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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all! I have a 1966 Ford galaxie with the 390 2bbl and a 3 speed C6 automatic. Yesterday I took my car for a pretty long drive, I would assume for about 3 - 4 hours of driving. After 3 hours the car was slowing itself down as I was accelerating onto a highway, so at that point I pulled into the nearest gas station. After filling up the tank the car would not start. I messed with the accelerator and no mater what it wouldn't start. I pulled a spark plug and left the wire connected to see if it would spark. It didn't at first. Then as I was watching the spark plug, it started. Put the plug back in and it drove 30 minutes back home with no problem. Anybody know what might have happened? Something electrical going out? Trying to figure it out so that I dont get stranded somewhere.
Thanks in advance!
 

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The condenser is there to prevent the points from burning out prematurely. If the condenser is bad enough to cause ignition problems, the points need to be replaced as well. If the points are in good condition, the problem is probably elsewhere. I'd look at the fuel filter as well. Check that a plug wire hasn't toughed the exhaust manifold and burned through shorting out intermittently.
 

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if you read that it says that current flows from pos to neg. that alone should tell you the article is repeating the old wives tale
 

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https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=electrical+current+vs+electron+flow
I define it way they taught me in electrical engineering classes. Electrical current was discovered before they had any concept of electrons or the the structure of atoms. They chose a direction for current. It's used in the right-hand rule. You sought to impugn the expertise of whoever put together the Champion web site because it contradicted your assertion regarding the condenser. It didn't really. It stated that condenser has a secondary effect of collapsing the magnetic field faster which would intensify the spark. Direction is arbitrary as long as you're consistent.


OK, bonus question: If a condenser is critical to creating a strong spark, what aren't they used in HEI ignition systems?
 

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so what you were taught was by consensus. anotherwords we don't know how it works so if we say it enough it will be true. if you are an engineer, explain to us how your car won't run without the condenser.
 

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Gentlemen, Gentlemen please.

If I may interject here.

Just keep in mind the early pioneers in electrical discovery initially thought current flowed from a positive to a negative because the little electron wasn't discovered yet.

Because of the great works of the early pioneers we pay them homage in a way by saying current flows from + to -.

But it is important to realize current flows actually from - to +. For most technician work it's not too confusing to think + to -. However when designing or working with electro-chemistry it's much much easier with - to +.

And you're right about being taught a certain way, I have some EE books that only teach + to - and never mention the etymology of current flow. Then again I have other books that delve into it and explain it nicely.

Now it was mentioned that electronic ignitions do not use a capacitor, well they do actually. It's not terribly big, but it's just enough to slow the field collapse to keep the primary voltage from exceeding the breakdown voltage of the drive transistor.

The reason why a capacitor (condenser) is needed in the points ignition is to slow the collapse of the primary to keep the arc from forming when the points open as it's very hard to quench a DC arc. Once the air turns into plasma it allows a low resistance path that the arc can use. This arc if allowed really slows down the collapse of the primary field and is the reason why secondary voltage is much lower with no capacitor.

However go to big on the capacitance for a points ignition and you slow the collapse of the primary filed and reduce secondary voltage.

It's a balancing act.

Cheers
 

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So, if it indeed died because it lost spark, I would not expect it to come back, other than maybe the rare overheating coil, nor would I expect power to drop off gradually.

My hunch is the spark is a red herring. If it makes you feel better, which it would for me, I would swap to a Pertronix, not because points are bad, but because they wear and good ones are harder to find.

After that, I'd look close at fuel supply as the problem is described. Bad supply hose near the tank or inlet to pump, failing fuel pump, clogged filter, bad vent in cap, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I appreciate all of your insights. I did replace the condenser, and I checked the points, which looked to be in good shape. Does not seem to improve anything. What I have noticed is the car is hard to start in general. It doesn't matter if it is cold or hot out, or if the engine is cold or hot, it just struggles to start. Once in a while it will start right up, other times it takes 20 minutes of (on and off) cranking for it to finally start. This just started out of nowhere, a week ago this problem seized to exist. Not sure if this is electrical or not.
One thing my friend noticed the other day was that as I was cranking the motor over, he saw some white smoke arising from the starter solenoid. Dont know if this has anything to do with it.
I checked the fuel hose and it is fine, pump was replaced a year ago.

The car runs great once started, just hard to get started.
Thank you
-Brent-
 

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Two things I would test: First, with the engine off and air cleaner off, look down the carb and work the throttle. You should see two streams of gas from the accelerator pump squirting. If not there are fuel problems (fuel pump or filter, float setting, debris in the carb., etc.). Second, check your timing with a timing light. Maybe the distributor clamp is loose and the distributor got bumped, changing the timing enough that it's hard to start but runs okay afterward.


Pat
 
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