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Old 06-22-2013, 03:34 PM   #1
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back again, no start

It's been awhile but I'm back with some issues on my Catalina. Short background...
Car stalled while on highway last fall. Good samaritans stopped to help and we changed, points and coil. The wire had melted at it's connection to points so they stripped the wire and twisted it around metal piece and I was back running again.

I drove it a few times like that not too far with no issues. Fast forward to now I purchased a new lead wire and put it in. I didn't want to mess with the distributor too much so I cut the end that connects to the coil so I could feed it through the rubber piece in the distributor. I then soldered the two pieces of wire together and connected to coil.

Now the car won't start. I'm not sure if the soldering is having any effect or where I'm going wrong. I don't think I disturbed the distributors but I'm not sure. I took the points off and then put them back and screwed in tight. Turned key and car kinda started but ran like shit and shut off. When I turn the key now it sounds like it wants to start but won't go all the way over.

Any ideas or suggestions? It was running before I attempted to change the wire.

74 Pontiac Catalina
7.5L 455
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:12 AM   #2
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Re: back again, no start

Very tough to diagnose this over the net, what is the point gap/dwell, do you have good spark at the coil wire, Do you mean you spliced the wire from the coil to the points, instead of running a new one? Condenser connnection good at the points?
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: back again, no start

Disconnect the wire leading from the distributor to the coil.
Get a 12 volt test light. Hook one end up to the positive battery terminal and the other end up to this distributor wire.

Then crank the engine. If the distributor is working correctly, the test light should flash on and off as the points open and close. If its on all the time, the wire or points are shorting out. If no flash, likely you have an open circuit.

You may have disturbed the points-gap when you changed the wire, or its shorting out somewhere. Or your condenser is bad.

I will say the points-style distributor is an elegantly simple device. However, it is finicky. I suggest you get a dwell-tachometer, timing light, and feeler gauge, then learn to set up the distributor. The key issues here are point-gap, dwell (the duration the points stay closed) and ignition timing. A more advanced tune would include adjusting the advance curve.

The points-type ignition tends to fail slowly. As the system wears out, it slowly goes out of adjustment, and you lose performance and mileage, often imperceptibly until its very bad. Therefore, taking 10 minutes to adjust these issues, every couple of thousand miles will keep the car in peak tune. A new set of points and condensor is a good idea every 10,000 miles at most.

Finally, you may want to change the system to an electronic one. There are factory HEI (General Motor's stock electronic ignition) distributors for the 455. You may be able to buy a rebuilt one. This is a very easy modification, and the HEI system is far more reliable and functional than points. The only maintenance needed is to set the timing occasionally, and maintain the plugs.

Alternately, there are several aftermarket systems that can eliminate the points and convert your current distributor to an electronic system.
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