No spark on a 54

Hi all new the 6-volt Indians reading the forums and have an issue I have a 1954 hornet and going by the manual I was getting no spark anywhere replace the battery terminals the solenoid was replaced before I got it I replace the ignition coil check the distributor cap and the firing order insured proper gap on all the plugs and on the distributor and I am getting spark going to the cap but not on any of the plugs needed to Hudson could use some help


  • What kind of spark plug wires are you using?  If old, maybe invest in some nice new ones?
  • Maybe the carbon contact is missing from your dist. cap.  Or bad condenser or corroded
     or dirty points.   Another frequent culprit, the small braided wire between the advance plate and the ?  (senior moment)  See if the insulation is abraided /worn. 
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,807
    I'm curious: was this car running before you replaced all these things?  Or have you never had it running?

    Are you sure that all the components are correct for 6-volts and for Hudson, and are positive ground?  Battery cable is thick 6-volt type, and battery is grounded to body and to engine?  Sorry, but these are just basic questions one should ask before delving deeper into the problem.

    If all of the above is checked out, one quick and easy thing is to change out the condenser (as Ric suggests) because there are an awful lot of those things that are bad when they are new!  You should keep a few spares with you anyway, so you're not wasting your money to buy some extras.
  • Check the cap for a small crack from the center to the clips that hold it on. Check both inside and outside. The spark maybe going to ground on a clip.
  • Looks like the wires inside on the plate were original and frayed just got new points coming in tomorrow and gonna replace those and the wires and see if that helps, wasnt running when purchased but close. The wires were replaced before so not sure on those but  almost every wire and part aside from what i replaced are all original. Just want to awaken it for a few before the full restore. Im definitely gonna need all new wiring harness if anyone has a sugestion. Its a positive ground system. I also need a manual on this beast, it had an original service manual but it doesnt go into body or interior and i will need that.....newbie here so hopefully theres some resources here that can help
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,807
    H-E-T Club is a good start, .  you can connect with a lot of Hudson people at get-togethers across the country, "network" for parts, and get a nice magazine 6x a year.  The Club website has downloadable manuals (for those registered at the site).
  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 1,746
    edited September 2017
    29 is right.  Replace the dist cap.  Back in the day when I was in college I had a '66 Chevelle.  One night after a meeting I could not get it to fire and I had just driven it a couple of hours before.  My Dad towed it home.  We checked everything, including the cap with no apparent cracks.  However, my Dad finally said it had to be the cap and we replaced it and immediately the engine started right up.  After doing a very very close inspection of the cap there was a very fine hair line crack up near the center post that was the source of the problem.

  • Ok should have taken a picture but had to rebuild both wires they were shot and now cant figure out where the smaller one co. Ected to and the diagram sucks anyone have a pic of how its supposed to be?? Here is where im at so far
  • GlowplugGlowplug Posts: 1,622
    Pictures usually are easier than words.  Expand picture size to see connections. image
  • Perfect thats where i hoped it went hewwww
  • Huh all that, new points condenser new cap new solenoid new  coil and now no spark from the coil 
  • GlowplugGlowplug Posts: 1,622

    Power to the coil and from the coil to the distributor ... make sure fully insulated no shorts or grounding. The wire from the distributor cap tower to the coil tower ... pull it out and check it is good ... ie wire connections are solidly attached and that there is continuity from end to end.  Check coil by applying power to coil and grounding the opposite side... if the coil is good the ignition wire that normally goes to the distributor cap will spark to a good ground.

  • will do in the am the coil is new and was getting spark before changing the points and i just disconnected it from the distributor when putting in all the rest, the ignition is on but wont crank from the switch so i am using the built in push button on the solenoid to attempt to start , i know there are tons of bad wiring so a new harness is badly needed
  • Scotty,
    It's frustrating but you will get there.  Be sure to install a new rotor also.  I had a Studebaker die on the road and after a week of changing out ignition parts I put in a new rotor and it fired right up.  I also had a rotor fail on my Hudson after driving it in a funeral procession.  When I went to leave the cemetery the car would not start.  Three of us worked on it for an hour, one guy had a spare rotor and once installed it fired right up.  In both instances the cars were running perfectly before they died.

    As far as wiring harnesses, take a look here.  I have used them for my Hudson and my Packard, excellent workmanship and very easy to install.

    Hope this helps,

    John Forkner

    p.s., I'll send you a copy of the current issue of the White Triangle News, the award winning publication of the Hudson Essex Terraplane Club, it's "The" resource for all things Hudson related.  Send me your mailing address, (drop the HET)

  • Pictures usually are easier than words.  Expand picture size to see connections. image
    Old farmer is the wire coming from the points connected under or on top of the i side insulator? Looks like it is under making it contact with the housing....i have mine on top connecting to the screw
  • GlowplugGlowplug Posts: 1,622
    Better pictures....imageimage
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,526
    Your picture does not show the vacuum advance unit.
  • ok so i abandoned the start....too many issues with the old wiring harness and figured if i did get it started and had a short somewhere then could risk a fire. So i ordered a new wiring harness which should be in thin week, once that is complete ill give her another shot....better safe than sorry
  • new harness came in and i'm in hell, well the front ant rear and interior lighting are done for the most part but the dash and ignition are confusing me to no end...........
  • onerare39onerare39 Posts: 994

    What's the issue?  What harness manufacturer did you use?  Also, when you go to test the system, use a 6 volt lantern battery.  It provides just enough juice to check lights and energize solenoids, but won't cause smoke or fire.  You do know that your car is positive ground, right?

    John Forkner

  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 1,746
    If this is a real repro harness the color codes should be easy to follow.  If you bought a generic you are on your own to decide what goes where.
  • Yes positive 6v ground it was the economy harness from speedway motors I think I just got daunted by the massive amount of wires everywhere but I've almost got it now everything except for the last little bits of dash lights and not putting in my dimmer control for the headlights until after the new floor pans get here biggest question is the turn signal and flashers diagram for the Hudson only indicates two wires but looking at the indicator and the turn signal switch housing that I pulled out I've got what's attached in this picture not really sure which one does what
  • Wiring harness i have
  • What kind of ground cable/strap is everyone using on the positive ground 6v system?  Mine currently has the flat braided steep strap that bolts to battery tray and then to frame.  Is this stock?  Will a regular rubber insulated battery cable work just as well?
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,526
    Ground strap does not need to be insulated.  Flat ones were used originally, but it makes no difference either way,. so long as it is heavy enough.
  • allanallan Posts: 184
    Why do the ground straps need to be so heavy?  I understand why the wires themselves have to be...............
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,526
    Because the current for the starter is around 650 amps.  You need a good heavy cable to handle that.  
  • Does anyone sell the flat ground strap with two connection points?  As said above mine bolts in 2 places.
  • A NAPA store can get them for you, they might have them in stock at the store.

  • Okay back to square one have the new wiring in place brand new coil still no spark pretty sure I have the wiring all set up correctly but I still get no spark from the coil to the cap maybe someone can help me out here did the original solenoid have a starter switch on the bottom if not that will answer my question as to why the starter switches and ignition inside will not crank I'm thinking that leaves an open connection all the way when it needs to be closed and it's finally closing at the switch on the solenoid that is installed did install the solenoid it was on it when I got it but it is brand new and wired in for the wiring diagram but I should be still getting some kind of spark at least from the coil I'm baffled
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