Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
1987 Brougham
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I posted last year about this issue but the car has been in storage and some headway has been made since then so thought I would ask about new issue.

I wanted to see if the points and condenser in the distributor were bad since there was no spark at the plugs and the engine won’t turn over. I opened the distributor cap, took off the rotor and it seemEd like there was an aftermarket set of points with the condenser attached to the bottom of the points and one wire only, being the primary lead, attaching to the points. I replaced that apparatus with a traditional set of points and a separate condenser, running both wires from the primary lead and the condenser to the points. It looks as though the points have some power as I can manually move the hammer on the points up, and get it close to the adjusting screw to make a spark. However, it has to be moved up quite a ways to get close to that adjusting screw on the points. Should that screw be a lot closer? Because the car still will not turn over and it does not look like there’s any spark going to be plugs.

It seems like there is power coming from the coil because if there was not, there would be no little spark happening in the points at all when they are moved manually. Correct?

Can I get anybody to weigh in on this and give me direction to go in please. I feel we are getting close with actually getting the car to have spark and getting started! Thanks in advance!

-D.C.
 

·
Registered
1987 Brougham
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
There are two procedures listed in my shop manual for the car. One while the car is running and one as you install the points. I believe after installing the points it says to adjust the screw until the points close and then back it off only slightly. But I don’t have the book in front of me right now. Is this what you were referring to? Thank you so much!
 

·
Registered
1980 FBC
Joined
·
3,130 Posts
A rough adjustment can be performed by obtaining an appropriate sized feeler gauge and rotating the engine with an a helper tapping the starter motor until one of the 8 the distributor lobes is exactly on the points contactor.

The points are adjusted so that a .017" feeler gauge just fits into the gap. Adjustment is via a hex screw which is clocked to match a little window in the distributor cap.

A dwell meter can be used to set exact points adjustment but isn't necessary if the points installer has good skills and some experience.

See youtube and old shop manuals for more information.
 

·
Registered
1987 Brougham
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Would the points being out of adjustment cause vehicle to not turn over at all? IE- no spark at all?? Thanks
 

·
Registered
1987 Brougham
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Also to be clear as I am learning as I am going along here with these points, I did not hear or see any small spark when opening and closing the point contacts manually with the key on. I have to check that there’s power coming from the coil, but when I moved the point lever all the way up (by accident) it did make a spark on the adjusting screw, which leads me to believe there is some power going to the points. But there was no spark between the contacts when I would Would manually separate them a little bit and let them touch back together.

Does this make sense and why would this be? I thought you would at least have a little spark with the key on and the contacts being manually separated and put back together. Thanks!

-D.C.
 

·
Registered
1987 Brougham
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
If anyone has any further information it would be greatly appreciated. I am going to try and fiddle with the points again either tonight or tomorrow, but I want to make sure I’m doing the right fiddling! Thanks!
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
69,385 Posts
Normally the spark across the contact points is suppressed by the capacitor (condenser) on the points plate. If that capacitor goes bad the points erode quickly - the only reason to change them in the first place.

The negative (ground) point, due to sparking, sheds its metal which is then deposited on the positive point, causing a small bump, making correct gap settings impossible - thus the small points files in pre-1970s toolboxes.

As posted, bump the engine until the points rubbing block is exactly on the point of a distributor cam lobe, then set the adjustment screw for the points plate to give an opening of .018". Tighten the points plate retainer and adjustment screws. Check the gap again.


 

·
Registered
1987 Brougham
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Great thank you so much for that. I will try to adjust them either tonight or tomorrow if I get home from work and there’s still a little bit of light out!!

So from what you have said then, there should be power going to the points as they are, so would the points being out of adjustment be the cause of the engine not firing at all? Thanks again.
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
69,385 Posts
Yes, the points are constantly powered by anything from 5 to 12 volts, depending on the ignition system, ballast wiring, and coil power draw. The points are the lightning-fast ON/OFF switch for the coil. They make/break the primary electrical coil in the coil which, as it makes and breaks, induces an extremely high voltage/low amperage electrical charge in the coil secondary. Because there is a good bit of amperage draw in that ON/OFF sequence the capacitor is used to lessen the effects of spark erosion of the points - thus the small (hopefully) spark you see when the points make/break the coil circuit.

The distributor has a cam with the correct number of cylinders/spark plugs for a particular engine, and the timing/points settings insure that the ignition coil is triggered at the exact instant the spark needs to go to a particular plug. Incorrect point gap screws up the design ignition timing events. The system provides a spark at the proper time in each cylinder's compression stroke - the coil does not supply a constant spark.
 

·
Registered
92 Fleetwood 2dr cpe - FWD, 96 Seville SLS, 02 Seville
Joined
·
956 Posts
Normally the spark across the contact points is suppressed by the capacitor (condenser) on the points plate. If that capacitor goes bad the points erode quickly - the only reason to change them in the first place.

The negative (ground) point, due to sparking, sheds its metal which is then deposited on the positive point, causing a small bump, making correct gap settings impossible - thus the small points files in pre-1970s toolboxes.

As posted, bump the engine until the points rubbing block is exactly on the point of a distributor cam lobe, then set the adjustment screw for the points plate to give an opening of .018". Tighten the points plate retainer and adjustment screws. Check the gap again.


Aahh, points memories. I still have my dwell meter from back then.
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
69,385 Posts
Aahh, points memories. I still have my dwell meter from back then.

Point erosion and dwell settings - reasons why my marine engines run Pertronix ignition modules in the distributor.

I also have quite a kit of old ignition tools.
 

·
Registered
1987 Brougham
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hi everyone just an update...
I installed a new set of points, and a new condenser. Armed with all of your information above on how to adjust the points and a new set of feeler gauges, i did as best I could to adjust the points to a 0.17 gap. I then put everything back together sprayed a little ether down the carburetor, hit the key, and she actually turned over!

The spark was strong as measured by a tester light, and the engine sounded strong and smooth for the few seconds it ran. I did not have the auxiliary gas tank I had made in case there was bad gas in the tank, so it only ran on the starter fluid, but that is more than enough for right now!
Next task will be to change out the rotor, cap, wires and plugs. I will evaluate the cooling system since there is no coolant in the radiator, and clean up the gas tank so everything is good there. As soon as I can however, I’m going to hook up the auxiliary gas tank and let it run for a while because I want to hear that beautiful engine go for as long as possible without overheating! Thank you very much For all of your advice and I will keep you all updated on the progress of the car. Thanks so much again!

-D.C.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
Cadillac was the 1st to use points in 1910.

If your running points a dwell meter would be something to have.
Some recomend adjusting the points every 6,000 miles.

One complaint I seen about points kits is the quality of the parts isn't what it used to be.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top