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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've done some reading on here and I can't find anything quite like what I'm experiencing. My '66 Galaxie Convertible with a 289 equipped with a Holley 4160 Carb, Duraspark 2 ignition and an Accel Coil has been randomly shutting off when I drive it. Then sometimes, it will keep running when I turn the key to the off position. I never have trouble starting it. When it dies. it will coast and will often fire itself back up as the car rolls. If it doesn't restart itself, I shift to neutral and the car starts with the key without any issues. Also, sometimes when I go to shut-off the car, it just keeps running. When it does this I disconnect one of the connectors in the ignition wiring harness to shut it down. Sometimes when this happens, and after the engine is off, some of the warning lights stay on even when the key is in the off position. I have already replaced both the ignition switch and the lock portion of ignition switch as I had already detected looseness in the ignition switch and previously had to turn the key very slightly to get power to the accessory circuit. After replacing the ignition switch the looseness and the accessory power issue are gone, however, the random shutting off and not shutting off have not changed. I've checked the ground to the engine and found it good. I've also replaced the Duraspark 2 ignition box as I had a new one laying around. If anyone has any ideas or could guide me in some testing, it would be awesome!

Thanks!
 

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man, that is a good one...
tell me about your alternator - stock? conversion?
has any of the wiring harness under the hood changed from stock?
 

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This may be completely unrelated to your issue but I had the not shutting off problem in the past. When that would happen I would give the starter solenoid that's mounted on the fender apron a sharp rap with the handle of a screwdriver. Shut off every time. Replaced the solenoid several years ago and it hasn't happened since.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
man, that is a good one...
tell me about your alternator - stock? conversion?
has any of the wiring harness under the hood changed from stock?
I believe the alternator is stock. The alternator harness is stock but nearly new. The original had breaks in it causing charging issues. The rest of the wiring under the hood is stock. It has the stock Duraspark 2 ignition, but it's not original to a 66.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This may be completely unrelated to your issue but I had the not shutting off problem in the past. When that would happen I would give the starter solenoid that's mounted on the fender apron a sharp rap with the handle of a screwdriver. Shut off every time. Replaced the solenoid several years ago and it hasn't happened since.
I'll try that next time it happens to shut it off. I realize these 2 issues may be completely unrelated to each other.
 

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as i was reading your first post, i was thinking "change the ignition switch..." and then towards the end you'd already done that.

i asked about the alternator because i had a buddy who put a conversion (Delco 10si) in, and it back-fed the ignition coil through the alternator warning light.
(we used a diode to fix that.)

i've been wrong plenty of times, but i'm going to wager that the two issues are related.
since the only that isn't stock is the Duraspark...i'd be checking all wiring to/from that thing.

intermittent electrical issues are the worst, because if you can't find a shorting wire, all you can do is throw parts at it.

i would inspect the wiring to/from the external voltage regulator.
if you're running an old points-style regulator, i would replace it with the newer electronic style.
pull the bulkhead/firewall connector off and make sure the contacts are clean.

after that...

personally, i think all Duraspark boxes belong in the trash heap, but that's just my opinion and i know some people like them.
if you can't track this down, i'd consider trying a GM 4-pin HEI, at least temporarily. its a $20 conversion and would allow you to rule the Duraspark & associated wiring out.
way less wiring, no need for the pink-wire resistor, higher spark output, etc etc.
 

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I had two vehicles with a random shut off issue. One was a cracked vacuum line and the other was a bad connection in the distributor. Found both of them by letting the engine idle and then pushing and pulling wire bundles and hoses back and forth. Eventually, I moved the correct item and the engine cut off. Very frustrating on the side of the road when you can't get the thing restarted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
as i was reading your first post, i was thinking "change the ignition switch..." and then towards the end you'd already done that.

i asked about the alternator because i had a buddy who put a conversion (Delco 10si) in, and it back-fed the ignition coil through the alternator warning light.
(we used a diode to fix that.)

i've been wrong plenty of times, but i'm going to wager that the two issues are related.
since the only that isn't stock is the Duraspark...i'd be checking all wiring to/from that thing.

intermittent electrical issues are the worst, because if you can't find a shorting wire, all you can do is throw parts at it.

i would inspect the wiring to/from the external voltage regulator.
if you're running an old points-style regulator, i would replace it with the newer electronic style.
pull the bulkhead/firewall connector off and make sure the contacts are clean.

after that...

personally, i think all Duraspark boxes belong in the trash heap, but that's just my opinion and i know some people like them.
if you can't track this down, i'd consider trying a GM 4-pin HEI, at least temporarily. its a $20 conversion and would allow you to rule the Duraspark & associated wiring out.
way less wiring, no need for the pink-wire resistor, higher spark output, etc etc.
The regulator was replaced with a solid state style a while back. When I had a charging issue. Ever since I've owned the car, the alt light comes on and stays on for about 3-4 minutes after first starting, regardless of is the battery is receiving the proper charge or not, so I wonder if you are onto something with the back-fed ignition.

A local friend of mine (generally a GM guy) suggested that I'd have a lot less trouble with a Davis Unified ignition. I'm contemplating that, but I'd like to troubleshoot and find this issue.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had two vehicles with a random shut off issue. One was a cracked vacuum line and the other was a bad connection in the distributor. Found both of them by letting the engine idle and then pushing and pulling wire bundles and hoses back and forth. Eventually, I moved the correct item and the engine cut off. Very frustrating on the side of the road when you can't get the thing restarted.
I have tried this, but have yet to be able to cause the engine shut off, like I get when driving. I also tried this when the car wouldn't shut off to try to get it turned off. Nothing
 

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Ever since I've owned the car, the alt light comes on and stays on for about 3-4 minutes after first starting, regardless of is the battery is receiving the proper charge or not, so I wonder if you are onto something with the back-fed ignition.
that is strange.


A local friend of mine (generally a GM guy) suggested that I'd have a lot less trouble with a Davis Unified ignition. I'm contemplating that, but I'd like to troubleshoot and find this issue.
agreed, you don't want to throw a ton of $$ at it only to find out its a loose connection somewhere. :)

is the ground inside the distributor clean/tight?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
is the ground inside the distributor clean/tight?
[/QUOTE]

I finally got back to working on this issue and I found the ground screw inside the distributor to be stripped out and a bit loose. So, it needs replaced. I'm thinking it over, but I'm leaning towards just simplifying the whole system and changing to a DUI distributor or some other HEI conversion. Any one have experience with this? Positive or negative?
 

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the HEI is a good system. its just a bit ugly on a Ford, because it puts that giant distributor cap right up front and center of your engine compartment. but it works just fine.
you'll want to run a relay so that it gets full battery voltage, unlike the stock system which runs through the pink wire resistor.
 
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