PDA

View Full Version : Wedge Stalling TR8 - Need help



AHBN1
08-09-2012, 05:51 PM
Hi all. First post on the forum for me but I have a problem. My 1980 (factory) TR8 with 38000 miles is stalling. It feels like an electrical issue as it just dies with no warning, caughing, bucking..etc. It just dies as if the key is being turned off. It started out as an occasional thing driving down the street, I'd pull over, turn the key and it would fire right up and be fine for the rest of the day. It has progressed to dying in the garage while idling at a perfectly smooth 800rpm. Again I tun the key and it fires right back up but will stall after a few seconds, minutes or whenever it feels like it. I have taken apart the ignition switch and fully cleaned it, no change. I have replaced the plugs, coil, wires, cap and rotor, no change. I will check the heat of the new coil next time it dies.
I have heard that the original distributors for these cars can cause problems. Have any of you out there experienced issues like this and if so what was your resolve? I should note that the car does have a Holley 390 carb instead of the original Stromberg 175CDs
Any thoughts would be appreciated
Dave

Darrell_Walker
08-09-2012, 06:13 PM
Hi Dave,

It certainly sounds like an electrical (ignition) problem. Always fun to diagnose problems that are intermittent.

There is a Pertronix conversion for the distributor you can install, as well as complete distributors. My car came to me with a Pertronix conversion, and many folks with TR8 that I know no longer have the original internals, so it is possible that is your problem.

Do you have a timing light you can have connected when the car dies, to see if the ignition is dying? Or since the tach is driven by the ignition, does the tach needle seem to drop immediately when it dies? That may be another clue that it is ignition related.

I would also check all of the connections to the ballast resistor. There are quite a few connections in that circuit, and one of them being flakey could be an issue. Here is some good information on that part:

https://www.team.net/TR8/tr8cca/wedgelab/ignition/ballast/ballast.htm

Hope that helps!

-Darrell

tdskip
08-09-2012, 07:25 PM
Are you really super sure you have good fuel flow?

AHBN1
08-09-2012, 07:43 PM
Hi Darrell,
Thank you for the response. The Pertronix system is an option I am looking into. Had one on a TR7 years ago and never had a problem. I have checked the ballast wires and all are fine - car stalls as soon as I disconnect one. I did check the coil when the car stalled this evening and it was cool to the touch so I'm leaning toward the distributer. I do have a timing light but have not tried a test with it yet but the tach drops to 0 and the ignition light comes on as soon as the car dies. I too have a GM distributer as a spare and may look into setting it up with an electronic ignition as I understand the GM units are trouble free. I guess I have more work ahead.
Thanks again, I'll update the forum if/when this situation is resolved.
Dave

AHBN1
08-09-2012, 07:47 PM
Hi tdskip,
Thanks for the thought and yes I'm sure I have good fuel flow. One of the first things I checked. Problem is the car starts and runs great until it warms up and then will die without notice, no sputtering or starving for fuel. I'm pretty sure it's an electrical issue likely related to the distributor. Frustrating as it's very intermittent but it wouldn't be British if it always ran as it should.
Dave

WedgeWorks
08-10-2012, 05:47 AM
td-Next time it dies check for spark immediately and if you have spark then try bypassing the fuel cut off inertia switch next to the clutch master cylinder. The do go bad in time and will just cut out if you hit a bump or shift gears. All you have to do is make a small jumper wire. I had this issue in my TR8 coupe when I first bought it. I also know you have a three prong oild pressure switch too that is in line with the inertia switch as a safety device too.

AHBN1
08-10-2012, 07:41 AM
Hello,
Thank you for that advice and I'll be checking that inertia switch this weekend. Although the car does stall just sitting at idle this whole issue started to happen when shifting gears entering a highway and excellerating so it does make some sense. I'll let you know how it works.
Dave

Darrell_Walker
08-10-2012, 11:39 AM
I'm not that familiar with Holleys, but after it dies, can you easily check for fuel in the float chamber?

AHBN1
08-10-2012, 12:00 PM
Hi Darrell,
Yes I can check and yes I did just that. Levels were just where they are supposed to be.
Dave

tr8todd
08-10-2012, 02:16 PM
Sounds like the ignition module in the distributor. They like to stop working when they get hot, and then start working again when they cool down. The wiring going from the oil pressure switch and the roll over safety inertia switch will cut out the fuel pump, so if you still have fuel in the carbs, those are not your problem. Stick to chasing the wires thru the ballast resistor and into the distributor. Look for frayed wires at the terminals. If after all of the checking things out, you still have the problem, try a different low tech/known working distributor as a diagnostic tool. You can use one from a small block Buick V8. Someone local to you must have one you can borrow.

philman
08-10-2012, 07:55 PM
I had to adjust the idle mixture adjustments on mine to get it to idle properly with the holley carb. it would also die when stopping at a traffic signal. I also thought it may have something to crankcase breathing and it also improved after I replaced the filler cap with a breathable cap on the left valve cover. Anyway, that's how I got improvement in a similar situation. I am using a mallory distributor and MSD6 ignition.

AHBN1
08-27-2012, 01:11 PM
Update - Found some forums/websites that suggested that a change of the distributor's transformer (using an NTE98) could solve my stalling problem. I found one and made the change taking the time to clean the complete distributor while it was out and appart. Ran great but started the same stalling behavior after about 20 mins on the road - just like before. Crap! Does anyone out there have experience with the replacement/aftermarket units such as the Pertronix, Crane 700, Mallory...etc. I think I'll be replacing the Lucas system.
Dave

Mickey Richaud
08-27-2012, 01:17 PM
Dave -

When I had the TR8 (now owned by Brosky), I installed the Mallory Unilite distributor. Easy installation, and it worked nicely.

Mickey

AHBN1
08-27-2012, 03:49 PM
Hi Mickey,
Thanks for that info since the Mallory unit is the system I've been laning toward. The Mallory is a 3 wire installation but the Lucas is 2 wires. I would like to leave the resistor wired up and functional. How did you wire the Mallory unit into the existing wiring of the car? Your thoughts are much appreciated.
Dave

Mickey Richaud
08-27-2012, 04:09 PM
Dave -

Afraid it's been a while since I installed it, but it was pretty straightforward.

Woody at the Wedge Shop (wwwthewedgeshop.com) is a great resource. And Paul (Brosky) should be checking in on this thread before long; he can give you some more specifics.

AHBN1
08-28-2012, 01:20 PM
Mickey,
Thanks for the input. I'll follow those leads.
Dave

Mickey Richaud
08-28-2012, 01:40 PM
You're most welcome!

One thing I do remember is buying a spare module for the Unilite to keep in the glove box just in case. They're not your normal stock item in parts stores, and you don't want to get stranded somewhere.

TOC
08-28-2012, 02:15 PM
Just a thought here. When it does this (and you may have mentioned it, but I missed it), have you removed the petrol cap? Do you hear a rush of air when you do so? Does it run afterwards?
Dave

AHBN1
08-29-2012, 12:10 PM
Hi TOC,
Yes I did try that and there was no back pressure in the tank. With all my research (the internet is a wonderful thing...sometimes!) and conversations I had I concluded that it was the problematic Lucas distributor. I have bit the bullitt and ordered a new Pertronix distributor testerday from Woody at The Wedge Shop. Sounds like a very common fix for my problem and once it arrives and I have it installed I'll update this forum for those out there that may have the same problem.
Dave