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 Posted: 07-09-2005 03:20 am
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Panini
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My son and I tried to install this product today.

Needless to say, this puppy was running great till we tried this. It is now adrift and dead. We know very little about cars. We disconnected the points etc. We were left with a black wire which I promptly broke. I threaded this through the rubber stop.

I spliced this wire and tried to start. It rocked a few times and now nothing.

I read all the posts about timing and what-not. We are not that car savy, so we would love to switch back. I'm assuming the black wire is the ignition wire. We can't remember if the condenser is conected to the point unit itself.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated.

Please don't suggest anything that involves a 200 lbs. plus person doing contortions since I can't even see the top of the distributor. We are using a mirror. A far cry from my 66 Cyclone

Jeff and Nick

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 Posted: 07-09-2005 03:44 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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When one does anything significant to a JH distributor, it's generally necessary to remove it from the car.  This is best done after setting the engine so the #1 (front) cylinder is at top dead center (TDC) at the start of its power stroke.  This condition occurs when (a) the timing marks on crank and front casting match up, and (b) the index marks on the two cam gears align.

You will need to remove the air box or aftermarket filters from the two carburetors, and to disconnect the vacuum line running from the engine to the black plastic carbon cannister that attaches to the front of the battery bracket.  You should then have fairly easy access to the distributor. 

The next step is to pop off the distributor cap.  This is easily done by inserting a flat-blade screwdriver between cap and flat spring clips, then twisting the screwdriver so the clip snaps free.  There are two spring clips and both must be undone.  The cap may then be gently tugged free and moved out of the way.

With the cap off, the distributor rotor is visible.  NOTE WHICH WAY IT POINTS!  Also note the orientation of the distributor body.  You will need this information when you put the distributor back into the engine.  Make notes or sketches, if necessary.

If the points are in place, there is a blade connector on the side of the distributor, and a wire (often but not always black in color) that runs to the (-) side of the coil.  Disconnect this wire from the distributor.  With the Pertronix unit, there should be a red wire and a black wire coming out of the distributor and connecting to the (+) and (-) sides, respectively, of the ignition coil.  Both of these need to be disconnected.

Disconnect the vacuum hose that attaches to the spigot on the vacuum retard capsule (the disk-shaped thing) on the distributor.  Plug this line with a golf tee or something similar.

Now examine the distributor.  A stepped metal plate is attached to the bottom of the distributor by an integral clamp.  Do not disturb or undo this clamp.  You will find a small (metric) locknut at the end of the plate, that is attached to a stud coming out of the casting into which the distributor fits (this is the oil pump).  Undo this nut and place it in a safe location.  The distributor may now be pulled directly to the rear and removed from the engine for whatever work needs doing.

I've attached a photo showing the insides of a JH distributor.  If you're reinstalling the points, apply a tiny amount of points grease or dielectric grease to the fiber or plastic arm that contacts the cam in the center of the distributor.  Be sure to set the points gap to 0.014" to 0.016" when the points are fully open.

Remove the rotor, add a drop or two of motor oil to the cavity beneath it, then reinstall.

If the o-ring installed on the tubular section of the distributor is worn or damaged, you may wish to replace it at this time.

Orient the rotor relative to the distributor body as noted during removal, then slip the distributor into the engine.  Do not force things.  At about the time the hole in the stepped metal plate slips over the stud on the oil pump, use one hand to rotate the rotor back and forth a little while using the other hand to continue pressing the distributor into the engine.  You will encounter a fairly strong spring force, and will find a spot where the two blades of the drive dog (the fitting on the end of the distributor) slip into the mating slot inside the engine.  Once certain the blades have entered the slot, press the distributor the rest of the way into the engine and secure it in place with the metric nut.

Reconnect the wire from coil to distributor.  Double check to ensure that the rotor is pointing the same way as it was when the distributor cap was first removed.

Next, coarse-set static timing.  Turn the ignition switch on to the RUN position, and connect a voltmeter or test lamp from the (-) side of the coil to chassis.  Ensure good electrical connections.  Loosen the clamp bolt (not the metric nut) on the stepped plate at the base of the distributor.  Rotate the body of the distributor clockwise as viewed from the front of the car until the trouble light is not illuminated or the voltage on the coil's (-) size goes to zero.  Then carefully rotate the body of the distributor ANTI-clockwise as viewed from the front of the car until the trouble light just illuminates or the voltage on the coil's (-) side rises to anywhere between +3V and +12V.  Only a relatively small rotation should be necessary for this -- certainly much less than 1/4 turn.

Repeat the above several times until you have a very good feel for the point at which the light just comes on.  Then, with the distributor remaining at that point, tighten the clamp bolt.  This should set the static timing to a point where the car will start and run.

Reinstall the distributor cap, ensuring as you do so that the rotor is pointing toward one of the turrets on the cap.  Snap the two spring clips back into place.  Check to ensure that the wire from distributor to coil is still in place.  Remove the voltmeter or test lamp.

Start the engine and let it warm up.  Once the engine has stabilized at an idle speed of not more than 1000 rpm, use a timing light to set dynamic ignition timing to the preferred point (the factory 'low-emissions' setting is 8^ before TDC [BTDC], while best performance is typically at about 12^ BTDC) using the little knurled wheel on the side of the distributor body.  If this wheel does not have sufficient range to permit reaching the desired timing, set the wheel to its physical midpoint, loosen the clamp bolt at the base of the distributor, rotate the body of the distributor until the desired point is reached, then re-tighten the clamp bolt.  Any fine-tuning can now be done with the knurled wheel.  When satisfied, shut off the engine, disconnect the timing light, reconnect the two vacuum hoses, and reinstall the air filtration system.

And that's it.  You should now have a JH that runs properly, and will have earned a bit of knowledge about the car. 

Attachment: 25d4 top view.jpg (Downloaded 50 times)

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 Posted: 07-09-2005 07:11 pm
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Panini
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Mark,

Thank you very much. We're really pretty mechanically challenged.

We will set a fair amount of time aside and follow your directions. We did however get confused about the ballast resistor(to by pass or not) and decided to install everything back the way it was. We purchased new points, condenser and such. I removed the distributor this time. I must have moved the rotor for when we tried to kick it, it was off. I pull out the dist. again and reinstalled like you said. The car kicked over from the starter really well and sounded great but with no spark. Now we get a single click from somewhere other then the starter. We will roll her into the garage for another day. I'm really kicking myself for touching such a beautifully running car. We put on new Yokes and I took it out(less son) yesterday on the hwy and flew!!!!

Than you so much for the distributor information and I will post as soon as she ii running.

Jeff and Nick

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 Posted: 07-10-2005 02:57 pm
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Panini
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With this ? you will see that even car idiots own JH's.

When I removed the distributor I may have moved thing. Like the car rolling forward and not physically marking the rotor.

Mark, did this after your post.

Am I wrong in thinking that the dist should slide in at the right point or just the opposite side. It was rough in one position, so I figured it might be at the opposite point. Could'nt get so I'm assuming it does not turn 180 and slip in.

Now, I can't get the starter to turn. It will if I do things like our own Texas rain dance. It will turn rough but not fire. Very rough. Then goes into some sort of dormant trance. Then will turn well but not fire. I guessed on the gap .020 but changed to .016.

Might do a little today

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 Posted: 07-10-2005 05:54 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Actually your troubles are fairly typical for a new JH owner, and by having the sense to ask questions when necessary, you prove conclusively that there is no idiocy involved!  You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed now, but things really will grow less complex as you learn more about the car.  Just don't mess with the car's timing belt until you know what you're doing.

The two blades on the distributor's drive dog are offset slightly from the centerline, so in theory the distributor can only be installed one way.  However, a fair number of owners have proven that brute force and worn parts will easily override theory.  One needs to develop a feel for how the distributor fits into the engine, and this can only be achieved by practice.  You may find that developing this feel is easier if you remove the spring that fits into the shaft that drives the distributor.  Just be absolutely certain to return the spring when you're done!

Do not guess as to the points gap, as it is a critical setting.  The gap must be at least 0.014" but not greater than 0.016".  If the gap gets too far past either limit, the engine will run poorly or not at all.  Normally one uses a feeler gauge to set the gap, and that's one of those touch-based skills one needs to practice.

Make sure the car's battery is fully charged.  Disconnect the cable connected to the battery's (-) post, then make sure all the remaining battery cable connections are clean, tight, and free of corrosion.  This includes the two big nuts on the starter solenoid, which is the moderately-sized cylinder atop the starter motor itself.  Make sure the braided cable running from engine block to chassis, located below the oil filter and alternator, is present.  Once satisfied, reconnect the cable that goes to the battery's (-) post.

If a Lucas starter won't turn over, it may be worn out but most likely the starter solenoid has jammed.  This is quite common.  Give the solenoid a few decent whacks with a non-conductive mallet, and things will usually free up.  If not, the starter may need to be removed, disassembled, and cleaned.  This is not as complex as you may think, but probably isn't necessary as long as whacking the solenoid works for you.  If the starter is worn out, it can be rebuilt or replaced.  There's also a high-speed aftermarket starter available; these are fairly expensive but seem to work quite well.

Avoid having the starter motor crank the engine for more than 30 seconds at a time, and if it does run that long, give it 5 minutes to cool down.  Otherwise, the motor may overheat and eventually burn out. 

If your ignition timing is hopelessly off, you'll need to re-set it.  This is a slightly tedious task but isn't particularly difficult, and many owners have had to do it.  Once the starter works reliably, set the engine to #1 TDC -- i.e. the indexes on the crankshaft and front cover, and on the two cam gears, are aligned as described in an earlier post.

Now, unsnap the distributor cap and pull it off the distributor.  Set the static timing as described in an earlier posting.  This is where the points just open -- and your test light just comes on -- as the distributor body is rotated COUNTER-clockwise as viewed from the front of the car.  This is equivalent to the distributor's shaft moving in the correct direction during normal engine operation.

Next, remove the four spark plug wires from the distributor cap.  Manually trace out the one that goes to the #1 (front) cylinder and insert this wire in the distributor cap turret to which the rotor will be pointing, once the cap is reinstalled.  (If the rotor is not pointing to a turret, then you've done the static timing wrong; go back and try again.)

Then, moving COUNTER-clockwise while looking at the top (outside) of the cap, install the wire going to the #3 (next to rear) plug.  Still going COUNTER-clockwise, install the wire going to the #4 (rear) plug, and finally the one going to the #2 (next to front) plug.  Double-check these connections.  This arranges the spark plug wires so that each cylinder will receive its spark at the correct time.  This is called the engine's firing order, and is normally described as '1-3-4-2'.

Now reinstall the distributor cap.  Make sure all the wires and hoses, except the vacuum hose to the distributor, are connected.  Start the engine and set the timing with a timing light.  Finally, reinstall the vacuum hose to the distributor.

If the car still won't start, make sure you have (a) spark, (b) fuel to the carburetors, and (c) compression in each cylinder.

You mentioned a Texas rain dance.  Are you in Texas?  If you'll add your city and state to your profile, you may find that there are JH owners close enough to offer physical assistance, or who can advise on trustworthy mechanics for British cars.

 

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 Posted: 07-12-2005 10:31 pm
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Panini
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Mark,      

I can't even begin to tell you how much we appreciate the time and effort towards helping us. My 14yr old says, he thinks he gets it, so we will attemp to correct our problems this  weekend.

My only confusion is TDC. If the engine has turned aftewr removing dist. will TDC automatically accept the dist. into the right position. I will also need to better understand the markings on the,case, engine, etc. to find TDC. Also our vacuum is tight up against the head? which allows no movement counterclockwise and a little the other way.

The starter was replaced just before we purchased. Of course I did lite things up the first time, with my arms or screwdriver, because I did not disconnect the battery. I may have fried the soleniod but hope not.

We are in Dallas, Texas. and have a cup of gourmet coffee and snacks waiting for you if your're ever in town. We're in the bakery bus.

J&N

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 Posted: 07-13-2005 12:53 am
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Top Dead Center or TDC is the reference point from which all of the events in a cylinder's cycle of operation are timed.  You will often see references to Bottom Dead Center or BDC, but BDC is always exactly 1/2 crankshaft revolution or 180 crankshaft degrees away from TDC, so this, too, can be considered as using TDC for the reference point.  In a multi-cylinder engine, it is convenient to have a baseline from which to begin any description of its operation, and the point where the #1 piston is at TDC is an obvious point to use.  Consequently, most engines have a built-in means of determining when the engine is at that point.

In the JH engine, the distributor shaft can only mate with the auxiliary shaft in the oil pump in one way.  However, the actual opening of the ignition points and thus the spark depends on the position of the distributor body with respect to this shaft.  It is therefore most convenient to remove and replace the distributor when the engine is at #1 TDC.  Should the engine be turned while the distributor is out, one merely restores the engine to #1 TDC before reinstalling the distributor.

If you don't already have a copy of the shop manual, you will almost certainly wish to buy one.  The reprints are usually a better choice as they generally have updates and additions not present in the original.  While written for the professional mechanic, and plagued with a few inaccuracies, the shop manual is an invaluable resource for working on a JH.

To find TDC on your car, begin by examining the front of the engine.  Down towards the bottom you will see the crankshaft pulley, which drives the belt that operates the water pump and alternator.  There is a large nut at the front end of this pulley which may be used to turn the engine.  Immediately adjacent to the rim of this pulley is a protrusion from the engine's front cover that has several teeth.  There is a mark on the rim of the pulley which, when aligned with the most clockwise of these teeth, indicates that two of the engine's pistons -- #1 and #4 -- are at TDC.  Details of the teeth and pulley mark depend on which engine version your car has.

Moving up to the top of the driver's side of the engine, you will see the two large alloy cam gears.  Each of these has an index line on the forward face of its rim.  (Most cam gears will have two index lines, but the only ones that count are the one marked IN on the upper, intake cam gear, and the one marked EX on the lower, exhaust cam gear.)  When these two index lines are aligned, the two camshafts are in the position where all of the valves in the #1 cylinder are closed.  Since the relationship between the camshafts and crankshaft is fixed, this alignment occurs only when the #1 piston is at TDC.

In other words, to find #1 TDC, not only must the crankshaft index be aligned with the most clockwise tooth on the front cover, but the two index marks on the cam gears must line up.

If your vacuum capsule is in an inconvenient location, you can rotate the body of the distributor 90^ or 180^ until the capsule is in a better location.  However, doing this means that the distributor rotor will no longer be pointed to the right spark plug wire turret, so you will have to unplug the wires and reconnect them as described in one of my posts.

It's possible but not likely you've damaged the starter or its solenoid.  If you can get the starter to work reliably, I wouldn't worry about it.

According to the 'Members' function of this board, there are at least two JHPS members in or near Dallas.  You may wish to send them emails and make their acquaintance.  Most JH owners seem to be very friendly folks.

Finally, you may wish to peruse the information at
http://www.web-masters.com/gms/index.html
You'll find a treasure-trove of JH line drawings there, along with parts lists for many sections of the car.

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 Posted: 07-19-2005 01:31 am
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Ron Earp
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Are you thinking of using an aftermarket ignition such as a MSD-6AL? If so, I can outline the procedure for you in a few steps.

1. Pull dizzy cap, leave wires intact. Remove rotor, points, and condenser. Save for spares of when enemy EM pulse destroys all integrated circuit based ignitions. You can put your points back on and cruise when everyone else is walking!

2. Get engine at top dead center. Align white crank pulley mark with 0 degrees pointing setting, the right most tick with viewed from the front. Make sure cam pulley marks are aligned, if far off rotate engine crank pulley 180 degrees and they should be aligned - if not they'll be close, if not, then you need to time your engine.

3. Put Pertronix backer plate into dizzy, put magnetic sensor in place. Put rotor back on.

4. Notice which lead is spark plug number 1. With normal timing the #1 cylinder would have already fired at top dead center because you'll time the motor so that the static ignition is about 10 degrees before top dead center. So, estimate where the rotor would be if it had passed the number one terminal on the plug cap already. Adjust the dizzy so that the rotor will have just passed the #1 terminal. Remember, the rotor rotates toward the engine block, or counter clockwise if you were looking down on the dizzy.

5. Hook up the MSD as showned (black to ground, thin red to switched 12V source, fat red to constant 12V source). Now, hook the MSD to the Pertronix. You will take the white MSD wire and hook it to the BLACK Pertronix wire. Then, take the red Pertronix wire and hook it to a switched 12V source - I use the same one the MSD is running off of.

Fire it up! With the MSD in place you'll have some serious spark and nice adjustability if you use their optional timing retard unit. As soon as she tuns over get your timing light out and set the timing. If she doesn't fire up loosen the dizzy, hold it by hand, and rotate it a little left and right - when the timing gets close she'll light off, hold there and set timing with the timing light.

Ron

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