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Discussion Starter #1
I changed my oil last night, and the car wouldn't start after that. I'll start with a little background first.
289, Pertronix, working perfectly before oil change. I jacked it up and changed the oil. Nothing interesting happened. I pulled the coil wire and turned it over a couple times to fill up the oil filter. Put the coil wire back on and here we are. So far, I've done the following to troubleshoot.
1) Measured primary and secondary resistance at coil. .8ohm, 4.1k ohm. Probably fine.
2) Measured voltage at coil with key on and while turning over. 3.1vdc both times. Seems low.
3) Supplied 12vdc to coil + and tried to start. Nothing.
4) Check voltage to pertronix. 12.01vdc. Fine there
5) Ohmed out coil wire, plug wires. They are fine.
6) Checked under cap. Found a bunch of weirdness.
A: weights are missing?
B: shaft moves up and down and rotates 5-10 degrees freely.
C: Verifed that it was spinning with the motor.

If I want to go back to points, how much am I missing? (See pic.) Am I just better off sticking with pertronix? Is that rotational free play as big a problem as I think it is? And no, I didn't have the key on when changing the oil.
 

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Try another coil. Maybe something separated when you pulled the wire. FYI, i just pour clean oil into my inverted filter and let it soak up, top it off a little before spinning it on so it isn't dry on startup. I do the same with all my engines and changes. The mechanical disteubutor weights are under the flat plate I believe. And the distributor shaft will turn a small amount by hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think it's the coil. I have a sneaking suspicion it's the igniter. I'm thinking about replacing the distributor entirely. If I do, I'll need 12v for it. I know the wire going to the coil is a resistor wire, but where is the resistor? Is it in the wire in the engine bay, or under the dash?
 

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If it's a 65 or 66 then the resistor wire is under the dash. It's pink, made of something other than copper, can't be soldered easily, shouldn't be cut. It plugs into a red-green wire at your ignition and then runs to the main disconnect on the right. It's pushed into that connector.


Personally, I'd do one of two things if you want to remove the resistor wire:
1) Use another wire with a bullet connector, plug it into your ignition, and run it through the firewall to the ignition coil. This will give you the full 12v in the run position.
2) Use a relay mounted in the engine bay. Connect the current wiring to the switched power of the relay and connect a 12v source (battery side of the starter relay) to the power for the relay. Then connect that output to the ignition coil. That will also give you a 12v power source when the key is in the run position.
 

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If you have a separate 12V source for your Pertronix red wire then you want to leave the resistor wire in place for your OE-style coil.

It sounds like you've tested everything thoroughly and eliminated all the possibilities except the Ignitor. You DID remember to slip the little plastic "thingy" back over the distributor cam, right?

FWIW, if you want reliable "electronic" ignition you can drop in a DurasparkII distributor and have it trigger any of the "big 3" ignition boxes or a MSD, but my preference is the Mopar Chrome unit because of its size and "package".
 

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Nobody is going to blame it on a Fram oil filter😂
 

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I had an original Pertronix Ignitor quit on me once, 2 hours from home, stopped to visit my brother a few minutes and car wouldn't start. Dropped in my points plate that already has points and condenser mounted in it, checked the gap and fired right up. Ran for a week while I waited on an Ignitor II , still keep the points and a spare coil in my go-bag.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nobody is going to blame it on a Fram oil filter😂
I was a good boy and used a Motorcraft oil filter, along with Valvoline 10w30. I had to buy an STP filter too, because it was cheaper to gt the oil that way. But because my parts guy agrees that you can't put that crap on an old Mustang, he sold me the Motorcraft filter for an extra dollar. I love my local Autozone because they have a core group of people that have been there for at least a few years, are car people, and actually hire women. It's like a Napa that I can afford to shop at. And @Woodchuck, I do have a separate source of power for the igniter. The easy way to fix this is to by another Pertronix, but I really don't want to. My local buddies are trying to talk me into going HEI. It's the cheapest, easiest, reliable option as far as I can tell. Anyone else run HEI? (Off to put on my flame retardant suit now.)
 

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I, for one, think you need to revisit your steps just after pulling the "coil wire" to prime the filter. Yes, all of the other thoughts, although valid in their impact, would be highly unlikely after simply changing the oil. Check the continuity of the "coil wire". Insure it's fully inserted in the cap.
 

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I don't think it's the coil. I have a sneaking suspicion it's the igniter. I'm thinking about replacing the distributor entirely. If I do, I'll need 12v for it. I know the wire going to the coil is a resistor wire, but where is the resistor? Is it in the wire in the engine bay, or under the dash?
It's not a resistor sitting by itself, it's the entire wire. Plugs in near the key and runs out to the distributor - it feels different than other wires, very flexible even when 50+ years old. This is what mine looks like, despite the warning I spliced it into my AAW harness to use for my Duraspark coil.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, I remembered the plastic thingy. :) I was concerned about the 3.1vdc I read at the coil, but I'm not sure what voltage I'm supposed to have there. However, hooking 12vdc to the coil+ did not help. That kinda rules out any issue with the resistor wire. The coil Ohms out within spec. I have 12vdc at the Pertronix, so power to that isn't the issue. I've decided to just move on and replace the distributor for now. An HEI is $50, and requires little more than 12vdc, new plug wires, and 90 minutes of my time.
 

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Have you pulled a spark plug to be absolutely sure you're not getting a spark? Have you checked the carb to make sure there's gas getting to it?
 

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My general philosophy is that it's nothing you didn't touch. You touched the coil when you pulled the wire. Seems logical.

However I can't tell you how many times I've gone totally out of my mind when something else failed coincidentally. Last time for me it was the kill switch on my motorcycle. I'd recently replaced the points and rectifier- had to be something related to that, right? Wrong. After a couple days of going crazy I decided to pull the headlight and jump the kill switch. Fired on the first kick. SO, while logic says your problem is related to the coil, experience tells me that with these old vehicles, coincidence comes into play quite a bit. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm a service technician professionally. I don't work on cars, but troubleshooting is something I live, eat, and breath. That is why the first thing I checked was all the things I touched. From there, I went back to basics. Fuel, air, spark. Air is a no brainer. I could smell the fuel. To be sure, I pulled a plug and found it quite wet. Besides, fuel problems don't sound like this. It just turns. It isn't even trying to start. Now for some of my limitations. I can't pull a plug and check for spark because I just don't have enough hands. There are some things I can get help from the better half with, but she is not keen on me holding a spark plug while she's trying to start the car. Since that was not an option, I started testing the ignition system from beginning to end. Power to coil: check, but low. Give it 12v. No help. Power to ignitor: check. Coil test passes. Wires ohm out within spec.
 

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You need to verify that the ignitor is actually triggering the coil.
Use a timing light if you have to.
If the timing light flashes while cranking, your coil is firing.
 

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I prefer to use a spark checker myself, as long as it's not dire need out in the field. Some people will remove a spark plug, put it back in the wire and then crank the car while watching the plug for spark. This a really good way to set your face on fire and I know two people who have the scars to prove it. You CAN check for spark this way but use a spare spark plug or borrow one out of your lawnmower or something. With an open plug hole and a spark plug waving around you have a recipe for a flamethrower. With a spark checker you get to keep your eyebrows. Your local parts store probably has two kinds, neither expensive. One you take the plug wire off an put it in series to the plug. (What I like) The second is an inductive one that looks like a pen. Those work but aren't really trustworthy. You want to use one on a known good ignition to see how it works before using it to troubleshoot. You have to hold them in your fingers a certain way to get them to read. Or that's been my experience. If you have a timing light, you already have an inductive spark checker. Timing light has a good flash, you got spark.

On a classic Ford that's still pretty stock, you can turn the key on and then simply jump across the solenoid to crank the engine from under the hood. Fancy guys buy remote starter switches just for this but I've never got around to getting one of those and just use one of my sacrificial screwdrivers. With the inline spark checker above sometimes you can position it so you can see it between the open hood and the cowl while you simply crank with the key. (Not all cars are as easy to crank underhood as old Fords.)
 
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