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Points...


Retroanaconda
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I changed the distributor on the Series III today. After a bit of a fiddle setting the timing (my engine has a four-position pointer, and four marks on the pulley...) I got it running, and set the mixture so it idled okay. No issues.

Went for a drive, enjoying the nice weather and the 'thrill' of Series Land Rover motoring, when suddenly I lost all power going up a hill. Pulled in and opened the bonnet. The engine would idle, but wouldn't rev, it just poofed and farted and returned to idle. Called out AA, guy cleaned the points and the thing sprung back into life. He says they come with a light coating of oil which, if not cleaned off, soon burns and creates a resistance which impairs point performance. Fair enough, off I go.

Get back to the workshop, then think "I'll take it down to a local woodland car park and take some nice pictures now that it's pretty much finished". Off I trundle, I get to said car park, do the vain photography, then set off home. Stop off at garage for refreshments, resume trip. Just coming into a local village and it sputters to a halt again. In a queue. Right outside a fire station! Oh bum. I thought to myself "must be the points getting dirty again", so I popped the cap off and gave them a scrape with a thin screwdriver. Lo and behold it sprung into life again....and got me about 100yds up the road :(

Outside a pub now, could be worse. Fiddled for a while, could not get the damn thing to go no matter how much I scraped or adjusted the points. Thought "sod this" and set off walking back to my workshop, about 1 - 2 miles away. Half an hour later I arrived, picked up my 90 and some tools (and the old distributor...) and set back off to the pub. When I arrived I played some more, put some fuel in in case the gauge (reading 1/2 full) was telling porkies. It wasn't, at least not yet. A chap out front of the pub wondered over and gave me a hand, he reckoned the gap wasn't big enough so we opened it up a bit and it ran. It seemed to run well, odd I thought but hey. I wasn't complaining.

I duly thanked the helpful patron of the pub, and set off back to my workshop in the Series III. Unfortunately at the top of a hill it died again. This time outside a school. Starting to get really peed off now. More fiddling ensued, and then another helpful person came over and offered assistance. Between us we deduced that the coil was not firing, it gave one spark on first cranking, and then none afterwards. Given that the coil was fine before, and the points had recently been changed, I suspected the latter was causing the issue by not opening/closing properly. In the end I got it going by putting the points from the old distributor (thank god I brought it with me) onto the new one, at which point it ran fine as ever. I drove it back to the workshop (by this point it was dark and I had been working by phone light) and the helpful chap no. 2 followed me and then gave me a lift back to my 90 in the village. Thanks to you, good sir.

So anyway, I'm thinking that the points which were supplied with my new distributor are carp. Rubbish, pile-of-poo. Whatever. I think they were closing up over time, which is what was causing the problem, but by the time I got to the last stage the gap setting made no difference. The distributor came from Paddocks, although not in a Britpart box.

My question is, is this common? Are points good and bad? And do you have any recommendation for a new set, since I want to do the London to Brighton this weekend and stopping every 100yds will make it take a while!

Thanks

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The new points may not have been installed properly, eg the spring could have an intermittent short to the baseplate. Check the insulating washers for damage.

Try putting them back in again.

Are the actual contacts loose on their mountings, maybe the rivetted fixing has come loose.

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Early spring me Dad bought an throughout restored (though badly at most points) 88" S3.

It too was fitted with a brand new distributor assy from Paddocks. It ran fine for a while, but had some weird periods where it would suddenly stop and/or splutter. He drove it like this for a while because it rarely happened. Then one day.. All hell broke loose. It would only idle, and no matter how hard we tried it would still splutter when above idle. We took the distributor apart and thoroughly checked everything, cleaned and adjusted. Put everything back together and it ran like a peach, for a very short while.. After a week of fiddling he got really Mildly miffed at it so I thought I might give him a hand again and see if a fresh pair of eyes could find the problem. I noticed straight away that there was a lot of slack in the rotor itself! Quickly went over to my 2,25 petrol with all original ignition and a mere 12000k's on the clock. No slack whatsoever, so decided to borrow my rotor (and by rotor I mean the red "arm" that distributes the spark inside the distributer cap). It didn't help because the groove in rotor itself was made to big from the factory! Well enough of this c**p we agreed. He then found an old original distributor assy and installed it alongside new points and condenser. It now runs like a dream!

Don't know if you can use this, but this is my experience with the Paddock distributor.

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Thanks for the offer Simon, but my insurance is enough as it is! :P

rtbarton: This is quite possible, I will have a look tomorrow and see if there is any way in which they could be shorting intermittently. They were very loose on the spindle thing when adjusting them, not particularly well made perhaps.

Soren: An interesting story, sounds very familiar symptoms-wise. I'm not sure how much play is acceptable, but there is a small amount in the shaft of the new dizzy. I think it is between the shaft and the drive in the block rather than the rotor arm and the shaft. I replaced the old dizzy because the vacuum unit on the side was goosed, and it was cheaper to buy a whole new unit than just the vacuum bit. If it does turn out to be my new distributor that's causing the problem, I will see if I can fit the vacuum unit from the new one onto the old one and re-fit that.

Edit: I'm going to try some more points tomorrow as well, I'll see if I can get some decent ones.

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Change to electronic would be my advice, its about £30 and will give you trouble free running from then on, if you're feeling generous then a Luminition set is best (in my opinion) but they do cost a lot more than the simple ones. If you are set on retaining points then buy original ones (I believe you have a Lucas, could be wrong, if so the Lucas points are widely available). While you're at it replace the condensor with an original, there are plenty of "made in China" ones on the market and I've had these fail on other classics within days.

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Depends which system you go for, personally on something as pedestrian as a Landrover engine I prefer the simple ignition amplifier type which retains the points and allows you to quickly switch back to conventional if the electronics fail.

You still need the rotor arm with Lumenition type setups, you could always fit a system that takes its timing off the flywheel like modern cars too, but I think reality should prevail.

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If it were mine I would fit one of the magnetic pick up types that replace the points, given that to revert to standard shouldn't take more than ten minutes. If it's a 45D you could also replace the rotor arm with one of the uprated ones, or for around £50 you can get a 45D with electronic ignition installed and the curve set to your requirements.

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Well I drove it for 20 miles this afternoon, with everything from motorway driving (50mph...woo) to stationary queueing, and had no problems whatsoever. This is with the old set of points in the new distributor. I am not going to tempt fate by fiddling more before the London 2 Brighton run this weekend, but I will still get another set of points/condenser and carry them with me.

The long term plan is Megajolt, which will do away with the legacy system entirely, but until then there's nothing wrong with mechanical points which are properly set up, as far as I can tell so far anyway :)

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