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'69 Plymouth Valiant-- Need help

2866 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  68RT
Hey, I'm a new driver and I currently have my brothers first car ('69 Plymouth Valiant)
It's pretty old, and has had a lot of issues in the past, but we took it to a mechanic and they fixed majority of the issues and some more weird things are starting to happen (of course)
Lately it's been skipping, in the morning it's pretty bad. When it warms up however, it stops, and runs just fine.
I think it could be the distributor head, but I'm not entirely sure.
Randomly it won't start and I'lll have to take off the airfilter cover and get it jumped.
And one of the tail lights doesn't work, but it think thats some electrical stuff that i can just take to a mechanic and get fixed pretty fast.

if you can help in anyway, i''d appreciate it!!
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· Premium Member
6,103 Posts
First thing to do is a tune-up, a morning miss like this is typically spark plug wires that are leaking electricity when cold because of moisture (or high humidity), and when cold, electricity will always travel the least path of resistance, so, if the spark plug wires are old then the material they are made of can have moisture and humidity allow the electricity to "leak" until it warms up and the moisture is gone. I have had this with several vehicles, especially a Dodge Dakota. Check with the mechanic bill to see what was done, it you don't see sparkplugs, sparkplug wires, distributor cap, points, condenser and rotor (the last three are not needed IF electronic ignition is in the distributor, it may have been converted, ask your brother).

As far as the tail light goes, check first to see if anything works, like the brake light, turn signal, running lights. If any of these work, the tail light bulb number is 1157 and is used for all sockets that have turn/brake/running lights, including the turn signals in the front bumper (unless you want them yellow colored, they work). After that is figured out, the light socket inside the trunk just snaps on and off, give it a push and it will come unlocked and snap back on, sometimes they are good and tight, other times they are looser. Check the condition of the wires coming off the socket end, make sure they aren't frayed or cracked, they run along the back edge inside the trunk, and then there is a little groove in the floor they run up and forward on the left side of the car floor and inside along the door sill plate with little metal tabs that can be peeled back easily to see the condition (usually good after it goes from about the back seat of the car area all the way forward). Even if you can't do anything with the electrical wiring (wrap a damaged wire with electrical tap as long as the wire itself is not broken apart), you at least know what and where the problem is and you could ask someone to give you a hand without having to pay so much money to a mechanic (or have your brother actually help you with it).

Do you know which engine you have in the car?

1,333 Posts
Okay, some basics of automotive electrical systems...

A lot of electrical stuff in cars has what's called a negative body ground. This means that all of the wires connect to the positive terminal of the battery, then run through whatever fuses and switches, then to the device to be powered, then after the device the wire is tied to the body of the car. Up near the battery, another cable ties the body of the car to the negative terminal on the battery. The power basically uses the car itself as a conductor wire for the return path.

So, if a light doesn't light up, then either it's not getting its supply of power from the positive side, or it's not able to ground to the body on the negative side, or the bulb is bad. A supply problem can be a bad wire, a bad switch, or a bad fuse. A multimeter or a simple test light can be used to see if power comes in, it gets clamped to metal for a ground, and touched to the supply wire. Someone then does whatever action would activate the light, and the test light will light up or not depending on the nature of the problem. In your case, if stepping on the brakes or turning on the lights doesn't illuminate the test light then the problem is probably upstream of the light socket.

· Registered
2017 Ram 1500 3.6 Crew
3,270 Posts
Why do you need to pull the air filter to get it jumped? Slant 6 or V-8? pulling the filter only adds access to the choke. Are you closing it to get it started? Jumping is accessed on the fender well by relay if needed or more commonly just the pattery posts.
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