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Discussion Starter #1
So I have been redoing my 69 convertible a little at a time. Last week I decided to pull the dash out and correct a couple of wiring issues the p.o. caused. Take out the alarm, correct a couple of clipped wires, that kind of stuff. I also replaced the speedo cable while I was in there and I epoxied the contacts on the PCB down as they were lifting. I also gunked the engine to clean it off a bit. The dash and instrument cluster are still out. I jumped the tach, started the car and dried the engine... Sunday, I went out an replaced a ground wire from the alternator, got in the car and it would not start. Turns over, has 12.5 volts to the primary when the ignition is "on" if I go to ground and 5.5 volts if I go across the coil. When I crank it, I get nothing. Though I flooded it, but I have waited a couple days and I still get nothing, not even a cough. I thought it was the relay for the alarm causing the problem and I took it all out and followed the schematics to ensure I hooked the wires up correctly, but I still get nothing.

Any ideas? Could the coil ground out when I go to start? Also are wires 32 and 32a the same color? I couldn't locate 32a's color anywhere.
 

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The coil gets power from the starter relay when the key is in the start position (so that it gets full voltage and not the reduced voltage from the ignition switch through the pink resistance wire). Perhaps the path from the starter relay to the coil has become disconnected somewhere?
 

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I think the 32a and 32b are just indicators that the wire path is broken up at different connectors...... should be the same color red-blue I believe. sounds like you have an open either from the starter relay or from the key start postion to the relay. There are a few ground points under the dash too - I am not sure if that's for just the guages are the whole shebang? Worth a look though.
 

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First and foremost, I know this sounds rather trivial, but undo what you did last, and that was adding the ground wire to the alternator. Also, remove the distributor cap and make sure that there is no moisture inside the distributor.

There are some other facts in your post that make me wonder how your car is wired. You stated that you measure 12.5 volts at the coil with the key in the ON position, this indicates that the resistor wire has been either bypassed or replaced altogether. With 5.5 volts measured across the coil terminals, there is a voltage drop that is expected however what we need to definitively know is what is the resistance across the coil primary. ( I suspect you are running an aftermarket coil but need to verify that the coil can handle the amperage)

Now as Doug posted, the I terminal on the starter relay provides the power to the coil when cranking the car in the start position. Check to make sure that this wire is connected and clean and tight.

Next, are you running a conventional points type setup or an electronic points conversion like a pertronix, , an electronic igntion system like a DuraSpark, or a full blown Electrical system like a MSD with a box?

Testing conventional points:
1. Remove the distributor cap and turn the engine until the points are closed.
2. Place the ohm meter probes on the negative coil post and the other ohm meter probe to the distributor body. The resistance should be very low here indicating a good electrical path. I measured 12 ohms
3. Now rotate the engine so that the points are open. (BTW, when fully opened the stock points should be at 0.017 to 0.019 inches.) With the ohm meter probe again on the negative post and the other probe on the fixed side of the points should have very low resistance, however placing the probe on the moveable portion of the points should have infinite resistance. If there is little resistance between the negative side of the coil and the moveable side of the points. place the probe on the distributor body and measure its resistance. If this shows a low resistance, then there is a grounding issue within the distributor.

Testing a Pertronix ignitor module
1. Connect the ignitor base plate to the battery negative terminal
2. Connect the red ignitor wire to the battery positive terminal
3. Attach the ignitor black wire to the black lead on the voltmeter
4. Attach the red voltmeter wire to the battery.
5. rotate the magnetic sleeve in front of the module (note gap is 0.030). The meter should fluctuate between 12 v and 0 volts indicating that the pertronix ignitor is working correctly.
6. If the voltage does not fluctuate, the module is bad and needs to be replaced.

Let me know if you need any additional information.

Coach Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think the 32a and 32b are just indicators that the wire path is broken up at different connectors...... should be the same color red-blue I believe. sounds like you have an open either from the starter relay or from the key start postion to the relay. There are a few ground points under the dash too - I am not sure if that's for just the guages are the whole shebang? Worth a look though.
Thanks for the info. on the wires. I was pretty confused.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am running a standard FoMoCo coil and points set up. Next was going to be a pertronix conversion. Right now, I want to just get the car running and enjoy the late summer and fall. Time to stop messing with it...
 

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Great technical info so far. I love this group. If you dont have a copy of the 1969 wire diagram book yet order 2 off eBay. One for the garage you can get dirty and one for the lazyboy so you can argue with yourself in comfort. I scanned mine so I can blow up the little print for my blind eyes.

Here is my quick and dirty trouble shooting for most any classic ignition / starting problem.

We need 2 things. Fuel and spark. We start with spark.
1. with the key in the ON position crank the motor from under thr hood using your favorite method. Some use a screwdriver on the relay other made a push button to Eleminator random sparks.
2. While cranking over look and listen for any unusual sparks or ground points. Smell for the http://www.mercurycougar.net/ozone smell. (Remeber, the ignition key tumblers are very temperamental. We will rule that out eventualy)
3. Pull the coil wire from the dist cap and safely ground it using a screwdriver or other metal with rubber handle. Let go and crank over the car. Sparks mean coil is good and ignition is good. No spark means issues.
4. If you have spark then hook the coil wire back up and do the same with a spark plug wire. Spark is good. No spark is a problem inside the dist cap
Burned points most likely. Spark means a fuel delivery problem.

This is not a complete how to but provides some quick ways to trace spark.

BE EXTRA CAREFUL!!! YOU CAN SHOCK THE HECK OUT OF YOURSELF!!! COILS BITE HARD!!

ALSO...... SPARKS IGNITE FUEL VAPOUR. IF YOU SMELL GASS DONT SPARK ANYTHING.

I have burned, electrocuted, singed and zapped myself silly over the years. Dont regret it but dont want you to be surprised.

The auto part store has a spark indicator that plugs inline with the spark plug and wire. It lights up when it has spark. Cool little device. Saves the risk of electrocution and mistaken fuel vapour ignition.
 

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in High School days in the 70's you would fasten a wire between two roach clips, clip one side to the positive side of the coil the other to the battery side of the starter relay Take your church key bottle opener and touch left side of the starter relay to the closest terminal quietly close the hood slither into the seat and a block down the street take off like a bat out of Hell. Used to think if Dad only knew but he probably did. Was a 68 Montego MX 302 turd.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, the updatee is this. I spent way too much time looking for a grounding issue under the dash or arount the relay when I should've looked for the simplest fix... The POINTS were burnt and grounding under to the base of the distributor. I hae four sets of NOS Standar Bluestreak lubripoints (my father had fords and would buy too many parts) and a new condensor and I am back in business.

I guess the bottom line is look for the simplest fix first.

Thanks to everyone for their input. I have learned a lot about how to test the primary side of the ignition system.

First and foremost, I know this sounds rather trivial, but undo what you did last, and that was adding the ground wire to the alternator. Also, remove the distributor cap and make sure that there is no moisture inside the distributor.

There are some other facts in your post that make me wonder how your car is wired. You stated that you measure 12.5 volts at the coil with the key in the ON position, this indicates that the resistor wire has been either bypassed or replaced altogether. With 5.5 volts measured across the coil terminals, there is a voltage drop that is expected however what we need to definitively know is what is the resistance across the coil primary. ( I suspect you are running an aftermarket coil but need to verify that the coil can handle the amperage)

Now as Doug posted, the I terminal on the starter relay provides the power to the coil when cranking the car in the start position. Check to make sure that this wire is connected and clean and tight.

Next, are you running a conventional points type setup or an electronic points conversion like a pertronix, , an electronic igntion system like a DuraSpark, or a full blown Electrical system like a MSD with a box?

Testing conventional points:
1. Remove the distributor cap and turn the engine until the points are closed.
2. Place the ohm meter probes on the negative coil post and the other ohm meter probe to the distributor body. The resistance should be very low here indicating a good electrical path. I measured 12 ohms
3. Now rotate the engine so that the points are open. (BTW, when fully opened the stock points should be at 0.017 to 0.019 inches.) With the ohm meter probe again on the negative post and the other probe on the fixed side of the points should have very low resistance, however placing the probe on the moveable portion of the points should have infinite resistance. If there is little resistance between the negative side of the coil and the moveable side of the points. place the probe on the distributor body and measure its resistance. If this shows a low resistance, then there is a grounding issue within the distributor.

Testing a Pertronix ignitor module
1. Connect the ignitor base plate to the battery negative terminal
2. Connect the red ignitor wire to the battery positive terminal
3. Attach the ignitor black wire to the black lead on the voltmeter
4. Attach the red voltmeter wire to the battery.
5. rotate the magnetic sleeve in front of the module (note gap is 0.030). The meter should fluctuate between 12 v and 0 volts indicating that the pertronix ignitor is working correctly.
6. If the voltage does not fluctuate, the module is bad and needs to be replaced.

Let me know if you need any additional information.

Coach Jack
 
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