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  1. #1
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    Jul 2004
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    Default How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    I have a RAC maxi-tune, I have had it for years and I forgot how to hook it up.

    It has a black clip, a red clip, and a yellow clip and it has another wire for checking amps which is a flat piece of metal with a notch on one and and thumbscrew on the other.

    It has a knob for dwell, tach, points (good bad and open),a nd amps.

    Can someone please tell me how to hook it up for checkig points and dwell?

    Thanks
    Gary
    FL 1973 Lesabre Custom 2 Door Hardtop, 350 4bbl, 43K actual miles, jade green. Custom dual exhaust.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2007
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    Houston, TX
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    You hook it up to the + and - on the coil. I would assume Red for + and black for -.

    I lost my dwell meter. Wish I had it back!
    Cason P.
    71 Skylark 350-4V
    Hooker Headers
    Ken G. 1973 Q-Jet
    D5 GN Converter/200R4
    3.42 Posi Rear
    In Development:
    Either this Car kills me, or I kill the car first!

  3. #3
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    Jul 2004
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    Florida
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    763

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    how do I use the points function. It says, points.. good bad open.

    What is the yellow lead for?
    Gary
    FL 1973 Lesabre Custom 2 Door Hardtop, 350 4bbl, 43K actual miles, jade green. Custom dual exhaust.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by garybuick View Post
    how do I use the points function. It says, points.. good bad open.

    What is the yellow lead for?
    I have no idea what the yellow is for.

    To check dwell you just need the black and red.

    To check if points are good or bad, set the dwell. If the car runs and revs good then your points are good.
    Cason P.
    71 Skylark 350-4V
    Hooker Headers
    Ken G. 1973 Q-Jet
    D5 GN Converter/200R4
    3.42 Posi Rear
    In Development:
    Either this Car kills me, or I kill the car first!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
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    20,838

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by 71skylark3504v View Post
    You hook it up to the + and - on the coil. I would assume Red for + and black for -.

    I lost my dwell meter. Wish I had it back!

    Nope,
    One lead goes to the negative side of the coil, the other goes to ground. The black will most likely be ground. The red or yellow lead will go to the negative side of the coil. See which one gives you a dwell reading.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    11.67 @ 115.49 MPH
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by LARRY70GS View Post
    Nope,
    One lead goes to the negative side of the coil, the other goes to ground. The black will most likely be ground. The red or yellow lead will go to the negative side of the coil. See which one gives you a dwell reading.
    Dang, you're right Larry. Been a while since I've used mine too. Since every piece of aftermarket MSD ignition has failed on my car, I need to buy another dwell meter.
    Cason P.
    71 Skylark 350-4V
    Hooker Headers
    Ken G. 1973 Q-Jet
    D5 GN Converter/200R4
    3.42 Posi Rear
    In Development:
    Either this Car kills me, or I kill the car first!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
    Posts
    20,838

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by 71skylark3504v View Post
    Dang, you're right Larry. Been a while since I've used mine too. Since every piece of aftermarket MSD ignition has failed on my car, I need to buy another dwell meter.

    I've helped several guys near me who still have points, Chebby guys included. I still have my Dwell/Tach, and I still use it. I never had a problem with points. They are very reliable.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    11.67 @ 115.49 MPH
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    2,989

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    have to disagree. yea, if you drive your car a couple times a week only in nice weather points will do. start using the car as a daily driver, in all kinds of weather, points will leave you stranded sooner or later.
    JOHN LENZINI 1970 QQ GSX STAGE1 GSX HISTORIC SOCIETY #2

  9. #9
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    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 bad gs View Post
    have to disagree. yea, if you drive your car a couple times a week only in nice weather points will do. start using the car as a daily driver, in all kinds of weather, points will leave you stranded sooner or later.


    No way. My daily driver used points for 10 years through many bad winters. They never left me stranded. I can't say that about the HEI I used for a few years. It left me stranded a many times because of a module or pick up coil.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    11.67 @ 115.49 MPH
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 bad gs View Post
    have to disagree. yea, if you drive your car a couple times a week only in nice weather points will do. start using the car as a daily driver, in all kinds of weather, points will leave you stranded sooner or later.
    I don't think so. My MSD distributor left me stranded, and my MSD box left me with no spark. Each separate occasions. What a bunch of downright trash!
    Guess how many times Points has left me stranded. ZERO
    Cason P.
    71 Skylark 350-4V
    Hooker Headers
    Ken G. 1973 Q-Jet
    D5 GN Converter/200R4
    3.42 Posi Rear
    In Development:
    Either this Car kills me, or I kill the car first!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    2,989

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    yes, HEI had it's share of problems too. you never got stranded with points, consider yourself lucky. as for points versus HEI for reliability, it's not even close. i guess in the 70's when the GM, FORD AND CHRYSLER engineers switched from points to electronic ignition they were all wrong? i don't know how many years you've been wrenching, but after ELECTRONIC IGNITION APPEARED in the mid 70's cars were much less prone to breaking down. that's a fact.
    JOHN LENZINI 1970 QQ GSX STAGE1 GSX HISTORIC SOCIETY #2

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 bad gs View Post
    yes, HEI had it's share of problems too. you never got stranded with points, consider yourself lucky. as for points versus HEI for reliability, it's not even close. i guess in the 70's when the GM, FORD AND CHRYSLER engineers switched from points to electronic ignition they were all wrong? i don't know how many years you've been wrenching, but after ELECTRONIC IGNITION APPEARED in the mid 70's cars were much less prone to breaking down. that's a fact.
    No, points just required more maintenance and adjustment. I changed them once a year when I tuned my engine up. Electronic ignition required no maintenance and provided better ignition performance. Electronic ignition handles higher current and can provide a hotter spark that jumps a bigger gap. This provides better efficiency. There is no question that electronic ignition does the job better than points. I can honestly say that points never left me stranded, but I'm the kind of guy who maintains my cars and does the preventative maintenance that is required. We all know people who drive their cars never changing oil, and just put gas in it until something goes wrong. For people like that, yes, electronic ignition would keep them going longer until something else failed. Back in the day, you replaced the points and spark plugs once a year. If you did that, you NEVER had a problem. I never did.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    11.67 @ 115.49 MPH
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Michigan, USA
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    14,887

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    One problem with anything mechanical is the tendency for folks to disregard prescribed maintenence/replacement. Points and condensers failed because they were given too much service life, and often the fault wasn't with the points themselves, but the rubbing blocks that wore out...thus a new set of points didn't even have a chance of doing their job. The time came that the electronics were inexpensive enough for the OEMs to bring the electronic ignition technology to the masses, of course with its own share of problems.

    Like anything else, the OEM electronics had their troubles early on which have been improved upon since then.

    Another, unrelated concern is the durability of the aftermarket electronic ignition parts available. It seems from what I've heard that what were once very durable items built by reputable aftermarket companies may have suffered in recent years for various reasons.

    Devon
    Fuel & Brake Systems Engineer
    "I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong." - Feynman
    "Good data is precious. The problem I have is when some damned fool fails to use it properly." - Slingerland

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    I've been running the same set of points since I got the car in 2006, except for one year when I ran a MSD distributor. I got a new set of points in the glovebox, so if the old set fails I will be ready to go. Now what's wrong with that?
    Cason P.
    71 Skylark 350-4V
    Hooker Headers
    Ken G. 1973 Q-Jet
    D5 GN Converter/200R4
    3.42 Posi Rear
    In Development:
    Either this Car kills me, or I kill the car first!

  15. #15
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    Location
    Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by 71skylark3504v View Post
    I've been running the same set of points since I got the car in 2006, except for one year when I ran a MSD distributor. I got a new set of points in the glovebox, so if the old set fails I will be ready to go. Now what's wrong with that?
    Nothing, unless you don't have a new condenser in there too. Us old folks kept emory paper in the glove box as well.

    If you're keen on points, go with a dual point setup for better coil saturation, which is what the electonic setups excel at (at least they did).

    Devon
    Fuel & Brake Systems Engineer
    "I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong." - Feynman
    "Good data is precious. The problem I have is when some damned fool fails to use it properly." - Slingerland

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Rather than our bantering, let's wait to hear from Gary on how things worked out.

    Devon
    Fuel & Brake Systems Engineer
    "I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong." - Feynman
    "Good data is precious. The problem I have is when some damned fool fails to use it properly." - Slingerland

  17. #17
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    Florida
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    so far I figured out how to use the points function.

    Yellow lead to negative coil
    black on ground

    turn ignition to on. If the points are open just turn the starter a click till they close. It will read good bad or open. Mine are good.

    It was getting dark outside so I willl do it tomorrow. Cooling flush, then dwell, timing and carb tuning.

    I have to confess something.... i feel bad.. but.. i went to the autozone and bought a new meter. Funny thing is I hooked it up as per the manual and it didnt give a reading on the points. I hooked up my old one and it said my points are good. I dont know.. maybe I got a bad meter ill have to take it back. Ill compare the number with the old meter and see how they match up.
    Gary
    FL 1973 Lesabre Custom 2 Door Hardtop, 350 4bbl, 43K actual miles, jade green. Custom dual exhaust.

  18. #18
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    St. Charles, MO
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    I'm pretty sure the car has to be running to set the dwell.
    Adam Martin
    BPG# 1358
    BCA# 39765
    1958 Buick Roadmaster Four Door Riviera
    www.buickperformancegroup.com
    www.buickpartsdirectory.com
    www.buickcenturion.com
    www.antiqueautomotiveservice.com

    http://www.antiqueautomotiveservice.com/images/logo_top.gif

  19. #19
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    Dec 2010
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    6

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Good morning!

    We're working on resurrecting an airport tug (small trucks that pull planes) and we're now at that stage where we're checking if the dwell is within spec. We have an RAC Maxi Tune but I can't make sense of the wiring. It doesn't help that two of the clips appear to be missing. Based on the earlier discussion, I suppose these are the black and red clips as the only one left on the tester has a yellow sheath.

    I hope you can help me with the following questions:
    • How can I safely identify which is which (black vs. red).
    • Once its identified and I have it hooked up to the correct parts, what do I do next?
    • Based on earlier posts, the yellow lead is connected to negative coil and the black is the ground. Are these the only lines that need to be linked?
    • Do I just turn the engine or do I run it on idle?
    • If the dwell is out of spec, what do I adjust?


    So sorry if for the elementary questions. All these are pretty new to me. (But I'm eager to learn!)

    Thanks a lot!


    Manolet Ramos
    Manila, Philippines

  20. #20
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    Birmingham Alabama
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Hello, Manolet
    One of the guys that knows your answer will be along, before too long. I am out of practice on setting points. I switched my Buick over to solid state distributor. And, I sold, my 73 Olds 3 years ago. So, it's been since then, that, I fooled around with points. What, kind of engine on that tug? I remember, seeing one with a Dodge Slant Six. For me, the Slant Six was the easiest engine to maintain and work on (not that, I worked on a lot of engines, it's just that I used to do my own auto maintenance).
    Welcome to V8Buick.
    "Bulldog" James A. Miller

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Thanks for the welcome bhambulldog!

    Its a '65 Chrysler Flat Six with a Carter YF carb. It's been running rich lately. We've already tried adjusting the air-fuel mixture screw but no improvement. We're thinking we may be able to fix it by adjusting the timing.

    Our company operates in an international airport so most of our equipment is aircraft support related. My friends dad started the business back in the early 70's and their family has kept all their machines (even the old ones) in great shape.

    We went through our parts room and we stumbled upon his dad's old RAC Maxi Tune dwell meter. This brought back a lot of fond memories for him and he wanted to go "old school" and use the RAC to tune the tug.

    Hope you guys can help us get our grandfather tug back on the tarmac.

    Thanks!


    Manolet

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Granite Falls Washington
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    1,267

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Went through four MSD Ready To Run Distributors on the Ford shop truck, finally told MSD to keep their junk. Installed a Davis Unified Ignition HEI dist been trucking ever since! I think MSD started sourcing parts overseas!
    Harold Prouty
    1970 Skylark Custom
    1971 Skylark GS350 clone
    1970 Camaro RS
    1976 Ford F100 4X4 ( Shop Truck )

  23. #23
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    Montgomery, NY
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    I enjoy my points, I prefer to run things I can replace and rebuild myself whenever possible. Points allow for adjustment and quick simple replacement with acceptable performance for a stock vehicle. I would like to try out dual points one day and honestly I don't see any issue with setting points. I don't even use a dwell meter, I just set the gap with a feeler gauge for new points. I will probably get a dwell meter soon though so I can adjust the points when they wear down a little. The points open closed or bad feature I would like to know more about. Honestly the biggest pain of points is getting the rubbing block on the peak of the cam by yourself.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Windsor Ontario
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    7,156

    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    i agree with Larry, 100%. i change the points & condensor every two years. i check the dwell a couple of times each year.
    i remember when we would change plugs, point and condensor, air filter once a year, many years ago. then we were averaging 15-18000 miles/year.
    Gerry
    1972 GS 350 ht #s
    2008 Astra XR 3 door
    2011 Chevy Cruze

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How to I hook up my dwell meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by manoletr01 View Post
    Thanks for the welcome bhambulldog!

    Its a '65 Chrysler Flat Six with a Carter YF carb. It's been running rich lately. We've already tried adjusting the air-fuel mixture screw but no improvement. We're thinking we may be able to fix it by adjusting the timing.

    Flat six? Or, slant 6 ? Maybe, Flat head?
    How about some pictures?The Slant sixes I worked on were all Holley one barrel. Carters are good, too (My Roadmaster runs a Carter 4v). Timing maybe the issue. Maybe, a carburetor rebuild.
    "Bulldog" James A. Miller

 

 
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