View Full Version : Distributor problem

09-18-2004, 09:09 AM
Hey guys. I was toying with my distibutor and while I was had the cap off, I apply 10W oil to two spots according to the manuals I have. Now the car hesitates and last night, didn't even turn over. I checked all of the connections to the plugs. Any suggestions?

Paul Johnson
09-18-2004, 09:16 AM
Well, if the engine will not turn over, then the distributor is not involved. Look elsewhere. Turn on headlamps and move key to 'start' position. If the lamps dim considerably, then you're drawing big amperage at the starter, so look at battery, cables, siezed engine and so on. If they do not dim, then there is a problem in the switch or related areas before the starter.

Mickey Richaud
09-18-2004, 09:16 AM
Not sure that oil would cause that. Make sure the rotor is clean, as well as the inside of the cap.
Also, check the low tension (small wire) connection. Is it possibly shorting out against the body of the distributor? Same with the condensor, if you've got a points-type system.


Mickey Richaud
09-18-2004, 09:22 AM
Paul's right - is it not "turning over" or does the engine turn, but not start?


09-18-2004, 10:02 AM
Here's what happened. After I was finished messing with the distributor, I went for a drive and felt some hesitation when pressing on the gas. Then all of a sudden, the car just basically stalled all the way home at 5 mph. Lucky to make it home. Now it will turn over, but not start. Does that help any? Thanks for the advice guys.

09-18-2004, 10:10 AM
you didn't happen to leave the clamp loose did you? maybe the distributor shifted to time on another cylinder than #1.

09-18-2004, 10:12 AM
I made sure of that after I stuttered home last night. It looks ok to me and I tried starting it again after I removed the cap and replaced it again.

09-18-2004, 10:26 AM
CHeck to see if your points are opening - If they are misadjusted you'll get poor ignition and if they don't open at all you'll get no ignition - Maybe in your fiddlings the screw which holds the points in adjustment got bumped or was left a little loose - also check for wear on the little plastic point cam on the spring arm of the points - worn cam will have the same effect as improper adjustment.

09-18-2004, 10:32 AM
Make sure there is no oil fouling the points. Spray contact cleaner, or brake cleaner on the points and inside the cap. Dry thoroughly and try again.

09-18-2004, 10:51 AM
This is by far the best forum ever in terms of other people responding to people like me who are trying hard to fix up my British Car. Thanks guys. It's raining today so I may not have a chance to get the car outside to try these remedies. I'll let you know!

09-18-2004, 12:30 PM
Was it raining when the car started faltering? Check the dist, Cap for moisture buildup - I like to dry mine with a hair dryer when needed. Check plug wires for cracks etc which can admit moisture.

If nothing else helps try replacing your condenser - I've had em bad brand new out of the box.

09-19-2004, 09:50 PM
I cleaned off the excess oil with q-tips and it started just fine. Thanks for your help!

09-20-2004, 11:38 AM
Mike - Just think, if the healthcare industry was run like this forum the undertakers would be the only ones dying - More doctors and second opinions than a cat has hairs -

Bob M.

Geo Hahn
09-20-2004, 08:34 PM
...I apply 10W oil to two spots according to the manuals I have...

[/ QUOTE ]

Glad a clean up was all it needed. FWIW - the only oil I use in the dizzy is one drop of 20w50 on the screw at the top of the shaft (under the rotor). May be a piece of felt there tho that is often missing.

On the cam I prefer a tiny bit of engine assembly lube as it stays puts better than oil. They used to give you a little capsule of cam lube with each set of new points but not so common anymore. I would think oil (esp thin oil) on the cam would invite problems.

09-21-2004, 09:05 PM
Thanks Bob and Geo. Geo, can I get the lube at my local auto parts store? If so, any certain brand?

Geo Hahn
09-21-2004, 09:35 PM
Just ask for 'Engine Assembly Lube'... should be available in a small tube (about the size of a small tube of toothpaste).

The brand I got was Sta-Lube but I AFAIK they are all pretty much the same characteristics.

Note: When it sits awhile and all you need is a small dab you may have to massage the tube and squeeze out a bit to get the good stuff (thick and gray) as the first bit to come out may be just the oil base.