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Thread: Our cars demand attention. . .ignition maintenance for '065

  1. #1

    Our cars demand attention. . .ignition maintenance for '065

    It's been a busy year. . . WAY too many things on the plate this year, resulting in a late opening of the Fortified Barn and startup of 304065. . . made it to French Lick (by airplane) but didn't get around to putting many miles on the car until recently. . .

    . . . and you know what that means. Our cars demand attention. . . they will retaliate with small problems. . . and if these are not addressed, will escalate to BIG problems. . .

    Initial startup this season consisted of swinging the doors of the Fortified Barn open, finding and installing the battery (which was showing a full charge despite having been stored over winter outside the car), filling the tank with fuel, removing the plugs and spinning the engine over to prevent hydrolock, then priming the carbs and start. This was my plan, anyway.

    The car had a different plan. Ignore ME, will you? She retaliated by having the added-on Mahle KL 11 fuel filter, half plastic, half metal, begin to gush fuel at the seam between the two halves. One of the ways you know the car is upset is this kind of thing: these filters do NOT leak at that seam. After soaking up a few ounces of fuel and thanking the Porsche G_ds that I have a non-sparking electrical system (see below, though), this problem was resolved by going back to the original configuration, which required removing the filter and running a hose directly between the fuel manifold pipe (the metal one that runs along the crossmember) and the steel pipe that passes through the longitudinal on the port side of the engine compartment. ('065 has a forward fuel pump for Go and an original Bendix for show).

    With the Hindenberg scenario behind me, I then set about starting the engine in earnest. Three stabs at the gas pedal, throttle closed, crank, nada. Repeat until engine floods. Remove new NGK BP7ES plugs to find them fouled with gasoline and last fall's Marvel Mystery Oil that I fogged the engine with. Install new NGK plugs bought for $2.00 each from FLAPS (NGK Nr. 1034). Remove new NGK plugs that I just installed, this time remember to set proper gap with Bosch gap tool. Reinstall NGK plugs. Crank engine. Nada.

    Check MSD "Driver" ignition module for spark, verify it's working by high-voltage shock, silently praise journeyman electrician who taught me the "one hand rule." Crank engine, Nada. Give up on MSD, going back to original. Go to Mezzanine level of Fortified Barn, dig out Bosch Blue Coil with 4 ohm internal resistance. Re-wire electrical system as original: one red wire from "Wye" connector from ignition to coil positive, black wire from coil negative to points. Find original yellow wire capacitor, realize it cannot practically be installed with distributor in situ.

    Remove M8 13mm nut on distributor hold down clamp, use Stahlwille magnetic tool to prevent washer and spring washer from falling into distributor hole. (It's better to use this tool to catch the washers than use it to pull them out of the distributor hole later. Either way, you need the tool.) Crank engine with M22 socket until Z1 mark aligns with notch in blower housing and rotor is pointing at radial notch in cast-iron distributor body. (TDC #1.) Lever distributor out of hole with 90 degree plastic door trim remover.

    Inspect distributor on bench, everything appears normal. Install capacitor on side of distributor and connect wire, tighten with M7 wrench. Verify correct order of parts per this old diagram in Up-Fixen:

    Reinstall distributor, align rotor, reinstall clamp hardware, install cap and wires, crank. Nada.

    Put down tools, consume Spaten Optimator. Return to Concrete Jungle, defeated.

    Once back in Concrete Jungle, order El Cheapo Volt-Ohm-Tach-Dwell-Julienne Potatoes Meter from Ebay for $26. More expensive version cannot be found and handheld TPI 440 Oscilloscope does not "do" dwell. Test electrical continuity of points using El Cheapo meter. Cannot duplicate problem on ground.

    Two weeks later, return to car. Reinstall distributor, test in car, strange lack of continuity between spade terminal and points. Remove points to discover that the CORNER of the steel spring in the points, which carries the current in the two-piece setup, has broken off! Again: uncommon failure modes are concrete evidence that the car is upset.


    Reinstall backup set of points, taking care to note correct orientation. (Yes I did install the e-clip after this photo!)


    Notice Bosch three-digit date code, barely visible, July 1965.


    Reinstall distributor with Rotor pointing to #1 radial line. Reinstall clamp hardware. Crank engine, success! Cloud of smoke emerges from tailpipe worthy of beach landing at Normandy.

    Open timing light case to set timing, discover missing dwell meter, now I have two. Recoil in horror when initial timing is 25 degrees BTDC and timing at 5000 RPM is around 45 degrees (relax, not much danger of detonation without load, and I was only up there for a second because I didn't have earplugs in.) Realize that the orientation of distributor is wrong, condenser needs to be at the eight o'clock position. Realize further that the distributor clips won't clear so I can't turn the distributor body, it has to come out again. (Got the Clewett "driver" wires Ed! The good stuff is in a box awaiting install!)


    Remove and reinstall distributor in correct orientation with rotor pointing at radial line. Re-time for correct advance of TDC. Realize that at TDC timing, idle is way too high, spend time fiddling with carb linkage to lower idle from 2000 RPM to 900. This will necessitate re-timing of carb linkage, another project for another day. Good news, advance at 6000 RPM is 32 degrees as intended! (I don't use more than 32 degrees due to 9,5:1 pistons, 2,0 heads and the reformulated Panther Pee sold to unsuspecting consumers as gasoline.)

    Now it's time to check the dwell, it matters when you are using Kettering-ignition. Dwell is showing like 60 degrees, this will mean that the engine won't rev up very high before breakup. Remove cap, find feeler gauge. Except I have been using CDI for so many years I can't remember the dwell setting for two piece points. Look it upon Internet: 0.016" which is roughly .40mm. Pull out feeler gauge, set basic dwell setting.


    Multiple iterations later, finally get dwell to about 35 degrees, should be 38, close enough for not racing. Ordinarily three degrees less dwell is three degrees more timing i.e. More advance, but I reset the engine to TDC at idle. As the rubbing block wears the dwell will increase and retard the timing.

    Take car out for test drive, do the ton down deserted country road. Motor howls like a chain saw, wind whistles, car solid as a rock.

    She just wanted some attention.
    Last edited by 304065; 09-09-2015 at 11:45 AM.
    1966 911 #304065 Irischgruen

  2. #2
    Early 911S Registry # 237 NeunElf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    San Dimas, CA
    I haven't been through so much, at least with the 911.

    My 911 did die once, on a freeway on-ramp enroute to a concours. It was like it was switched off. After using my cell phone and AAA card I carefully checked with a VOM that the points were opening and closing correctly. After all attempts to find the problem failed, I finally took off the distributor cap.

    The rotor fell out.
    Jim Alton
    San Dimas, CA
    Early 911S Registry # 237

    1966 VW 21 Window Bus
    1965 Porsche 911 coupe
    1958 Porsche 356A cabriolet

  3. #3
    Jim, that kind of stuff happens, particularly given the old distributor cap clamps!

    Harry Pellow was fond of saying that "good cars are haunted"-- they break down when convenient for you to fix them, not on the side of the Jersey Turnpike on some rainy winter night. As chagrined as I am that a tiny electrical part managed to break, I'm pleased that the car did NOT start, which could have turned the fuel problem from a nuisance into a dephlogistic $#%-show.
    1966 911 #304065 Irischgruen

  4. #4
    Senior Member Haasman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    N.Calif., south of SF

    Just re-read your "Our cars demand attention. . .ignition maintenance for '065" post again. Have to say one of the best. Reading someone else's narrative can be therapeutic.

    Great pictures and I could easily identify with your journey of repairs.


    Registry #2489
    R Gruppe #722
    65 911 #302580
    70 914-6 #9140431874
    73 911s #9113300709

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Virginia Beach Va
    Totally nails every project I have ever done! I knew I was not alone!
    I really do not mind revisiting the project after having to buy another tool,getting another whatever.

    Nice read . They really do need attention
    Doug Lehman
    Member #2825
    1966 912

    Finally The body is in the hands of Dave Miller at Copecit Metal Shaping

    1978 911SC Targa fun in the sun

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