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TO 20. . . Runs Without Rotor Bug

This story may seem unbelieveable but it really happend to me and I'm telling it as a word of caution to prevent someone from getting hurt. I own a TO 20 and have had it for about 18 years now. Early this spring I was installing a new set of points in her and had the distributor cap off and hanging from the plug wires and the rotor bug removed. While setting the points, I was bumping the starter to get the points on top of one of the distributor shaft lobes, when to my utter suprise the tractor started and idled just fine. It was getting dark so I could see how it was happening (no I hadn't been drinking). Fire was jumping the gap in the distributor, in succession from each plug wire contact to center coil contact (without the aid of the rotor bug). I believe this happened because the distributor was origionally designed to be a 6 volt system and by setting it up with a 12 volt battery, the increased voltage potential facilitated arcing across the inside of the cap. I believe that as each piston compressed the air/fuel mixture, the resistance to current flow was reduced because of the fuel laden air in the cylinder, and increased humidity outside. I watched as fire arced acroess each respective contact in the cap. I wish that I'd have taken a video of it, as it is pretty hard to believe this can happen, but it can. Be careful thinking that she won't fire just because the cap is off. Mark

Mark Reed, Ok, entered 2002-08-25
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