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The car ran very well at an outing, I parked it and the next weekend it would not start. There was a hint that one cylinder might have fired before it went totally dead. The distributor and coil are about three years old. I have Webers blocking easy access to the distributor. Where would you start the investigation of the problem? I'm hoping for a miracle.

Thank you,



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  • (4) 48IDA Webers 2
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Thank you again for the reponses.

I will look at the ignition system in greater detail once I start the investigation in earnest. I've always used the MO of replacing the easiest part to access first. If that wasn't it then move on to the more difficult. Sometimes that works. Of course, Murphy's law usually works against you, and when it does you've installed all new parts. My Pantera consists of mostly new moving parts as a result, some that I didn't need to replace.

I wish I had never replaced the rubber bushings with poly. that will be my next post.


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Hey Ron, good to hear from you. I feared that your answer is the likely cause. The coil wire is fine, so it's the distributor.  With the Webers the distributor is next to impossible to access. I can't even see the clips, every thing has to be done blind unless I pull off the two front Webers. Can you see the distributor in the attached? See what I mean.  Spring is almost here, why now?

Thank you,



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You access the distributor from inside the cabin by removing the interior panel. Removing the decklid won't give you anymore access then you already have.

You have not indicated what ignition system you are running. It sounds suspiciously like an MSD, aka, "might suddenly die"

It could also be as simple as one of the cap retaining clips popped off.

I've got Webers too. You need to climb in the engine compartment,  lay across the headers, to reach the distributor but you really can't service it from there, just check to see if the cap is still on right.

Last edited by panteradoug

I don't have a MSD system, it's merely an aftermarket distributor from a speed shop, the brand I don't recall.

The only logical access is from above. I've spent much time contorting myself in the engine compartment, but use pillows and blankets to make a resting place. This is the first time that I wasn't running a Holly when the distributor quit on me. After owning the car for 41 years I've spent much time nesting on the transmission. The Webers have me back there regularly, but they look so cool and perform very well when they want to. It's worth the hassle. I bought the car with Webers raced by Hugh Kleinpeter, but bought a more streetable  set last year.


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  • Kleinpeter Daytona

with much contortion I pulled off the distributor cap from behind the Webers. Naturally there is no visible evidence of a problem. Getting at the distributor is a supreme effort, so rather than starting with a new cap and rotor, I prefer to replace the distributor, coil and condenser. Another thread on the Forum asked for advice concerning the best direction for a new distributor but the answers were highly technical and confusing for someone that doesn't have a clue when it comes to this electronic stuff. Can you suggest a plug and play system? Ideally no vacuum advance, too much trouble with Webers. Also, as you know, it can't be a very tall distributor because of the conflict with the screen.

If you do a search for replacements the most common are MSD (although some have had multiple failures of various components) or Duraspark. I'm using a Pertronix distributor but it doesn't fit under the screen. Diameter is good but it sits a bit high. You may be able to install a Pertronix unit in your existing distributor.

Various threads:

Tom, this is when you really want the removable rear window for Pantera.  It is not commonly done but in cases like this it would be a god send.  The rear window is out of one of my cars and it will likely be the last part that will be installed.  There are a few threads on this site regarding the removable rear window.  PM if you want some details.

I shut off the car after an outing, it had been running very well but lately I had been getting high oil pressure readings, about 70 lbs. cold or hot. So the next weekend I replaced the oil pressure sending unit I tried to start the car to test if the oil pressure problem was taken care of. The moment I turned the key I got what sounded like one cylinder briefly fired once, then the engine kept turning over rapidly without firing. I tested for a spark on the cylinder eight plug wire, it's easy to get at, but got nothing. Then I pulled the coil wire from the distributor and turned the motor over. I got a nice hot spark. This lead me to believe the problem was with the rotor or the distributor cap as a spark was being delivered to the cap. But both look absolutely fine. No apparent cracks, corrosion at the terminals or condensation, and the cap was located properly. I drive the car almost every week and it always runs well. But you just made me wonder if the problem is connected with the oil pressure reading, as the distributor shaft also drives the oil pump. Why then suddenly a high reading? The oil level is right on and the car uses no oil. 

I have not done a removable back glass myself but saw it underway a couple of weeks back.  The original back glass is set aside and a piece of Plexiglas is used along with some type of mounting system.  I did not pay much attention at the time beyond what I wrote above.  This was at a vendor's shop and it seemed like it was a relatively minor undertaking for him.

The back glass comes out easily if you slice the  rubber on both sides along the sheetmetal rib where it sits.  This will destroy the rubber gasket and a new one would be needed if you wanted to put it back.

Broken roll pin in distributor also happened to me. Well known problem often also with a totally sheared roll pin leading to severely altered timing and non-running condition. I could rotate the rotor by hand in a non normal way, which you should be able to check rapidly without pulling your webers or the distributor, when the distributor cap is off. I then got a rebuilt, recalibrated Duraspark distributor with small cap from DUI Performance Distributors, and it has worked like a charm for about 7 years now. Cheers, Tim

Last edited by timsteren

The ONLY issues that I have had that are similar were related to the MSD system and system failures.

Those would also give symptoms of a failing coil but it was the brain itself that failed. In my case three times over a period of about a year. Perhaps the "brain" in your distributor, Petronix calls it the "ignitor", has failed?  In the beginning people were carrying spares since failure was so common.

In my Pantera, I went to the Ford Motorcraft pointless distributor and system. It's been in there at least 20 years with NO issues.

George likes to recommend the Duraspark I. He was familiar with it since it had such a high, common use in California for emissions reasons. I am using the Duraspark II which I suppose that you could say is like the 49 state system.

He likes to point out that during cold cranking it retards the advance to make it easier to crank the engine. I have no argument about that and it is a good idea but have no experience personally with the Duraspark I.


I don't really want to complicate this response but in my case I replaced the Ford Motorsport "brain" with the Pantera-Electronics Ignition Controller. The reason is a little more complicated but here are a couple of reasons.1) the P-E Ignition will actually fire a fouled plug and clean it up. Webers under certain circumstances CAN FOUL the plugs. I'm running Webers too. NO OTHER IGNITION SYSTEM WILL. NONE. 2) with the Ford Motorcraft you have to finagle the Pantera tach hook up. With the P-E, you just plug it in. 3) there are addition features (research them on the P-E site) that are very inviting.

The BIG advantage to using the Ford system is that if it failed on the road, you can get parts for it at virtually any auto parts store and use any replacement brand.

Because of so much bad history with the failed distributor drive pin, that is something that you just need to verify by pulling the distributor and examining it BUT the common denominator there was a FORD DISTRIBUTOR that had been rebuilt by someone/some shop previously and obviously used the wrong strength pin.

Remember that in any replacement system that needs to be run by a 12v supply from the ignition switch, The original Pantera system is a Ford system and uses a pink resistor wire which reduces that voltage to 6v.

Some say that the replacement systems will run on the 6v for a while but will eventually fail. I can't confirm that.

Last edited by panteradoug
@tajon posted:

I had a pertronix module go bad on the highway. Car instantly died in the left lane of heavy traffic. Terrible timing.

I ran a Petronix in my 68 GT350 and recently went back to points. They Petronix just has too many compatibility issues particularly with Ford ignition systems. They don't play well with Ford tachometer designs.

I'm convinced that the car actually runs better, much harder, with the points. I went back to the yellow top coil as well.

Remember, the Pantera originally has a Ford ignition system in it.

If you look at vintage race car pictures you will almost always see the cars running the yellow top coil. Considering how many issues I've had with other ignition products, to me, that speaks volumes.

If you don't want to run the points, run the Ford Duraspark with a small cap. There just isn't a system with higher dependability then that.

Get away, as far as you can, from the MSD TOTAL BU LL SH IT information campaign. Let the guys with the Camaros wrestle with them.

Let me try to give equal time also to Accel. There are different kinds of digestive wastes. Some you can mix with garden soil and grow these huge tomatoes, others, you need to call the HAZMAT team to dispose of in a safe environmental manor. Accel qualifies for that one on the speed dial list unfortunately.

In a Pantera, stuck on the road, it's pretty difficult to deal with the distributor.

FWIW, my MSD died a slow death until it completely died one day as I was, fortunately, just pulling out of the garage to meet up with my car buddies. I jerry-rigged a Duraspark I ignition box to get me through the rest of the cruise-in/driving season. I followed the George P. installation diagram and instructions to permanently install a Duraspark II ignition box as one of my winter projects in 2016. No ignition issues since.



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Will all due respect, not trying to disparage you, all you need to know has been posted here including previous  links.

If that isn't enough for you then I'd suggest that you bring or have the car brought to a competent shop that can do it for you.

There is one in Miami, Fl, Maryland, Pennsylvania, So.California, Nevada. Where are you located?

I suppose it was posted before, sorry to appear helpless. In forty one years of ownership, this car has never seen a mechanic, although after I pulled the motor it was rebuilt by a shop that builds competition motors. It runs super, just this electrical glitch has me looking for easy answers. With the motor in place, everything becomes more cumbersome. I am located in Virginia. Ron McCall, who owns and rebuilds phenomenal Panteras for others lives about an hour away. If all else fails, Ron will get a call.

@tomkuester posted:

I am a complete bonehead when it comes to the electronics on my car. The Duraspark II system sounds good. Just how much trouble is it to wire it to the stock  Pantera setup? can you provide me with more photos and a diagram to help me get started, and completed?

Thank you,


Actually, Tom, I got my Duraspark I and Duraspark II boxes mixed up. Sorry about that. So, the real story is that I kludged together a Duraspark II to get me through the rest of the cruise-in season and permanently installed a Duraspark I (Red strain relief) following George P's wiring diagram and instructions. I'm also running a Duraspark distributor. Here's my play-by-play for your review. Hope it helps.



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