Hello - just signed up for this forum - looks like a great resource!  I perused the posts and did some searches.  I see most of the posts related to my questions are about doing away with resistance wire and opting for electronic ignition.  However, I am keeping my points system for now.  I had a no-start situation for past couple of days.  After much diagnosis and replacement of plugs, cap, rotor, points, condenser and even the starter solenoid, it was found that the resistance wire from switch to coil is bad.  I hot-wired the coil from battery - started right up and ran fine.  However, I would guess that running is this way will be burn up points eventually.  So - need to replace resistance wire.  Thoughts?  replace with regular wire and run a ballast resistor of 135 ohms in-line or find the correct wire?  I searched the net - no luck on a find.  Thank you so much!

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Points will burn quickly without the resistance wire so replace them after the new wire goes in 

You want the wire to be at 10.5 v when the car is running 

The points will also burn quickly if the stock condenser on the coil is not grounded or not doing what it should with stock points 

Good chance you can get the wire right here when some of the people who live here drop in 

Always good —-to have new fresh ignition parts 

Only use the dist caps with the brass terminals or you will be stranded at some time in the future — with a no start 


Thank you Tony!  Much appreciated!  Thanks for recommended voltage value - I was about to ask that too.  Thanks for tip on distributor cap - didn't know the brass terminal preference.  Good to know!  Much of the aftermarket parts from Autozone, O'reilly, etc seem to be subpar compared what was available before. 

Call the business's like American Auto Wire, Lectric Limited, painless Wiring. They should have a source for the wiring, as they make up the wire harness's for these cars if you send them your old harness.

Thank you Russ. Much appreciated. The car was restored 15 years ago - needed nothing until now - I’m out of touch of contacts for parts. Much appreciated!

I followed up with the shops I recommended. Turns out they will not sell the wire separately.  So I started checking into who actually makes the wire.  

I am sending out a sample of the resistor wire to a company to check into having it made up.  So far the numbers crunch up to a $1000.00  minimal order.    It could be available for $25.00 to individual owners. It would cover the 43 inch length needed to replace the entire piece of old resistor wire.

  It all depends on what I want to do. Have it look original with the fiberglass wrap, or go more modern looking.

More to come.

Good to know - thanks!

Hi Tim (and others), I had the same problem with the resistance wire last week. My car runs terrible. So I decided to take a closer look at this wire. While the engine was running it was so hot, that I couldn't touch it longer than half a second. And the insulation was almost gone. I had no 10,5 Volts on the coil, it was over 12 Volts. I removed the dash, so I can find the connection from the ignition switch / fuse box (2 pink wires) to the brown resistance wire. I cutted it and soldered one "normal" wire to it, that goes through the firewall to the coil. Between this new wire, I put in an external resistor (in the engine compartment) with 1.5 Ohms and 50 Watts. (2 bucks only!) (see pics - the guitar plectrum only to see the dimensions). So now I have 10.5 Volts on my coil and my Baby runs as smooth as can be. And now, only the resistor gets hot (it's normal) - the new wire stays cool.


Hi Robert,

Thanks for reply and pictures!  (I play Fender mediums BTW - probably same pick, different logo) cool  ;-)  Appreciated - I did same thing - replaced resistance wire with plain wire and put a 150 ohm ballast resistor purchased at NAPA.  Problem solved, but then I can't leave well enough alone...intrigued by the posts here about Pertronix and the good amount of Q and A, I went for it.  Last night, I installed the Pertronix ignitor II and flamethrower coil with their proprietary plug wires...WOW!  What a difference!  It starts great but the biggest gain I experience - besides no more resistance wire and assorted foibles, no more points and condenser - is performance!  When kicking it down into passing gear - She goes for a larger vehicle!   Impressive!  Fun!  Obviously, these cars were not intended nor designed for ricky-racing around town, however it's nice to have the power when you need it.  No hesitation at all. Color me converted to electronic ignition for older cars - and the appearance is stock under the hood.

Cool Tim. I "only" play electronic bass. This pick I use sometimes, when my fingers are hurt...The only reason, why I have not put in the pertronix is: when this system does not work, you can do nothing at all. For my case, because I am travelling about 5000 miles a year, it's better with the old school system. So I think. But, now you tell me, that your Caddy runs a lot better than before ! Crazy ! Please send me a link for this stuff, where I can purchase this. Let's C....thanks, Robert

Cool on Bass!  Understood on fingers vs pick - I will use both on fill-in gigs for bass jobs - although I'm a lead guitarist by trade.   I bought the Pertronix kit off of eBay after perusing several sites - I just typed in "1963 Cadillac Pertronix"  in the search. The kit came from a Ford Mustang hop-up parts place of all things.  I am hoping that Pertronix is as reliable as modern electronic ignition systems.   I worry more about  other fail points such as fuel pumps, alternators, starters, solenoids etc.  It's an easy swap to get back to stock point system if needed.  I didn't pull distributor for install - I will get some pictures this weekend.  Thanks!

So I looked into having the resistor wire reproduced. Initial cost is 1000.00 dollars for 2000 feet.   I did a poll on my facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/330778903736341/    about what people would do if they had a bad resistor wire.

A. Go to a pertronix system.  Less than 200.00

B. Replace the resistor wire with a new resistor wire 35.00

C. Replace the ignition wire harness with a new wire harness that comes with a new resistor wire. 155.00

Most people chose the Pertronix upgrade.

It looks like getting a new resistor wire is a dead issue. It would take forever to recover the initial purchase, and it makes sense to replace the entire wire harness instead of just a single wire. Lectric Limited makes a new wire harness.


Nice work with the options list you layer out 




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