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After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
#1403546 Mon Mar 29 2021 12:05 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 12
T
TEBO Offline OP
New Guy
While driving when I get out for about 20 miles I suddenly lose power and the engine dies. If I try and start it with starter fluid no luck so it seems like there is no spark. After resting for 5 minutes it will start and run for another 10 miles before dying again. I changed the coil and completely bypassed the ballast resistor but same thing. It seems like something is getting hot but I can't figure out what. I have electronic points and my coil is mounted to the side of the engine block. Seems like I am chasing ghost so thought I would ask if anyone else has seen similar issues. Should add some details of the truck. It is a 1949 with a 235 engine from a 1953. Pretty much stock except upgraded to an alternator and 12 volts.

Last edited by TEBO; Mon Mar 29 2021 12:08 AM.

TEBO
1949 Chevy 3100
Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403548 Mon Mar 29 2021 12:31 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,328
B
Sir Searchalot
Well I guess you do not want us to say vapor lock, gas cap vacuum lock, fuel pump, filter clog or any fuel delivery item if you tried starter fluid. If it did NOT fire at all with the fluid.
Sooooooooooo........all I can think of is the condenser. But you have Pertronix so........ there you are. your symptoms have been reported by Pertronix users especially in the older models. I.E. Ignitor I

Obviously check for spark after it dies would be very necessary but need a spark plug socket in the truck and some way to crank motor. There are some static spark tests also.

Hope you are sure about the fluid not working. Actual gas would be better.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
I used to think beer was bad for me, so I gave up thinking.
Sometimes no nonsense makes sense, in a sense.
You can't teach a new dog old tricks.
Honk if you're Amish


Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403550 Mon Mar 29 2021 12:39 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 355
D
'Bolter
"Electronic points"... Pertronix, by chance? They have very spotty reliability. I've installed a number of them over the years for others (including on a Chris Craft with Hercules flat head six). Some have worked fine, but at least half have failed. Others will certainly chime in with similar reliability issues noted.

Suggest swapping back to stock points and condenser and see if that solves the issue. Condensers available today aren't know for good reliability, so maybe consider one of Jon G's updated condensers (he has several threads on the subject in this forum) which is a modern capacitor with the correct specs, and with mounting modified to replace a stock unit, which works with stock points.

Or if a trial with stock points solves the issue, consider moving to an HEI distributor for the longer term. They are a much better designed system than the electronic point replacements. Either large cap or small cap (so as to look more original) are available.

If you swap back to stock points at least for diagnostics, make sure the ballast resistor is wired in.

Hope this helps.

Doug

Last edited by drdoug; Mon Mar 29 2021 12:44 AM.
Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403554 Mon Mar 29 2021 12:56 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,328
B
Sir Searchalot
This is the alleged troubleshoot for Pertronix.
1. Connect a jumper wire from the Ignitor Plate to battery ground.
2. Connect the Red wire from the Ignitor to the battery positive terminal along with the red lead from a volt meter.
3. Attach the Black wire form the Ignitor to the black lead of the voltmeter.
4. Move or rotate the magnet sleeve in front of the Ignitor Module, the voltmeter should vary from battery voltage to 0 volts and back.
5. If it does not, then you possibly have a burned out Power Transistor or a failed Hall cell.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
I used to think beer was bad for me, so I gave up thinking.
Sometimes no nonsense makes sense, in a sense.
You can't teach a new dog old tricks.
Honk if you're Amish


Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
bartamos #1403602 Mon Mar 29 2021 04:23 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 12
T
TEBO Offline OP
New Guy
The first time it happened my first thought was vapor lock. I had a Fiat that did it all the time. When it happened I was able to coast into a gas station and we checked all that. After changing the coil I had always suspected the Pertronix but had not found any reference to the failure mode I was seeing. It makes sense because of the way it is failing it is like an integrated curcit getting hot and recovering when it cools off. I was trying to avoid going back to conventional points but sounds like my best option. Thanks for all the great input.

Terence


TEBO
1949 Chevy 3100
Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403619 Mon Mar 29 2021 12:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,039
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
You don’t have to go back to points if you don’t want to. As drdoug mentioned in his post above, there are other options besides Pertronix. The most period correct looking is a unit sold by Tom Langdon, do a search for HEI for your specific engine. Stay away from options that just replace the points/condenser in your distributor. Just too unreliable.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily”
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”



"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop!
USAF 1965-1969 Weather Observation Tech (I got paid to look at the clouds)

Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403889 Tue Mar 30 2021 10:11 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 774
F
'Bolter
TEBO Have had good service with V-6 HEI distributors converted to fit 235's done the work at home, just make it same dimensions as your old distributor. Not rocket science get repair parts at your local parts store . Also make a spare !

Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403912 Wed Mar 31 2021 12:14 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,198
E
'Bolter
What is your distributor point gap; when I was teaching at University of Wyoming geology field camp, dust would get everywhere, including in distr., causing to point gap to get too large, closing gap to spec(paper match) thickness caused resumption of journey.

Ed


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
'55 GMC 370 w/270, 420 4 speed, grain, dump bed truck from ND. Works OK.
Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403922 Wed Mar 31 2021 01:07 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,039
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Ed, he has Pertronix.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily”
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”



"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop!
USAF 1965-1969 Weather Observation Tech (I got paid to look at the clouds)

Re: After 20 miles I lose spark and truck dies
TEBO #1403965 Wed Mar 31 2021 04:43 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,001
H
'Bolter
"he has Pertronix"

AKA the L E & W system- - - - -"Leave Early and Walk!"
smile
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
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