire are not defective - happens.

If you do go with a Petronix unit stay with your STOCK coil and use the Petronix Ignitor (not Ignitor II). The Petronix module comes with it's own mounting plate so the entire points pivot and main plate come out. You will have to notch the distributor cap to allow the Petronix harness to clear.

I hope this helps.

Jcarr210
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Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 11:08 am

Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by Jcarr210 » Thu May 11, 2017 10:00 am

Yeah I did some reading and read up on a points plate but figured if that was the problem the petronix might not solve it but if it comes with it's own mounting plate I may give it a try. Thanks for the reply/help.

66vairguy
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Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by 66vairguy » Thu May 11, 2017 11:32 am

The biggest problem installing the Petronix is the vague instructions. Don't get convinced you need a Petronix Flamethrower coil, you don't for a non-Turbo car.

The Petronix module needs power and the best hookup is complicated. The preferred hookup is power from the ignition key BEFORE it goes through the resistive ballast wire for the coil. That means finding and tapping into the wire at the engine bulkhead connector. Brad has posted diagrams here a few times. If the car will not be operated during cold temperatures (lowers battery voltage during starting) you can attach the Petronix Ignitor power wire to the coil "+" terminal. It is simple, usually works, but not recommended.

There are stories of the Petronix Ignitor failing if you leave the ignition key on without the engine running. Yes that can over heat the module, but this takes more time than just turning on the key for a few seconds before starting the engine. Still one should never leave the ignition on without the engine running as it can overheat the coil and standard points. The problem also depends of the distributor position when the engine stops - points or switch could be open or closed depending on stop position. This is why ignition switches were revised with the accessory position to allow power to items without connecting power to the ignition system.

Order from a reputable supplier - I've gotten new Petronix units and opened the boxes to find missing parts and defective components.

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bbodie52
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Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by bbodie52 » Thu May 11, 2017 11:43 am

:welcome2: :wave: Welcome to the Corvair Forum!
Jcarr210 wrote:Thu May 11, 2017 1:02 am

I bought everything tune up related and found I have a 62 and up distributor. So I replaced everything and was getting no spark so I did a google search and found some stuff here to check. Turns out I have power to positive side and all the other checks listed came out ok except a weird problem. When I spin the engine by hand when the points open I have power to the negative side, however, when the points close i still have power via my test light. If I physically open the points my test light lights up and when I let it close it stays on. The thing is if I push the back side of the points closed the light goes off. If I wiggle the points around the light will flicker on and off. Oh and I'm positive the points are physically closed and touching each other. So with the points closed but still showing power to the negative side of coil i added a ground and touched the body of the distributor and the test light dimmed significantly or if I touch the points of course it grounds and goes out. I almost went out and bought the Petronix module but I don't even know if that would fix the problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
:think: :idea: I wanted to provide you with some additional "food for thought" with regard to your ignition system. One of the things you already discovered was that 1961 was a transitional year when Chevrolet switched distributor designs from that used in the 1960-61 Corvair to a redesign that was introduced in late 1961 and continued to the end of Corvair production in 1969. The two distributors are shown in the picture below. The early design has a distributor cap that is a clip-on design, while the later distributor uses a distributor cap that is held in place with screws. Internally the early distributor has a centrifugal advance mechanism that is mounted above the points, with a large rotor that completely covers the centrifugal advance. The later design relocated the centrifugal advance to a location under the ignition points and breaker plate.

The distributor design on the left was introduced in late 1961, and is was found on all 1962-1969 Corvairs.
Image

As shown in the schematic wiring diagram below, voltage is applied to the positive ignition coil connector from two sources: (1) A wire from the starter solenoid that provides a full 12 V DC — but only when the engine is being cranked. (2) A circuit that originates at the ignition switch (providing a full 12 V DC) but then passes through a ballast resistor wire that is integrated into the wiring harness, and then continues to the same connection point at the ignition coil positive terminal. The power from the ignition switch is continuous as long as the key is in the ON position. However, the voltage is reduced by the ballast resistor to a nominal 7 V DC. The purpose of this configuration is to provide the coil with a full 12 V DC power when the engine is being cranked to enhance starting of a slowly turning cold engine. The moment the engine starts and the key is released by the operator the starter disengages and the higher voltage is discontinued. This leaves only the nominal 7 V DC for engine operation. The reduced voltage helps to reduce burning and arcing of the ignition points — prolonging their life. It also reduces temperature buildup in the ignition coil by operating it at a lower voltage. The lower voltage produces a somewhat weaker spark at each spark plug, but that weaker spark was deemed adequate by the GM engineers. (This dual voltage feed to the ignition coil was quite common in automobiles that were manufactured during the period when ignition points were in use).

1962 Corvair interior and Engine Compartment Wiring Diagram...
Image

If you were to measure the voltage at the negative terminal on the coil with a multimeter you would find that you read battery voltage (12 V DC) when the ignition points are open, but when the points are grounded (closed) the voltage will read a nominal 7 V DC with the key in the ON position. This is a characteristic in a circuit that is configured as a "voltage divider", where the impact of the ballast resistor and the internal primary coil resistance is only read with a multimeter when the circuit is grounded and current is flowing.

The information shown below is provided to give you enough background information to perhaps make a decision with regard to the ignition system in your Corvair. A faulty ignition points mounting plate, or possibly a faulty wire connecting the points to the ignition coil are both possibilities in an aging Corvair with a 50+ year old ignition system. For many years performance and reliability in this distributor has been enhanced by converting to a breakerless electronic ignition system. The Pertronix system already mentioned is a reasonably good design. I have also read very positive comments about the Crane Cams electronic system that uses an optical sensor instead of the magnetic pulse sensor. Properly installed, both systems will provide high reliability and will eliminate the need for periodic points replacement and tuneup that is a normal part of operating engines that are equipped with the ignition points. However, a new option has been introduced recently by Performance Corvairs. The Stinger ignition system completely replaces the aging Corvair distributor with a brand-new unit. This new distributor incorporates a magnetic pulse electronic ignition system as a part of its design. You may find that installing a Stinger distributor will provide you with excellent performance and a cost-effective upgrade when comparing it with the cost of rebuilding your existing distributor and upgrading it with a Pertronix or Crane Cams electronic upgrade. Hopefully, the information that I included below will help you to make a decision for your Corvair. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Image
:think: FYI: Stock Distributor Overhaul (Parts Estimate). Total cost to overhaul an aging stock distributor depends on the condition of the individual parts. Note that Clark's Corvair Parts charges approximately $200 for a rebuilt distributor. The cost of a Crane Cams or Pertronix electronic ignition can add up to $123.95 to the cost of a stock distributor overhaul. With a base price of approximately $200 (with a few options regarding the cap design, plug wires, etc.) you can see why a brand-new Stinger distributor (includes vacuum advance and electronic ignition) is very competitive with the total cost of a rebuilt Delco distributor plus an electronic ignition system upgrade.

Cap:
$10.05 (C57: 62-69 DISTRIBUTOR CAP-ALUMINUM CONTACTS)
$14.60 (C985: 62-69 GM DISTRIBUTOR CAP-ALUMINUM CONTACTS)
$21.80 (C8237: HIGH PERFORMANCE DISTRIBUTOR CAP-62-69 WITH BRASS CONTACTS * CAP IS USUALLY GRAY)
Rotor:
$8.25 (C983: 62-69 GM ROTOR
$54.10 (subtract $20 core charge refund) (C7825: HIGH PERFORMANCE POINT PLATE-62-69** ** THIS IS NOW A REBUILT UNIT **) May not be needed.

$123.95 CRANE CAMS XR700 LED ELECTRONIC IGNITION (C2851: ELECTRONIC IGNITION-62-69 ONLY*MUST HAVE CORVAIR ENGINE HARNESS OR COIL WITH RESISTOR
$90.25 (C6790: PERTRONIX IGNITOR I — MAGNETIC IGNITOR-ELECTRONIC IGNITION FITS ONLY 62-69 DISTRIBUTORS)
$123.35 (C11400: PERTRONIX IGNITOR II — FLAME THROWER II COILS MAY BE USED-C11401,C11402,C11403 62-69 DIST)
$35.65 (C9412: VACUUM ADVANCE 62-69 (ALL EXC TURBO)
$3.80 (C9522: DIST. BUSHING-OILITE-EXACT FIT AMERICAN MADE
$37.80 - $41.65 (C5624A: REPRO VACUUM ADVANCE #217 62-69 (EXC 140 & TURBO) or (CX6718 (NOS): VACUUM ADVANCE 64-69 (EXC 140 & TURBO) (#217)
Part number C9049: HIGH PERF PG & STD COMPLETE REBUILT DIST *102 & 110 HP *1962-69
NOTICE: Price includes core value: $55.00. You will be issued a refund of $55.00 when you return the used part.

Weight: 5 lbs 0 oz
Catalog Pages(s): 78
Price: $ 248.45


Image
:link: https://www.perfvair.com/stinger-ignition-distributors/
Order Blank – Electronic Distributor for the Corvair engine:
If equipped with 4 Rochester Carbs, what year linkage is installed? Circle One: 1965 1966-69
Type of Cap desired Circle one: OEM style (Well-type) HEI style (Pin-type)
Color of HEI Cap desired: Red Black Blue
Matching Ignition wire set required?
Color of Set required: Red Black Green Yellow Orange Blue Purple Teal Gray
New 12 Volt Coil Needed? Includes mounting bracket (also fits GM Bracket) Red Black Blue
Power lead for 12 Volt supply to Coil?
Optimized Harness feed from Distributor to Coil?
Distributor w/ HEI cap $ 200 _____
OEM Style cap instead +$ 18 _____
New 12 Volt Coil + 35 _____
Wire Set (If ordered with Dist) +$ 35 _____
12 Volt Power Lead +$ 8 _____
Optimized Harness +$ 8 _____
Shipping (US Priority Mail in US)+$ 20 _____
Total $ __________
Performance Corvairs
3462 Kirkwood Dr
San Jose, CA 95117-1549 Phone (408) 247-2237
:link: http://www.corvair.com/user-cgi/catalog ... ow_page=74
Image

:link: http://www.corvair.com/user-cgi/catalog ... ow_page=75
Image

:link: http://www.corvair.com/user-cgi/catalog ... ow_page=77
Image
Part number C7825: HIGH PERFORMANCE POINT PLATE-62-69** ** THIS IS NOW A REBUILT UNIT **

NOTICE: Price includes core value: $20.00. You will be issued a refund of $20.00 when you return the used part.

Weight: 0 lbs 8 oz
Catalog Pages(s): 77(9)
Price: $ 54.10

Image

:welcome:
Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
Image 1966 Corvair Corsa Convertible

66vairguy
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Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by 66vairguy » Thu May 11, 2017 5:08 pm

Since we are discussing repairing or replacing the distributor. Often folks find "rebuilt" Corvair distributors at auto parts stores for a resonable price - BEWARE. Distributors have differnent timing curves identified by the number on the distributor. Unfortunately the re-builders tend to take apart a bunch of old distributors, clean and mix up the parts and assemble them. This has been verified a number of times.

Typically most of the parts in these old distributors are usually in good shape. The two problem areas are the points plate ground (easy to fix or install Petronix Ignitor) and the distributor main shaft bushing. With the proper tools the bushing can be replaced. Basically you check the rotor shaft with the distributor installed. There should be very little side to side movement. An indirect way is to check the dwell with a meter and timing. If they both are steady at an idle the distributor is fine.

Some years ago folks got convinced you needed to modify the distributor and install two bushings to minimize play and extend the bushing life. That modification can cause problems as the shaft needs some axial movement or it may not align with the housing hole for the oil pump and can cause the shaft to bind. The original bushings are durable and it's doubtful you will put enough mileage on a hobby car to require it's replacement again. Just my opinion, but only use single bushing repair if needed.

Jcarr210
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 11:08 am

Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by Jcarr210 » Fri May 12, 2017 3:32 pm

Wow, so I'm a part of a LAnd Cruiser forum, Plymouth forum, and f-150 forum and don't think I've ever seen such awesome detailed responses. Thank you guys for the help. I read over them a few times, looked at the wiring diagrams, and in the end ordered the Petronix kit though I was veeeeery tempted to buy that distributor. I'll report back to you guys what the results are after I install it. Thank you again!

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bbodie52
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Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by bbodie52 » Fri May 12, 2017 5:30 pm

The Pertronix electronic module needs a full 12 V DC switched source to power it, but the coil still benefits from running cooler on the reduced voltage provided via the original factory ballast resistor wire circuit. What this means is that you will need to provide power to the Pertronix module that is still switched on and off by the ignition key, but you need to tap off of the circuit BEFORE the resistor wire comes into play. On the wiring schematic, you can splice into the circuit (18 BRN) before the multi-connector (near the firewall and below the voltage regulator). There are "T-Taps" available that crimp on to the insulated wire while punching into the metal wire conductor inside the insulation, but sometimes they become corroded or loose and can cause an intermittent connection as they age. A carefully created soldered and insulated connection might work better.

The Problem with Wire-Tap Connectors
:link: http://tech.bareasschoppers.com/resourc ... onnectors/
ImageImageImage

To simplify installation, the Crane Cams XR700 electronic module is designed by engineers to be powered by voltage that has been reduced by a ballast resistor, but the Pertronix system is not.

Relocating the coil mounting point to the engine compartment perimeter frame and off of the cylinder head can also help the coil to run cooler, by not mounting it directly to a stud that is attached to the hot cylinder head.

You can view enlarged wiring schematics using the following link...

:link: viewtopic.php?f=225&t=12968

The illustration below shows bypassing the resistor wire to power BOTH the aftermarket Pertronix coil AND the Pertronix distributor module on a 1963 Corvair. If you are retaining the stock coil, you can reconfigure your wiring to retain the stock power source (instead of cutting it, as shown in the drawing), through the ballast resistor, for the stock coil only. The new 12 V DC tapped circuit can be wired to power the Pertronix electronic distributor module only...

Left-click the image to enlarge for better viewing...
1963 Corvair Pertronix Installation.jpg
Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
Image 1966 Corvair Corsa Convertible

66vairguy
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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:44 pm

Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by 66vairguy » Fri May 12, 2017 6:22 pm

Moving the coil to the rear brace is good - done on the LM cars.

I'm not sure how to do it on an EM car (1960-64) Maybe someone can post a picture.

Yeah a lot of Corvair folks are knowledgeable about there cars - you have to be to keep a Corvair going!

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bbodie52
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Re: New guy with distributor/points issue

Unread post by bbodie52 » Fri May 12, 2017 8:25 pm

:think: :idea: I always thought that the coil would run much cooler if it wasn't bolted to a stud that projects from the right cylinder head. There must be some heat that is conductred from the head to the coil bracket and to the coil. If it was to be relocated to a mounting point on the engine compartment perimeter frame — away from the right cylinder head — the coil may run considerably cooler.

This simple relocation may reduce considerably the amount of heat and vibration the coil is subjected to, which could increase the operational life span of the ignition coil.

Image

Image
Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
Image 1966 Corvair Corsa Convertible

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