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Old 09-06-2015, 05:39 PM   #1
mog797
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1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

OK so I have a 1959 GMC 100 and have all new wiring every pice of electronic is new or rebuilt. For whatever reason I still can't get it to start. I am not getting power from the coil, I have checked it the coil is good. I am thinking that maybe the key start type ignition that was there and I used as reference on replacing it is the wrong type. I still have the foot button on my starter. Any help on what to try would be great also any pic or links for that would help too. A different ignition is my next idea but not sure if that is they way to go and if it is where do I find one like what I need? I know classic parts has one that says it's for foot button starter but not sure what way to go.

Thanks in advance been working on this thing for little over a year and so ready to hear it run...
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:42 PM   #2
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

.. Sending
you to the electrical gurus. PS--cute little helper!
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:52 PM   #3
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Hmmm...

"Not getting power from the coil."

Please add detail? How are you testing this? What type of ignition are you using (points or electronic ignition)? Are you using a ballast resistor?

Diagnosing electrical issues correctly is much easier with more details.

Thanks for understanding.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:22 AM   #4
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Do you have a ballast resistor on the firewall?



If so, try disconnecting it and running a jumper wire across the 2 wires. If you get power, you need a new ballast resistor.

When I first bought my truck this was a common problem I had. I would go through a couple a year. Truck would die, no spark.

Best of luck.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:03 AM   #5
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

What ignition switch are you using? I have run into some that don't have power to the coil when turned to "start" relying on the bypass wire from the solenoid to carry the power to the coil when cranking and then when you let the key go back to IGN the power goes through the ballast resistor to the coil in normal manner.

If you have power to the coil with the key in the on position and none when cranking that is the issue.

You did confuse me a bit with the foot pedal start thing though. Are you still using the foot start button/pedal and a different ign switch? Or?????????????
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:11 PM   #6
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

I once got a switch that would work in the start position but when released to run died. Switch was bad, but chased the rest of the wiring first before I just jumped directly from the battery to the coil and it ran. Returned the switch for a new one and all was good.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:13 PM   #7
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by northerngmc View Post
When I first bought my truck this was a common problem I had. I would go through a couple a year. Truck would die, no spark.
Odd, did you figure out why they were dying? In 50 years of messing with these trucks I have never had one go bad or seen one that was bad...
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Old 09-10-2015, 01:21 PM   #8
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrrieG View Post
Odd, did you figure out why they were dying? In 50 years of messing with these trucks I have never had one go bad or seen one that was bad...
After the truck was restored the problem disappeared. I was talking with a guy at a car show and he told me that they were prone to going if the truck had a bad ground circuit.
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Old 09-10-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Well let me respond back with update. First I have a starter with a foot button that has to be pushed in to ingauge the starter. I do have a resistor on the firewall and I get a signal through it then I put a meter on it so I figure it is still intact. I am using points all components are new and gaped at 17 or 19 I belive would have to check it again to know fore sure but within range I found for gapping the points. I have been using a test light to check power from the coil. Also checking olms on the coil to k ow it it was still good couldn't find exact numbers for that so checked the 4 I have compared to a new one at auto parts store. The ignition I have now is this one
http://www.classicparts.com/mobile/1...ctinfo/53-411/
however I ordered this one now
http://www.classicparts.com/mobile/1.../#.VfHQThDnaBY
I didn't get it to begin with cause other one said it was universal and one I have said original figured it would work better. Not sure if power to coil changes when I try to start the pickup don't remember if I had my day check that with me or not I am going to wait for the new ignition switch and just check a few electrical thing in that time before I try much more at this point. Just make sure all on the wires are going to the right place in the right order I followed the diagram I got with the new harness but u never know.
Thanks again.
Ps don't give up on me if I don't make much progress I work in the evening and my dad is the only help I get he only lives about 5 min away but his days off move so the stars have to align to both have time to work on this if not is just me and some things I can do from under the hood if I have to step on the starter in the cab.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:25 PM   #10
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by northerngmc View Post
After the truck was restored the problem disappeared. I was talking with a guy at a car show and he told me that they were prone to going if the truck had a bad ground circuit.
ok, good to know.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:28 PM   #11
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

[QUOTE=mog797;7304733 dad the only help I get [/QUOTE]
Need to find a farm girlfriend with a stout right leg...
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:43 PM   #12
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrrieG View Post
Need to find a farm girlfriend with a stout right leg...
Not to sure about how the wife would feel about that but I will run it past her! I can get the kids to do it now and then but it's hard to get his to do what I ask when I ask at just 8yrs. and I need to make sure I am clear of fans and he doesn't just keep stepping on the starter fun stuff like that normally I try to do the work before I get them from school.
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:06 PM   #13
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

OK The others know I ask this question every time one of these won't start and "I just adjusted the points" threads comes up but did you adjust the points with the rubbing block on the tip of one of the lobes the distributor cam or on the flat area? I've run into to many that the guy fighting a no start condition has set the points with the rubbing block on the flat or partially on the flat and the points aren't functioning right.

This is a 6 cylinder Chevy (1951) distributor that is an easy example to look at. You can see where the rubbing block is on the tip of one of the lobes of the distributor cam and that the point gap is right around your .017 to .019.

You also need the connections to the points in the correct spots so that the system isn't grounded out or you don't have current flow through to the points.
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:26 PM   #14
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

I had that duty with the original Orrie, my grandfather, at that age. I cherish the time, he died a few years later way to young.
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Old 09-11-2015, 12:39 AM   #15
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Yes the points were set on the high side not on flat spot. Also best I can tell all connections are in the correct place and order.
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:20 AM   #16
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

There are a few tests you can run without a helper. Make sure the hot wire is hooked to the + side of the coil. Turn your ignition to the run position and make sure you have about six volts at the + side of the coil. Place the volt meter so you can read it while pressing the starter pedal, you should have about 12 volts at the + side of the coil. once you know for sure you have voltage to + side of the coil. Hook up a spark plug & wire to the center coil tower. Remove the wire from the negative - side of the coil. Turn the ignition to the run position. Tickle the negative _ terminal of the coil with a jumper wire hooked to a good ground. DO NOT hold it on the terminal, just brush it with the alligator clip. It should fire the plug, if the coil is good. If the plug fires the problem is in the distributor. The rest of the system is good. For example, distributor is not turning, gap adjustment, points & condenser grounded. bad dist to coil wire etc. Run these test and let us know what you find so we can help you further.
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:39 PM   #17
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

OK so after going through all the last tests the coil did fire the plug. So now what all the parts in the distributor are new can I check them or what next? I probably have another set of points I can put on just have to find the right ones I have about 150 different set of points I got from estate sale with a ton on NOS from a guys house that had a shop from like 1940's into the 1970's I still have no idea what all I got except to say it was a good deal. Most of the parts are NOS from Napa.
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Old 09-11-2015, 02:26 PM   #18
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by mog797 View Post
Yes the points were set on the high side not on flat spot.
it's been a while since i've set a point gap, but...
don't you set the point gap on the flat, not the lobe?
setting the points on the high side they would never close

either way; once you get it running right switch over to pertronixs points eliminator
makes those spring startups a lot easier than filing the rust off and re-gapping the points
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Old 09-11-2015, 02:40 PM   #19
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Mog797, quite a score, you lucky dog. Back to the distributor. Did you score a dwell meter in those jewels? If you did & lucky enough to have the owners manual, follow the point resistance test in the manual. Make sure the rotor is turning when you crank the engine. Bump the engine until the points are on the highest point of the cam lobe. adjust it .017 -.019 with a very clean feeler gauge. with points still open remove the condenser attachment screw & insulate the condenser from grounding. with an ohm meter or battery powered continuity tester hook one end to the distributor housing and the other to the disconnected neg. _ primary coil wire. you should have an open circuit (no continuity) if you have continuity the circuit is shorted to ground. check the distributor pass through or the points itself since we have eliminated a shorted condenser by removing its ground. A coil is charged with voltage and fires when the ground is removed (open points) if the circuit is shorted to ground the coil field does not collapse and you have no spark. I'll watch this thread, if you need more help.
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:54 PM   #20
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Talking Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

OK to give an update to this ongoing saga of mine. I got the pickup running Yea! Old man I got it from never had it registered in the 20yrs. he had it so not sure how many decades it's been without running till today Sep 11 a day that none will forget I know this day brings lots of memories back for me I was on the east coast. My wife's parents had just left the day before and the hotel they were in was right there at ground zero. I was a fire fighter but didn't work then was all volunteers from TX but just on the road for work. However after that I did join the military until I was medically retired in feb. 2012. Anyway just makes me remember everyone who gave so much and my battle buddies that still are. OK so back to the pickup. It's alive thanks so much for all the help turns out I was just having a crazy day or something when I set the gap on the points cause I did it wrong! First time to set them ever, I have never had to adjust them in different vehicle's that had them well not alone if I did. I feel silly but totally excited it is going now Frankie is alive!
Did take a video will try to get it posted but have to leave for work

Thanks again I am sure I will need more help later!
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:03 AM   #21
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ogre View Post
it's been a while since i've set a point gap, but...
don't you set the point gap on the flat, not the lobe?
setting the points on the high side they would never close

either way; once you get it running right switch over to pertronixs points eliminator
makes those spring startups a lot easier than filing the rust off and re-gapping the points
Yup, I can tell you're running a Pertronix

Set the points on the high spot, then when the rubbing block gets to the flat, the points are closed. Around .016-.018" IIRC.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:47 PM   #22
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Re: 1959 gmc ignition, starting problem

yep, brain fart
or my crs was kicking in

fyi... my ramjet is fuel injected and hei
no points or carb, just the way i like them
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