Hello All - Tim Welch here, new member

Stinson52

Tim "Rotor" Welch
Member
Well, my star-crossed experience with SPS 0034 knows no limits. Stranding #4. Wed, was cold but sunny & dry so took her for 45 min spin. Tonneau on & heater. Once warmed up, car went perfectly with the new Flame Thrower Holley idling smooth just <1000 rpm. Mix of in-town & rural roads & the run back to Annapolis on 50 at 75-80. Mile or so from Eastport, was at a light, normal idle/temp good. Moved off, up a slight incline. Easy acceleration. At about 45/2000K, heard a muffled ‘pop’ from engine, not exhaust. Power died immediately, no sputtering, missing, Nada. Coasted into a side street & attempted restart. Battery strong, plenty gas. All apparently normal & intact in engine compartment. But zero spark or ignition. The mechanics among you will doubtless diagnose this quickly.

A Good Samaritan Mexican (with a dolly for front wheels ) came along & gave me a tow back.

Car scheduled in Gear One next week. I’m at my wits end. Worse than my 1975 Norton on the reliability scale and that’s a statement. Problem is its so much damn fun when it runs! I’ll keep you posted but any input/hypotheses gratefully received.
 

Doug Smith

Contributing Member
Member
Did it fire or stumble at all when you tried to restart it or did it just turn over with no spark at all? Did anything sound strange when you turned it over? Sounds like your ignition died on it. Did you notice if there were any wires that came loose?
 

Stinson52

Tim "Rotor" Welch
Member
Thanks guys. Appreciate the help and interest in getting to the bottom of this.

Forgot to mention, was in 3rd when I heard the ‘pop’. And during easy acceleration, low rpm, gentle shifting (not horsing around, honest).

Upon attempting restart:

-fuel pump audible when key turned to position 1.
-on turning key to full ignition position, no sound other than starter motor. Ie, zero spark or zero fuel. given observation on pump noise, believe former.
- as for ignition, no wires loose nor other obvious clues under hood. Examined distributor & leads to carb - noticed nothing amiss (but, I’m not a mechanic).
-net, adds up to ignition to me. Question is why can’t this car get sorted. Chronic timing and fuel delivery issues with EFI. Went fine (for a while) with the replacement carb. Is latest incident connected with previous issues, or coincidental? I want to zero in on the muffled ‘pop’ sound I heard, following which zero combustion. What could cause?
 

Doug Smith

Contributing Member
Member
The muffled pop could simply be a backfire from suddenly losing spark while you were moving along - as last gasp of fuel and air as the spark goes away. Hard to say for sure without being there. Still sounds like an ignition problem from your description.

As for the frustrating reliability, I've had my Cobra for 19 years. Running a carburetor with mechanical fuel injection (and even the old Ford Duraspark for ignition) and I don't think it has ever left me on the side of the road. I also had a Ford Fairmont that I swapped a 351W into and drove it daily to work for years totaling over 40k miles and over 70 miles a day. It had a carb at first and then MSD fuel injection. These are pretty simple machines so there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get more reliability than you're seeing. If you want, I'd be happy to help look it over and see if I can help out. If you feel like riding to Leesburg, we can put it in my garage and go over it and see if we can find any gremlins hanging out in there. I also have plenty of beer in the garage fridge as a bonus.
 

Stinson52

Tim "Rotor" Welch
Member
Doug most generous offer & I’ll get out there one of these days. Chicken/Egg - got to get it running first. Ive got my Hagerty DC flatbed coming Thurs to haul it to Gear One for a full service, now to include troubleshooting the ignition. I’ll keep you posted.

PS was in Leesburg eons ago when I worked in McLean; bought a 71 Alfa GTV 1750 from a guy there. (Ironically also had chronic fuel delivery issues - dreaded SPICA system - but a superb driver).
 

SchmidtAl

Contributing Member
Member
This does sound like a classic old style MSD 6AL failure (if installed). Mine quit on me a couple times, then finally one day it totally died. This is easy to trouble shoot and you just need to get the new style 6AL.
 

Stinson52

Tim "Rotor" Welch
Member
Al

Thanks & I’ll mention to Marcus at Gear One. Blueprint 347 crate specs provided by Hillbank don’t break out ignition type details - ie not sure what I have in there - but agree its likely the central cause of my grief. Tim
 

Don Gaboury

Contributing Member
Any way you can open the hood and take a couple of pictures and post on line so all of us can see what system you have.. Here's what MSD might say,, it's not our unit that went bad, if you have other brand system they might say the same.. Nothing to do with no spark but how much fuel pressure is the pump putting out,,, carbs don't need lots of pressure.. F I does.
 

Stinson52

Tim "Rotor" Welch
Member
Don

Here you go. LMK if you need other angles or air cleaner removed etc. Thx
 

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InProcess

Ken Caniglia AKA Superfly
Contributing Member
Member
Thats your problem, you have a GM style ignition on your Ford. :lol: Don't see an MSD here!

I saw this trouble shooting guide. Not sure the accuracy, but it was on the internet so it must be true!

Easy tests for HEI system:

1. Test for power at the pink BAT terminal. You should have battery voltage w/ the key in the start and RUN positions.

2. Connect the ground side of your test lamp to the battery POSITIVE cable. Probe the TACH terminal on the dist. cap while a helper attempts to start the engine. The test lamp should blink repeatedly as the engine cranks. No blink= bad module or pickup coil. Further testing is required to pinpoint the problem. Blink but no spark = bad ignition coil.

3. Remove the cap & rotor. Remove the green & white leads from the module. Connect your ohmmeter to the green & white leads. You should have approx. 800-1500 ohms depending on the ambient temperature. Open circuit (infinite ohms) = bad pickup coil.

Wiggle the green & white leads as you test. Ohm reading should remain constant if the leads are good. If the reading varies as the leads are wiggled, the pickup coil is bad. You'll often find broken pickup coil leads this way.

4. DVOM (meter) still connected to green & white leads. Set your DVOM to AC VOLTS. Have a helper crank the engine as you watch the AC VOLTS reading. A good pickup coil will produce about 3V AC when cranking. Less than approx. 2V AC indicates a bad pickup coil.
 
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Doug Smith

Contributing Member
Member
Don’t know if any of it is a problem but there are definitely things that we can clean up and make more tidy. I see a bit of electrical tape instead of heat shrink. Also a lot of excess wire, especially around the water temp sensor. Seeing those things makes me think the are possibly electrical things that could be causing the most recent issue. Don’t know why they used the ignition system they did. That is an unusual setup for one of these cars.
 

Stinson52

Tim "Rotor" Welch
Member
Impressive observations & good questions.

Ken: When the original equipiment Holley Sniper EFI failed to operate properly (or whether an ignition issue all along or multiple issues) and after 2 strandings, I had the car looked at by Ted Taormina (Bay Area Superformance rep & Cobra builder). He adjusted the distributor which was several degrees off & felt that explained the timing issue. Off I went, only to have stranding #3 a little later. That was on Pacific Coast Hwy near Stinson Beach. There I had progressive sputtering/fuel starvation & finally realized I wouldn’t make it up the next incline. So pulled over in a less than safe spot (resisting temptation to push the **?***!! thing into the ocean). Fed up, and feeling it was primarily EFI, I asked Hillbank to pay for switch to the Holley carb. I could have shipped it to Irvine but had the work done at a reputed engine builder closer to me. I recall him mentioning switch to a GM distributor/ignition which he judged more robust than the MSD (or whatever came with the Blueprint engine). PS Your testing guide is a bit beyond my capabilities at this point.

I’m noting all these comments in a cover letter to Marcus at Gear One where the car is going Thurs. I’m asking him to look at this as if it were a new Superformance build, get it where it needs to be (and should have been in the first place).
 

Doug Smith

Contributing Member
Member
Keep us posted on what happens with Gear One. If it is still buggy afterwards, give me a shout and I'll help take a crack at it.
 

Don Gaboury

Contributing Member
OK,, I would listen to Ken on this one, but if your not able to do that the garage your sending it to will.. When your trouble shooting you always should start by checking A then B then C and so on. As for cleaning up, I wish my car looked that good. I don't see any problem with the wiring. so the wire might be too long going to the temp sensor but it don't hurt any thing.. my guess is that whoever did that didn't want to cut the wire. Do you know the reason why they put that dist and system in. I think it's a good system, just odd why a FORD guy would use it. On one of the pictures # 2 plug wire hides the wires to cap, can you redo that picture??? Thanks

PS I bet Ken could trouble shoot that in about 35 minutes
 

Don Gaboury

Contributing Member
Just thought of this,, years ago when I had a garage I remember times when installing
the coil in the dist cap thing could go wrong, the metal strip to the wir eplug and the rotor button gasket( rubber washer thing} that would be easy to check.
 

Stinson52

Tim "Rotor" Welch
Member
Don took a couple more of the cap wiring.

First pic shows #3 lead.

My earlier post explained how the GM system got installed (along with the FlameThrower) - the Novato engine guy was primarily a Chevy guy.
 

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