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Beware of Cheap Delco Remy Condensers!

Discussion in 'JD Farm Tractor Forum' started by superaben, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. I learned the hard way that a cheap condenser for a Delco Remy distributor is not cheap. 

    My old 1948 John Deere M needed a lot of work when I first bought it.  I had to go all through it.  It had not ran in years.  However, once I finally got it started, it was hard to beat it.  For as small as a M is, there is a lot of pep tucked down in each cylinder! 

    Then it started acting up one day.  I was out running it and all of a sudden we had no power.  It was like someone flipped on a light switch.  It coughed, popped, and died, and then would miraculously come back to life once the engine RPM got very low.  It would catch back up nearly at stall speed.  I messed around with it a little bit, and then parked it.  I figured the carburetor was acting up, since I knew the fuel tank was filthy dirty inside. 

    The next day was a good day to get out, so I started the tractor up and went for a ride.  It ran like new.  About the time I figured the problem I had the day before was a fluke, suddenly the tractor quit, just like you turned the key off.  It would not restart, no matter what I did. 

    So I kicked it, called it an ornery green scrap pile.  I figured the issue was ignition, and sure enough, the points were burnt and the plugs were nasty.  Cross deposits between the points means a bad condenser.   So I ran back to my pile and found myself another Delco Remy condenser in a name brand package. 

    Sure enough, the old tractor started right up.  I was in second heaven. 

    Then about four running hours later, the tractor was rolling down a parade run (yeah, always a great place to act up) and suddenly it died off again.  Dead as a doornail.  Thankfully, it started right back up, but my suspicions were aroused.  When it died about ten minutes later, my trusty spare condenser was out of the toolbox and on the distributor.  Another name brand aftermarket parts condenser. 

    I drove the tractor home from the parade.  It died, and this time it was done.  No amount of cranking, fussing, or priming would make it go. 

    Condenser number 3?  Really? 

    I was stumped.  There was nothing to burn the condenser up.  New spark plugs (proper H10C) new plug wires (non resistor, too) new distributor cap, new rotor, new points, new coil, all new wiring, and still a fried condenser for dessert!

    Then I had an idea.  The most picky guys to please in the parts world are the antique car people.  I wandered into my friendly local auto parts store and asked for the Delco Remy condenser the antique car guys use.  The old guy across the counter nodded his head and returned with an expensive condenser.  But always believe the old guys.  They know what they are talking about. 

    I popped in that nice expensive condenser, and the tractor started immediately and has run for going on three years on that same condenser.  I have since had to use the same condenser on nearly a dozen other tractors that just don't seem to like the run of the mill "tune up kit" special Delco condenser. 

    Lesson learned? 

    The best Delco Remy condenser you can get is a Blue Streak DR60.  I would suggest that if your tractor is missing, running rough, and fouling spark plugs, you will be glad if you upgrade to a DR60.  If your tractor cuts off and won't start back up, get a good DR60! 

    Ben W.
    4 people like this.
  2. johndeereelfman

    johndeereelfman Member Staff Member

    Thanks for the heads-up Ben. Some really great advice and information. I only wish I still had my tractor so that I could apply your knowledge. Thanks for sharing.
    3 people like this.

  3. -GR-

    -GR- Where am I? Staff Member

    Awesome advice Ben. It is amazing the quality of parts sometimes. Is Blue Streak an actual Delco brand?
    3 people like this.
  4. ​Blue Streak is a Standard ignition part.  I've never discovered why it is so great.  I dropped one into my Graham Lee coil tester and could not find any difference between it and an el cheapo.  I suppose the materials must be better long term. 

    Ben W.
    3 people like this.