Lancia Motor Club

Model Technical and Interest => Fulvia => Topic started by: andyps on 26 September, 2020, 10:02:56 PM



Title: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 26 September, 2020, 10:02:56 PM
Having got my car to run, albeit not particularly smoothly and with the ignition light on I haven't managed to get it running again. I got a replacement voltage regulator from Omicron which I've fitted (and had previously had the alternator rebuilt) and as far as I can tell after checking with Omicron I have it wired in correctly.

The basic issue is that I rarely get a spark, and it is weak if there is one. I've gone through all the tests in my trusty old AA Book of the Car and after going through various earth connections because it could vary from working correctly to not doing without doing anything other than testing things light the LT wire from the coil to distributor on a couple of different earths where it might be correct, then not correct whichever way I tried earthing it. I now (maybe) have it isolated to a problem with the distributor potentially shorting, so think I need to take it out and clean everything to ensure that is resolved. My question is, how do I do this? I have a very poor quality spare distributor and can't easily see how it might come apart, in particular the plate on which the points and condenser mount. Also, it would be good to replace the LT wire to the coil but I'm not sure how to get the old one out, and to get the sleeve it passes through out.

All thoughts welcome!


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: nistri on 27 September, 2020, 07:06:41 AM
Is the condenser OK? If this is poor, it might have also affected the coil operation as the coil can be energized effectively only with a good condenser. Before removing the distributor I would ensure that these two items are OK, Andrea


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: nistri on 27 September, 2020, 07:09:12 AM
By the way, as indicated in another post of mine, there has been recently an epidemic of coil failures in Fulvias. Subframe vibrations and under bonnet heat have been suspected as the causative factors, Andrea


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: Jai Sharma on 27 September, 2020, 09:39:19 AM
In the past I have found faulty condensers even if they were new, so don't rule out trying another or try the old one


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 27 September, 2020, 11:42:34 AM
I think the condenser in the car was pretty much unused as it looked very clean, I know there was some work done to get it running about 5 years ago before I bought it. I'll maybe swap back. The old coil had tested OK but I replaced it as a precaution. I've had a few other things to do this morning but will go and have a fiddle shortly. I've found the section in the repair shop manual about dismantling the distributor so I'll take a lot of photos and give it a go!


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: D5177_55A on 27 September, 2020, 04:10:20 PM
Where the wire disappears through the body of the distributor, and is gripped by the copper grips either side, I put a couple of heat shrink sleeves over the top of one another to make sure the wire didnít rub as it did before. Took me ages to figure out why the car was completely dead!
(http://)


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 27 September, 2020, 10:02:01 PM
Where the wire disappears through the body of the distributor, and is gripped by the copper grips either side, I put a couple of heat shrink sleeves over the top of one another to make sure the wire didnít rub as it did before. Took me ages to figure out why the car was completely dead!
(http://)

Thanks for that, the copper grips aren't gripping mine, they slide along it fairly easily. Having had a play around again today I'm not convinced it is the distributor earthing, I'm at least getting a consistent spark now, just a weak one. I'd like to replace that wire but guess the only way is to put a new one in and then put a connector of the end of it - I can't see how to get the grommet type thing out which if passes through in the distributor body. I need to get some green wire though!


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: lancialulu on 28 September, 2020, 08:51:30 AM
Check for a solid 12v at the coil. Dirty ignition switch and or fuse (7?) can combine to poor voltage esp when cranking. Battery is OK? Hotwire the coil to the battery and see if that makes a difference...


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 28 September, 2020, 12:20:57 PM
Check for a solid 12v at the coil. Dirty ignition switch and or fuse (7?) can combine to poor voltage esp when cranking. Battery is OK? Hotwire the coil to the battery and see if that makes a difference...

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm getting a good connection to the coil, battery failed in my multimeter though so haven't checked actual voltage but new battery in hand I will do this evening. All fuses cleaned up but next job is to clean the connections to them, the ignition switch is operating everything else and the car has run recently, just won't start at the moment. Battery is new and keeps getting recharged so that is fine. I can try the hotwire though! Just ordered new points and plugs, even though existing ones seem OK and are relatively recent.

You mentioned in the Facebook post I did about an earth from the gearbox bellhousing to the subframe/front spring housing - I can't see anything there on my car so if you can give me a little more detail about where it should be routed I can check again although as far as I can see there isn't anything.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: Charles Frodsham on 28 September, 2020, 02:00:40 PM
Are the plugs new? I know NGK plugs, once oiled, are near impossible to get working properly again.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: lancialulu on 28 September, 2020, 04:10:38 PM

You mentioned in the Facebook post I did about an earth from the gearbox bellhousing to the subframe/front spring housing - I can't see anything there on my car so if you can give me a little more detail about where it should be routed I can check again although as far as I can see there isn't anything.
[/quote]

Normally a thickish black wire from one of the bell housing bolts to the rhs (looking to the front of the car) front bolt holding the coil mounting bracket down.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: davidwheeler on 28 September, 2020, 10:10:51 PM
I know it is nice to keep things original but...   I have had trouble with weak spark on my 2CV rebuild despite points and coils being in good condition.  I fitted an electronic ignition pack but still weak spark.  However, this allowed me to go on to a high voltage coil as well - result!   The setup looks identical to the original too.  No longer do I have to churn for a minute or so to get it to go.   My Series II Sport came with electronic ignition and high voltage coil and, once I had sorted out the earth, performs faultlessly.    I see no problem in using modern technology where it is demonstrably superior (as in led side lights for example) and looks the same from the outside.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 29 September, 2020, 12:40:00 PM
Are the plugs new? I know NGK plugs, once oiled, are near impossible to get working properly again.

I had heard that in relation to modern fuels, I've got new ones on the way from Omicron.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 29 September, 2020, 12:41:25 PM

You mentioned in the Facebook post I did about an earth from the gearbox bellhousing to the subframe/front spring housing - I can't see anything there on my car so if you can give me a little more detail about where it should be routed I can check again although as far as I can see there isn't anything.

Normally a thickish black wire from one of the bell housing bolts to the rhs (looking to the front of the car) front bolt holding the coil mounting bracket down.
[/quote]

Definitely not got a lead there so will add one, it was too late last night to do it when I got chance, will be later in the week now as I'm working in the evening for the next couple of days.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 29 September, 2020, 12:43:53 PM
I know it is nice to keep things original but...   I have had trouble with weak spark on my 2CV rebuild despite points and coils being in good condition.  I fitted an electronic ignition pack but still weak spark.  However, this allowed me to go on to a high voltage coil as well - result!   The setup looks identical to the original too.  No longer do I have to churn for a minute or so to get it to go.   My Series II Sport came with electronic ignition and high voltage coil and, once I had sorted out the earth, performs faultlessly.    I see no problem in using modern technology where it is demonstrably superior (as in led side lights for example) and looks the same from the outside.

I agree with you - I'm more concerned about a working car than one that is original so happy to swap to an electronic distributor but would like to get the car running first with any other issues solved. Only concern about an electronic distributor is that if it fails then that is it for that journey whereas it is possible to keep a spare set of points etc. to fit if needed at the roadside.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: lancialulu on 29 September, 2020, 02:19:48 PM
Are the plugs new? I know NGK plugs, once oiled, are near impossible to get working properly again.
I am a fan of NGK and would rather have them to champion..... The Fulvia HF has these small diameter plugs that often drop on infrequent starting but I have never had NGK continue to fail after a clean and airline but had all sorts with Champion.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: BolognaFulvia on 29 September, 2020, 02:43:39 PM
Afternoon, having found this forum to be invaluable over the last two years recommissioning my 1976 1.3s I think I am in a position to return some of my "experience". So here are my observations on what seems a very familiar situation. Condenser, condenser condenser. They cost nothing and take 5minutes to swap but do cause very similar symptoms. BUT as already pointed out there are faulty ones floating about which caused a 6 month headache for me.

However, all this fettling and tweaking over a period of weeks can (as pointed out already) foul up the spark plugs and cause one to think your problem still exists even when you have solved it by replacing the condenser, all be it one that works.

Which brings me to another possible "overlapping" problem of the ignition barrel. This at best will be 40 years old and maybe hasn't been used for 10 years and now is being used repeatedly while you work through the problem. So your already worn barrel may now be verging on the terminal and at best intermittent - as was the case with mine. Generator light shows on the dash, engine turns over but doesn't fire. Lots of cursing and swapping condenser, cleaning plugs etc get back in and it fires up - problem solved with the new/faulty condenser or was it the cleaned plugs? Take her for a spin - perfect. Next day turn on, generator light on - won't fire up.

Omicron suggested a new ignition barrel and key - problem solved. It also solved an ongoing two year problem I had with the engine cutting out every time you used the left indicator. I may be way off the mark - just a thought - might help. Good luck.



Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 29 September, 2020, 07:46:01 PM
Thanks for the suggestion of the ignition switch, it has been mentioned before so definitely next to look at if the other things go nowhere. I'm sure the connections to it would benefit from being cleaned up if nothing else.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: nistri on 30 September, 2020, 08:03:36 AM
Condenser: beware of condensers that don't show make and rating (0.25 microF) on their surface, Andrea


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: Jaydub on 30 September, 2020, 11:28:56 AM
Andy,  I agree with the comments about eliminating possible condenser failure. However,  you do not need to worry about the microfarad value of the condenser if you use a competition condenser from Swiftune Engineering in Kent. I have no connection to them but having used their condensers for many years on countless race engines with contact breaker ignitions, I have never heard of a failure! They aren`t cheap at around £30.00 inc vat but you will have complete reliability from them, so cheaper in the long run.
 You fit one connection directly to the contact breaker side of the coil and the other side to the coil mounting bracket as an earth. Remove the one in the distributor as it`s not needed and that is the worst environment for a condenser anyway with heat and vibration. If you opt for a cheaper reproduction type, mount it to the coil as I suggested, it will help it to survive.
Good luck.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 30 September, 2020, 08:12:12 PM
Andy,  I agree with the comments about eliminating possible condenser failure. However,  you do not need to worry about the microfarad value of the condenser if you use a competition condenser from Swiftune Engineering in Kent. I have no connection to them but having used their condensers for many years on countless race engines with contact breaker ignitions, I have never heard of a failure! They aren`t cheap at around £30.00 inc vat but you will have complete reliability from them, so cheaper in the long run.
 You fit one connection directly to the contact breaker side of the coil and the other side to the coil mounting bracket as an earth. Remove the one in the distributor as it`s not needed and that is the worst environment for a condenser anyway with heat and vibration. If you opt for a cheaper reproduction type, mount it to the coil as I suggested, it will help it to survive.
Good luck.

Thanks, that is a route I hadn't come across before. For that cost it is worth doing too, I'll get in touch with Switune tomorrow.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: chriswgawne on 01 October, 2020, 08:16:06 AM
Echoing Tim's earlier post, I always use NGK spark plugs and also NKG plug caps where appropriate such as Aurelia.
I have never had a faulty NGK item.
Chris


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: fay66 on 01 October, 2020, 10:05:38 AM
Echoing Tim's earlier post, I always use NGK spark plugs and also NKG plug caps where appropriate such as Aurelia.
I have never had a faulty NGK item.
Chris
To echo Tim and Chris, I've been using ngk plugs for over 20 years in my Fulvia 2c, and in many other cars over the last 40?years with no problems.
I've always kept a clean set handy as if you do overchoke and foul a plug it's a waste of time cleaning it if you have another handy.
I went over to NGK platinum plugs last year as I was having a fouling problem, these seem to have overcome the problem but it's early days yet.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: fay66 on 01 October, 2020, 10:11:48 AM
Echoing Tim's earlier post, I always use NGK spark plugs and also NKG plug caps where appropriate such as Aurelia.
I have never had a faulty NGK item.
Chris
To echo Tim and Chris, I've been using ngk plugs for over 20 years in my Fulvia 2c, and in many other cars over the last 40?years with no problems.
I've always kept a clean set handy, as if you do over choke and foul a plug it's a waste of time cleaning it if you have another handy.
I went over to NGK platinum plugs last year as I was having a fouling problem, these seem to have overcome the problem but it's early days yet.
I also fitted a Sparkrite 400? Electronic ignition unit that just uses the points as a trigger, I previously had one made from a Maplins kit by my friend the late Bob Seaney, that ran well for many years and ran for a  number of years before in his wife's Fulvia, I last changed the points 15 years ago!
Brian
8227  8)


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: Charles Frodsham on 01 October, 2020, 01:49:39 PM
I use NGK plugs on all my cars.

However, there seems to be a failure mechanism when they are approximately a year old ( hence I change them every year), and once fouled they will not be coaxed back to life however well they are cleaned. This is not just my experience as I have heard similar stories.

Great plugs......but change them every year!


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 01 October, 2020, 02:30:25 PM
I use NGK plugs on all my cars.

However, there seems to be a failure mechanism when they are approximately a year old ( hence I change them every year), and once fouled they will not be coaxed back to life however well they are cleaned. This is not just my experience as I have heard similar stories.

Great plugs......but change them every year!

I read recently (in the report of one of the contributors cars in Octane magazine I think) that it is modern fuels that mean that once a plug has been fouled and left they won't work again.

I got a new set of plugs from Omicron yesterday but haven't opened it yet, can't remember what brand they recommended.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: lancialulu on 01 October, 2020, 06:08:31 PM
I use NGK plugs on all my cars.

However, there seems to be a failure mechanism when they are approximately a year old ( hence I change them every year), and once fouled they will not be coaxed back to life however well they are cleaned. This is not just my experience as I have heard similar stories.

Great plugs......but change them every year!
I cannot say this is my experience..... I have heard that maybe modern fuels glaze the the tip so the the spark tracks and I cannot remember the remedy but it has not been a problem for me. Cant remember when I last bought a set of plugs and I run 8 Lancias....


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: Neil on 01 October, 2020, 07:41:44 PM
Try NGK Iridium plugs, a bit more expensive seem pretty to reliable with my 1.3.


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: fay66 on 01 October, 2020, 08:56:18 PM
Try NGK Iridium plugs, a bit more expensive seem pretty to reliable with my 1.3.
Sorry, I said I fitted platinum plugs, in fact as Neil says here they were NGK Iridium.
Brian
8227  8)


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 01 October, 2020, 10:44:39 PM
I'd already got one plug out so I could see if it was sparking so I changed it for a new plug tonight and there is a spark, but not with the old one. It was a bit late in the day to try starting it so that might have to wait until Saturday but definite progress. Competition condenser ordered from Swiftune which should arrive Saturday.

Still need to sort an earth strap from the gearbox bellhousing to the subframe but can make something up for that. Hopefully might start and run reliably soon!


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: simonandjuliet on 05 October, 2020, 02:31:11 PM
Sorry to "invade" this thread but it got me thinking about the spare distributors on my shelf - if anyone wants an inexpensive distributor to convert (or have as a spare) please see my parts for sale advert on the Forum !


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 06 October, 2020, 10:27:57 AM
Just looked at your ad - quite a collection of distributors you have there but I've got a spare that looks similar to those so don't really need another.

Update on mine - the weekend didn't go to plan so I only got chance to work on it yesterday evening, I put earth straps I'd bought - one between the clutch bellhousing and one from battery earth to the bulkhead - they didn't seem to make much difference. I then removed the distributor, cleaned it all thoroughly but couldn't see anything wrong. I reassembled it, fitted the external condenser from Swiftune (thanks for the tip about it from Jaydub) and put the distributor back in. Result was a nice consistent spark at the points and then a good one at the plug I had out. It was 10pm by that point so a bit late to try firing it up but I'm a little more hopeful for when I get chance.

Stripping the distributor down and reassembly seemed to go OK, I was concerned about getting things wrong and messing up the timing but hopefully got it right!


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 08 October, 2020, 08:41:45 PM
Another update, it fired up reasonably easily tonight and ran better than it has previously so a much happier person now! I need to get the timing set right, can it be done with a strobe light? I'm assuming so but haven't read up about that yet.

Running also highlighted that there is a hole in the silencer so another item for the shopping list but I'm thinking I might manage the goal of driving it before the end of the year!


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: nistri on 09 October, 2020, 01:07:16 PM
The strobe light is very useful to check timing since it averages out the difference between sparkplug #1 and #4. It is helpful to mark the /8 sign on the flywheel with white paint. Use a very short 13 mm spanner to undo the distributor nut, Andrea


Title: Re: Magnetti Marelli distributor cleaning
Post by: andyps on 09 October, 2020, 08:53:13 PM
The strobe light is very useful to check timing since it averages out the difference between sparkplug #1 and #4. It is helpful to mark the /8 sign on the flywheel with white paint. Use a very short 13 mm spanner to undo the distributor nut, Andrea

Thanks, I'll dig out my strobe light soon. I ordered a stubby 13mm spanner last night after once again struggling with the nut on the distributor clamp!