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Discussion Starter #1
It's been 10 years since I played with points....took me about 2 hours to find my old dwell meter...

Anyway, the new toy I just bought has a GM points distributor....stock basic stuff.

The wiring from the previous owner was all screwed up, so I set out to straighten it out.

I'd like to run it in original form....with a ballast resistor.

If I remember correctly, the ballast resistor goes in-line in the wire from the key to the coil + for the "run" circuit, and run a wire from the "R" terminal on the starter to the coil + to bypass the resistor and give 12V to the coil while cranking....Is this right?

I thought it was, but the new ballast resistor started to let the smoke out after about 30 seconds of running, so I am left scratching my head.
 

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that's how ive always done it, maybe the new resistor has a coating on it? dropping from 12 to 6volts will let some heat out
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That was my thought as well. I remember I used to buy points for my old truck with the change I found in the seat....the points/condensor/resistor ran me about $45....I guess they're now looked at as "vintage" parts....just didn't wanna kill anything quite yet.

thanks.
 

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It's been 10 years since I played with points....took me about 2 hours to find my old dwell meter...

Anyway, the new toy I just bought has a GM points distributor....stock basic stuff.

The wiring from the previous owner was all screwed up, so I set out to straighten it out.

I'd like to run it in original form....with a ballast resistor.

If I remember correctly, the ballast resistor goes in-line in the wire from the key to the coil + for the "run" circuit, and run a wire from the "R" terminal on the starter to the coil + to bypass the resistor and give 12V to the coil while cranking....Is this right?

I thought it was, but the new ballast resistor started to let the smoke out after about 30 seconds of running, so I am left scratching my head.
Just make sure the coil is a " use with external resistor " coil and not an aftermarket " no resistor required " unit!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just make sure the coil is a " use with external resistor " coil and not an aftermarket " no resistor required " unit!
OK, you got me.

It's a yellow accel canister coil...I didn't know the coil cared how much voltage you put to it. I thought the 6 volt thing was to save the points?

School me.
 

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British Leyland "smoke"

OK, you got me.

It's a yellow accel canister coil...I didn't know the coil cared how much voltage you put to it. I thought the 6 volt thing was to save the points?

School me.
You can buy Austin Healy and MG original "smoke" in a bottle to replace the smoke that came in the wiring of those cars originally:D:D

Yes, a new ballast Resistor WILL smoke when first used... No harm, no foul, it's just burning the ceramic coating off the resistance coil.... GM original coils never had an external resistor, as the GM original coils were 9 volt.. It was the FOMOCOs and Mopars that used the "divorced" resistor.... The volt drop is indeed to extend the life of the points, but the drop is only down to about 9 volts when running... Most, if not all, of the aftermarket coils required a ballast resistor...
And yeah, an old school tune up, with good parts, use to be about what a pack of smokes cost today..... The "Standard Ignition" line of "Blue Streak" use to be the way to go, I'm not sure if they're still around with all the Chinese competition these days. The last one I messed with got Accel pieces. Points, cond, rotor, and cap, about $70....It's still running strong....BUT, so is the "Blue Streak" stuff I used 18 yrs ago when the 402 I'm running today was built... (it sat under a bench for 10-12 years, and fired right up with zero adjustments!!:D:D)
BTW, the dwell is 30* in case you've forgotten:)hand:)hand
Ray
 

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That was my thought as well. I remember I used to buy points for my old truck with the change I found in the seat....the points/condensor/resistor ran me about $45....I guess they're now looked at as "vintage" parts....just didn't wanna kill anything quite yet.

thanks.
Prices of those things keep going up for some reason.
I would of installed an HEI unit and been done with it. I understand wanting to keep it original looking though.
There was an HEI dealio for sale in the spam section I think (might of been craigslist) for 60 bux...
 

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If you want to look vintage, buy a Pertronix ignitor for the distribuitor and ditch the points. They work great and you can put your dwell meter back in the tool box.
 

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You can buy Austin Healy and MG original "smoke" in a bottle to replace the smoke that came in the wiring of those cars originally:D:D

Yes, a new ballast Resistor WILL smoke when first used... No harm, no foul, it's just burning the ceramic coating off the resistance coil.... GM original coils never had an external resistor, as the GM original coils were 9 volt.. It was the FOMOCOs and Mopars that used the "divorced" resistor.... The volt drop is indeed to extend the life of the points, but the drop is only down to about 9 volts when running... Most, if not all, of the aftermarket coils required a ballast resistor...
And yeah, an old school tune up, with good parts, use to be about what a pack of smokes cost today..... The "Standard Ignition" line of "Blue Streak" use to be the way to go, I'm not sure if they're still around with all the Chinese competition these days. The last one I messed with got Accel pieces. Points, cond, rotor, and cap, about $70....It's still running strong....BUT, so is the "Blue Streak" stuff I used 18 yrs ago when the 402 I'm running today was built... (it sat under a bench for 10-12 years, and fired right up with zero adjustments!!:D:D)
BTW, the dwell is 30* in case you've forgotten:)hand:)hand
Ray
Which was a point gap of ............ ? :D
 

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Which was a point gap of ............ ? :D
.017 or a matchbook cover.
Don't remember an external ballast resistor anywhere on the Fords I worked on...course, they didn't have wooden spokes....:p
Fords that I know of and remember used a special resistance wire to the coil. The coil got full 12v from the starter relay.
When I did a tune up I always bought points for a dual point dist. since they had a heavier spring and were good for more rpm. Heck, the 390 in my work truck still has points. Which reminds me...:)bulb
 

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Spider webs.....

Which was a point gap of ............ ? :D
I believe it's .018 to get 30*..... Most of the "books" had "28-32*" and/or .017-.019 point gap....(GMs idea of the allen wrench through the cap eliminated the gap setting, and popularized the dwell meters)...) The trick was setting dual points in the vehicle with the ol' matchbook canceling out one set, then the other, then checking total at what? 42* or something like that??..... And the theory of longer dwell, (condenser soak time) created a hotter spark.... The came the CD systems.... Points lasted for ever and the current never changed due to the "discharge" part of CD.... Ray

PS weren't the early flatheads mags??..... I know they drove off the front of the engine..... Our 50 Merc had a home made transistor ignition, then a home made CD system.....With a 3 way switch on the dash from conventional, transistor, or CD, as the CD was kinda cold natured in the wintertime....AND yes, my dad was a TV repairman and had a bitchin' set of tools.....
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Chevy never had external resistors?

I had a 72 (last year for points) El Camino with a 2 barrel 350, bone stock, that had one. IIRC, my 64 chevy truck had one too. They were screwed to the fire wall with a lag bolt...3/8" head if I remember correctly, just to the left of the distributor (between the bulkhead connector and coil) and had an offset mounting boss cast into the insulator.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
73 was HEI....when the body style changed. Then in 76? the HEI lost the mechanical advance when they went to feedback carburetors. I think it was 76 at least. I used to scour the junkyards looking for an HEI and the only ones left behind were the non-mech. advance units. It pissed me off. For the $1/day I spent on the entry fee to the pick n pull and with what I spent on gas I probably could have bought a new MSD setup.
 

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72 was points... well.. my pickup had points anyways... 73 still was points... my old pickup still had points. Neither had a balast resistor... used a resistor wire. Same scenario in my 66 Chevelle... it's a salmon or pink wire... can't remember off the top of my head, but do know if you just go and hook a HEI up to the wire, you'll burn the electronics out in it in short order as they tend to like the full 12v.
 

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So I did a tune up on a ford v8 mustang one time. A while back. :D Noticed the points were adjusted closed when I took them out. I set them to factory specs and it wouldnt hit a lick. I set them to closed and it ran fine.

I wiggled the distributor shaft and it was pretty worn out. It wobbled just enough when it was running to open the points the correct amount. :)
 
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