Dwell Meter? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Tim
 
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Dwell Meter?

Hi
was wondering what a dwell meter is and if I need one for troubleshooting my 67 SS 350
that still has points? what is a good brand/type to get?


I have an old school timing light,,any other old school tools you guys can recommend for working on these vintagecars?
Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 06:29 AM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

Old school timing instruments will work fine. Dwell meter measures the dwell angle which is the amount of time the points are open measured as the degrees of rotation of the distributor cam. There is a wealth of info on these topics on the internet. If you replace the points and your distributor cap has the little door to access the points get the points that can be adjusted with an allen wrench, makes adjustment a snap.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 07:09 AM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

If you have points,you should have a dwell meter on hand.

I still have my Dad's Sears Penske dwell meter from the 60/70s. I Occasionally have to use it on a friends car (69 Z) after you adjust the dwell you need to adjust your timing.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 07:27 AM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

As mentioned the dwell meter is used to adjust your points gap on used points by measuring the Dwell Angle. If the points are new you can gap them with a feeler gauge, but not used points as they have highs and lows as the result of arcing. Points shouldn't be filed flat (old school shade tree mechanic trick) because they have a iridium plating on the face to make the points last longer.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dwell Meter?

Thanks guys, any tips on what brand/type of Dwell Meter to pick up? maybe a used Snap on unit?

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 08:25 AM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

A dwell meter isn't rocket science. Any brand should do just fine. I see them in my local pawn shop frequently for $5. I still have points in an L78 of mine. I set them at 29 and it runs just fine. I keep a dwell meter in my little tool bag that I carry to shows. I was going to a show one day and the car started missing pretty bad. I pulled over and checked the dwell and it was up to 34, from point wear I presume. Anyway, I dialed it back down to 29 and went on my merry way with engine running just fine. LOL
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 11:05 AM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

Both dwell meter that is powered by the battery (positive, negative and sensor wires in place), and a conventional timing light (as you already have) work just fine for your ignition system. There are some dwell meters from the early days that only have two wires, a ground and one to the various inputs, like coil negative for dwell, that should not be used, The ones that use the battery power are what you want, and they also work on later electronic ignition systems.

Caution, you do not have a feed back ignition system, as used on computerized EFI systems, so, you DO NOT WANT, NOR NEED A DIAL BACK TIMING LIGHT. Feed back systems use a bit of timing lag in milli-seconds (computation time) to calculate, then deliver timing signals, and the dial back works to return correct timing on those feed back systems only, A regular, non-feed back system has no lag, so, they do not need the computation fix of the dial back. Feed back light on conventional systems makes for incorrect timing when used with dial back functioning. As far as I know, 45 years of it, there are NO dial back lights that work with a conventional ignition system, only computerized feed back spark curve systems.

Points are tungsten coated (not Iridium), to help slow down point face burning, metal transfer. When theya re filed/sanded, the tungsten is worn off the faces, and burning/pitting occurs faster. If they're burnt, or have pits, replace 'em. Most common cause of points pitting is oil vapor getting between the points, condenser and point plate, and the ground wire to the vacuum advance from the points plate. This creates increased resistance, and loading of the points, causes them to burn their faces.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dwell Meter?

I am seeing some "secondary" and "primary" dwell meters on Evil bay....I have reasearched and cannot find the difference in Primary VS secondary Dwell meters???

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 11:39 AM
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Just curious. Why shouldn't the old school 2 lead dwell meter be used on an old school points ignition system???
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 06:22 PM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

I have an old Penske Sears diagnostic box that works but I just bought an Innova timing light, new and of this era, and it has a dwell lead. It also has RPM and some other stuff along with adjustable timing. Penske box hasn't been off the shelf since I got the Innova timing light.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 18, 06:47 PM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

If you are buying used, beware things may not work. I had an old dwell meter from back in the 70's and when I used it on my car a few years back it worked but did not read right. Luckily I had a second one and it worked and I'm thinking it read right (or so I'm thinking it did) to get my points adjusted and the engine now runs fine.

Be glad if you don't have to take the cap off and adjust the points and then test it and then if not right take the cap back off and adjust them again and eventually get it where it needs to be. That's one of the "fun" things I get to do on my 68 with the killer 230 engine.

Jim
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 18, 07:43 AM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

You can adjust point dwell with meter hooked up and cranking the engine over.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 18, 10:06 AM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

The most accurate and easiest to use dwell meters use power from the battery to run them. They are at least, a 3 wire setup. 12v +. 12v -, sensor input wire.

The two wire uses the power in the coil circuit to run the meter, and can be off as much as a couple of dwell degrees.

That's why.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 18, 01:50 PM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctcz28 View Post
Old school timing instruments will work fine. Dwell meter measures the dwell angle which is the amount of time the points are open measured as the degrees of rotation of the distributor cam. There is a wealth of info on these topics on the internet. If you replace the points and your distributor cap has the little door to access the points get the points that can be adjusted with an allen wrench, makes adjustment a snap.
Dwell angle is measured when the points are closed not open.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 18, 07:41 PM
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Re: Dwell Meter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 262jp View Post
Dwell angle is measured when the points are closed not open.

Yes, thanks for the correction.

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