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Old 05-29-2020, 10:19 AM
srizzoa4 srizzoa4 is offline
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atomic 4 coil problem

45 minutes into my maiden voyage in my new to me 1969 Bristol 29, the engine slowly lost rpms then died entirely. I hoisted sails and coninued. 10 minutes later, there was smoke commng from the wires of the ignition swith wires. I found the battery and disconneded the positive. another 10 minutes went by and smoke was billowing up out of the engine compartment below. I didn't know there was a second bank of batteries. I disconnected them. epoxy was spewing out ot the coil. The coil is 29650 "use with external resistors". I notice in your inventory of coils for "early model" a 4 engines that they are internal resistor coils. Should I purchase this one from you and swap it or stick with external resistor type? I have to re-wire all melted wires first and I'm just starting the project. thanks in advance for your advice.

Last edited by Administrator; 05-29-2020 at 11:34 AM. Reason: Started new thread.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:03 PM
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Do your wiring repairs as planned paying close attention to wire gauge, colors too if you want to do it right and make future troubleshooting easier. Absolutely purchase your new coil (recommend purchasing a spare too) from Moyer Marine. It is an internal resistance type and oil filled (more heat tolerant than epoxy filled). No external resistor is required unless you have electronic ignition. If that is the case, search “Rule of 2011” on this forum for what, if anything, you need to do additionally.

The simple fact is you had the wrong coil installed. I suspect you left the ignition switched on after the engine quit too. A Moyer Marine alarm system helps avoid that error.
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:21 PM
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... and welcome to the forum.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srizzoa4 View Post
45 minutes into my maiden voyage in my new to me 1969 Bristol 29, the engine slowly lost rpms then died entirely..
This is not the sign of a classic coil failure. The 45 min part is good, but when the coil dies, the engine dies like you flicked off the switch - DEAD.

Glad you didn't burn down the boat!
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Schober View Post
The 45 min part is good, but when the coil dies, the engine dies like you flicked off the switch - DEAD.
Al, that has not been our experience. If there is a failure of the ignition system such as a wiring connection or keyswitch failure, then it does quit instantly as you describe. However, coil failure caused by overheating often mimics fuel starvation with a brief slowing and stumbling before shut down.

That is what made it so perplexing to troubleshoot back when EI related coil failures were common.
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Old 06-14-2020, 11:48 AM
srizzoa4 srizzoa4 is offline
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replaced coil, still no spark

I bought a new coil from Moyer Marine. Replaced it, re-wired engine according to diagram. I have 12 volts at the coil (pos terminal) when ignition is on. Center wire held near engine block (1/4 " from ground) has no spark. Center coil wire has 12K Ohms resistance which seems normal. I'm not sure how the center wire will spark when turning over as it is not connected to the distributor at this point except the negative coil terminal to coil ground.
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:05 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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Are you holding the coil or the cap end close to the block. Should be the cap end with the coil end still in place.

Dave Neptune
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srizzoa4 View Post
. . . . it is not connected to the distributor at this point except the negative coil terminal to coil ground.
Please explain this in detail. Extreme, minute detail.
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:32 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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I read the thread. Maybe I missed it. Do you have points or an EI?

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:42 PM
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The Moyer video about the coil shows clearly how they tested for spark off the center plug (that would be the end that would attach to the distributor )

Watch "Atomic 4 - Coil Check" on YouTube
https://youtu.be/IlmvMWf_1o8
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Last edited by GregH; 06-16-2020 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 06-21-2020, 09:56 PM
srizzoa4 srizzoa4 is offline
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Dave Neptune, I had the end off of the distributor. NDutton, I have points and condensor. Here's what I finally found: I was getting no spark because of a ground. After a lot of hunting around, I found that the points were shorted out to ground. Even when they were open, it was a grounded circuit. I also found that the wire from the neg terminal of the coil to the condensor had high resistance, so I replaced it too. The engine fired up for the first time since the maiden voyage. It stalled after 15 or 20 seconds, but still I was proud of myself. Now that I have spark, I have something to work with. I will set the points using a feeler gague tomorrow (I just threw the new one in there before tonight's research on how to set it) BTW, do I turn the distribotor to open the points or use a hand crank with ignition off to set points to max open where I gague it to 0.020? I guess i will then turn the distributor for max rpm (timing) with the engine warm and in gear. Ken at Moyer Marine has been most helpful as have people on this thread. Thanks all.
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:43 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srizzoa4 View Post
(A) It stalled after 15 or 20 seconds, but still I was proud of myself.

(B)BTW, do I turn the distribotor to open the points or use a hand crank with ignition off to set points to max open where I gague it to 0.020? I guess i will then turn the distributor for max rpm (timing) with the engine warm and in gear. .
(A) Maybe to quick or to slow pushing the choke in after starting? Sounds like a fuel problem.

(B)Turn the engine with the hand crank to set the points.
You can power time the engine by turning the distributor when the engine is warmed up.

ex TRUE GRIT

Do you have a copy of the MMI A4 maintenance & repair manual?
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:53 PM
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I"m not sure if I should now move over to a timing thread, but here's what's going on now: I gapped the points, changed and gapped the spark plugs, changed the fuel filter. She fired right up and seems to be running pretty smooth both in neutral and in gear against the dock lines. I loosened up the retaining nut on the distributer so that I can power tune it. I can not budge the distributer. I was hesitant to put a big pair of channel locks on it. I sprayed it with PB blaster and will try again tomorrow.

When changing the plugs, I found top dead center by manually turning the flywheel. When cylender one (nearest the fly wheel) was at TDC, the distributer was pointing directly towards the block. From my view this is the 3:00 poosition with 12 being stern, 3 being port, 6 being bow and 9 at starboard. It rotates clockwise. The spark plug wire that goes to cylinder number one was at the 6:00 position. From there it is 1,2,4,3. I thought from some of my reading that the distributer would point towards the block (3:00) as it was at TDC, but that is where spark plugh wire number one whould be. I moved the wires so that this would be 1 and then went on to the 2,4,3. It would not start and I got a ton of blow back or misfire. I put it back and it seems to run fine.

How should I attempt to free up the distributer or should I just leave well enough alone? I don't know how to use a timing light and I don't know where the marks are, so I can't check it that way.

I started more research when I got home and on the video that Don Moyer did about placing the distributer, he said that the distributer should line up pointing away from the block (which would be my 9:00 position). THis is 180 degrees off of where I am now. I seem to be getting closer to nailing this, but then now my research is confusing me worse. Any advise appreciated.
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Old 06-22-2020, 06:00 PM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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You're Doing Fine......

The stock set up is to have #1 spark plug fire when the rotor is pointing away from the engine. The rotor will be pointing at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock when #1 plug fires depending on whether the rotor is viewed from the front or back of the engine. Is this the way your distributor is set up? If the distributor is turned #1 spark plug will fire when the rotor is not pointing away from the engine ie 9 or 3 o'clock.

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:00 PM
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Here is a graphic that may help...
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:14 PM
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Everyone should be careful here. He has a 1969 A4 and I would guess this is an 'early model" with the smaller prestolite distributor. You can easily tell if the condenser is hanging from the side wall rather than on the plate. If this is true the timing starts with the rotor pointing directly aft at TDC and is pointing at the number one distributor position. From there the cylinder 1-2-4-3 sequence clockwise starts.

Now, this is a guess with out a picture but the early model distributor is " loosened " differently than the late models. The early model has a hold screw for mounting the dizzy but not for adjusting it. instead about half way down there is a HORIZONTAL screw bolt and a nut/clamp arrangement that has to be slightly loosened to rotate the distributor. I strongly suggest you slightly loosen the bolt with a long screw driver and or a 3/8 in [I think] socket on an extension with the engine off before you attempt to power time. Timing light not really needed since there is no stock degree marks [which gets into a whole different area].

There is some info in the Moyer tech tips but not a lot of info on the early model issues in the videos. Hope this helps. Sam
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:22 PM
srizzoa4 srizzoa4 is offline
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John Cookson, The number one wire comes off at the 6:00 position (towards the flywheel). When piston number one (spark plug closest to the fly wheel) is at TDC, the rotor is pointed at the block.

I attached 2 pics. One shows the rotor pointed at the block which I a calling the 3:00 position. This is where the rotor is when I think cylinder #1 is at TDC. I will re-check this tomorrow and also be sure the pins on the shaft are straight up and down as I saw in Dan Moyer's video. THe second shows the firing order. It's easy to see that the #1 wire has a black rubber right angle cap on both ends. This goes to the 6:00 position. Going clockwise then, #2 is at 9:00, #4 is at 12:00 and #3 is at 3:00. This really doesn't make any sense to me if #1 is TDC with the rotor in the 3:00 position. It seems to run OK this way, but logic says it really shouldn't. Sorry for rambling.

A link to see the engine run is here: https://youtu.be/I9IdkOjwWJA
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:26 PM
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I wrote my note before I saw John's helpful pictorial. I think this problem can be easily solved if you first determine which distributor you have and then start appropriately. I have heard but never seen that some" hybrids" could exist that have early model's with late model distributors with some conversions?? Hope this is not your case and you have a stock early model.
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Old 06-23-2020, 12:52 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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The wire to #1 cylinder spark plug can come from any of the four towers in the distributor cap. The rotor need to be pointing to that terminal when #1 is at (or near) TDC compression. If you want to change the terminal on the distributor cap for #1 spark plug rotate the distributor. The only problem I see doing this is that the spark plug wires will be to long or short. Have a look at Jerry's picture.
If I understanding correctly your distributor is rotated 90 degrees from "normal" or "stock".
BTW - Got the stuck bolt soaking in PB Blaster?

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:34 AM
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second attempt to post pics

I attached 2 pics. One shows the rotor pointed at the block which I am calling the 3:00 position. This is where the rotor is when I think cylinder #1 is at TDC. I will re-check this tomorrow and also be sure the pins on the shaft are straight up and down as I saw in Dan Moyer's video. The second shows the firing order. It's easy to see that the #1 wire has a black rubber right angle cap on both ends. This goes to the 6:00 position. Going clockwise then, #2 is at 9:00, #4 is at 12:00 and #3 is at 3:00. This really doesn't make any sense to me if #1 is TDC with the rotor in the 3:00 position. It seems to run OK this way, but logic says it really shouldn't.
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:39 AM
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I was able to remove the retaining clip for the dizzy. I left the junction of the dizzy and the accessory drive soaking in PB blaster overnight. I'm hopeful that I will be able to turn it. It was completely frozen yesterday. Should I force it with channel locks? Would there be a retaining clip and a set screw as SAM states? I was told by Ken at Moyer that it is a late model. I think it's an AC Delco distributor, but it isn't exactly like in the pics as the alignment tab is not the same as in ROADNSKY's pic.

Utterly baffled as to why this engine runs.
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Old 06-23-2020, 08:39 AM
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Keep in mind that, wherever the rotor points at #1 TDC, that's where the #1 plug wire should go.

The 3:00 o'clock or 9:00 o'clock position is only convention. Where the rotor ends up at #1 TDC is determined by the meshing/phasing of the bevel gears at the base of the distributor shaft.

Think of it this way: With the engine at #1 TDC and the distributor removed, you could replace it with the rotor positioned anywhere. That would become the new location for the #1 plug wire.
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Old 06-23-2020, 10:48 AM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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I have been a mechanic most of my life and ALMOST EVERY engine I "timed" while doing an R&R of the distributor I have seldom ever found the distributor
pointing" where the factory setting was.

Timing is not set by the factory position by most mechanics as they would not even bother to look up where it was supposed to be from the factory as it is just easier to drop the distributor in while #1 IS ON TDC and then work from where the rotor is pointing.

The direction the factory spec points at was for nothing other than mass production making everything the same on the production line.

I personally think it is a dis-service to post as those who do not understand "timing" think they have a problem if the rotor points in another direction when it is actually just fine~~IMHO.

Dave Neptune
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Old 06-23-2020, 03:04 PM
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Folks, to avoid confusion forget my comments. From the posted pics you have a late model engine and Delco dizzy. [I would have thought a 1969 would be "early model"]. My comments were for early models. The fact that the distributor is larger with condenser on plate and a cap held in place with screws rather than side snap clips indicates Delco vs Prestolite. The groups previous comments are on target.
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