Cutting out/Missing solved & Timing of Engine issues

BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
I’m starting this thread as the “fuel pump kit” thread changed into a “missing cutting out issue with a pitted distributor cap rotor button” issue.  Since I discovered a problem I wanted it documented for others to find in the future easily.  This all started since last week I took the 37 coupe on a 20 mile drive & the farther I got into it the more she would sputter/miss & cut out when on the gas.  A friend locally thought it was the fuel pump & thus why I started down that path of finding a fuel pump kit.  

Eventually conversation went towards electrical issues.   Below is the picture of the pitted rotor button in the middle of the cap.  Rather weird & not something I’d seen before.  Some thought the putting was perhaps caused by a bad condenser which made sense & thus I changed the condenser.  

This morning I decided to try timing the car with a timing light.  It was as with many things on my Hudson, full of challenges!  However it also shedded some light on another issue I have had forever.   So I started the 37 & warmed her up then put the timing light to her but the mark was jumping all over the place & sometimes completely missing from the window over the starter.  One of the multiple videos I shared with a good friend (thanks buddy!) to figure out the erratic timing, he discovered something.  My timing was a lot better when the bag-o-marbles sound disappeared and when the noise came back, the timing went to all hell again.  So there is definitely a link to the noise & timing, cam thrust washer, timing gears or something else.  Here’s the video: (listen & watch the timing light)

So after discovering that connection I decided to just change all the tune up parts just to be sure, it’s only money right.  Hahaha!  Swapped in a new cap & found a new rotor but it didn’t fit as the inside wouldn’t allow it to slip on the distributor shaft.   Ok, so I pulled out another one & it was a used one I’d saved.  (I have to thank my father who passed away a couple weeks ago for teaching me to hold onto old car parts as well as everything else.  He was a great mentor to me & I will forever miss him.) 
The old rotor I had saved looked a little different, it was taller!  After measuring everything I discovered the old rotor wasn’t even touching the rotor button inside the cap.  There was a 0.150” gap, which would cause the spark to jump & thus the putting I found on the rotor button inside the cap.  With the new (old) rotor installed I could feel it’s springiness  as I put the cap on.   

So what now?  It still has erratic timing with the noise which has to be found & fixed.   I will have to drive it to see if the missing / cutting out issue has improved any.  I’ll update you all soon!


  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,987Senior Contributor
    The noise is most likely your timing gear shifting on it's hub, which alters the timing, and causes the connecting rods to collide with the camshaft.  
  • 7XPacemaker7XPacemaker Posts: 411Senior Contributor
    I was going to say that you have a timing gear issue but Geoff’s answer much more thorough! Time to tear it apart!
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,088Administrator
    The fiber timing gear shifting on its hub is something I've heard of before.  One minute, everything's in time.  Then, suddenly, it's all off.  Then back to perfect, again.  (That's why, 42 years ago, I installed an aluminum timing gear in my '37.  Never had a lick of trouble, since.)

    Geoff, what is the simplest way for Big Sky to check the timing gear theory?
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    Ok, perhaps that’s why my distributor & oil pump are now leaking at the block?  

    So is that both gears to be replaced or something else in there?  I’m unfamiliar with what it looks like in there.  
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    I did put a rod to the engine tonight & in this picture is where I could hear the matching sound inside the engine to what I hear outside as well.  

    This is the oil leakage just today & it’s coming from where the distributor & oil pump mate to the block.

  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,987Senior Contributor
    Oil leaks are purely co-incidental.
  • terraplane8terraplane8 Posts: 537Senior Contributor
    The aluminium gear is hard to find but the fibre gears are around.
  • bob wardbob ward Posts: 1,174Senior Contributor
    If the camshaft thrust washer has disappeared the cam has been running 1/16" further back in the block than it should, its driven there by the helix angle of the cam gears. Installing a new thrust washer fixes that but you will need to check the wear pattern on the cam followers, to make sure you don't end up with a tiny cam/lifter contact patch.
    A picture etc....

  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    Let me 1st say I sincerely appreciate everyone’s help & guidance!  I have fought for 4 years trying to figure out that engine noise & the engine missing even at an idle.  I’ve had individuals tell me “that’s just how Hudson Engines sound”.  I couldn’t believe him because if they all sounded as bad as mine, they wouldn’t have sold a single car!  

    So if I understand correctly the fiber gear is on the cam and I will need that plus best to just replace the cam thrust washer with the Wildrick bronze one.  I’ll also need a gasket for the cover.  Is there anything else I should do while I am in there?  

    Bob you said to check the cam followers?  What is a cam follower & how does one check that?  Are we talking about pulling the head off, valves out, etc?   Trying to get a feel for how much work I am in for & all the parts I need to order up.

    Finally, does anyone have an aluminum gear or gears?  If I remember the pitch of some are different & thus one has to change both cam & crank gears to match?
  • 54coupe54coupe Posts: 472Member
    A cam follower is a lifter. You will need the timing cover seal as well.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    I imagine to look at the lifters the head would have to come off to pull the valves out to be able to look at the lifters?
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,987Senior Contributor
    You can remove the lifters without taking the head off, but in  the long run it is easier and quicker to take the head off and the valves out.   Dale Cooper has new lifters.  if yours are not worn too much then  they can be re-profiles if you can fi n d someone who can do it.  You will also need to inspect the cam lobes.   I can re-profile the lifters, but postage to N.Z.  and back makes it a bit expensive, so you are probably best to get new ones.     You have only done half a job, un fortunately, doing the valves and guides, without checking everything else.    
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    While I did check the lifters & even had a Hudson guy look at them, the advice may have not been the best.  I did pull all the lifters out to clean & inspect them.  Unfortunately I only have 4 pictures, but the 2 worst lifters are pictured & the other two are just an average one removed.  

    Here are the pictures, maybe they tell you guys more?

  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,987Senior Contributor
    The wear pattern indicates that the lifters are not worn, but the thrust washer is indeed missing.   So the most likely cause of knocking, particularly if it is intermittent, is the fibre timing gear.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    Really appreciate all your help with this engine.  I spoke to Cole at Wildrick’s today to have him see what parts he has in stock.  I spoke to Dale Cooper & he has the parts as well.  I think Wildrick’s are the only one’s who have the “brass” thrust washer that I need for the cam.  Hopefully I can find an aluminum gear set, I really don’t want to put that fiber gear back in it to only have future problems again, which would naturally be when it’s least convenient.

    So here’s what I think I need to do this job, if I’ve got something wrong or missing please let me know.  I’d like to take care of all I can while in there.
    —cam gear, thrust washer, timing cover seal, crank shaft spacer, 

    If I have to do something with the lifters & cam I may look at a performance cam grind while in there.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 632Senior Contributor
    I gotta ask.... do I have to pull the cam to do the thrust washer?  I thought the washer was in the front of the engine but not sure!
  • bob wardbob ward Posts: 1,174Senior Contributor
    The cam needs to come out to replace the thrust washer. You seem to have the followers out already so pulling the cam (unless you have the radiator in the way) is simple.
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