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My car started to misfire last week and was almost impossible to drive. 

I replaced the o rings between the carbs and the inlet manifold as well as the rubber things that hold the carbs on. I haven’t over tightened as I’ve been told by several sources that they should be some movement of the carbs.

As the carbs were off I removed the distributor to check all was well with that (it’s a 45d). 

Now ive put most of it back together it won’t start at all! 

‘A few pops and puffs of fuel from the carbs (air box is off).

what to check????

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Spray some carb cleaner into the intakes while you're attempting to start it - if it fires up you have a fuel issue.

Check fuel is getting to carbs - filter? Pump?

Ignition timing?

Plug leads?


Get one of those spark testers you attach between the lead and the plug (Laser do them) and that will tell you if you have spark.

Good luck, Richard

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did you do a meter lead check first, see what you get when shorting the leads. Depending on meter type you should get close to 0, but sometimes the lead to meter connection can be bad, and just wiggling can help. Check simple things first. And make sure you get a good metal to metal contact with the lead probe. Sounds silly, but initial readings can be wrong.


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Borrowed a known good coil and fitted it this morning. Still won’t start. 

Checked the voltage on the fuel pump, all good. 

‘Took the tops of the carbs and there is fuel in there.

spark plugs look a little black.

think it’s time to get someone round that knows what they are doing! 

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Check the basics...........

1.      does it have spark at the spark plug. 

2.      as you had the distributor out, has it been replaced in the correct orientation,  are the leads in the correct order, is it timed correctly

2.      does it have fuel

If the answer to all of the above is YES then it should start and run.

If you do not have spark at the plugs I would be looking to see if the points are adjusted correctly and wired correctly. If it is an electronic ignition then test by substitution. 

Good luck with the diagnosis and rectification.

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42 minutes ago, esprit s2 said:

 Does having no ignition light (On the dash) mean anything? It worked before.

Check the bulb itself first, but it does need to be in circuit for the alternator to charge correctly.


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I'd follow the advice above, but also put that multimeter on the low tension side of the coil with the ignition on to check that it is actually getting some voltage from the ignition feed both at rest and under cranking. Make sure that your link wire from your starter solenoid to the coil is in place - you may have dislodged it when playing with the distributor and carbs. If it is not connected, your coil is getting nothing when cranking, and that pop your hearing would be ignition on releasing the key back. I had this on my excel - a dirty pole on my starter switch. I could always start it - just needed a "technique".

Our cars seem to be at an age where the ignition switches are playing up. I had this on my excel, Simon had it on his Elite V8, and clive had a similar issue last week, which he diagnosed as a dodgy multiplug stopping the coil getting power.

Edit: pinkish wire is the feed to the coil in a balasted S1 car. Link wire from the starter solenoid easy to follow 🙂

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Did the missfire start after someone looked at the carbs and perhaps "adjusted" the float heights? I found out how critical float height is in a dellorto myself the hard way as all at that were at Brands 3 years ago will remember.... I had a sticking float needle valve and thought I would "help it along a bit" by bending the float arm a bit.

Hmm not my finest hour...

The words uttered at the time were: "Head", "utter", "an", "what" and "Dick", just not necessarily in that order.

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Great advice as always guys. Thanks.

Just to get things straight as I reassemble again:

Timing marks on cam pulleys line up.

Crank shaft Mark on the right hand pointer.

Distributor slots back in

Rotar arm now points at number one HT lead? 

Rotary arm spins counterclockwise?

Firing order

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Oh - I forgot you'd had the distributor out completely.

As the distributor turns at half the speed of the crank - it is entirely possible to put the distributor back in at the wrong tdc. If you do this, your car wont start. Ask me how I know this....

With me recounting all the schoolboy errors I've made on these threads it must leave a reader thinking "that Duncs a bit of a moron isn't he...."

🤣 🤣 🤣

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nothing is a stupid question if it helps you rule something out.

Put your multimeter onto the low tensions side of the coil and put it on your windscreen so you can see it whilst you turn the key and have the engine cranking. If it has voltage whilst you are cranking, there is nothing wrong with your feed. Also check the continuity of the connection from the starter solenoid to the coil.

If you have a jump pack or suchlike, you could wire it straight to the coil providing an auxilliary 12v?

I'm not sure about changing the plug wires through 180 degrees. I rememdied things when I had the 'strib wrong by removing the 'strib, advancing the engine through one more cycle to the next TDC using the crank bolt (timing belt was on), then putting the 'strib back in. She fired right up.


If it is still not going - where about are you in Essex?

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  • 1 month later...

good I'm glad it's running that should really have an ignition light I'm hoping that it's on now and also mine doesn't like having a lot of keys on the keyring seems to juggle the ignition barrel about and causes popping and farting 

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