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Thread: Dwell meter

  1. #1

    Default Dwell meter

    Can a 12v dwell meter be used to check the 24v sytem if only a 12v source is used. I am not familiar enough with points and engine testers to go ahead and fry.. I mean try it. I have a Sears engine analyzer that tests 8 things, but of course its 12v. Is there a way to get around this. Brute4c has convinced me in other threads that dwell is the way to go but not sure if I have the equipment to do it right.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    North Central Wisconsin


    You can do it...I do. I think I have the same box. This will work for you...

    Hook up the black wire to ground.
    Hook up the green wire to coil negative...through the large hex on the ignitor for the stock ignition...

    If your wires are different colors, the instructions should tell you which to put where...

    You are reading of the ignition voltage NOT the 12 or 24 volt so if yours just has these 2 wires, no sweat.

    If you have a diferent box than I do, maybe different procedures are needed....if you need to actually hook to a 12 volt power source you can:

    Tap of one of the 24 volt batteries...the one that has the ground to the frame NOT the one that goes to the starter switch.


    Pull another vehicle close enough to use its 12 volt battery.


    Pull the battery from a 12 volt vehicle and use it temporarily...shouldnt need it too long.

    Lert me know if you need more...

  3. #3


    I'm so glad to hear that. The unit I have is the model 161.2.... it has two batt clamps and the green probe. I have lawn tractor batts I use for testing of 24v stuff and I can use one of those. If this works I'll be stoked to know at least one issue will be put to bed. The next one will be the timing.

    Next question, if I have the dist. open could I verify the 0 deg. TDC mark on the balancer? Is there another mark to coincide with the balancer mark? As Brute4c knows I have posted my running problems and it seems like my time is off as well as carb issues. I've read about people saying that their timing marks are way out of where the motor likes to run. If mine are a couple ticks out then I'm fishing for the sweet spot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    North Central Wisconsin


    From the passenger side of the motor, the timing marks on the balancer should like up to the fixed point shown as #1 in figure C-10 in the tuneup section of the manuals...heres a link to the page:

    You do need to know that the engine is on the compression stroke to verify the can do this with the #1 plug removed or by taking off the valve cover. Line the rotor up to point exactly at #1 on the cap and see where you are.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Louisville KY


    I use a feeler gauge to set the points and then check w/ a dwell meter. I usually get close w/ the feeler gauge but once I dial it in w/ the dwel meter, the truck always runs better.

    I don't know the make/model of my dwell meter but its a good 30 years old and the 24V has not harmed the meter or vice versa...

  6. #6


    I'm dying here!! I got a new set of points and installed them last weekend. Up till now the truck would start and run ok. I got it together set the dwell to about 39 deg. but will not start. After much work of checking everything several times, I have only this deduction. I have good spark off the coil, new wires and plugs(confirmed by jumping the coil with wires) but no spark when assembled. I'm losing something between the coil and the plug wires(duh... the cap and rotor right!) but nothing changed in that area, if anything I cleaned it up a bit. I'm taking a small break and going back in with hopes that I forgot somthing or I see what's up. Any suggestions!

    I've always wondered if a spring or something should be on the dist. cap stud that picks up the coil, but the manuals show nothing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    SF Bay Area, CA


    Yep, a spring should be on the Dist Cap coil stud.

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