Friday, July 11, 2014

X-11: Spark Test

The X-11's been running poorly lately, especially since the beginning of summer. I'm currently running a distributor and coil from an '85 S-10 Blazer. It works well enough, making a really nice, fat white spark, but I've never been happy with the installation. I had to make a bracket to mount the coil and wire up connectors for power and tachometer feed. None of it looks good. It seems to have a block of some sort on the casting restricting how far it can be turned (probably for emissions purposes), but all I'd need to do is loosen the hold-down, pull the distributor, turn the shaft just a little, and put it back. It's been a guessing game trying to get the engine timing dialed in ever since I put this distributor into it. It's really happy in winter, but I start having drivability issues once the weather warms up.

The distributor I'm testing in this video is identical to the X-11's original item, aside from being non-computer controlled. It's an all-in-one style with the coil built into the cap. Very clean installation, no external coil and wire, and the car's original wiring just plugs right in. There's nothing to keep it from being turned for more advance, either, so maybe the engine will have better hot-weather manners.

My test rig was powered by an old PC supply. I originally intended to run jumper wires to each of the distributor cap "towers" (where the plug wires connect) and even started making up some jumpers for the second half of the video, but at this point I was satisfied that it'll work, since I could hear a "chirp" from internal sparking where there wasn't a jumper and could see a good spark in the tester for those that were jumped.

I could have used a lab assistant, though, to see just how good that spark was. The last time I rigged up a test like this was for the distributor that I'm about to swap out of the car. My lab rat then was a co-worker who just couldn't resist the urge to touch the pretty white fire--and BAP!!. He jumped a couple of feet in the air. He didn't think the thing was going to work. Heheheh.

I still need to check out the vacuum advance and replace the cap and rotor, but now it's ready to drop in.

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