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krytensmeghead

Esprit distributor cap

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I've just spent 5 hours over 2 days trying to put the distributor cap back on after testing the optical pickup in the distributor.

I eventually started using tape to hold the clips on so they don't fall off as often but I can't get the clips to go over the cap.

I can get everything lined up and put massive force on the side of the clip by levering against the side of the engine with a long screw driver through between the carbies but no amount of force will make the clip go over the cap.

Is there a technique to do this ?

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I done this last week.

Have you got the correct cap?

Did you get the tab on the dizzy into the slot in the cap?

You shouls just be able to push the side of the clip with your finger. If all ok shouldnt take much force.

Id say something is not right.

 

buddsy

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Thanks for your reply Buddsy

I'm as sure as I can be that the cap is located correctly, I rotated it until I felt it click into the locating slot. It's the same one that I took off but I replaced it a couple of years ago so it's not the original one.

 

I just found some info from a comment dated 2007 :

"I hate to further pee in your wheaties, but the distributor cap and rotor for the turbo esprit is special. Jeff from JAE explained to me that you must have the blue cap for the ignition to work properly. The other, cheap cap, will work but over time you performance will fall. Stabbing the distributor is one of favorite chores on the esprit, bloody knuckles and all :whistle:"

This was from here :

 

I had a look at SJ Sportscars and can't find any reference to a blue cap.

I have the lumenition ignition in mine.

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I agree wih Buddsy, I've done it on S3s & Stevens' Turbo using only my fingers so something is wrong somewhere. 

You could always whip off the carbs as that would give you a better view. :thumbup:

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Its not hard on an NA to remove the distributor with minimal dismantling. May be different on a turbo though I guess. Would let you look at it closer.

Clips should be finger pressure only. Does one go on but not the other? If so, its not lined up. Also its not hard to get things stuck under the cap preventing it seating correctly, even though you still get the feeling it is.

The clips also have a tendency to slide out of their nooks in the main distributor body. This stops them shutting. Its usually the lower one that does this. Typical!

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6 hours ago, Buddsy said:

Id say something is not right.

Think we all agree on this.   If you haven't already, remove the plenum cover to give decent access.  Also consider removing the dizzy to check what the issue is.   Its straightforward with the plenum removed.   No more than 20 mins to remove and check. 

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"  No more than 20 mins to remove and check "  Always a good way to jynx things Steve lol 

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Ok. Found a new cap and rotor button I bought a couple of years ago - I thought I'd replaced them but I hadn't. The new cap is brown as opposed to the black one I was trying to fit before and gave a better contrast to see what was happening.

Turns out the clip was going partially into the cap but one side of the clip was still on the side of the cap - needed to pivot the clip sideways slightly.

I'm now back to having everything reassembled and the same weak spark I had 3 weeks ago.

I've cleaned all the connectors in the coil box and run a dedicated earth to the lumenition case.

The coil is not original but fairly new. 3.7 ohms. Is this the correct resistance to be compatible with the ballast resistor and lumenition ?

Unfortunately I don't know the resistance of the original coil.

It says in the lumenition manual the coil must not be less than 1 ohm but doesn't mention the value of the ballast resistor.

Quoted from manual :

· SUITABLE FOR coils or coil/ballast combinations of not less than 3
ohms.
· NOT SUITABLE FOR use with low resistance (i.e. less than 1ohm)
electronic ignition coils

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Just for my own info, how does a 'weak spark' manifest? Is it just a visual thing or are you measuring in some way.

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Hi Slewthy

The spark just looked sort of weak and only activated the timing light on 1 and sometimes 2 cylinders even though I can see a small spark from each lead when I hold a spark plug against the block.

I had a look on youtube at people comparing strong and weak sparks.

The engine was running on 2 cylinders and now sounds like it's running on 1

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Gotcha. That makes sense. 

Just a thought and this may be totally unhelpful but I was wondering what happens if the timing light induction loop is attached to the lead from the coil to the distributor? Does it fire at every point/cylinder?

Might tell you whether the fault is upstream or downstream.

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Good idea and I can do another check, however I think it will be redundant as cylinder 1 has been consistently activating the timing light .

Also I have done the test for the optical pick up and getting a spark from the coil lead to the block every time I interrupt the beam. The spark didn't seem any more intense than at the spark plug but was jumping about 5mm so could probably reason that the problem is after the coil - maybe ?

The distributor shaft didn't seem to have any radial play so shouldn't be favoring 1 terminal over the others, however I did notice the rotor button seemed to be arcing right on the bottom edge of the terminal in the cap.

I compared measurements with the new cap and rotor button end everything adds up to the same relative position as the old one.

These are the tests performed as per the manual :

FAULT FINDING
If the newly installed system appears not to work, first recheck all connections then carry out the following tests. All tests are carried
out with the ignition switched on and the centre HT lead removed from the distributor and held approximately 6.5mm (1/4 inch) from
an earth point such as the engine, but away from the carburetor region
1. To test the complete system.
With the distributor cap removed and out of strong sunlight, a piece of opaque material such as a piece of black card. is passed
between the lenses of the optical switch. This should produce a spark from the HT lead to earth
2. To test the power module (and coil)
a) unplug the 3-way connector leading to the distributor and connect (by means of a small piece of wire) the blue wire to the black
wire leading to the power module. As this connection is made, a spark is produced at the HT lead. If no spark is produced, the
power module is suspect. If a weak spark is produced, the coil may be suspect

 

The weird thing is the engine was running ok before I took the leads off the plugs to paint the rocker covers, however the engine has always had intermittent issues.

Of course the first thing I did to try to fix it was to get new leads incase I'd damaged some removing them but no better.

I recently installed a new fuel tank in the boot area to see if it had dirty fuel issues and the day after I did that it ran fine. That was the day before I decided to paint the rocker covers while I had it here.

It spends most of it's time in storage, driven every couple of months to keep the fuel fresh and using fuel stabilizer.

 

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The Esprit may not have the worst distributor location.

This is the one in the Delorean with the distributor cap jammed under the fuel injection manifold.

Even worse when it's in the car, there's a firewall right next to it as well.

I'll be looking for an alternative ignition system if I end up using that engine again.

 

20180923_123900.jpg

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I had a bad batch of spark plugs, so engine was running on 2 cylinders, but I thought it was ignition. I was only getting half the spark pulses when using timing light on lead from coil. Seems like the insulation on plugs was breaking down and effectively shorting the coil to ground. I was sure it was ignition module, but was definitely spark plugs. They were NGK, and a new set fixed problem entirely(Still NGK). Normal multimeter test didn't show any fault on plugs.

Also, Lumenition can be tested by hand cranking engine to set up static timing, but the newer Accuspark module needs to rotate the cam at least 2 revs/sec, so static timing not possible if using that one. I replaced the Lumenition as it was losing about 1.5V across the switching transistor(which seemed to much to me) and therefore losing a significant amount of volts across the coil.

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My mechanic said he was caught out by 2 new faulty spark plugs recently as well recently.

I'd never heard of this before but it's now sounding more common.

They're cheap enough to change again to see if that makes a difference.

Thanks.

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Id try running the engine in the dark and look for sparks leaking out somewhere!

I had this on an MG midget when I swapped from solid copper to high quality flexible leads...there was a tiny hole on the king lead and 90% of my spark was earthing to the bodywork!

My mate noticed it when I fired her up in the dark...free and easy worth a try.

 

 

buddsy

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Good shout Buddsy, could well be tracking :)

Just reading throught the list of things changed on this,   Two things pop out,   The first would be the HT leads that can become weak with age and stretch when been removed after a long time,  i woould order a new set of HT leads from SJ and pop them on before anything else.   The are pretty much service items anyway.

Could also be bad plugs, not uncommon to have bad batches.  

For the sake of 20 or 30 quid, it seems a wise idea to replace these items imo  :thumbup:

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Tried new leads ( SJ doesn't seem to sell them so bought some locally )

Tried new plugs - got the ones without resistors, now I can use the radio to see if the ignition is working.( woops )

The original problem of getting the distributor cap back on is past now and although the spark " seemed " weak it appears to be working ok.

As I said previously the car was running well until I removed the leads to paint the rocker covers.

I must have done that the same time as the cap and jet vanished from the carby. The one on the left is missing as seen in the photo - hence the whole running on 2 cylinders scenario.

Still don't know why the timing light wasn't triggering on all the leads but I'm pretty sure I had a fuel issue .

I was somehow able to find the missing parts with an endoscope camera and used a vacuum cleaner with a small tube to pick them up. They were lodged under my favorite distributor.

Cleaned and fitted the parts back to the carby and the engine ran smoothly for the first time in over a month.

Drove it for about 10 minutes and it started to run rough then stalled.

There was no sign of it even trying to kick when I cranked it but the radio was telling me I had ignition at least to some extent.

Waited about 1 hour for road service thinking " great - a mechanic can actually diagnose this." The last mechanic I tried to get to look at it ran for his life as soon as he saw the car.

No such luck. The road service guy turned up and the car had fixed itself, started first kick and I drove it home 5 minutes away.

I used to get this problem before I installed the new tank thinking some rust was blocking the pump but it would start again after a minute or so.

Maybe it could be vacuum in the tank. It's only 40 litres and is vented but via a surge valve which may be restrictive. I just didn't want any fuel going out through the vent hose.

The other part I haven't replaced is the fuel pressure regulator but I checked the pressure when I got the carbies rebuilt 2 years ago ( about 250 kms ago )

I probably need to search for fuel issues on the forum now.

20180923_154617.jpg

20180923_154822.jpg

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I have just fixed a possibly similar issue. I was running out of fuel when on motorway at 60mph or so, and was obviously fuel starvation. When I checked the fuel flow from the pump, it was about 100ml/minute, or at least 10 times less than what it should be. A bit of a giveaway was how long the pump had to run when ignition was first switched on, and it should normally pressurise in maybe 3-4 secs, but was ticking for a lot longer. Turned out to be a very clogged strainer gauze inside the tank where the banjo fitting is. Tank out, gauze removed, all good. Mind you, I know a different setup to the Esprit, but check your fuel flow is within normal range, probably should be 1-2 litres/minute for a turbo. Just disconnect fuel line to carbs and pump into a container for 30 secs and check. Might be a good sanity check at least.

Also, check float levels carefully.

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