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E-Type Series 3 V12 distributor


Senior Member
Hi all,

a friend of mine is having serious ignition problems with his car.

I'm not sure whether the dizzy in his car is the original one. Can anybody tell me what kind of distributor was installed originally in an E-Type Series 3 V12?

What are the main problems with the ignition on that kind of car and how can they be cured best. What are the best general improvements on the ignition on an V12 E-Type?

Thanks for all your help.


Jedi Warrior
Country flag
My car has been converted to electronic ignition and recently wasn't running so great. After I changed my rotor, cap, and plugs it was an amazing difference.

The original distributor is a Lucas OPUS model when I changed the cap this week I used a new Lucas cap I got from Moss.


Great Pumpkin
Country flag
Those units are NOTORIOUS for having the advance mechanism corrode and lock up. Best "first step" is to find #1 TDC (firing), mark it and pull that dizzy out/apart. Go thru it thoroughly to insure proper function before you get bogged down in trying to "troubleshoot" the rest of it. Then a conversion to a Crane X-whatever trigger and control box.

This may sound Draconian but it will get you rolling and reliable in short order than goin' thru all the agro you would have trying to "patch" what's there if original.

...that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


Jedi Knight
I find that "Kroil" works a treat for freeing off frozen mechanical advance units in the 12 cylinder distributors.I have tried everything, including making a tool to help rotate the advance mechanism, but Kroil works the best.

If you want the Etype to look original, XKs in California sell updated innards to the OPUS box. I have not tried one yet, but I like the idea. I wish they had one to fit later XJ12s, .... The other alternative would be to change the whole thing out for a later XJS lucas unit. The distributor is an exact interchange, and believe it or not, the ignition amp and pick up have proven really reliable.


Freshman Member
Hi Eric,

I've probably come in on this thread a bit too late, but for the benefit of anyone searching the archives, you might want to take a look at our solution to the OPUS ignition problem. (web site in signature)



Jedi Trainee
Nice solution to a common problem! Too bad the exchange rate is so horrible for us! There's a Pertronix kit available for about 1/3 that price that allows you to completely bypass the amplifier. Its part #LU-1122, good for all V12s with opus through '81. '82 and on cars are more reliable with the DM distributor.

One of the common issues with the V12 is that once you disassemble the advance the plastic retaining clip gets broken and the advance no longer stays together. By having the tip of the shaft machined for a screw like the older distributors, you can get the excess end play out of your advance assembly too. Its a cheap 2-for-1 repair! The igniton curve isn't too bad in most of the Opus V12s, but it can be altered at the same time by a reputable distribtor guy for a fair improvement in throttle response as well.
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