2021 Off To A Bad Start

Over the course of the Holidays and various forms of tiered forms of lock down that nobody really adhered to, I took my Mustang out. Now to be within to rules I took the car out to place where I could exercise after parking the car up. It just so happens that the car was parked in a pretty good place to take some photos while I was out exercising. There was nobody about, the odd car now and again going past, that was about it.

The garage was opened and the dust cover removed and placed on top of my tool chests. Excited to see the car after a number of weeks I got in and started the car, well tried to start it. The car was turning over fine but it didn’t fire up. I opened the hood and had a general look round under there. Fuel filter, yep fuel in there. I took the air filter off and checked the carb was squirting fuel, yep it was. After putting the bits back on I jumped in the car thinking it was just standing time issues. Turning the key the car started to turn over again, still but no fire up. Now I could smell fuel quite strongly, so I decided to leave it for a few minutes with the hood up to evaporate the fuel a bit. As it was getting late in the afternoon it was worth one more try before I give up and look at it properly another day. Third time lucky? She again spun over the crank slowed down and “BANG”. The backfire sounded like a grenade going off in my garage which made my ears ring, timing was obviously out to ignite at the wrong time. The car was running now a few seconds of really rough idle then it settled down to a smoother choke running. I backed the car out OK and drove of fine. However, there is a lot more to this story a little later…

The pictures:

I parked up and took some pictures before my little walk somewhere different. It just so happened where I was parked up would make a good backdrop. I took over 200 pics that afternoon, but this little selection are my favourites so far. I even done a black and white variation on a few of them. The pictures are variations on angles and lighting etc.

The next couple of photos I tried to start of with colour on the right and gradually fade it to black and white on the left. I played with the contrast to make the bottom one more antique and faded too. It sort of works I think, let me know if I hashed it or smashed it! I may even do some sepia variables as well.

The Journey Home.

I got back into the care and started the car, eventually after a few seconds it did start, but it was unusual to take that long. The drive back was about ten minutes and were not right. I got a few hiccups under mild acceleration from a standstill and the odd flat spot on a 40mph straight. I can’t deny that I was a bit worried. The car was parked up in the garage and covered her up with a nagging feeling in the back of my mind.

Next day I went out to the garage to just start her up. Turn of the key and the car spun over, then over and over. I tried to start her a number of times and smell of fuel was quite strong. I had a problem that was evident.

I sent Adam a text at Mustang Maniac to ask for a little advice when he had a moment. Adam being the kind soul that he is told me to get to my tools and he would call me back in a few minutes when I was ready. To his word he called me and talked me through some tests to look at with him over the phone. We swapped out the new coil with an older one that I had with the same result of spinning over with no fire up. We swapped over the coil HT lead to the distributor after testing with my multi-meter Ohm settings. Nothing. We then earthed out the coil HT to the engine to see if a spark jumped over to the engine. How did I manage that? Simple I talked sweetly to my wife who came out for a couple of minutes to turn the car over for me.

The diagnosis was narrowed down to the Pertronix ignition sensor which has gone to the great scrap yard in the sky! I needed a new one, it was a simple as that. Adam said he would get one out to me via mail ASAP as their location was in a high tier restriction for Covid reasons.

The next day my courier turned up with the part. I took a drink along with the part into the garage, unlocked the tool chests and settled down for a few hours. The distributor cap was removed and the single screw was removed the Pertronix sensor. The downside was the wiring loom had to be cut open to expose the wires for the sensor.  The fitting of the Pertronix sensor can be found here.

I done a rough fit without the neatness of wiring loom and connected up ready for the start up. I got in the car and turned the key. The car fired almost instantly and run smoothly all the way to the choke coming off. I let the car cool down and got back to routing the wires back into the loom and neaten it all back up again. A couple of hours later the work was finished and up to my own self imposed high standards. The aftermarket part is now looking like part of the stock loom again and I’m happy. I need to take the car out for trip to make sure everything is still as it was. But, as we are in a current national lockdown that is out of the question right now.

All that remains is for me to thank Adam at Mustang Maniac for his time, even though he was officially “Closed” over the holiday season. I needed the part and I paid for the next day courier service from his WebShop. I was offered the multiple choices of delivery and the costs options. Normally I would drive and pick it up, and it’s also a good excuse to catch up for a chat with some friends. There is a an advantage of being a loyal customer and personal friend with a Mustang parts supplier, who will help go out of their way for you when you need the help.

Since I refitted the new part, I have been on a number of forums about the Pertronix Ignitor series. It seems that I was a lucky boy after all in the fact I got home at all. Most of the time these units are absolutely fine and last forever and a day. But, if you get a bad unit they just stop dead. You could go down the road, pull out of a junction and it stops dead in the middle of the road as one person reported and that’s it. The same symptoms I had – no restart. I had issues where I had a cut out which progressively got worse to the point it didn’t start again. Now I intend to get an old school set of points and condenser to carry with me as an emergency get me home kit. If the points burn out after a few miles due to the hot coil 45,000 volts with 0.6ohms I won’t mind. As long as I get home they are cheap enough to replace again.

My 2021 didn’t start very well, in more ways than one. It could have been much worse of course, I’m just lucky it was a simple problem to replace. Onwards and upwards I guess.

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22 thoughts on “2021 Off To A Bad Start

  1. As noted above, your ‘66 is a beautiful car. I thought so just seeing the exterior, then I saw the interior. Wow! Excellent. I can only envy in the joy and pain the restoration brought.

  2. This was a trip down memory lane. My late bro n law had a 67 (I think*) Mustang
    and seeing this brought back all the feels!

  3. This story reminds me of how much I wish I had kept the old points in my car. I’ve also had to replace a failed Pertronix module in the past (two actually) and it seems to me that as wonderful as they are when they work, they are much more delicate than I would have ever imagined.

    At least when points fail, they do so gracefully instead of without warning. I was sold on the idea of “maintenance-free electronic ignition” but if I look back it seems to me that adjusting and servicing points was not as bad as I remember it. Plus the car started every time. 😉

    Glad you are up and running again, and it is my hope we can all get out of our various lockdowns and enjoy cruising the open roads again soon!

    1. Thanks Jerry. I’m hearing quite a few stories about Pertronix recently, they all seem to be in the past, not the more recent versions.
      I have created a points emergency kit which I now carry with me and will be doing a lost on it soon. 👍
      Thanks for the comments and stopping by.

  4. Beautiful photos, I love that old cars also have matching carpets! Hope the Mustang will run smooth and with no major issues this 2021. Hoping the year gets better though

  5. Nice photo shot really! and I can see for the first time that your steering wheel is in wood! Where did you find it? The stock one in my car is in good condition but definitively less sexy and up to now I couldn’t find one in wood with the original “de luxe” characteristics.
    Thank’s for your answer if it is not a secret….
    Kind regards,
    Geneva Switzerland

    1. Hi Pascal, I always wanted a wood wheel ans white lettering tyres on chrome. When I was restoring the car Mustang Maniac had a supply of steering wheels I could choose from. I picked the one I have now and I love it. The wheel is polished and there are no gaps around the outside like the “Grant” wheels. My wheel has rivets around it which actually hold the two pieces of wood to the metal frame. Its a real comfortable wheel to drive for a long time. Like you say it looks deluxe but isn’t a genuine 60’s Ford part.
      The link to Mustang Maniac and their incredible selection here:


      I hope that helps. I’m happy to send you more photos if you want them. 👍

  6. You have a beautiful Mustang, and the photos prove it. Sorry for your troubles with the sensor, but I guess you probably really enjoyed putting things right under the hood once you determined you found the source of the problem.
    Stay safe in these troubled times.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments about the photos. As for the problem, I like fixing things as you say, and I enjoyed getting it to fire up again. But, it does worry me sometimes where these faults suddenlyappear from.
      However, its a classic car and things tend to go wrong with them, that I have to expect, ironically it was a piece of modern technology that let me down!

  7. Not the best start to 2021 but glad you got it sorted in the end. I like the last photo before the The Journey Home section, just the right amount of fade to mono but still keeping the colour, classy.

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