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Thank you for the replies and help. I will check what you said tomorrow and report back
So I fixed the ground from coil that was shoddy. Then I saw the ballast resistor connection from the driver side had very old electrical tape on it. I dug into that to find a real gem of wiring.
The two wires added on are a power to choke, and a power going into plug for distributor. Working on fixing this now.
Nice find. That’s a gem all right.
This is why it is so difficult to troubleshoot remotely. We can't see the inherent problems that someone has created. We give advice not really knowing what could be the problem. I enjoy trying to help anyone with a problem and I know all the members that chimed in feel the same way. In essence our advice was for you to keep digging to find out where the problem lies. Glad to see you have found some of your problem. We've all been in your shoes because so many things can cause problems that are a little out of the ordinary.
My last hard starting problem was a combination of too much timing, weak battery and a sluggish starter.
It SEEMS that the distributor may be the culprit after a day of troubleshooting. After fixing those wiring issues, I bench tested two different coils I had been using. Both of them were in good operating condition. Have good power going to the engine bay from the trunk mount battery. Somewhere from the distributor to the coil, there is a significant loss in power. The coil shoots out 1 single weak spark on crank and that’s it. I ordered an HEI distributor from speedway for old Chrysler small block. I hate throwing money at a problem, but it the only thing left in this equation.
Sorry this does not make sense What EXACTLY is your test set up and how EXACTLY did you go about this? Step by step you did what? You rigged a test gap at the coil wire? Did you use the coil wire or a different wire? You cranked the engine by doing what? What voltages did you check and how, exactly, when cranking? Tell you what you must be 3? hours from me? I'm in N end of Idaho. If you want to call when you can get out there --does not have to be today--send me a PM and we'll set it up.
Thank you for this, I appreciate the help as I’m definitely over my head with this electrical portion and I’m trying to learn on the job. I will reach out to you soon.
I think we are more than 3 hours though as I’m in upstate NY.
I have $20 that says the distributor had nothing to do with the intermittent starting. Any takers? Look I understand the frustration, I really do, but without a proper diagnosis you are going to chase your tail a bunch. Eventually if you replace every single part you’ll find the problem but that’s not the correct (or cheap) way to do it. With a voltmeter and a little time, Del, @67Dart273 can systematically walk you through electrical testing. I suggest listening closely to what he asks you to test and reply back with direct answers. You’ll have this figured out in no time.
I will buy a voltmeter tomorrow
Forgive me, I’m a newly retired cop. Definitely not a mechanic. Not good or have any knowledge base in electrical. Small things I’m good with, but this is above anything I’ve done with electrical. I used the spark plug wire that goes from the coil to the distributor. I used a spark plug in that wire from the coil, and cranked over the motor with the key. I don’t have any tools for this stuff and I’m going out and buying test lights and borrowing multimeters and googling instructions on how to use them. I want to fix this on my own, and am doing my best to listen to the advice given. So please don’t think I’m discounting any advice you guys are giving.
I didn't mean to suggest so. Regardless I'd be happy to try and talk you through some basic tests. When you get your gear all bought and gathered up, and some time, shoot me a PM if need and I'll be happy to try and help I get up at 7 / sometimes before so if you are 4 hours, that is 11AM for you. Later no problem, you won't be out there at midnight will ya? Would be 8PM LOL here. What you need: 1...Shop manual if you don't have, download from MyMopar, free 2....The service manual has diagrams, but MyMopar also has 2 page aftermarket diagrams that are sometimes easier to follow "sometimes" I use both occasionally. The 2 page ones omit some options, some connectors, and some details 3...A 12V test lamp 4....Some sort of alligator clip jumpers. You can if nothing else buy small alligator clips various places, I think Lowes/ HD has a poor selection, and some of the tractor supply type places do as well Important points: Ignition must have adequate voltage both in "run" and in "start" and if a Mopar breakerless the ECU must have a good ground, and if it's a "ready to run" deal all in the distributor the dist must be grounded, IE a loose dist trying to set the timing can be a problem When checking spark, it is much better to NOT use the coil or plug wire as these are usually resistive/ radio supression and can give you a false sense of the spark. Use a copper/ metal wire of some sort, even a scrap of low voltage wire "hung out" so it's away from everything. Make sure battery is charged and adequete IE not so old, or with a problem that causes slow cranking, same deal with starter---poor worn starter can drag down battery causing low starting voltage
Chall, Veeeeeeeeeeery good move getting the HEI dist. As well as eliminating the coil, p/up, cap, rotor, vac adv, etc, all in one sweep as problem areas, you get a hotter spark out of the deal. Couple of comments.  Did I read choke was connected to the coil? That might be pulling down the available voltage to the coil during cranking. These old cars often have additional electrical accessories [ eg, sound system ] added over the years with no thought about WHERE to tap into the reqd 12v; connecting these devices to the wrong area in the electrical system can reduce ign voltage & cause strange problems like you are having.  When you install your HEI. Do not hook up the tach. Run a jumper from the bat [+] terminal to the 'Bat' terminal of the HEI to get the engine running. Once running, hook up the tach; then, hook up to original ign source. Purpose of this sequence of events to eliminate other possible trouble sources.  Roughen the feet of the dist clamp with a file or similar. This is for good electrical contact to the dist. The ground return for HEI is through the dist body - clamp - block [ ground ].
I admire your desire to dive in and get 'er done. Your patience with perps will pay huge dividends here as well as you work with the guys to get to the bottom of this!
So I discovered my motor originally came with a gm style hei distributor however it was too large to fit in my engine bay so the msd distributor was used from my prior motor.
Wow a lot of this thread was lost in forum update and I don’t remember where we were. @Challngd73 Did you buy a crate engine? Can you refresh my memory of what’s happened in the last few weeks?
That’s the engine that is in my car now. I talked with blueprint and discovered the original crate motor had the gm style hei distributor in it from blueprint. It was too big to go in my engine bay so the msd 8388 was reused from my last motor. Josh from blueprint has been walking me through the timing specs for my motor(mechanical advance only w/no vacuum advance 34*all in by 3500 rpms). Also have msd blaster 2 coil otw that recommends no ballast resistor. This wiring has 55 years of “fixes” and I’m about done with trying to figure out all these brittle wires and where they are supposed to go, and how to bypass this plugging what wire where. Frustrated
Gotcha. Yes electrical troubleshooting can be very frustrating. Stick with it you will find the smoking gun. And when you do it’ll be rewarding as hell.
I believe 9.6 Volts when cranking (unless over sized battery) As we tested with VAT 40 and VAT45. Over 12 volts when running IAW Automotive Electronics class, last week. As much as 13.6 when running with alternator running. -with respect sir
This problem has been resolved. The wiring from when this motor was installed was a large issue. The mechanic who installed it, was responsible for the cob job wiring in the picture in the post above. I also changed the springs in the distributor to bring mechanical advance all in at 3500 rpms. Timing is set at 34* total at 3500 rpms now.
He says fuel pressure is 8-12. Way to high. Kim