Condensers

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PACKARDJOE
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:18 pm

Condensers

Post by PACKARDJOE » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:13 pm

I have a 41 120. I have broken down on the road only twice in the 14 years I've been driving this car. Both times it was bad condenser. The second time the condenser was only in the car for a week or so. I've tried to get around this by installing Pertronix but am on my second failed Pertronix. I am now going back to condensers. Does anybody have a source for good reliable condensers? My ignition is Autolight.

Dave Czirr
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Re: Condensers

Post by Dave Czirr » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:28 pm

I've been using NAPA/Echlin or Standard Ignition condensors and points pretty much interchangeably for many years, never had a failure. I buy a universal condensor, just making sure the lead is long enough to reach from the mounting position to the connection point.

Having two condensors fail is about as unbelieveable as having two Pertronic units fail - is your car still 6-volt positive ground? There must be something else going on here that's not yet been identified, but I can't think what it might be. Let's see what our other gurus think.

Strange, really.

Adam
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Re: Condensers

Post by Adam » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:36 am

Like Dave, I just use universal condensors, although there is no such thing as NAPA here, so little point my recommending a brand to you.

I have heard of poor quality new condensors failing in a very short time, and I suppose it is the luck of the draw really. If that is so, surely what you had was one failed condensor and one faulty replacement? That amounts to one condensor failure in 14 years, maybe not so bad?

That said, i would consider replacing the condensor when replacing the contact breaker points, and since on our old cars that probably happens about once every decade, that doesn`t seem unreasonable.

It may be worth checking that all the units of the ignition (coil, condensor, distributor) have a good clean grounding. Otherwise, i cannot think of a likely cause at the moment.

My personal view is that the original ignition systems work perfectly when maintained correctly, so I see no reason for electronic ignition modules. I might think differently if I was building an engine for racing. Although i use my Alfa in vintage racing using the original (but rebuilt) Scintilla Vertex magneto.

I hope this helps a little.

Adam..
"Do not underestimate the English cousin.....they are not as stupid as they look!" - Signor Altabani in The Italian Job.

jacko
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Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:55 pm

Re: Condensers

Post by jacko » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:03 pm

Condensers for all of our Packards are in the range of 0.25 to 0.28 micro farads. I get mine from NAPA and opt for the smallest ones that will fit into the dual ignition system distributor of my 1933 eight 1002. I've had no trouble with the NAPA garden variety condensers. Are your condensers somehow exposed to high voltage? Don't know how they would be but just a thought. What about high temps which might cause early failure?

Bob

PACKARDJOE
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:18 pm

Re: Condensers

Post by PACKARDJOE » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:53 pm

Hi Adam and Hi Dave:
Thanks for all the good feed back.
I have been driving cars for 44 years. Before electronic ignition I always thought "Tune up your car every year (points, plugs, condenser among other things) or more often if you drive a lot, and your car will take care of you". It has worked well for me until last year. I have some times used condensers that were not branded that came in tune up kits. No more! We have NAPA (Eichlin) available here and I will now stick with branded merchandise. In fact I carry in my trunk a spare Eichlin voltage regulator and coil. I'll make sure my spare condenser is branded as well.
To update you on the Pertronix, my mechanic tells me he's done more than 100 of these installations with only a couple of failures. Mine had a very very weak spark from the get go. Resistance was a bit high in the plug wires so they were replaced. Spark was still weak. Pertronix supplied a replacement unit - still weak spark. Pertronix said I should have a heavier duty coil. Coil was replaced wit heavier duty one. Spark seemed to be ok. but car conked out on the road twice, was towed to repair shop where spark was determined to be almost non existent. Next morning starting up cold, spark was great. After running a while spark started getting weaker. Am using new Optima battery with 00 batt cable with wide ground strap to chassis and another wide strap from chassis to engine. All connections are good and there is minimum voltage drop when cranking. System is 6 volt positive ground.

We are now going back to original set up with condenser which was working ok before change to pertronix.

An interesting note - in the middle of all this my mechanic took compassionate leave from Rhode Island to go back to original home of New Zealand because of a family health crisis. As soon as a couple of his friends heard he was in town, they wanted him to check out pertronix problems they were having -- NO SPARK. He couldn't help them. My conclusion: When it works it's great when it doesn't it's hopeless.
Thanks for your help.

Joe

Adam
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Re: Condensers

Post by Adam » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:01 am

Hi Joe

It sounds as though you have taken all the right steps to resolve this. I am afraid that i cannot think of a cause for the Pertronix problems, beyond what you have already done.

I am sure that you are on the right track, returning to a standard set up. Just make sure that you have the correct, non-ballasted coil.

Adam..
"Do not underestimate the English cousin.....they are not as stupid as they look!" - Signor Altabani in The Italian Job.

PACKARDJOE
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:18 pm

Re: Condensers

Post by PACKARDJOE » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:21 am

THANKS. WILL DO.

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