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 Posted: 11-06-2018 03:01 am
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Tom Bradley
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I might add that the rotation is clockwise when viewed from the top of the distributor cap. The attached picture is from the JH parts catalog. Hopefully you will be able to see where the #2 and #4 plug wires are attached. The other two should be easy to figure out from the firing order.

Attachment: spark plug wiring.jpg (Downloaded 105 times)

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 Posted: 11-08-2018 12:59 am
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flatlanderep
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I realize this post does not belong in this topic but since I started, I will continue. Here is the latest. Went to TDC, removed distributor cap, found where rotor was pointing & connected #1 sp wire to this dist. contact. Followed counter clockwise with 3,4,2. Checked static timing and it sparked as expected and timing pointed about 12 degrees for my Dellorto carbs. Tried starting and it does start, very rough but within 30 sec. saw sparks in the Dell carb filters and then stalls. As I stated in earlier post, when all this started I found that the distributor cap clip on engine side was off, therefore the cap was not connected. The timing should not be off just because cap was loose. Is timing off or what is next? Also, just installed new plugs and removing #1 during this process & already spark plug fouling.

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 Posted: 11-08-2018 06:27 am
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Tim Murphy
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"... saw sparks in the Dell carb filters and then stalls."

Tim: I don't think you saw electrical sparks but rather ignited gasoline. Something is way out of whack. First, you could have gotten confused as to rotation direction of rotor. Check that again. For TDC, make sure both crank pully and cam pulleys are simultaneously lined up correctly. Do not bundle the spark plug wires together at any point, try to keep them all completely separate. I would then suggest doing a compression check to make sure your valves are closing. Take care and good luck

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 Posted: 11-08-2018 05:29 pm
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Esprit2
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Randallclary@icloud.com wrote:
Thanks Tim. Do my other comments seem ok?No problems.
Tim

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 Posted: 11-08-2018 07:17 pm
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Esprit2
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When you're standing in front of the car, looking at the front of the engine, it's normal running direction is CLOCKWISE. That includes the Auxiliary pulley/shaft and distributor.
Tom Bradley wrote:
... the rotation is clockwise when viewed from the top of the distributor cap.'WHEN VIEWED FROM THE TOP OF THE DISTRIBUTOR CAP' -- When you move to a point further back, closer to the flywheel, and look forward at the 'top' of the distributor cap, the direction of rotation is COUNTER-CLOCKWISE. The rotation is still Clockwise, but your point of view has reversed. So from a more aft point of view, the rotor will appear to rotate COUNTER-CLOCKWISE.

Once you locate the #1 terminal on the cap, install the #1 plug wire there, and rest of the plug wires in 1-3-4-2 order, counter-clockwise around the cap.

flatlanderep wrote:
Went to TDC, removed distributor cap, found where rotor was pointing & connected #1 sp wire to this dist. contact.TDC isn't enough, it needs to be #1 TDC. That means with the crank at TDC, the timing dots on the cam pulleys must also be adjacent and aligned ON the imaginary centerline between the cams. If the timing marks are on far opposite sides of the cam pulleys, then rotate the crank clockwise through one more full revolution, and back to TDC. The timing marks should now be adjacent and aligned ON the centerline between the cams.

That may be a 'Duh' sort of thing, where of course you meant #1 TDC. But we can only diagnose based on what you say, and I didn't want to have a problem go un-noticed due to an assumption. Sorry if I'm being too pedantic.

Followed counter clockwise with 3,4,2. Checked static timing and it sparked as expected and timing pointed about 12 degrees for my Dellorto carbs.That sounds right. I'll just add that a near stock Federal 907 with Dellortos likes 12-14 BTDC. The Static Advance given in the JH manual has more to do with meeting European emissions standards that were in place at the time, than with making the engine happy.

Tried starting and it does start, very rough but within 30 sec. saw sparks in the Dell carb filters and then stalls.Do get the ignition sorted out. Whether it was the original culprit or not, it has been apart and must be put back right.

"IF" all the components are good, then your set-up sounds right. But note that many of the distributor caps and rotors on the market now are manufactured in India or elsewhere in Asia/ the Pacific Rim. They are not 'originals', and many of them are crap out of the box. If all else fails, buy a set of Bosch cap & rotor, and replace any questionable parts.

What coil are you using? The original 23 or 25 D4 distributors are small in diameter, with appropriately small distributor caps. That puts all the plug wire terminals so close together that a hotter spark from a high performance coil can arc between the terminals inside the cap. DO NOT use a hot coil with a 23 or 25 D4. The later (sometime mid-1974 ?) 43 or 45 D4 distributors are larger in diameter, and can handle hotter coils... but only something on the order of the Lucas Sport Coil (gold body). But the really hot 'FlameThrower', 45,000 volt coils are still potentially more problematic than helpful. If you have a 'hot' coil, go back to stock-ish until your current problems are resolved.

As I stated in earlier post, when all this started I found that the distributor cap clip on engine side was off, therefore the cap was not connected. The timing should not be off just because cap was loose. Is timing off or what is next? Also, just installed new plugs and removing #1 during this process & already spark plug fouling.A loose cap 'could' be a cause of your problems. Maybe not... I can't see from here. But it does need to be secure... get both clips securely snapped.

But the previous paragraphs are a side-bar... a diversion to follow-up on your ignition adventures. As Tim Murphy pointed out, flashes seen in the air filters are not 'sparks'... as in ignition. They're flames/ small explosions due to a backfire through the carbs, and that indicates something else going on. Ignition problems such as incorrect firing order could cause a backfire, but it's unlikely the engine would start if the firing order is backwards (CW vs CCW around the cap). Since it sounds like your getting your ignition house in order, and you say the engine did start and run for ~30 seconds, I'm leaning toward my original thoughts on the matter, and suspect that you really have carb issues. Too lean of an idle mixture can cause backfiring, and the flashes you saw in the air filters.

Remove and inspect the Idle Jets for any signs of varnish deposits in their bores. If you don't see clean brass in the bores, then there is something on them (varnish), clean it off. If the build-up is crusty (like plaster), and restriction the clean bore diameter, then all that has to go. Idle Jets work with small dimensions, and anything that screws with those dimensions can restrict fuel flow, result in a lean idle mixture, and backfiring into the air filters at idle.

Do you run normal pump gas, or ethanol-free 'Non-Ox' gas? Does the car get driven much, or more to the point, how long does a tank of gas reside in the car... and carbs. Normal pump gas can go 'bad', and varnish-up the jets and interior passages in as little as 2.5 - 3.0 months.

Finish your ignition adventures. Then make your next priority pulling the jets, inspecting and cleaning.

With the carbs clean, adjust the Idle Mixture Screws... preliminarily. Then balance the carbs... which is a subject all by itself. Then re-adjust the Idle Mixture Screws as required to produce peak Manifold Vacuum. Peak Manifold Vacuum equates to peak idle rpm, but the tach on the dash is not accurate enough. Use a hand-held Tach & Dwell diagnostic meter. Tuning by ear... well, it's better than not trying at all, but the list of preference, it's somewhere futher down the list below the inaccurate dash tach.

If the engine once ran better, then just got worse after the passage of time, that just screams bad gas and plugged jets. Either clean the carbs/ jets, or confirm it's not a problem. Don't try to 'tune around it' as your first step down that road.

An engine with carbs that are way out of balance will run VERY rough, or run basically on two cylinders, spit, sputter, backfire... etc. Sound familiar?

Good luck,
Tim Engel

Last edited on 11-09-2018 04:00 am by Esprit2

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 Posted: 11-08-2018 10:35 pm
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DonBurns
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I'll put out one more possibility that some may scoff at, but just discovered this on my car and it solved most of my issues. Kind of a duh moment.

I have new silicone wires, and had of course verified that the wires were securely attached to the plugs and the boots were securely seated on the distributor cap. I had a Pertronics distributor which was leaking oil through the body because it was not designed for the horizontal mounting. Got a rebuilt Lucas from the club store and installed it. I was looking at the Pertronics and noticed that one of the outside cap connectors (#1) was black - I almost thought the copper sleeve was missing. Looking inside the cap the #1 connection had some burning as did the next one to a lesser extent. I figured out that while the silicone boots were secure, the copper connectors were not extend out enough into the boots to fully extend into the cap connectors. There was enough voltage to jump, but it rapidly carbonized the connection. When I installed the new cap I used needle nose pliers to pull out the connection a bit, seated the connection then pulled the boots over. No more missing I think - at least reduced the point that it may be my imagination now.

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 Posted: 11-09-2018 09:09 am
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Tim Murphy
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You didn't say if you had an electronic ignition. If you have the stock set up with points, be sure your point gap is correct and that the point mechanism is screwed down tightly and doesn't slip.

Last edited on 11-09-2018 09:10 am by Tim Murphy

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 Posted: 11-10-2018 02:43 am
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flatlanderep
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Just want to clarify, that prior to starting, #1 was at TDC with the cam gears aligned by their marks. The coil is 12 volt Bosch, plug wires are Magnecor High Performance from Delta. D. cap and rotor also from Delta and no Petronix. The previous SP wires did not fit well on the cap and several were very loose but the new ones are tight.
Steve

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 Posted: 11-30-2018 02:40 am
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flatlanderep
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Update, heard about bad condensers and found company,
British Vacuum Unit, in New Hampshire makes upgraded condenser. Installed today, made sure TDC and on timing marks. Tried starting and it will not turn over so not a condenser problem. Is it possibly coil & any way to verify if coil is working properly? Not sure what to try next...
Steve

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 Posted: 11-30-2018 06:24 pm
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Tom Bradley
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Hi Steve,

Does your tachometer move when you crank the engine? If not, then there is most likely a problem in your primary circuit. If the tach shows some RPM's, then try connecting one of the spark plug wires to a spark plug outside the engine with the case of the plug grounded to the engine block. When you crank the engine, there should be a strong visible spark. A weak or nonexistent spark means you have problems somewhere. You can also plug the spark plug cable directly into the coil to check if the problem is in the distributor setup.

Do you have an automotive DMM? If not, buy one. These have all sorts of functions which make diagnosing ignition problems easier, like checking if the points are bad or if the dwell angle (point gap) is off. They also usually come with instructions which should help you better understand how the circuit works. A timing light is also needed for getting the ignition timing correct. A remote starter switch does not cost much and allows you to crank the engine while standing next to the engine compartment instead of inside the car, which saves a lot of time.

Tom

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 Posted: 12-12-2018 02:34 am
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flatlanderep
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Pulled #1 plug & placed on engine & I did get spark when trying to start the car. It is at TDC, piston and timing marks aligned. Question, how can I tell for sure if the engine is at the top of the exhaust or compression stroke?

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 Posted: 12-12-2018 03:28 am
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Tom Bradley
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If the sprocket timing marks are aligned as shown in the manual, then you should be TDC on compression cycle on cylinder #1. When the crank goes one revolution to TDC exhaust, the cams will only have gone half way around, so the cam timing marks will not be aligned.

Do you have a can of "quick start" spray? It is available at auto parts stores. If your timing is set reasonably close to correct you should get something firing with this stuff. If not, then most likely your distributor is still not set up right. A timing light is the most reliable way to verify that the spark is occurring when it should.

If you do not trust the sprocket timing marks, I suppose you could verify the compression cycle by removing all the spark plugs except #1. Then if you hand crank the engine, it will be noticeably harder to turn as you approach TDC on the compression cycle for piston #1 due to the compressed air. Or if you electrically crank the engine, it will tend to continue going, stop and bounce back on the #1 compression cycle. All assuming that cylinder has good compression.

Attachment: sprocket alignment small.jpg (Downloaded 39 times)

Last edited on 12-12-2018 07:24 pm by Tom Bradley

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 Posted: 12-15-2018 02:40 am
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flatlanderep
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Back at it tonight, went through entire process again, found #1 TDC. Connected plugs to dizzy in 1, 3, 4, 2 order. Verified coil working. Used timing light to set timing 12 degrees for the Dellorto carbs. Tried to start, no go, still just cranks but does not fire. Decided that it is now time to have it towed to get service from a mechanic. The only thing I did not check was the points but only have < 500 miles on them since changed last year. I will let you know what outcome is hoepfully when running again. Thanks for all the posts. May be time to go to electronic ignition.
Steve

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 Posted: 12-15-2018 02:40 pm
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Brett Gibson JH5 20497
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Bad condenser on the points, spend the money you were going to pay the mechanic and buy the electronic ignition.
Brett.
PS: even new condensers can be NG out of the box, been there.

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 Posted: 12-15-2018 04:54 pm
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flatlanderep
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Is it best to go with Petronix & Flamethrower coil? In the past I have read on the forums about MSD or Crane Allen?

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 Posted: 12-15-2018 07:09 pm
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Tom Bradley
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Electronic ignition is a nice upgrade, but is not necessarily a solution. Your car should at least fire up with the old-fashioned points. Do you have a voltmeter? You can measure the voltage at the coil plug that is connected to the points. When the points are closed this voltage should be 0.3V or less. If it is higher than this there is a bad connection somewhere, most likely the points, but it could also be a poor electrical connection somewhere else along the line. There could be a bad connection in the wiring going to the distributor or the flex wire connecting between the points and the body of the distributor could have become frayed or loose. If the problem is one of these things then installing an electronic ignition may still have the same problem and leave you even more frustrated.

That you got a spark with an external plug is good, but it takes more voltage to get a spark to jump across a gap with the high pressures existing inside the cylinder. So checking that you have a good connection is something that you really should do no matter what you end up doing. Also, some DMM's also can measure capacitance, which will allow you to check whether the condenser is good or not.

I know how frustrating solving problems like these are, especially for someone new. I have been there. But it is also a nice feeling when you can get the problem fixed yourself.

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