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Ignition point gap?

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  • Ignition point gap?

    In the absence of a manual, what might be a safe generic point gap setting. This is for a 12 v, 4 cylinder industrial flathead engine in a 1962 Hyster Forklift.

    Currently, with a relatively new set of points installed by a 'professional', I cannot even slide an .011 business card between the points. This might account for why it is hard to start.

    I checked the plugs. (this is a propane fired unit) and they were clean. I widened the plug gap from about .025 to .034 and it finally started right up.

    I am actually in the process of installing a Pertronix Ignitor but I will save the points and want to know how to set them up should the need arise in the future.


  • #2
    Re: Ignition point gap?

    Business card!! I used to use a matchbook cover which was over twice as thick. I was going to say start at .030.
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!

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    • #3
      Re: Ignition point gap?

      I was going to suggest .035, but it sounds like you stumbled upon it yourself, run it for a while at that setting then check the points to check for pitting and burning.

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      • #4
        Re: Ignition point gap?

        Not knowing the distributor, I'd set the rub block down on the cam at a low spot, turn it to a high spot, measure the gap, then set it to 1/2 of that, or .010" less than the throw if the total throw is less than .035"

        Jeep 4 banger is .020 (from memory)

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        • #5
          Re: Ignition point gap?

          +1 on the match book point gap thing, paper match thickness on the plug gap.


          Holy crap, I am a child of the 60's!!
          home is where we drop anchor

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          • #6
            Re: Ignition point gap?

            Hmmmm? I rounded up two match books. One was from Los Angeles, the other from a hotel in Mexico. The LA book measured .008 thick, the Mexican book measured .012 thick.

            As it has been decades since they gave you a match book when you bought a pack of ciggies from a vending machine, I think they have gotten thinner. But at least the Mexican one was thicker than the business card I tried to insert between the points.

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            • #7
              Re: Ignition point gap?

              Originally posted by Boomyal View Post
              In the absence of a manual, what might be a safe generic point gap setting. This is for a 12 v, 4 cylinder industrial flathead engine in a 1962 Hyster Forklift.

              Currently, with a relatively new set of points installed by a 'professional', I cannot even slide an .011 business card between the points. This might account for why it is hard to start.

              I checked the plugs. (this is a propane fired unit) and they were clean. I widened the plug gap from about .025 to .034 and it finally started right up.

              I am actually in the process of installing a Pertronix Ignitor but I will save the points and want to know how to set them up should the need arise in the future.
              You might be further ahead using dwell angle ~ 52-58 degrees.

              "A tachometer/dwell meter is very useful for the tune-up procedure. The six (6) cylinder engines should be set for 35 degrees of dwell angle and the four (4) cylinder engines should be set for 55 degrees of dwell angle. If necessary, readjust the points to achieve this dwell angle. Accelerate the engine up and down quickly. If the dwell angle varies more than four (4) degrees for the six (6) cylinder engines or six (6) degrees for the four (4) cylinder engines, change the points. This test indicates a weak point spring."
              You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

              I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat. (Will Rogers)

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              • #8
                Re: Ignition point gap?

                I had an old guy tell me once that for a base line set points at half of what the plug gap was. I don't know how true that is but that man could make an old car purr
                ASE MASTER AUTOMOTIVE AND MEDIUM/HEAVY TRUCK TECHNICIAN
                MASTER EMERGENCY VEHICLE TECHNICIAN
                AVID TOOL COLLECTOR and USER

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                • #9
                  Re: Ignition point gap?

                  Originally posted by jimr View Post
                  I had an old guy tell me once that for a base line set points at half of what the plug gap was. I don't know how true that is but that man could make an old car purr
                  Heard that often 50 or so years ago. The other rule was set the points with a matchbook cover and the plugs with a worn dime. Thought it was really neat when I got my first dwell meter and could set points with an allen wrench on those old GM distributors.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ignition point gap?

                    I just find it great to actually be in the company of people who know what points are!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ignition point gap?

                      Set with a dwell meter like Tim said. Around 60 degrees for a 4 cylinder engine.
                      1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
                      Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

                      2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
                      Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
                      "Common sense is not very common"
                      "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ignition point gap?

                        I have a near virgin Sears Engine Analyser that my mother bought my dad back in the '60's. It has a wide sweeping analog display that has umpteen different levels of functions displayed. There are also just as many different buttons, levers and switches so that you know which function you want to read on this sweeping arc.

                        I'm sure that there is a function on it to read dwell. However, my gap question started out to supply future knowledge should I have to re-install the points.

                        I am in the process of installing a Pertronix Ignitor on this old forklift to make it easier to start after sitting idle for weeks at a time, in a cold damp storage environment.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ignition point gap?

                          Originally posted by MTboatguy View Post
                          I just find it great to actually be in the company of people who know what points are!

                          x2 Anybody remember the trick of loading a condensor with a charge and playing catch? Here catch...
                          ReHab
                          1990 Bayliner 1700 Capri
                          Calm waters and Good times to all.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ignition point gap?

                            Boomyal, my only question is: if you have calipers or micrometers to measure the thickness of various types of paper, why don't you have feeler gauges?
                            Mike
                            Ol' Stonebreaker

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                            • #15
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                              Re: Ignition point gap?

                              Originally posted by BlkY2k View Post
                              x2 Anybody remember the trick of loading a condensor with a charge and playing catch? Here catch...
                              I remember that game! Or putting a electrolytic capacitor across a power socket. When someone turned the power on the cap would either explode or release copious quantities of acrid smoke.... Fun days.... HSE have killed those games...

                              If it is a Continental:
                              F-4140 and F-4162
                              firing order 1342 plug gap .025 breaker gap .022 timing 9 btdc@flywheel valve clearance hot .014 intake and exhaust.
                              F-4140 bore3 3/16 stroke4 3/8 comp6.99 140 cu in piston displ.
                              F-4162 bore3 7/16 stroke4 3/8 comp7.02 162 cu in piston displacement
                              4 quarts oil
                              oil press 35-40
                              F-4140 52 brake hp @3200 rpm .lb ft torque 108 @ 1600
                              F- 4162 58 " " @ " rpm. " " " 122 @ "

                              HTH,

                              Chris.........
                              The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100' below...



                              1972 Bertram 'Bahia Mar' 20
                              2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha 1 Gen II (0W829301)
                              **
                              Please don't send service questions in private messages. That's what the forum is for. Messages of thanks, always accepted.
                              **
                              Member of the month - April 2013. http://www.iboats.com/blog/achris-member-of-the-month/

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