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LexTR3
05-29-2012, 08:03 AM
For what its worth... this posting is for new owners just getting to know their cars...

It can also be labeled "Even a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn."

I took a long ride yesterday over a steep Blue Ridge Mountain pass. After reaching the eastern side, I noticed that my engine (TR3A) was beginning to missfire. I thought perhaps that something might be clogging the fuel line and continued on trying to evaluate what was happening. The missing got worse, and I began to smell a bit of gasoline.

Deciding that I might have a fuel problem or an electrical problem, I stopped the car, checked various lines, and then checked my spark plug wires to make sure they were on securely. When I pushed #3 wire, I got an electrical shock. I concluded that it was arching and that the piston was not firing regularly or properly.

I headed home, over the mountain, nursing the car along at 30 mph. The missing seemed to get worse.

Fortunately, I got home without having to call AAA. The first thing I did was to remove the distributor cap and its wires and install a new cap and wires that I had on hand for such an occasion. Took the car for a test drive and it drove perfectly. No more missing.

So, if this happens to you, you might keep the spark plug wires in mind. Perhaps even carry a back up distributor cap and wires with you in your trunk.

Were it not for the shock I got when fiddling around with #3 wire, I probably wouldn't have found the problem so quickly. It was purely by accident...

Or... as they say around here, "Even a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn."

My apologies to experienced readers of this Forum for carrying on about what was clearly a very simple problem to analyse and solve..

Mickey Richaud
05-29-2012, 08:16 AM
My apologies to experienced readers of this Forum for carrying on about what was clearly a very simple problem to analyse and solve..



All the "experienced readers" will agree that the simplest problems are the most difficult to solve. We always take the long way round! :smirk:

Geo Hahn
05-29-2012, 08:49 AM
...So, if this happens to you, you might keep the spark plug wires in mind. Perhaps even carry a back up distributor cap and wires with you in your trunk...

https://members.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/One-Hand.jpg

TR3driver
05-29-2012, 11:29 AM
Good for you, Ed, congratulations!

No, I don't think that was a particularly simple problem; IMO a lot of TR owners would have just called for a flatbed to drop the car off at a shop.

As a side comment, spark plug wire failures are almost always right at the end. "Carbon core" wires are particularly apt to fail where the "nails" in the distributor cap make connection with them (which is why I insist on copper core wires). So you can frequently solve the problem (temporarily) by cutting off the last 1/2" or so and re-making the connection. If the problem is at the plug boot, cut the entire boot off and strip back the insulation. Then you can unscrew the tip of the spark plug, wrap the wire around the exposed threads, and screw the tip back on to secure it.

LexTR3
05-29-2012, 12:12 PM
Randall, ahatever I did was purely by accident, with a little informed guessing on my part.

The failure appears to have been at the boot plug. I was using those yellow with black stripe wires that have uninsulated caps. I have now replaced them with black wires (copper core I believe) with long insulated boots at the plug ends.

If I had had your instructions, I would have undone the cap at the end, cut off a short length of wire, and replaced the cap. But perhaps it was the uninsulated cap that was the problem. At any rate, I have switched to a different brand.

As a last option, I would have called AAA, but I always like to try to fix it if I can. Fortunately, breakdowns on the highway with my car are extremely rare (only once since 2009, and that was for a blown radiator hose which I replaced at the scene).

I was impressed that the car kept going, despite the frequent misfires as I climbed that mountain. It's a tough little car.

CJD
05-29-2012, 12:56 PM
Great story! Glad you made it.

When I was young, as now, I drove old cars. The difference being that back then the cars were old and worn...now they are old and restored.

Everytime one of my old and worn cars broke down, I bought two of the offending parts, and threw one in the trunk "for the next time it fails". I would often take 3,000 mile road trips...and had a lot of break downs, and a lot of hikes to civilization (before cell phones). Eventually, in my late thirties, every old car I drove was loaded with hundreds of pounds of "extra" parts, "just in case".

The interesting thing is...I don't think I ever had a car break from one of the extras I carried. It ways always something new! I believe that is a corrollary to Murphy's law.

The only "parts" that came in handy, no matter what, were my tools. I have ditched the idea of ever trying to guess what is going to break...after all, If I could guess which it was, I would have already fixed it!

So, the only thing I never leave home without are a decent set of tools.

Sometime I'll relate the story of when I swapped an engine in a Syracuse NY Holiday in parking lot.

John

BillyB62
05-29-2012, 01:18 PM
I've seen a lot of posts where people recommend "extra" parts in the trunk. What type of commonly failed parts do most/many of you store back there?

martx-5
05-29-2012, 02:41 PM
I carry ignition parts. Cap, rotor, points, condenser, plugs, secondary wires and a coil. Also a fan belt, fuses, some loose wire and relays for the Dan Masters wiring. I'm going to add one of those Facet electrical fuel pumps that Randall recommends. And, of course, some tools.

LexTR3
05-29-2012, 03:00 PM
John,

I tend to do the same thing. When something needs replacing, I often buy two and put one away. I justify this by saying that when I give the car to my grandchildren, they will have all the spare parts they will need.

But, then, you have a point. The thing that breaks down often is not something for which you have a spare... ha, ha. But, then again, sometimes it is: like ignition parts. I also carry some cooling system parts as well: hoses and clamps. I also carry a small, temporary fan belt. Perhaps a quart of the oil that you prefer and some coolant would also be desirable for a long trip.

I tell my friends that mainly I carry two things: my cell phone and my AAA card (but that's not altogether true). Back in the early 60s when I had a 58TR3 in the desert around Tucson, Arizona, when I took road trips, I was pretty much on my own if anything happened. Nowadays, if you have cell service, you are not far from civilization.

sd80mac7204
05-29-2012, 03:20 PM
I have zip ties, duck tape, fuses, 7/16 wrench, 1/2 wrench, 2 screw drivers, piece of wire, oil, coolant, and a rag, and a big hammer.

LexTR3
05-29-2012, 04:07 PM
SD,

Absolutely.... duck tape...

TR3driver
05-29-2012, 04:47 PM
I've seen a lot of posts where people recommend "extra" parts in the trunk. What type of commonly failed parts do most/many of you store back there?
I carry most of mine in the center of the spare tire, rather than in the trunk. As above, ignition parts, hoses, spare belt, electric fuel pump with lengths of 5/16" and 1/4" hose (so it can also double as a siphon tube or replacement fuel line). The tool kit includes a cheap DMM and several alligator clip leads which can be used to power the pump or temporarily bypass a harness problem or defective switch. It also has things like a contact burnishing tool (to clean control box contacts) and of course a flashlight. The spare tire well also contains a rolled up blanket and a rain parka as well as the special tool I need to get my hub caps off.

On trips out of town, I like to carry a gallon of water and a quart of oil as well.

donbmw
05-29-2012, 05:04 PM
I have had the same thing happen to me. First time it was plug wires. The next two times it was the Petronix system and have gone back to points with no problems for years now.

Geo Hahn
05-29-2012, 05:30 PM
I carry a lot of parts. Most are seldom needed by me but more often needed by others.

On a 1000 mile roadtrip last October we were sitting at lunch when one driver came in (late) and told us his Mini's generator had packed it in. We were 500 miles from home and in the middle of the Navajo Reservation. It was nice to be able to say 'Oh, I think I have one of those in the boot'.

He had to swap the pulley but that was easy enough.

luke44
05-29-2012, 06:25 PM
You guys actually <span style="font-style: italic">drive </span> your cars? I thought they were only for working on. Sigh....someday.... :crazy:

TR3driver
05-29-2012, 08:39 PM
You guys actually <span style="font-style: italic">drive </span> your cars? I thought they were only for working on. Sigh....someday.... :crazy:

The trick is to lower your standards. My car will never be "restored" (at least not by me) but it's a hoot to drive even in its currrent somewhat decrepit and incomplete state.

LexTR3
05-30-2012, 07:03 AM
BTW...

If you want to carry a really small "tool kit" with you, include the following:
(1) a cell pone
(2) a AAA card
(3) Randall's email address
(4) George Hahn's telephone number

and, oh yes, a few tools...