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Discussion Starter #1
I have a '73 Caddy 500 engine in a '54 Ford truck. It was running when I bought it but the coil tended to get very hot. There was a wire straight from the battery to the coil + side (bypassing the ballast resistor), and the wire at the points was old and brittle. We added a 12 vold fuse block and ran a 30 amp fuse from there to a new resistor, new wire from resistor to coil + side, and a new wire from the coil - side to the points.
I replaced the coil, wires, plugs, dist cap, rotor button, and points that I set with a dwell meter at 30 degrees. I get some fire from the coil and plugs, but not much. It will not light my timing light either, and almost starts but will not. I am certain the firing order is right and the #1 piston is up on compression stroke when we installed the wires.
There is no condensor in the distributor. Could this be the root of the problem? If so, how would I wire that? Should I not be able to get some light fromthe timing light? Any help you can give me will be much appreciated.
 

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No condensor = no spark. Install one and reset the dwell. It goes from the coil - to ground (across the points). A condensor is the same thing as a capacitor . It must have a specific value in this case. Get the right one for the application.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
OK I will pick one up and see how it goes. Thanks.Any idea how it was running before? I thought maybe just because it had that constant hot from the battery. Also do you know if a 30 amp fuse is what I need to run to the coil (as this was a 6 volt system) ? Should the coil get hot when starting / running or would that be caused by the missing condenser also?
 

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You might just have a condensor in there and not know it. Maybe you have a uniset points set which has it built in. The condensor normally looks like a small bomb :bomb: but can be in other packages. Are you sure that you are using the correct ballast resistor? One way to check it would be to turn the ignition on and short the points with a cliplead or a piece of metal, then read the Voltage directly across the coil's terminals. You cannot simply read the Voltage after the resistor unless the coil is drawing it's rated current. You are also missing one wire if you stuck the resistor in series with the coil plus terminal. There should be one extra wire from the starter R terminal to the coil plus lead. This wire jumps the ballast resistor while the starter is cranking.
The ignition coil should not get blistering hot while the engine is running but it might get too hot with the points closed, the engine not started and the ignition switched on after a period of time. Double check our coils part number to see if it was designed for an external ballast. Some were not.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
$3.25 condenser from Advance - installed, reset the dwell and she fired up first try. A lot of head scratching and spitting and cussing for a 3 dollar part - but it runs like a champ.
What will happen next....
 

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You might think about hitting your local boneyard someday and picking up an HEI distributor for your motor... MUCH less headaches than points and all you need is one hot wire running to it.... VERY simple inexpensive upgrade...

Just a thought..
 

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Yeah I found an HEI that wasn't vacuum advance for 50 bucks when I was doing all that head scratching but that won't work. No luck yet finding one that is. Since it is actually running now I will wait until I have to fool with that setup again and then look some more. If anyone knows where to find one for a good price let me know and I may grab it anyway. Today was the first time I got to drive the beast with all 3 gears and I gotta say - this 500 pulls like hell - bone stock with a Holley 600. The 3.90 gears probably help that a good bit. Cant wait to put some headers, cam, and intake and a little more Carb on there.....
 
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