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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:37 pm 
356 Fan
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Location: San Francisco
Fran,
Now that it's running, (and I know it's a PITA), you might try swapping the 'bad' condenser back in to get a true A-B test.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:20 am 
356 Fan
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:22 am
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Location: Las Vegas-Henderson, NV
Tag: Meanwhile, back at the farm...
I was fooled several times by one BR18 distributor and I kept blaming the condensers until, after dissasembly of the distributor, I found that there was an intermittent contact due to a bad insulator piece (the one that goes through the distributor body). I am glad I did not toss the box with those NOS NLA condensers! Check your dizzy really well.
Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:34 pm
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Location: Monterey, CA
Antonio Garcia wrote:
I was fooled several times by one BR18 distributor and I kept blaming the condensers until, after dissasembly of the distributor, I found that there was an intermittent contact due to a bad insulator piece (the one that goes through the distributor body). I am glad I did not toss the box with those NOS NLA condensers! Check your dizzy really well.
Good luck.


Antonio beat me to it. The VJR4-BR18 and older distributors use a black round fiber insulator that is often missing the piece that goes into the hole in the distributor to insulate the bolt. Externally it looks fine, but nothing stops the bolt from contacting the side of the distributor. The white insulators used on 022 distributors are made from a tough plastic and usually last. You can buy the white plastic insulators from Al Zim.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:45 pm 
356 Fan
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Location: Las Vegas-Henderson, NV
Tag: Meanwhile, back at the farm...
DaveErickson wrote:
Antonio Garcia wrote:
I was fooled several times by one BR18 distributor and I kept blaming the condensers until, after dissasembly of the distributor, I found that there was an intermittent contact due to a bad insulator piece (the one that goes through the distributor body). I am glad I did not toss the box with those NOS NLA condensers! Check your dizzy really well.
Good luck.


Antonio beat me to it. The VJR4-BR18 and older distributors use a black round fiber insulator that is often missing the piece that goes into the hole in the distributor to insulate the bolt. Externally it looks fine, but nothing stops the bolt from contacting the side of the distributor. The white insulators used on 022 distributors are made from a tough plastic and usually last. You can buy the white plastic insulators from Al Zim.


Exactly Dave E!
Once the engine temps set in and some engine harmonics came into the mix, the "intermittent" contact occurred and the engine cut out. Sometimes, after a while, the engine would misteriously be able to turn on for a short while only to cutoff again. The little gap due to the distorted insulator was tiny and only needed a little help to allow the contact. After much frustration and once I discovered the point-of-failure, I wanted to shoot this culprit tiny piece of broken twisted fiber with my Mossberg! Anyway, I now always inspect/changeout that piece on distributors and since then, I have never had a condenser related problem again and have succesfully isntalled all of those poor little NOS units I falsely blamed and almost disposed of. LOL 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:15 pm 
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Location: Maui, HI (also Orinda, CA)
Its funny how so many people do not believe the condensers can fail. I also had a new one fail (new condenser on a rebuilt 018 distributor) and was reluctant to think it might be the condenser. It cost me an overnight in Reno by the time I got it figured out and got the part. But it was the condenser....seems like the folks who deal a lot with distributors notice failures when in the old days they basically never failed. So Franny, your experience is by no means unique these days. So now I carry a spare distributor pre-timed so its a drop in. That is practically a guarantee that there will not be another failure. (Swapping out the condenser is much harder than just dropping in a spare distributor and its so easy to make a short when you have replace condenser in the field... the insulator assembly is not exactly bulletproof).

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:54 am 
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Bill, I agree it is a good idea to carry a dizzy all setup with bracket installed so it can be readily dropped in with preset timing and one little nut and wire hookup and off you go. Condensers do fail, but out of experience I always do try to rule out other possible points of failure before I blame a part.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:04 pm 
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To Dave’s point regarding the insulator for the thru-body bolt, below are pics of an original BR18 fiber washer, a Bosch OEM kit replacement, and one from an aftermarket ‘P.K.’ insulator kit. The aftermarket P.K. insulator provides a centering nub to assure insulation from the body. Realistically though, the thru-hole is 7 mm and the bolt is unlikely to make contact unless installed incorrectly. More likely is the retaining clip on the bolt head side, which can get twisted and make contact, or the paper flag can be damaged. The 022 insulator is the more modern plastic style, with the nub and a recess on the other side for the spade terminal. Insulators aren't interchangeable since the recessed diameters in the distributor bodies are different.

Bruce
http://www.sparkingplugs.com


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:59 pm 
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Bruce, thanks for posting...you beat me to it. The third one, like you said, works the best and keeps the through fastener from misaligning and inadvertent contact. The 022 took care of this (makes you wonder why the change in design; fairly obvious to me).

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:58 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:34 pm
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Location: Monterey, CA
Bruce Smith wrote:
To Dave’s point regarding the insulator for the thru-body bolt, below are pics of an original BR18 fiber washer, a Bosch OEM kit replacement, and one from an aftermarket ‘P.K.’ insulator kit. The aftermarket P.K. insulator provides a centering nub to assure insulation from the body. Realistically though, the thru-hole is 7 mm and the bolt is unlikely to make contact unless installed incorrectly. More likely is the retaining clip on the bolt head side, which can get twisted and make contact, or the paper flag can be damaged. The 022 insulator is the more modern plastic style, with the nub and a recess on the other side for the spade terminal. Insulators aren't interchangeable since the recessed diameters in the distributor bodies are different.

Bruce
http://www.sparkingplugs.com


Bruce, great picture. You left out one insulator, the one I had in mind. It is the small round fiber washer that is 7mm o.d. and 4mm i.d. and fits the opening in the distributor and centers the bolt. Over the years 90% of them have disappeared. In fact, back in the 60's when I first started working on these engines, most of them were missing then. I'll take a photo, but it might take some searching to find a distributor with one in it.

I know that Don Marks used to use the white plastic insulator from the 022 on the br18. I have done the same, and it has held up at least 25 years in my br18. Yes the spot-faced circle is larger on the 022, but the white plastic insulator still works fine on a br18 - we're only talking about a few thousandths of flex, and the insulator is centered by the 7mm projection, so it does not need the spot faced circle for alignment.

However, if I knew where to buy the "P.K. insulator kit" I would do so. I think the dark insulator looks more correct on a br18. I have some frp bar stock, so I may make some. Thanks for the idea. The other part I am looking into making is the bakelite sliding surface for the weights. I have not been able to locate a correct replacement, and I have seen what a poor job teflon does, which is what the after market is currently providing.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:39 pm
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I had a few new condensers fail a year or so ago, and when I complained to the vendor they advised me that there was a batch of faulty Bosch condensers, Turkish made. The vendor sent me replacements and I have not had a problem since. Frazer


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Dave,

To quote you, "and I have seen what a poor job Teflon does, which is what the aftermarket is currently providing.", could you explain what problems you have encountered with the Teflon sliding surface for the advance weights?

The old Bakelite version was so brittle that they would easily break apart, due in part to old age. Teflon, I would think is a perfect material for the job, slick, minimum friction, pliable and finally does not deteriorate with age as badly. Certainly has proven so for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:34 pm
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Location: Monterey, CA
A couple of photos showing br18's with the white plastic insulator from 022's, and the center post insulator that was supplied on original distributors, but is not part of the insulator kit. The photo is of a BR9, so perhaps the part was discontinued when the br18 came out. I used to see that insulating washer on VW 36hp and 356 A's. But it is a good idea for later distributors none-the-less.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:19 pm 
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Location: Monterey, CA
Larry Coreth wrote:
Dave,

To quote you, "and I have seen what a poor job Teflon does, which is what the aftermarket is currently providing.", could you explain what problems you have encountered with the Teflon sliding surface for the advance weights?

The old Bakelite version was so brittle that they would easily break apart, due in part to old age. Teflon, I would think is a perfect material for the job, slick, minimum friction, pliable and finally does not deteriorate with age as badly. Certainly has proven so for me.


The main difference is that the bakelite parts were held to the metal backing plate by surface tension from the oil film, they were flat, rigid and did not flex, and did the job well. They broke easily, and had to be handled with care. I have a distributor that was rebuilt by Don Marks a few years ago that has a teflon sliding surface in it, and the teflon lifts up at the edges. I will get a photo and post it when I can. I did find out that the bakelite part is available from Klasse 356, but I also found a free source for some .015" micarta so I will experiment with making my own.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:30 pm 
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I probably need to replace my coil, as it's the one on the car when I bought it in '97 or so. But I'd be interested in having it tested, is this something any decent auto electrical shop will be able to do?

Brian

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 Post subject: Re: Bad Condensers...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:33 pm 
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DaveErickson,

Interesting, I put forward that the lifting of the edges was an anomaly as I have done several Br18 and 022 distributor rebuilds over the years and used the Teflon slide plates with no such problems. In fact a little oil under the Teflon sheet kept it in place nicely. If the Teflon plate has been bent by its packaging, and since Teflon is a thermoplastic, a little heat will allow the plate to relax and return to its original flat shape. There was a time these slide plates were NLA and saving the originals was a real pain.

So other than not looking “original” I cannot see returning to the Bakelite material.

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