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Dwell meter #5395342 04/06/20 10:09 AM
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flanso Offline OP
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Is any company still selling dwell meters, preferably inexpensive ones?

Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395348 04/06/20 10:15 AM
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user52165 Offline
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Why buy new when there are lots of high quality used available? Probably made in the USA. Sun, Snap On, even Sears had some good ones, etc. The're 45 years old and will last another 45 years. Check CL, etc.

Last edited by user52165; 04/06/20 10:22 AM.
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395349 04/06/20 10:17 AM
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redbone3 Offline
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There are a lot of multimeters with the dwell option. Here are some on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dwell-meter/s?k=dwell+meter


2014 Passat Wolfsburg, 1995 Miata.
Re: Dwell meter [Re: user52165] #5395353 04/06/20 10:22 AM
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JeffKeryk Offline
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Originally Posted by user52165
Why buy new when there are lots of high quality used available? Probably made in the USA. Sun, Snap On, etc. The're 45 years old and will last another 45 years. Check CL, etc.

Yup. What he said.

I still have mine, as I tore out the Pertronix and MSD spark box outta my old Vette and went back to points.


2018 Tesla Model 3, Medium Range Battery
2018 Lexus RX450h
2013 Lexus GS350 F Sport
2006 Acura TSX
2001 Tundra Access Cab, 1998 Accord LX, 1968 Corvette L36 Roadster, 1965 Olds 4-4-2
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395412 04/06/20 11:52 AM
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old1 Offline
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Years ago when I worked on many cars with points, I had 2 dwell meters. Then when I was not using them any more, I sold them. Since I started having classic cars, and I use points in them, I wanted another dwell meter. Found a nice one on a garage sale, asked the guy what he wanted for it, and he said $1.. I now have a dwell meter again.


2017 Nissan Frontier 4.0 5w30
1965 Mustang 200 c/4 10w30 QS defy
1964 Ford Ranchero 302 c/4 FOR SALE
1998 Mustang 3.8 automatic 78K miles
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395490 04/06/20 01:28 PM
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ARCOgraphite Offline
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My buddy kept asking for one when we rebuit a Buck V8 recently. Engine ran great, all you could ask for.

Set points to .016" gap on the GM V8 points type dist.

If the dist cam " bumps" dont show signs of wear ( rounded off) you are good to go with just setting point gap.

I only really needed my meter to indicate that the dist cam is shot.

example for GM V8:

if .016" gap doesn't return 30 deg dwell +/- 2 - it's time to get a new dist.

if the car is lazy with the right gap then the dist is likely worn ( all else working ).

Remember to use the correct ballast resistor or the resistance wire the ignition is designed for.

OTW you will be toasting points weekly smile

the full 12 -14V batt at the coil should only be there for starting - not for engine RUN.

- Ken NIASE Master from the way, way Past-er


2019 VW Jetta S 6MT OCI#2 7378mi-MOTUL Specific VW508.00+VW Service Filter; '17 Subaru Crosstrek CVT OC#9 70254mi-Rotella
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Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395540 04/06/20 02:10 PM
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vwmaniaman Offline
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On my old vw's with points I have 2 Dwell meters but for accuracy I use my oscilloscope. It is always accurate. That 0.16 works but some of the new points and condensers are not as good as they used to be. Springs are not made as good and the condensers are pitiful.


Don't waste your time on a slipshod repair.
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395553 04/06/20 02:30 PM
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redbone3 Offline
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On the old analog dwell meters you calibrated it by opening the points and setting the meter to full scale (45º on an eight cylinder). You then started the car and adjusted the points to the desired dwell (22.5º for example, which is a 50% duty cycle). A modern digital meter (as in the dwell function on a modern digital multimeter) is actually measuring duty cycle and converting that to dwell degrees. The big advantage the modern digital multimeter has is that variations in the coil voltage feed don't affect the reading. I tested my digital multimeter in the dwell function by feeding it a 50% duty cycle pulse and found the reading didn't vary with voltage.


2014 Passat Wolfsburg, 1995 Miata.
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395641 04/06/20 04:23 PM
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vw7674 Offline
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as ARCO mentioned, with new points/rubbing block, the proper point gap establishes proper dwell.
the newer points materials last quite long. (15,000 miles, minimum) so by the time I swap a points set there's
zero need to reset gap & check dwell anyway. Just remember the grease lube on the rubbing block.

Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395674 04/06/20 04:49 PM
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SpitFire6 Offline
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50% seems a compromise when you can measure it to a degree?


2002 206 CC 2L 4Cyl. 0W40 FS
1972 Spit 2L5 6Cyl. 0W40 FS
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395750 04/06/20 06:17 PM
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bcossa2001 Offline
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This thread has succeeded in resurrecting buried memories of the distributor on my Fiat X 1/9.
Mid engine, transverse mounted. Distributor on the passenger side on the front of the engine.
It sloped toward the firewall and had an adjuster nut that was impossible to see.
The adjuster nut was too close to the distributor for a box end wrench and too close to the firewall for an open end wrench.
It was only accessible with my smallest adjustable wrench wide open. crzy

Every distributor I worked on after that was an absolute delight......


"Facts are pesky things"

2003 Town & Country--143 k
2016 Fusion 8 k
2016 Fusion 40 k
2017 Santa Fe 8k
Re: Dwell meter [Re: bcossa2001] #5395851 04/06/20 08:02 PM
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redbone3 Offline
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The nicest distributors I ever dealt with were the Chevy V-8 ones. They had a little door you could adjust the points through.


2014 Passat Wolfsburg, 1995 Miata.
Re: Dwell meter [Re: redbone3] #5395889 04/06/20 09:00 PM
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user52165 Offline
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Originally Posted by redbone3
The nicest distributors I ever dealt with were the Chevy V-8 ones. They had a little door you could adjust the points through.


All GM cars of the era had that. Every other design sucked compared to GM. (AC Delco)

Last edited by user52165; 04/06/20 09:03 PM.
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395905 04/06/20 09:22 PM
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bunnspecial Offline
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I have a Harbor Freight(Cen-tech?) DMM with both tach and dwell. The tach is via an inductive clip-on to the HT lead(similar to what you see on a timing light).

With that said, I prefer the old analog tach-dwells. Among other things, I find it easier to see the RPM "blip and settle" when the piston is lifted on a properly tuned SU. I had a nice old Sun that was in a toolbox that was stolen last year...I need to find another. The old tachs, of course, clip directly onto the LT side of the coil.

And, yes, I run points in both my MG and Marina. One of the things I may do in lock-down is clean up and rebuild(as best as I can) an old crusty Lucas 25D4 to fit to the Marina, as it has the correct but IMO inferior 45D4. The spare 25D4 I have is the good pre-smog MGB one, which has a much more pleasant for around town driving advance curve than the super aggressive late ones.


2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50
1974 Austin Marina GT VR-1 20W-50
Re: Dwell meter [Re: flanso] #5395958 04/06/20 10:45 PM
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wtd Offline
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I have a couple of the old analog ones. I also have a newer multimeter that has the dwell function.


2014 Mustang GT
1998 Chevy K3500
1998 Chevy K1500
(2) 1992 Cavaliers
1970 Monte Carlo
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