PDA

View Full Version : bad points



tahoe healey
10-29-2003, 12:44 AM
A few weeks ago I checked the points on the dwell meter and they were perfect and the dwell was right on. I took the car in for some paint touch up and the car stared hard and ran poorly. The mechanic called and said the carbs were out of adjustment (one piston and jet was sticking) and he re-adjusted them (for $$). As I drove home the engine died at each stop light. The pistons both rise and are in sync. The timing is right on. The gap is correct. The only problem I find is the dwell is now 60 and the points now don't register on the meter. Can this go bad this fast and can this be the cause of the problem? Could it just be the slow idle? images/icons/confused.gif

Dave Russell
10-29-2003, 12:55 AM
-------------------------------------
The timing is right on. The gap is correct. The only problem I find is the dwell is now 60 and the points now don't register on the meter. Can this go bad this fast and can this be the cause of the problem? Could it just be the slow idle?
--------------------------------------
Something doesn't add up. Did the mechanic mess with the distributor?

Was the dwell originally set somewhere around 35 at .015 gap.

New points can close up a bit due to initial rubbing block wear. This would increase the dwell reading plus retard the timing, plus make it run bad & idle slow. I think it is impossible for the timing to be right on & gap correct with what you describe.

PS-- Long PS-- Not sure what you mean by points don't register on meter. Are you refering to the point voltage drop reading, which usually goes from zero to two volts? If the meter is off the low end scale the points or wiring may be shorted. If it is off the high end of the scale the points are dirty or there is some contamination between them.
Check the internals for loose, shorted or broken wires such as the tiny flexible pigtail. Or point connection post shorting. If the dwell is off the high end of the scale the points are either not opening or something is partially shorted. recheck point gap & timing first.
D

[ 10-28-2003: Message edited by: Dave Russell ]</p>

ThomP
10-29-2003, 10:59 AM
I'll add a little spice to the discussion, because some people don't like electronic ignitions!

Points! I'm surprised! Pretronix(and others) make an electronic ignition for your car that will take the worry about dwell and replacing points away. My experience in two LBCs (It will be three when I can figure out what fits an Austin A30)tell me that they are the best thing next to maybe, sliced bread or, even, driving your LBC!

The car idles better, accelerates smoother and no more pesky adjusting every 1500 miles!

And before anyone goes on about "spares" or unreliability; Why does EVERY modern automobile use electronic ignition? Again, my experience is that if they are properly installed (no shortcuts or "oops") they beat the he11 outta points with pitting, shorted condensers, contact bounce, sticking and block wear.

Now, for those of you that like fiddling, just ignore my rant and go adjust your points to get some satisfaction and relaxation ..........

Northern Auto Parts will sell you a kit for your car for $70.00. 800-831-0884. If you have the original Lucas 25D Dizzy with positive ground you need an LU-162AP12; 25D with negative ground LU-162.

Cheers and happy motoring, er.. adjusting

John Loftus
10-29-2003, 01:31 PM
Hi Thom,

I don't know why points get such a bad rap. When this debate was in full force over on the Healey list I remembered that Peter and Ann Hunt had said they used the standard point setup on their ATW2000 Healey. I contacted Peter and asked him some more questions and the following is his response:

-------------

Hello John,

Good to hear from you -

Re - Healey distributor, points and rotors.

Our ATW2000 Healey is a 1962 BT7 Mk II 2 + 2 Tri-carb w/centre change
gearbox (converted to twin 1.75" SU s' for ease of fitting a foam air
filter)

I sent the distributor, Type DM6, away to our local Lucas agent for a
complete over haul, they in turn, sent it to Holden Vintage & Classic
www.holden.co.uk (https://www.holden.co.uk) It came back as new with Lucas points and rotor.
During a very limited running-in period, I had a rotor arm fail.

The points gap were set at .015" when warm with the Champion NY12C plugs set
at .025" gap. The engine compression ratio was reduced to 7.5 : 1 to allow
for low Octane fuel en-route. Since then I have gone back to the standard 9
: 1 CR still with the same settings. Factory settings were used throughout.

During the whole 20,000 mile home to home trip the engine always started and
did not miss a beat at all. None of the ignition items - plugs, points,
condenser, coil or rotor needed replacing and were not adjusted. I applied
the Golden Rule to British Sports Cars - "If it works, don't fiddle with it"

However - Not too long after we returned, I did have the condenser fail -
simptoms - intermittant mis-fire. In addition, another rotor arm failed. As
a matter of course, I replaced the points and plugs at 25,000 miles.

The only problem on the Open Roads 2002 tour was a breakage in the low
tension lead actually in the distributor, (In Death Valley with the temp. at
120 F + ) this took 20 minutes to fix. 9000 miles round trip in 5 weeks.

To date, XRU100 has covered 35,000 miles with the absolute minimum of
electrical problems.

My other Healey, a '63 Mk II BJ7, owned since 1969, gave no problems up
until she was laid up for an 8 year period 1989/97 with no attention. Basic
ignition items and rubber seals had to be replaced and since then I have had
three rotor arms fail. Two within 2,000 miles.

I cannot see the reason to change to electronic ignition on a 1950's design
of car - maybe go to a Mallory distributor if you want to go racing. The
Lucas distributor is very easy to service and set up correctly.

Rotor Arms are giving a lot of problems as they can fail with no warning at
all and with no physical sign of damage. Is this happening to owners of
other British Sports Cars that use the Healey Lucas range of distributors? I
have heard that a more robust model of rotor arm that fits the Healey
distributors is not giving the same problems but I do not know the model
number - any ideas?

Motto - carry several spares.

By all means pass on all, or part, of above - Hope it helps.

Regards,

Peter

Dave Russell
10-29-2003, 03:58 PM
Ahh - the never ending debate.

Points or electronic? There are reasons given for liking both. One group will never convince the other about which is best. It appears that folks who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with electronic devices in general prefer points. It was good enough for my grandfather, it's good enough for me.

On the other hand, folks who are familiar with electronics can't see any reason to use old technology. It likely resolves to a question of personality types & the knowledge held by these types. I suspect that there may be a question of peoples age differences involved also.

There are valid reasons for not trying to use super high voltage ignitions & wide plug gaps in old distributor designs. It is mainly a matter of the limited air gap insulating spaces which small diameter & short distributor caps provide. The proverbial Healey rotor insulation breakdown is an example, as is crossfire.

I'm an old guy who built my first cap. discharge ignition when high voltage transistors were going for about $ 60 each in the 1960's. Some very costly experiments. Points would have been much cheaper. I have always loved newer technology just for the sake of the chase. In my mind, there is little doubt that electronic is a superior form of ignition.

The issue resolves to feelings with "some" technical justification thrown in to satisfy advocates of each side.

In any event the twain are not likely to meet.
D

ThomP
10-29-2003, 07:48 PM
I am amazed at Peter's 25,000 mile success with only 1 condenser failure. That is truly excellent.

Sadly, my own experience with locally available components was NOT nearly as good, so I took the plundge into the electronic world simply to improve reliability. Same ol' Lucas coil, fresh everything else. Aren't N12Ys now called 300s? It amuses me, because the box is marked "300", but the plug still has N12Y 0n it!

The rotor story is, in my opinion, further proof that the quality of components avaialble for 40 year old cars isn't necessarily the best (even if it says Lucas India).

Baxter
10-29-2003, 07:56 PM
Dave, I'm with you. Let's see... electronic ignition offers a much stronger spark, a more reliable spark, and doesn't shift between tuneups (in fact, they make the tuneup that much smoother, because there's so much less to do).

And instead of being excited that they lasted 25,000 miles without trouble, you get annoyed if they DON'T go 100k.

Sorry, but points have no redeeming features that outweigh the obvious and substantial advantages of modern electronic ignition.

John Loftus
10-29-2003, 11:33 PM
Just don't forget that you still need to lubricate your distributor (see the owners or workshop manual) even with an electronic ignition (except of course the cam to point rubbing block area because that has been eliminated). I suspect that many people see better idle performance with electronic ignition because the dizzy is worn. I also think it is highly important to note that the 25,000 mile performance of the Hunt's car was on a freshly rebuilt distributor. They probably should be rebuilt every 50 to 75,000 miles.

Regarding improved performance, do any of the manufacturers have dyno proof that electronic ignitions add power and perform better except in very high rpm situations (over 6500 rpm)? I am truly curious. I have played around with a few technology improvements on my BJ7 including Roller Rocker Arms (which really seem to improve performance via seat of the pants).

Hey Dave ... let's see if I have this right... you think people's opinions of points/electronic ignition it's age related but admit you are an old guy who loves high tech stuff. Does that mean it's the young ones who are the ludites??
graemlins/devilgrin.gif

Cheers,
John

Dave Russell
10-30-2003, 12:46 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by John Loftus:

Hey Dave ... let's see if I have this right... you think people's opinions of points/electronic ignition is age related but admit you are an old guy who loves high tech stuff. Does that mean it's the young ones who are the ludites??
graemlins/devilgrin.gif
Cheers,
John<hr></blockquote>

John,
Now I don't know what to think.
If I hadn't been exposed to high tech at an early age (Lockheed Missiles & Space Division) I doubt that I would be accepting it now. I can't speak for the young who may or may not be ludites. Certainly there are a lot of old folks who didn't grow up on the leading technology edge. I know many who will not go near it.
D

[ 10-29-2003: Message edited by: Dave Russell ]</p>

Baxter
10-30-2003, 01:29 AM
John, I don't know about manufacturer's claims, but I know Grassroots Motorsports has put a few Bs on the dyno and has consistently seen 3-5 hp increases with EI (if memory is serving me correctly). According to folks I've talked with who have experience on dynos, that's fairly typical.

I was actually surprised, since I've never really thought of EI as a performance booster, but apparently our old crates like 'em.

CDK
10-30-2003, 02:27 AM
Having a (mod) Healey Ford 302 I presently run points.When the new motor goes in I will switch to a MSD set up.I to enjoy both systems.Rev chips ,built in advance curv,higher spark potential (No matter what the adds say you only use the voltage needed to jump the gap)snazzy billet distributor and basic lack of moving parts to break.However points offer,limited parts,enjoyment of setting and self tuning and moving around the setings looking for performance.The good chance of getting it to work after a break down long enough to get home(once the EI is done so are you)and as my daughters learned the first rule of driving a car in our house was you always get it home.By the way they always have.The performance gain tends to be connected to being able to open up the spark gap,I belive there is a whole thing here on flame front and burn rate but I think its stiil 50 50 science and vodoo as to whats happening.
CDK

piman
10-30-2003, 04:04 AM
Hello all,
some many years ago I built my first 2.5 PI Triumph, and as I was working abroad decided to go electronic ignition, so my wife would not have any reliability worries. After the second failure, and the breakdown services could not repair the electronic ignition so it was a tow home. I then threw away modernity and have used points ever since. I do not adjust them every 1500 miles, nothing like, nor have I had a condenser failure that I can remember. I can remember a rotor arm failure but I consider the points system to be adequate for my needs, which is reliability, and repairability. 3 or 5 bhp, who can feel the difference on the road?

Alec graemlins/cheers.gif

Dave Russell
10-30-2003, 04:26 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by CDK:
Having a (mod) Healey Ford 302 I presently run points.When the new motor goes in I will switch to a MSD set up.
CDK<hr></blockquote>

CD,
I have had several MSD's. One on my turbo Mustang with rev limiter & boost retard. Still have one in a box.

Did you know that the MS (multiple spark) part is only in operation at low rpm? Not enough time at high rpm to get off more than one spark. Also interesting is that the main unit draws something near 20 amps of battery power at high rpm.
D

John Loftus
10-30-2003, 01:15 PM
CDK, Dave,

My BJ7 came with a MSD unit installed. It also came with the wrong type of points somehow installed in the distributor. Once I figured that out it has been smooth running and the points show minimal wear after about 10K miles. The PO said one of the advantages of the MSD is that the energy going through the points is lower which keeps them from wearing out as quickly ... does anyone know if this is true?

The MSD could also be why my motor would idle so smoothly even at 600 rpm when setting the timing.

Cheers,
John

Dave Russell
10-30-2003, 03:27 PM
Yes John,

I think that you are correct on both points - pun intended. The MSD can also be setup quite easily to trigger from a Pertronix unit. I just cant find room under my BN2 bonnet to mount the rather large MSD box. Also afraid that my stock (read low output) dynamo wouldn't keep up with the MSD power draw very well.
D

[ 10-30-2003: Message edited by: Dave Russell ]</p>

John Loftus
10-30-2003, 09:35 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Dave Russell:
[QB]


If I hadn't been exposed to high tech at an early age (Lockheed Missiles & Space Division) I doubt that I would be accepting it now. I can't speak for the young who may or may not be ludites. Certainly there are a lot of old folks who didn't grow up on the leading technology edge. I know many who will not go near it.
D

[QB]<hr></blockquote>

Your comment reminded me of a story that one of the Directors of the German Railway design told me and my students a few years back. In the 1970's they produced design studies and mockups for special railway cars that were supposed to appeal to senior citizens. They then had seniors come in to evaluate the designs. They were shocked to find the overwhelming opinion was that the designs and colors were rated too conservative! Upon further prodding it turns out that these seniors had grown up in a world of rapid technological change ... born when cars and airplanes were in their infant stages and they witnessed the first jets, space exploration, major medical advances, communications, computers, etc. etc. Because of this they expected the new train car designs to be ultra modern, not old fashioned.

For me this simple story was eye-opening and I don't try to age stereotype as much any more.

Cheers,
John

ThomP
10-31-2003, 09:58 AM
piman

"some many years ago" Is your quote, I'll bet that when your conversion was done the technology hadn't been accepted/refined by all major auto manufacturers and the aftermarket units weren't up to the quality they are today.

The 3-5 HP comment ALSO means less unburnt fuel washing those cylinder walls adding to wear, less hydrocarbons going into the atmosphere and better fuel economy. It won't make our old cars "green" but every bit has to help.