No spark for 1955 Cub

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bookman51
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No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby bookman51 » Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:54 am

I have been working on my 1955 Cub replacing seals, getting it painted, etc., and I have not started it for probably two or three years. When I went to start it recently, I got no spark. Near as I can trace down I am getting electricty to the distributor but none out of the distributor. I looked at the points and looked okay but cleaned them anyway. When I put a tester light on the from the positive ground on the battery to the distributor, the light goes on and off as I try to start the tractor. I assume this means the points are opening and closing. Before I start throwing money at parts when I do not know the source of the problem, I am asking for suggestions here as to what folks think is the source of the problem. Thanks in advance. :help:

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Eugene » Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:31 am

Check for spark at the plugs.

Compression test. Possible, valves stuck open.
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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby bookman51 » Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:43 am

Hard to get my spark plug tester on to the distributor with the oil filter in the way, but near as I could tell from rigging up some wiring, no spark coming out of distributor. Thanks

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby tst » Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:03 pm

point gap .020 ? corrosion at points etc

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Clemsonfor » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:59 pm

You can pull a plug and play it on the engine and crank to look for spark...or take any extra plug you have and pull a wire and look for spark at each spot...don't need a tester. Or you can pull the wire off a plug, put inline tester in and put wore back on plug or put a screwdriver in the end and ground that one and leave it on the outside so that you can see it easier.

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Steve Butram » Wed Sep 22, 2021 4:45 am

Check the button in the center of the Distributor Cap the rotor contacts, They're prone to excessive wear.
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Mike in Louisiana
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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Mike in Louisiana » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:18 am

Clean rotor and distributor cap.
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bookman51
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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby bookman51 » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:22 am

I am not seeing excessive wear on the center of the distributor cap and I cleaned the breaker points and still no fire but could be wrong on both counts. I took the coil into town and had a local automobile place test it. It is okay. I went ahead and got a new breaker point and condenser at Case-IH (made in China). Maybe the condenser is bad. I am not seeing corrison on the points but could be. Looks like pretty small working quarters to change and set the breaker points. Might just try replacing the condenser first. Thanks for the help folks! I will let you know how it turns out.

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Dale Finch » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:24 am

Steve Butram wrote:Check the button in the center of the Distributor Cap the rotor contacts, They're prone to excessive wear.

You might also check the rotor where that center button makes contact. I was recently checking one of mine (was running OK, but in for its annual service), and found the graphite (?) contact in the cap had actually worn a hole in the rotor contact!
20210901_144210 (Small).jpg
Difficult to see...a pinpoint of light shows a small hole worn in the rotor contact.

20210901_144127 (Small).jpg

20210901_143129 (Small).jpg
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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Jim Becker » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:02 am

bookman51 wrote:. . . Near as I can trace down I am getting electricty to the distributor but none out of the distributor. . . .

Are you saying you have electricity in the primary circuit in the small wire to the side of the distributor or electricity in the secondary circuit in the heavy wire from the coil to the center of the distributor cap?

Based on the current crop of suggestions and your update posts, it looks like you are jumping back and forth between two different possible problem areas. Are you getting a spark from the secondary wire out of the coil or not?

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby bookman51 » Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:45 pm

Jim, Let me see if I can get the terminology correct in explaining this. When I run my test light from the postive terminal of the battery to the small wire on the side of the distributor I get a light. When I do this and crank the tractor, the light goes on and off. I assume that point set is opening and closing. However, when I put my spark plug tester on heavy wire from to the coil to the center of the distributor cap, I am not getting a spark. Now it is quite possible I am not making a good connection since the coil is working. I will try it later today and make sure I get a good connnection to see if there is spark. I will report back later. Any further suggestions? Thanks Larry

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Jim Becker » Wed Sep 22, 2021 4:17 pm

OK. Until you get a spark from the heavy coil wire, you can ignore all suggestions related to the cap, rotor, spark plugs, compression, or valve adjustment. Once you have spark from the coil, if it still won't start, you can start to look at those things.

As long as your test light blinks, your points have to be working. (Side note: they may still have the wrong gap. That could impact starting and running but will not affect tests at cranking speed.) Assuming the coil tested good, about all that is left is a bad condenser (or condenser connections). There are differing opinions on whether a coil needs to be grounded. I suppose it could depend on how the individual coil is designed. In any case, it can't hurt to make sure the coil is grounded.

This leaves one question on the coil. Is it the right coil? (A coil could test good but still be the wrong coil.) I assume you are still on a 6-volt system. You need to make sure it is a 6-volt coil. It may be labeled 1.5 ohms, which is good. A 3 ohm coil is wrong. You may have one labeled 12-volt and external resistor required. That isn't really the same as a 6-volt coil, but is usually close enough. There should NOT be ANY external resistor in the wiring that feeds power to the coil.

bookman51
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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby bookman51 » Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:31 pm

Jim, I had some time this afternoon to check a few things. I am getting electricity from the primary wire (heavy center wire) coming out of the coil going into the center of the distributor. It does not look like I am getting electricity coming out of the distributor to the spark plugs. I neglected to inspect the coil before I reinstalled it, but it is the same coil that has been on the tractor. There is number on it and I will check it tomorrow. It is a Delco coil but I do not think the numbers on it are part of an IH part number....not enough digits. The local automobile electrical place checked it yesterday, and it had a good spark. Yes the tractor is a six volt system.

Now I noticed that I would not get a light on the negative side of the coil when I ran my test light from the postiive ground of the battery to it. However, if I disconnected the secondary wire from the coil to the side of the distributor, then I would get a light. I should have pursued that a bit further since it probably makes a difference if the contacts points are opened and closed, so it may not mean anything except that perhaps electricty is going through the coil. I do get a ight when I touch a test light from the positive battery terminal to the positive side of the coil.

As I mentioned earlier, I have not started the tractor for a few years, but it has been inside all that time. Thanks, Larry

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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby Jim Becker » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:51 pm

A couple things:
1) The small wires from the ignition switch to the coil and coil to the side of the distributor are the primary circuit. The fat wires from coil to distributor cap and cap to plugs are the secondary.
2) The wire from the ignition switch should go to the coil (-) and the coil (+) should go to the distributor. Your light behavior makes me think it is backward.
3) Looks like it is time to follow the cap/rotor related suggestions.

bookman51
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Re: No spark for 1955 Cub

Postby bookman51 » Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:39 am

Jim, Thanks. Had me thinking for awhile---did I rewire the tractor wrong!!?? I checked and the ignition switch wire does go to the minus on the coil and the coil plus wire goes to the distributor. I looked like I described it wrong. Wished it were otherwise, it would have been an easy fix. I checked and the coil is a Delco with number 1115380. I looked it up it is a six volt coil. I have been trying avoid putting a new contact breaker in the distributor since it is a tight working space. I might try a new condenser first. Gotta be something inside that distributor that is not working/connecting right. Thanks again. Larry


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