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1948 8N Front Dist. No fire

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Author  [Modern View]

07-30-2020 18:25:17

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I just bought a 1948 8N Ford with a front mount distributor that has some what been converted over to 12 volts with a canister coil mounted near the batter on the left hand side. I removed the distributor cleaned it completely. Installed new points and condenser set the gab and the timing on the bench.

Replaced the coil and added a ballast resitor.


When the key is on using a test light the positive and negative sides are both hot, even when i remove the condenser wire the negative side of the coil still lights up the test light. any ideas as to why or is this normal?

It will light up with the points open and closed.

wiring is from coil positive to resistor to terminal block. i am using a key switch to for power to coil and a push button for the starter

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08-01-2020 19:57:16

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Thank you for the tip about the low Ohms reading that helps.

I have been focusing solely on getting a spark out of the coil figured that if it was the best starting place if i cant get one there no need in looking for it at the plugs.

Just ordered new dist. cap - rotor - square 12v coil that actually sits on the dist. new wires and plugs.
Hoping of going back with all new parts the way it is supposed to be will be the answer. Parts won't arrive until Aug 10th but any tips between now and then are surely appreciated.

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08-01-2020 13:15:41

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to seenot surprised at zero Ohm readings across primary , as expected numbers would be in range of 1.5 to 3 Ohms & your meter may not read anything that small. Are ypu checking for spart at remote mounted coil or at a spark plug ? Could be problem in the path between the two.

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07-31-2020 17:56:04

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
thank you for the information pictures and insight.

it is an 8n front mount distributor the old square coil is still sitting on top but has been hollowed out somewhat and filled with silicone. a terminal has been added to the top of the distributor cap. The bale spring clip holds the old inactive coil in place over the top of the terminal I mentioned and holds down -protects the coil wire going back to the coil. a bracket was installed using one of the head bolts for the canister coil to mount between the batter box and the oil filter.

The generator has been replaced with an alternator.

This is one of them shade tree conversions I'm sure.

New points and condenser I disassembled the distributor completely for a thorough cleaning and assembled with new parts including a new coil.

The test light will blink on and off when connected to the negative coil terminal and the insulated points spring terminal. so continuity is correct when the points open and close. But no matter what I try i still can't get a spark from the coil. The coil has written on it use with external resistor so bought a new one.

Even connecting a resistor bypass to the positive coil terminal (full voltage while cranking only to compensate for voltage draw from starter) still doesn't help.

When performing a resistance test on the coil the old and new both have readings of 8 when testing primary to secondary

but have readings of 0 when testing primary + and primary- this made me think the coils were faulty. But i have tested 2 more at the parts store right out of the box and get 0-ohms when testing the primary terminals. With the key on I get the same reading.

One ol timer mechanic retired from a ford dealership told me only put the test leads in the coil wire spot or HT terminal and one of the primary terminals. completely at a loss the points open and close as normal, the test light blinks on and off when the points open and close still no spark

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Jim in LA

07-31-2020 16:05:02

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
If you’re new to 8ns, check out the Research and Info section.

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Tim PloughNman Daley

07-31-2020 04:00:05

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
HiYa Newbie. First, forget about a model year, as some things don't add up. The important thing is to know what setup you have - early N's used the 6V/POS GRN system with the Front Mount Distributor. After April, 1950 they went to the Angle (side) Mount Distributor. Some tractors have been switched over to 12V and many of them are and have been done incorrectly. 92-1/2% of all non-starting issues are due to incorrect wiring, 12V jobs mostly, but either way, 6 or 12 if not done right will cause grief. You say "it has a front mount distributor with a canister coil near the battery". Huh? The front mount coil is mounted on the top of the unit itself. A "canister coil" would indicate a Side Mount but it wouldn't be mounted by the battery. It's in front of the engine near the side mount unit. It would be on the RH side of engine. If affront mount, was it mouthed correctly? If you get the cam tangs off 180 you will destroy the unit aluminum base. Front mount point gap is .015", side mount is .025". Spark plugs at .025". Firing order is: 1,2,4,3 regardless if front or side. The best investment you can make with your new Ford Tractor is to get copies of all the Essential Manuals. If you don't now the how's and why's of the OEM system, guessing is not an option. Read first before you do damage to the tractor, or worse, to yourself. Simply buying new parts, and/or switching to 12V and not testing first is not logical. Get a VOM and set it to Continuity. Leave your test light for your AC house outlets. 6V uses a generator and voltage regulator and the front mount only uses the ballast resistor. 12V requires discarding the gen and VR, replacing them with an alternator, and ballast resistor used with the front mount on both the 6V and 12V setups. If coil is 6V, need an in-line 1-OHM resistor, if coil is 12V no need. You seem to be mean well and are on the right track so here's some info to better understand til you get your own manuals. See if this helps.



HELP: The LH resistor Terminal Post connects to the COIL Stud Terminal Post as you face the back off dash. OEM Wiring is RED.



BEFORE S/N 263844:

AFTER S/N 263844:


*PICTOGRAMS courtesy of JMOR




Tim *PloughNman* Daley(MI)

*9N653I* & *8NI55I3*

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07-30-2020 20:37:01

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see Show me the wiring path from points out to coil and then I will try to help you. I'm not a guesser.

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07-30-2020 19:52:38

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

It should have with the points open, but not when they're closed.

If they're making electrical contact.

Is the wire from the distributor to the coil good?

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07-30-2020 19:39:05

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
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Thank you for the reply. Yes I cleaned shipping oil off. The confusion for me is that my 12 volt round can automotive coil has power to the negative side when the key is on. that is where the wire from the condenser connects to. I tried my old coil and the one i bought today. Someone hollowed out the old square coil and put a prong for the coil wire on top of the old distributor

ive read about people doing this just don't think the negative side of the coil should be getting power with the engine not cranking over.

But that's why i am asking for help

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07-30-2020 19:24:24

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 Re: 1948 8N Front Dist. No fire in reply to tiggintim, 07-30-2020 18:25:17  
If the points are closed, electrically, the distributor side should drop

to zero volts. You said new points. Did you clean the shipping oil off?

If it has the round can automotive style 12V coil, there's no need

for a ballast resistor either. They're just added connections to corrode.

Napa IC-14SB or equivalent for the coil.

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