Looking for ignition trouble shooting tips

Steve

Member
I recently bought 64 Amphicar. I bought it not running based on the price and condition. It was a really good deal (I think). What I know so far is that there is no spark. I have a cap, rotor, points and condensor on order and I'm looking for wires. I haven't tested the coil yet but I plan to do that this weekend. I connected a low voltage wire that was hanging off the coil but that didn't do it. Does anyone have any input on what might be a common problem with these ignitions or a methodology for pinpointing the root cause? I think I can probably pick my way through and get there eventually but with this vehicle being new to me, I thought I would try to benefit from the experience of more knowledgable folks like you. Thanks.

Steve
 
Welcome aboard Steve.

There are lots of folks here that know their stuff, unfortunately I'm not one of them.:)
Until you get an answer, you might use the search function on the forum (lot's of interesting stuff).
 

Mike in N.H.

New Member
I recently bought 64 Amphicar. I bought it not running based on the price and condition. It was a really good deal (I think). What I know so far is that there is no spark. I have a cap, rotor, points and condensor on order and I'm looking for wires. I haven't tested the coil yet but I plan to do that this weekend. I connected a low voltage wire that was hanging off the coil but that didn't do it. Does anyone have any input on what might be a common problem with these ignitions or a methodology for pinpointing the root cause? I think I can probably pick my way through and get there eventually but with this vehicle being new to me, I thought I would try to benefit from the experience of more knowledgable folks like you. Thanks.

Steve

Do you have 12 volts at the low voltage terminal on coil? If yes, now would be the time to install electronic ignition. Very cheap and simple to do and greatly improves dependability. See archives for details.
 

Steve

Member
Thanks Randy and Mike. I would have considered upgrading to electronic ignition but I though the car needed to be converted to negative ground for those parts to work. Regardless. I've put a downpayment on points, condensor, rotor and cap so I guess I'll press on with the old school approach. Has anyone delt with http://www.drivewire.com? Their parts are about a quarter of the price of what I can find locally.
 

Craig Parada

Craig Parada
Since you've already ordered the points, go for it. I changed points every year for a decade, but got tired of that and the weak spark. Back then, Crane Cams was one of the few making optical triggers for positive ground, but has been flawless for the next two decades - strong, accurate, reliable spark with no maintenance. Now, Petronix, Hot Spark and others have 12v (+) systems. I would get a real name-brand kit from a reputable vendor. Tow charges can easily exceed" discount" savings. Equipment failure on the water is a lot more serious than on land.

Plug wires are fairly universal. I like solid (wire) core, so cut and fitted Excell from a roll. This turns the radio into an "audio tach", but supplies a nice hot spark. Priorities!

Check the wiring diagram in your maintenance book (and available on this site or one of the others) and have fun sorting the unplugged connectors! Your VOM is best, but a probe and 12v lamp will work fine.

You have a nice winter project!

Craig in Alviso
 

jfriese

Active Member
I used resistive wires to eliminate ignition noise in the radio but it's not a bad idea to push a straight pin into the end of the wire that goes into the distributor cap. That way the needle stabbing cap contacts will make contact with the pin and spread the contact area along some length of wire. It makes for a strong spark and you won't burn a spot out in the carbon conductor.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red
 

Steve

Member
I'm happy to report that I now have spark and the car is running pretty well. New plugs, new condenser, new rotor and new points. I don't know which was the weak link but I'm happy it was one of them. Thanks to everyone for their great tips.
 
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