View Full Version : Blind pig finds another acorn!

08-02-2012, 08:27 PM
Took another long ride over the Blue Ridge Mountains today. All was going well until I headed home, and then I noticed that the car was hesitating from time to time, especially when I accelerated.

This happened once before, and I stumbled on the cause: a faulty spark plug wire.

When I returned home, I checked the spark plug wires. They were good. I checked the plugs. They were great. I checked the timing. It was fine. Then I checked the points. They needed a little adjusting. But then I stumbled on the problem. The little screw that holds the condenser to the plate had worked itself loose and had fallen out somewhere. The condenser and wire held by that screw were not attached to the plate.

I found another screw and made the repair. No more hesitations!

But now my question is: was any damage done by driving with the condenser unattached? I understand that a faulty condenser will cause a progressive metal transfer from one ignition point to the other, but I didn't drive more than 45 miles before fixing the problem. Any other possible damage?

Geo Hahn
08-02-2012, 08:43 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about driving with a loose condensor (you can check the points' condition if in doubt) but I would want to find out what became of that screw.

I dropped one into a distributor in a motel parking lot one evening and in the end had to pull the distributor and shake it out.

08-02-2012, 10:04 PM

I checked the points and they look good. But despite looking into the distributor (as well as that is possible without removing it), I haven't found the screw. I'll try again tomorrow. May have to pull it and shake it.

08-02-2012, 10:14 PM
Yes, you don't want it interfering with the advance weights.

Geo Hahn
08-03-2012, 08:14 AM
...May have to pull it and shake it.

Or you may get away with just removing the base plate (2 screws & the vacuum connection) and having a look-see. It was one of those screws that I dropped and it got down among the weights. A magnetic pick-up may also help once the base plate is off.

08-03-2012, 10:27 AM
George and Poolboy,

I pulled the distributor this morning and shook it and checked it, but no screw appeared. I removed the points plate and looked around the weights, but no screw was there. Somehow it must have fallen out of the distributer, although this is a great mystery to me because the distributor cap should have prevented that.

One of life's mysteries, I guess.

Any suggestions?

08-03-2012, 10:51 AM
Did you look under where the condenser sits? There really shouldn't be any place for it to go, unless it managed to jump out while you were removing the clips or there is a problem where the wire enters.

08-08-2012, 05:06 PM
Just for the record... third time is a charm!

I pulled my distributor today for the third time and lifted the contact breaker plate higher than before and finally found the missing screw (the screw that had worked itself loose somehow from the condenser). It was wedged in a way that it wouldn't shake out and was very hard to see.

I knew it had to be there somewhere... and it was.

But if it isn't one thing... it's another. While replacing the distributor, one of the distributor cap clips flew off. It had given me trouble before because the pin holding it was loose in its little "socket" and came out once before. This time the top of the "socket" on one side of the pin broke off completely leaving nothing to hold the pin in place. I had to fabricate a new pin from a nail (the other one flew off into space somewhere)and applied Locktite Weld to hold the end of the pin in its broken hole. I'll leave it overnight and hope for the best. If that doesn't work -- but it should -- my only other alternative is to drill a very small hole beside the pin and put a small screw in there to hold it in place (I'd rather not do that).

Has this happened to anyone else? Any suggestions?

Geo Hahn
08-08-2012, 05:15 PM
...I pulled my distributor today for the third time and lifted the contact breaker plate higher than before and finally found the missing screw...

I shall sleep easier tonight.

08-08-2012, 06:07 PM
So shall I.... George... So shall I.

The warning that Jeff Schlemmer gave me of what might happen if I didn't find that screw and it were still in there somewhere would give you nightmares!