Like I said before, DWELL is the only PROPER way to set breaker points.
Some guys did 'Gap' and had results, but you can't test the vehicle RUNNING with a feeler gauge, so Dwell Meter is the way to go.
My dwell meter lasted for about 40 years before it gave up, I got on off Ebay for under $20.
Starter relay does a couple of things.
It supplies the starter, And it supplies full battery voltage (which will be under 12 volts when cranking the starter) to the ignition for 'Hotter' starts in cold weather.
When the key switch returns to the 'Run' position, you ignition *Should* have the resistor in line to keep the breaker points alive.
The breaker points won't tolerate a full 12 volts for very long, burns them up.
So the resistor takes over when key switch is in 'Run' position to keep the points alive.
Just for reference sake,
The voltage the coil throws to the plugs is regulated by the plug gap.
Too large of a gap and you wind up with burned points and failing coils.
Too small a gap at the plugs and you won't get it started.
The 'Super Duper' coils are mostly just stock coils with stickers or paint/chrome. Very few companies have coils wound to anything other than 'Stock' since it's very expensive to have the factories that make them retool everything for a small batch run...
Places like MSD buy enough to have some custom winding, but most of the ones you see advertised as 'Super Duper' or excessive voltage are just stock coils with paint/stickers.
Also, with breaker points, don't expect more than about 18,000 volts.
Breaker points just can't support more than that RELIABLY. The breaker points and coil will suffer if you try to force voltages about about 18,000 to 20,000 volts.
Now, as to your current issues,
You *SHOULD* have a wire from the 'I' terminal on the starter relay that goes to the ignition coil positive terminal.
This terminal will be 'Hot' when you are cranking, and 'Cold' when you aren't.
There should be a SECOND wire to the coil positive terminal, and that one should run back through a resistor, then to the ignition switch 'Run' position.
Coil 'Negative' should go to the distributor, through the breaker points to 'Ground' in the distributor.
If you starter relay doesn't have power at the 'I' terminal when you are cranking the engine, then you should replace the starter relay.
If your system doesn't have the wire from 'I' terminal to the coil positive, you should add that wire. That will make for faster starts especially in cold weather.
If you have a poor engine 'Ground' then don't expect the breaker points or coil to live very long.
I advocate dedicated 'Grounds' to the distributor housing and/or the engine block to solve this problem.
A 12 Ga. wire is plenty if you go to the distributor body.
SO, I would TEST the starter relay, see if you have power at the 'I' terminal when cranking,
And I would test the ignition switch feed to coil for power in the 'Run' position.
I would test the resistor, which is usually a ceramic block on the firewall or coil bracket. (Without having a manual for your truck in front of me I don't know which you should have)
If you have power from starter relay 'I' terminal, and you have power from ignition switch 'Run',
AND you have a dedicated 'Ground' to the distributor housing,
Then I'd start looking for burned breaker points, or I'd have a look at the new "40,000 Volt" coil...
It depends on how it is wired but you may have a ballast resistor and 7V at the coil in Run and a 12V feed from the solenoid in Start. No solenoid, no 12V.
Way to check it is with a 12V test bulb or meter at the coil +ve. Have you got voltage there?
I remember points, they were a PITA.
I was just talking to a group of idiots when it got pretty cold around here and they were all saying, "They don't make them like they used to!"...
Now, I'm 53 years old.
I remember the 'Good Old Days' without nostalgia...
I remember going out, and trying to start the car/truck/tractor or what ever when I was young,
You cranked the engine... Just to see if it would crank or not.
You didn't dare try to start it! Just see if it would crank.
Cranking ment the battery wasn't frozen, so you had somewhere to start...
Then you got out the heat lamp and starting fluid.
You don't see EVERY car with WD-40, Starting Fluid, Heat Lamp, ect.
People wonder why DETACHED garages were so popular back then,
It was so if the car caught fire it wouldn't burn the house down!
(and you needed somewhere to do A LOT OF MAINTENANCE!)
Most of you won't remember the single weight oil that turned into play-doh in the oil pan when it got cold.
Most of you won't remember the batteries that froze solid REGULARLY.
So regularly in fact, that most batteries back then had RUBBER CASES so they didn't split out when they froze.
They don't remember having to put a trickle charger on the battery to thaw it out...
You didn't dare put 'Jumper' cables on a frozen battery back then, that was sure to crack the battery or even make it explode...
Just a trickle charge would thaw it out without cracking the case or making it explode...
They don't remember the heat lamp on the engine/oil pan to warm up the oil enough the oil pump could move it,
And since multi-viscosity oils and electronic ignition heat lamp bulbs have become a thing of the past, you almost never see them anymore...
They don't remember having to 'Tune Up' breaker points every 1,000 to 3,000 miles...
If you didn't file carbon from arc burns on the breaker points, you couldn't 'Gap' them, and if you didn't keep up on the gap, the car ran like crap or wouldn't run at all.
They don't remember the damp, foggy mornings your vehicle wouldn't start at all since the moisture in the air was keeping the breaker points from cleanly breaking the circuit, so the ignition wouldn't fire the plugs...
I see these guys talk about how much horsepower, ect. they made with breaker points and how well their vehicles ran,
But I remember two things very well...
One was you don't use a 'Feeler Gauge' to gap breaker points, you use a gap WIRE GAUGE set, not flat 'Feeler' gauges.
And EVERYONE had a 'Breaker File', which you almost never see anymore.
Trying to use 'Emery Board' or other gadget to file points is a waste of time, I know, I tried it all before I got the correct tools and things started running correctly...
And I remember the claims about horse power seems to double (or triple) as years go by...
I was so disappointed with 'Claims' when I started at a shop with an actual dyno... Actual horsepower/torque was about HALF what the owners 'Claimed', and we ALWAYS had to work over the distributors before the engine even ran correctly...
You COULD extract large horsepower numbers, but it took a TON of live tuning on both fuel delivery and ignition to get them...
I HEAR guys talk about 160 and 180 mile per hour cars from the early-mid 60s, but the truth is those old poly glass tires would have exploded if they actually REACHED the speeds they claim.
Sure, there were some racing tires that would take those speeds, but the stock stuff sure wouldn't!
Steel belted radial tires were Developed because of the Interstate systems and improved roads, and tires of the time weren't safe/reliable above about 70 mph...
And lets not forget the tire TUBES! Anyone that says a common tire tube will do 160 MPH without stress melting isn't quite remembering things the way they were...
Tubeless tires were developed because they couldn't get common rubber inter tubes to survive the flex/friction heat from sustained speeds above 70 mph...
And there is the small matter of things like brakes.
Drum brakes stop well ONCE, then they are out of adjustment.
You had to CONSTANTLY adjust brakes, and self adjusting brakes didn't come along until the late 60s, and didn't work very well.
Let's not forget the brake pad material, organic, resin, catches fire if you overheat them...
Even getting them wet could ruin the brake lining material.
Anyone remember 'Relining' brake shoes? Drilling the rivets out
(Since there weren't any adhesives that would withstand the heat back then)
Putting new brake maternal on the shoes, and riveting them back down?
I sure do! I did a lot of it.
I bet there aren't two or three guys know what I'm talking about, or how to CORRECTLY rivet a lining on a brake shoe.
It wasn't exactly 'Pop' riveting, you had to know EXACTLY what you were doing or you wouldn't get the lining to stay on the shoe, or you would crack the lining material and the lining was useless.
These guys all want to buy cars like they had 'Back in High School' or 'Back In Collage' or 'When I was young and couldn't afford one'...
Then they drive them...
The next thing you know we are selling them a suspension so the vehicle will stay on the road at 70 mph, even with the 50 or 60 years of highway improvements...
Think what it was like when the cars were originally produced! UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED...
We take it for granted when we stick the key in the ignition it will start up without fuss and stay running,
But remember, everything you have now is because someone decided this was some crazy crap and they were going to find a better way!
Maybe more here should have lived through that stuff, they wouldn't argue as much when you say to "Do The Job RIGHT The FIrst Time, Pay Attention To Details"
Matt I think your right about the timing, but my timing is different from the one posted on the first page. It has tdc in the center and R10 at the top and A10 at the bottom(which I thought was after tdc). I went back and read this thread again and I think I have been setting the timing wrong, but thats the vey least of my problems now. The truck was running, I turned it off. Ten minutes later I went to restart it and it wouldnt start, it would crank and turn but not start. I put a new coil, starter solenoid switch and ignition switch on it and now it wont even crank. To beat it all the headlights dont work. A buddy told me to check all the grounds and look for a fusable link., what a pita! As far as all the "fluff", I wish he lived in my town. Id be paying him to fix my truck!!!
Also, shouldnt this truck have a ballest resistor? My 76 cj7 had one on the firewall, but this 74 model doesnt seem to have one.
What ignition is in it now? I have a 75 CJ/304 that came with a Prestolite ignition. Debatably the crappiest ignition on the planet. I am guessin that there is a good possibility that yours may have the same ignition.
What ignition is in it now? I have a 75 CJ/304 that came with a Prestolite ignition. Debatably the crappiest ignition on the planet. I am guessin that there is a good possibility that yours may have the same ignition.
Zilla, if the OP will allow a little education here,
The trucks were normally a year behind, the '75 should have a Prestolite, but some didn't.
In the early days of Prestolite, they were so unreliable (and still are, now they are hard to find parts for as well as being unreliable and weak as a solid state ignition),
Anyway, the Prestolite was so unreliable that many users in the day switched back to breaker points.
It was simple, and people still knew how to work on them back then.
Fast forward 40 years, more or less, and almost NO ONE understands fully how breaker points work.
You have to do a crash course in breaker point education to get them up and running.
What makes me wonder here is,
Is the harmonic balancer from '75 or so lying, or is it still correctly indicating TDC?
Did the distributor get dropped on the camshaft in the correct spot?
Since he has the breaker point type timing scale on his front cover, is the engine/front timing cover factory or swapped into the vehicle?
Since the ignition coil is a '40,000 Volt!' advertised aftermarket unit, does it work with the breaker point ignition?
Is there an ignition resistor in place? And if so, is it enough for the new 'Aftermarket' coil?
Timing scale means nothing if the balancer is lying, and since there are 'Short Answer' guys complaining instead of helping, it's making mud in the water.
Is the balancer the correct one for the timing scale he has? Or is it from a later vehicle and is lying to him...?
That's why I TRIED to get the OP to start with the basics instead of doing 'Hit & Miss' parts replacements the 'Short Answer' guys keep throwing out...
Timing scale reading means NOTHING if you don't VERIFY TDC of #1 cylinder MANUALLY, by removing spark plug, finding compression storke,
MANUALLY feeling for TOP DEAD CENTER.
Once you KNOW you have Compression stroke,
And you MANUALLY KNOW you have TDC of the piston,
Then you can check the balancer 'Hash' mark to verify it's indicating 'ZERO' on the timing scale.
This means the balancer ring hasn't slipped around the hub in the past nearly 40 years of service,
This VERIFIES he has the correct balancer for the timing scale on the front cover,
And it gives the OP a reference point for installing the distributor CORRECTLY, so the rotor will be pointing at the #1 plug wire when fully seated.
Then it's time to run the firing order to VERIFY you have plug wires in the correct locations...
These are all basics and NEVER CHANGE, no matter what you are working on,
And if you don't check the basics EACH TIME, EVERY TIME, then you are just trying to push a rope up a hill...
Now, the OP says he VERIFIED TDC of #1 On Compression,
And he VERIFIED the 'Hash Mark' on the balancer to the timing scale he has.
If done correctly, and I believe he has because the vehicle will start and run momentarily,
Now move to timing with a timing light...
If it DIDN'T START,
I would start with wiring to the PRIMARY side of the ignition, Verifying wiring, makeing sure the wires were connected to the correct places,
And making sure the wires themselves had proper connections to deliver current to the correct places and in values that will make the ignition work.
(A 'Voltage' reading isn't an indicator things are working, you have to consider CURRENT FLOW, not just the presents of 'Voltage')
The OP has a Dwell Meter, so setting breaker point opening/closing times shouldn't be the issue.
We are down to a failure in the wiring (Current Flow/Resistance) or a timing issue.
Trying to determine which right now...
Along with the potential for a bad 'Condenser' (Electrical Capacitor) which can cause the same issues the OP reports.
Since the OP did the CORRECT thing and replaced the 'Condenser' with the breaker points, I'm not confident that is the issue,
So once we have worked out timing and wiring (Connections/Resistors, ect.), I'll have him test or replace the 'Condenser' which is cheap and easy to do to VERIFY that isn't the issue...
Like I said, it's a crash course in breaker point ignitions for this guy and I'm trying to get him up and running even though I'm working out of town most weeks with no time for internet...
Like most things 'Electrical', this stuff baffles the crap out of most people.
They *THINK* they know how it works until something goes wrong, then they find out how complicated it really is...
To the OP with ISSUES...
I don't happen to have a ready picture of the breaker point timing tab. I've seen the one you describe, but I don't have one available. Sorry.
You are correct, the breaker point timing cover had a 'Zero' mark in the middle,
With Advance and Retarded scales since some of the engine required a setting After TDC.
Once you VERIFY Compression Stroke on #1 cylinder,
After you VERIFY TDC of #1 Pison by taking out the spark plug and using something SOFT to feel for the piston top, turning the crank by hand to get it fully 'Up' in the cylinder,
Then you have a look at the balancer/timing tab.
VERIFY the balancer 'Hash' mark is at 'ZERO' on the timing tab.
This will VERIFY your balancer hasn't had the almost 40 year old balancer ring slip around the hub,
And it will VERIFY the balancer you have is for the timing scale you have on the front cover.
You can now VERIFY the distributor is inserted in the engine correctly.
At this point, find the #1 plug wire terminal on the cap,
Make a mark on the distributor body indicating the #1 plug wire location.
Flip the distributor cap,
See if the rotor is pointing at the mark you just made.
If it's not within a couple of degrees of that mark, you have the distributor inserted INCORRECTLY.
Once you have a basic 'Run' gap on the breaker points, and the distributor correctly installed with rotor pointing at the #1 plug tower mark on the distributor,
You are ready to try and start the engine.
Unplug the vacuum advance and plug the vacuum line.
Once started, you can make adjustments to 'Dwell' and timing.
Dwell effects timing! If you make Dwell changes, you will have to make timing changes.
Initial Timing Changes DO NOT effect Dwell.
Once you have VERIFIED the Dwell, and correct Initial Timing, (vacuum advance reconnected) you can move on to finding the culprate...
Since you are working with a DELCO distributor, have a look under the rotor.
If you find 'Red Dust' or 'Red Rust', replace the rotor.
What causes the 'Red Dust' is high voltage spark energy blowing through the rotor to 'Ground' at the centrifugal advance weights.
'Red Dust' means the high voltage has blown through the rotor, tried to weld the advance weights to the pivot pins, and that high voltage has burned the carbon from the steel, producing 'Red Dust' when the weld breaks.
This means the high voltage spark energy has 'Grounded' inside the distributor instead of reaching plug wires/plugs.
Remember to check the weights for 'Slots' where they mount to the pivot pins. If weights are slotted, that would be some of your increased RPM problems. Slots don't make for smooth centrifugal advance.
You need a new shaft/advance head or new distributor to repair.
If you don't have 'Slots', then remember to LUBRICATE the pivot pins with dielectric grease.
Check to see if your springs are working and not rusted/burned up.
Springs getting cooked also screw with your centrifugal advance.
Twist the advance head, see if the weights/springs move freely. If not, the advance head is welded/frozen/rusted to the shaft, time to repair or replace.
Don't forget to add some lubricant to the connection point between advance head and shaft so it continues to work freely.
A couple of drops of engine oil or 3-in-1 oil will work fine.
Once you have VERIFIED the advance head is working freely and correctly, and you have lubricated, and replaced rotor,
Then move onto the vacuum advance.
Use a piece of CLEAN vacuum hose, apply vacuum to the vacuum advance, see if the vacuum advance plate moves the breaker points.
If so, and you don't have leaks, then hook the vacuum advance up and move on...
REMEMBER! Something as common and overlooked as a frayed terminal connection at the coil can cause real issues!
This system relies on CURRENT, not just voltage...
So showing 'Voltage' at this or that terminal means NOTHING other than the connection hasn't broken ENTIRELY through yet..
Fix the small issues as you find them so you KNOW it's not something simple/stupid causing you grief.
A nearly broken terminal connection WILL supply VOLTAGE, but when the engine demands more AMPERAGE (Voltage and Amperage = Current) than that frayed connection can deliver, you start to have ignition 'Problems' that don't show up right away...
Same goes for rusted, corroded, ect. terminals. They may pass 'Voltage' at no load, but they can't pass CURRENT as the system demands it.
A 'Red' 14 Ga. wire from starter relay 'I' terminal to ignition coil '+' (Positive) terminal.
This supplies full battery current to the ignition during 'Cranking'.
No resistor in this line since it goes 'Dead' when you let off the key.
Since the starter will require more AMPERAGE than the battery can supply during cold weather,
Don't expect to see anywhere near 12 volts at the 'I' terminal during cranking.
When amperage demands increase, VOLTAGE DECREASES.
During static testing, with starter not hooked up, you will find 12 volts at this terminal,
But if you test while cranking, with starter demanding more amperage than the battery can supply in cold weather, the VOLTAGE will drop... So don't be alarmed...
This bypass wire is to supply full battery current to the ignition while cranking.
Since the line voltage through the key switch and resistor will be much less, this is the most direct way to power up the ignition when cranking and demands are highest.
You will have a wire from fuse block to key switch,
Then out to ignition resistor.
That resistor can be a resistor wire, or a 'Block' type resistor, usually ceramic block, and usually either on the firewall or coil bracket.
Resistor wires were common and more reliable than ceramic block resistors, but you can't see them easily since they are in the wiring harness.
Unhook the ignition switch feed from the ignition coil positive,
Turn the key switch to 'Run' position,
Test for resistance between battery NEGATIVE post and ignition switch feed wire.
You should show between 1.35 Ohms and 4 Ohms resistance.
Your dwell meter probably has an Ohm meter installed since every breaker point ignition needed resistance to keep the breaker points alive.
If you find battery voltage without the usual resistance, then test the PRIMARY side of the ignition coil for resistance (Coil unhooked from harness).
Some systems had internally resisted coils and didn't use an external resistor, or a very large external resistor.
See if your TOTAL RESISTANCE, both feed line from ignition switch, AND coil primary resistance meets the specifications for your breaker points system listed in the manual.
If not, add resistance to reach that total or the breaker points will NOT live long.
The 'Negative' side of the coil should connect to the distributor 'Pig Tail' or 'Breaker Points' wire from the distributor.
The breaker points complete the 'Ground' leg of the circuit when closed, allowing the primary side of the coil to 'Saturate'.
(That's MAGNETIC FIELD SATURATION, for the record, not 'Electrical' saturation).
As the breaker points try to open, the MOVING electrical current will try to jump the breaker point gap, that's an electrical arc from one side of the breaker points to the other.
These electrical arcs CAN NOT be allowed to happen! They will weld the breaker points shut, or they will burn the breaker point surfaces up in short order!
You have to have a place for the MOVING electrical current to go while the breaker points are trying to open...
This would be the 'Condenser' (Electrical Capacitor).
Make sure it has a GOOD CONNECTION!
If this capacitor isn't the correct size, or it's not hooked up, or the case of the capacitor isn't 'Grounded' properly,
The breaker points won't live long, and the vehicle will run like crap until the breaker points give up...
Some better Dwell meters have a 'Condenser' or Capacitor test built into them,
If you don't have one like that, replace the capacitor if you have ANY suspicions.
They are cheap and will be cheap insurance to replace if you suspect them and can't test them easily.
Now, if you KNOW your distributor/ignition system is working, then widen your scope of diagnostics to include the high voltage parts of the ignition, cap, rotor, plug wires, plugs, head 'Grounding', ect.
Then move to carb/fuel delivery.
If you have any questions, I can give you PRACTICAL testing procedures to find your 'Issues' without throwing a bunch of parts at the vehicle...
Is that why you must write a book on every reply JH, so your conscience is at peace? You have a duty to fulfill? LMAO
Others tend to approach it one thing at a time, let the person get back with their results, and go from there with further advice.
And the word is regard, not reguard.
Another helpful post on an open 'Help Me' thread....
As for 'Book', it lays out the basics of what need to be done, in the order it needs to be done.
I find when the peanut gallery gets involved, I need to post the procedure at least half a dozen times to get through the background noise to get the OP to check things out...
Take your complaints up with my spell checker...
If that's the best you can come up with, then I'm doing pretty good!
Now, if the peanut gallery will hold useless comments until the OP has a chance to check things out, we might get somewhere...
I'm not sure if this was suggested, but I suffered for many months with my old 'Prestolite' OEM ignition system and finally had enough. Caps were bad to crack, points would foul, carbon inside the cap caused cross tracking.. FINALLY, I bought a complete replacement GM HEI replacement distributor and my engine has purred like a kitten ever since. Throw away that old AMC ignition system and get the simple GM HEI distributor. One - 'ignition on' wire and proper timing at slide-in and you'll hate yourself for not doing this way sooner.
Nope, the guys haven't noticed it *Could* be timing retarded,
But the vehicle wasn't running well BEFORE the OP messed with the timing.
They also missed the guy had removed the breaker points, and replaced with an aftermarket module/trigger combination,
Then took that out, and went back to breaker points.
The OP has switched to an aftermarket ignition coil, which we don't know if it's internally resisted or not, and don't know if it works with the current breaker points.
Again, just jacking in a bunch of timing isn't the answer...
Too many changes that need to be addressed to have breaker points running correctly.
Like I said before when the guys insisted in jacking in a bunch of INITIAL TIMING, explore the variables...
And like many previous threads, IF the guys has issues when he jacks in that Initial timing and it still doesn't run correctly, They will all disappear and the guy will be left to fend for himself....
As for HEI, if it works out of the box for you, then great.
There are a couple of complications here,
One is, this is a V-8, and HEI 'Clones' are less desirable for a V-8 engine.
Another is the OP didn't want to switch to a different distributor, that was the reason for the 'Pertronix' conversion.
You don't have to pull the distributor for a Pertronix install.
So working within the restraints the OP laid down, I'm TRYING to get a clear, concise testing procedure laid down to find the 'Issues', or rule out what *CAN* be wrong.
It's called 'Diagnostic Routine', and it will find his issue, but he will have to do the work.