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Thread: Healey 3000 Distributor Cap

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    Healey 3000 Distributor Cap

    The distributor-end ignition wires on the "flat" style caps are secured with pointed screws that penetrate the ends of the wires. The central wire from the coil is likewise held with a screw, which is hidden below the small coil spring that pushes the round carbon piece into contact with the rotor. I want to free that central wire but can't get the carbon piece to extrude itself enough that I can get hold of it to access the screw. I've tried pushing it into the cap, hoping it will spring out enough to grip it with tweezers, and I've tried slapping the cap, inside down, on a rubber mat to dislodge it. I've taken that bit out in the past, but now I have two caps that expose only the tip of the carbon piece. Perhaps I inserted that piece deeper than necessary. Someone surely has a way to resolve this short of buying another cap.
    Last edited by Editor_Reid; 11-18-2017 at 08:42 PM.
    Owner of a 1960 BN7 with Toyota 5 speed and a '92 Porsche 968 coupe. Former owner '62 Jaguar MK2, MG-TF brought back from military service in Italy 1958, '61 Healey BT7, pre-A Porsche 356, and a Porsche 944.

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Try blowing into the hole with compressed air yet?

    Might want to cover the entire cap-opening with a rag, to save hours searching for the spring later on...

    While those carbon plungers have historically outlasted the original caps, perhaps the same cannot be said of the reproductions, and it's really worn down that short?
    http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/image.php
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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Everyone should have a spare cap, rotor, condensers, etc.

    Distributor Doctor in UK makes very high quality distributor caps with brass inserts. A friend ordered one, which I examined. Brass inserts and the pointed screws were all centered in the tunnels.
    Scroll down for your cap - both types of Healey caps available.
    http://www.distributordoctor.com/distributor_caps.htm
    Steve Gerow
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    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Distributor Doctor makes condensers to original Lucas specs. Claims he's been supplying them to racers for 4 years without a single failure. See:
    http://www.distributordoctor.com/distributor_condensers.htm

    He also mentions Pertronix coils are now resin-filled. I checked both my old coils and they slosh, ergo, oil-filled.
    See:
    http://www.distributordoctor.com/luc...-ignition.html
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
    Check out my galleries:
    http://www.pbase.com/stevegerow

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    I would try compressed air to force the carbon bit out but for the presence of the wire blocking the hole. This is a brand new cap marked as sold by Moss. I acquired it two years ago at the Amelia Island races (following the concours) in a trade with a Healey race car owner. I had a spare (yes, I keep some spares) cap with the vertical holes that he desired. So, he traded me a brand new one of the flat variety. To elaborate, I was in the process of installing a new Lucas brand wiring set in the hope that it would solve a bad running issue on my BN7--probably a forlorn hope. As I had previously written here, my distributor was apparently reversed on installation by a PO and thus doesn't use the standard wire positioning. I had stayed with that pattern after the discovery because I feared changing the distributor drive. I made two sketches of the wire location to make sure I got it right in a future installation, which just happened. I put masking tape numbers on the wires to make sure I put them back in the old cap guided by my sketch. Upon firing it up, I had a backfire through the front carb. I then found that I had failed to get the securing screw through one of the wires--one pulled free. Further examination turned up cracks in the boss holding the brass piece on one wire. I think over tightening will cause this. At that point I swapped the new wires into the new spare cap. Upon start up I got no firing whatsoever and suspect something is amiss with the coil wire. This is why I am trying to extract the coil wire from the cap so I can test it. I had had no problem getting the carbon bit out of either cap the first time around. I'm about to celebrate my 80th birthday, and perhaps I should stop doing car work. But I won't.
    Owner of a 1960 BN7 with Toyota 5 speed and a '92 Porsche 968 coupe. Former owner '62 Jaguar MK2, MG-TF brought back from military service in Italy 1958, '61 Healey BT7, pre-A Porsche 356, and a Porsche 944.

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Quote Originally Posted by RDKeysor View Post
    I would try compressed air to force the carbon bit out but for the presence of the wire blocking the hole. This is a brand new cap marked as sold by Moss. I acquired it two years ago at the Amelia Island races (following the concours) in a trade with a Healey race car owner. I had a spare (yes, I keep some spares) cap with the vertical holes that he desired. So, he traded me a brand new one of the flat variety. To elaborate, I was in the process of installing a new Lucas brand wiring set in the hope that it would solve a bad running issue on my BN7--probably a forlorn hope. As I had previously written here, my distributor was apparently reversed on installation by a PO and thus doesn't use the standard wire positioning. I had stayed with that pattern after the discovery because I feared changing the distributor drive. I made two sketches of the wire location to make sure I got it right in a future installation, which just happened. I put masking tape numbers on the wires to make sure I put them back in the old cap guided by my sketch. Upon firing it up, I had a backfire through the front carb. I then found that I had failed to get the securing screw through one of the wires--one pulled free. Further examination turned up cracks in the boss holding the brass piece on one wire. I think over tightening will cause this. At that point I swapped the new wires into the new spare cap. Upon start up I got no firing whatsoever and suspect something is amiss with the coil wire. This is why I am trying to extract the coil wire from the cap so I can test it. I had had no problem getting the carbon bit out of either cap the first time around. I'm about to celebrate my 80th birthday, and perhaps I should stop doing car work. But I won't.
    I meant from the inside; blowing the air in around the carbon brush may force it out via pressure on its underside.
    http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/image.php
    57 Healey BN6L-942 Wine Red/Honey Tan
    99 BMW M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew Supercharger
    01 BMW M Rdstr Steel Gray Performance Center (factory) Delivery
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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    RDK Said:
    This is why I am trying to extract the coil wire from the cap so I can test it.

    Why not use an Ammeter on OHMs scale and read continuity from inside cap to opposite end of coil wire. ?

    It is still possible the coil wire is OK but the screw missed the conductors when inserted .

    Note:
    Copper wires will read on the low Ohms scale.

    However,
    Carbon wires will require A MEG OHM scale to verify continuity.
    Last edited by Keoke; 11-17-2017 at 10:38 PM.
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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Quote Originally Posted by RDKeysor View Post
    and I've tried slapping the cap, inside down, on a rubber mat to dislodge it.
    Try eliminating the rubber mat from the equation. Use a block of wood and hit the cap on it a few times. Don't be gentle. The cap is unlikely to be harmed.

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    So, I got a friend more knowledgeable about electrical issues than me (not too difficult a task) over to the garage with his handy-dandy multi-meter. There was no continuity between the coil plug end of that wire and the carbon bit in the center of the distributor cap. We then renewed efforts to extract the carbon bit using the suggested air pressure technique with the hose from my air brush compressor directly on the spot where the carbon bit was visible. Fifty pounds of air pressure didn't budge it. We then tried slapping the old cap and then the replacement cap on the bench top without dislodging it the carbon. That did break the boss for the center piece, freeing the carbon bit and spring on the old cap. This cap was already damaged, so no harm. With a good carbon bit and its spring in hand, we tried freeing the carbon bit in the replacement cap with the coil wire captive in it. Finally, we used a small drill and easy out trying to extract the piece without success. The boss on this cap fractured as well, so I then had two damaged caps, two carbon bits, and two of the springs associated with them. We now were able to test the coil wire to the damaged port for the carbon bit and had continuity. Our conclusion is that the little spring that presses out the carbon bit (must be a better name for that) was not making contact with the the screw that held the coil wire in the distributor. I will be buying a couple of new caps, possibly from Steve G's source in the UK. We did learn something from this by testing the ohms (?) on sections of the old wires, which my friend said had carbon wires, and the new Lucas wires with metal inside. The new wires were substantially superior in the ohms test, which may mean the old wires contributed to my car's uneven performance. A small victory, perhaps. Thanks to the participating Forum members for their suggestions, all of which were fully considered and mostly attempted. I'll report back after I get a new distributor cap.
    Owner of a 1960 BN7 with Toyota 5 speed and a '92 Porsche 968 coupe. Former owner '62 Jaguar MK2, MG-TF brought back from military service in Italy 1958, '61 Healey BT7, pre-A Porsche 356, and a Porsche 944.

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Quote Originally Posted by steveg View Post
    Distributor Doctor makes condensers to original Lucas specs. Claims he's been supplying them to racers for 4 years without a single failure. See:
    http://www.distributordoctor.com/distributor_condensers.htm

    He also mentions Pertronix coils are now resin-filled. I checked both my old coils and they slosh, ergo, oil-filled.
    See:
    http://www.distributordoctor.com/luc...-ignition.html
    That guy has a great line on his answer phone when you phone him and he is not there or not available - 'Sorry the doctor can not come to the phone right now - he is in surgery, please leave your name - etc. '



    Bob

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Well:
    Distributor Doctor seems to know what he is doing.----
    1966 Daimler V8 Saloon; Safely Fast, Built to Last & and; Smooth as Glass.
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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    When I was diagnosing an ignition problem (which turned out to be plug related), I spent a lot of time on the wires. I had carbon core leads and the traditional cap with the screw fixings. Essentially, the pointed screws just crush the soft wires, and it is easy to over-tighten the screws and they crack the cap. I tested all of the wires and often could not get continuity, but they essentially worked when installed. I also saw a lot of burning on the ends of the leads where they terminate in the cap. In my opinion, the combination of modern spark plug leads and the traditional cap is not good. As a stop gap measure, I switched to a top entry distributor cap utilizing carbon core push-in wires (with factory made connections). This set up obviously works just fine, but it does not look original. I plan to make up a set of solid core copper wires (probably bumblebees) and go back to the original style cap. I don't have a radio, so I don't need suppression.

    RD, I'm wondering what kind of cap you have? The standard Lucas caps have the screw for the coil lead independent of the center conductor, so you don't need to disturb the carbon conductor to change out the coil lead.
    Hugh
    1965 BJ8
    1958 AN5


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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Cleah:
    I don't have a radio, so I don't need suppression.
    BUT:
    Maybe your neighbors will appreciate it when their TV ,Garage Door and Car alarm quit acting up every time you go by.-----

    An option here might be Copper Wires and Resister Sparking Plugs.
    1966 Daimler V8 Saloon; Safely Fast, Built to Last & and; Smooth as Glass.
    1966 BJ8 [ 2 ] Lil Red & Miss bLU
    1985 XJ6 Saloon
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    1973 Volvo P1800ES

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    I have a standard Lucas OEM cap - the coil lead screw is under the carbon post. Couldn't get a pic of it, but it's there:

    screenshot.1025.jpg screenshot.1026.jpg
    Steve Gerow
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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Here is a picture of the Lucas cap sold by Moss--the screw is not under the center conductor.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Hugh
    1965 BJ8
    1958 AN5


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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Quote Originally Posted by CLEAH View Post
    Here is a picture of the Lucas cap sold by Moss--the screw is not under the center conductor.
    That looks like a good idea. I stand corrected for the BJ8s if not for the earlier models. Maybe the change was made between the DM6 and 25D distributors.

    Does the cap have the Lucas imprint on the top?
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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    I had three side-entry caps. All identical in terms of the necessity of removing the carbon bit to reach the screw. I replaced the cap when I bought the car about five years ago without incident, though I was unfamiliar with side-entry caps and the screws. It was almost surely a Moss cap. The next two were also Moss caps. All three caps developed spider cracks on the inside, likely due to my efforts to remove the carbon bit. I think slapping them on the bench, as suggested by one forum respondent, is fatal to the integrity of the caps. When the cap is struck on a flat surface, I believe the force accelerates the brass bits cast inside the cap and creates spider cracks. I just ruined a newly delivered Moss cap in this manner. For whatever reason, I have to remove a bit of plastic from the notch where the fender-side cap attachment spring fits. I've had to do this on all of the caps I've owned to get that spring engaged. So, I did this with the new cap and somehow managed to push the carbon bit into its hole without noticing I had done that. I then probably caused many spider cracks inside the cap by tapping it on the bench. I won't do this on the next cap, and I intend to buy a backup cap from the UK source Steve G mentioned in response to my jabber. I did solve the carbon bit removal task, suction, etc., having failed. I identified a number drill, 7 or 8, as I recall that just fits the carbon bit hole. Holding it by hand and pressing it on the tip of the carbon bit, I trimmed out just enough material to free the carbon bit. Alas, I had already damaged the cap. This all came about as I was installing Lucas ignition wire set. Noting you are in Cleveland, I bought my first Austin Healey from a U of Cincinnati law student living in Cleveland Heights in the summer of 1963. I was at that time working as a reporter on the Painesville Telegraph. I'm from Norwalk, and my best friend was a classmate of the guy I bough the Healey from and had actually ridden in it in Cincinnati. The car was set up for drag racing, with a toggle for the overdrive on the shift lever and cutouts on the exhaust pipes ahead of the muffler. A pregnant wife spelled forced me to sell the Healey while I was working for a newspaper in Dayton. Like so many old guys, I had to relive the early car experience by buying another Healey.
    Owner of a 1960 BN7 with Toyota 5 speed and a '92 Porsche 968 coupe. Former owner '62 Jaguar MK2, MG-TF brought back from military service in Italy 1958, '61 Healey BT7, pre-A Porsche 356, and a Porsche 944.

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Steve, yes, it looks as of the cap was redesigned for the later cars. It says Lucas Made in England on it.

    RD, it does seem strange that the carbon conductor is not easily coming out. On my top entry cap, the conductor fell out when I removed it from the box! I live in Cleveland Heights--there are 5 Big Healeys in Cleveland Heights right now. And, we're running off to Cincinnati for a night as I type!
    Hugh
    1965 BJ8
    1958 AN5


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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    I had an aftermarket cap made by Bosch--supposedly--which either came cracked or I somehow cracked it. It caused an intermittent miss--usually under acceleration--which I diagnosed by watching the engine in a darkened garage; I could see arcs of electricity running down the side of the cap. Bought a new, OEM Lucas cap--which I think is bakelite; the aftermarket look like plastic--from Hemphill's ($40) and have had probably 80K miles of trouble-free operation with it.

    I was told by a reliable source that fraudsters are buying original Lucas boxes at flea markets and throwing no-name aftermarket parts in them and selling as genuine. I haven't heard of anybody counterfeiting Lucas caps, but it's not out of the question as I don't think Lucas is around to enforce their IP, or if they are still around they probably don't have resources to chase down the cheaters (there is a Lucas company that makes guidance systems for cruise missiles, but I don't know if they're related to the Prince of Darkness).

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    Re: Healey 3000 Distributer Cap

    Bob - does your oem Lucas have the screw beside the post as in the picture above? Inquiring minds want to know.
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
    Check out my galleries:
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