It’s all in the timing

A bloke on the EMLRA forums had a rotor arm and set of points for the 24v distributor (found on the military 2.286 petrol engine) up for sale.  Seemed like a bargain so I snapped them up and this weekend (with a nasty cold) I fitted them to The Duke.

It was easier than I thought.  The components aren’t too fiddly and because it’s a military component everything is twelve times bigger and beefier than it needs to be.  The problem was that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on the military distributor available online, so for most of the time I was flying blind!

The Duke’s ignition system on the bench 

The old rotor arm doesn’t look terrible but it’s clearly seen better days. 

Old and new points together.  I’ve already scrubbed the old ones to remove the loose rubbish and they’re pretty badly pitted. 

The mechanical advance mechanism – one of the things that makes the 24v distributor better than the civilian model, which has a vacuum advance. 

New rotor arm fitted
As I said, there isn’t much information available, so when setting the points gap I resorted to copying the settings for the civilian version – making the maximum gap about 0.4mm – a great excuse to use my feeler gauges for the first time!
Refitting to the engine was a doddle.  The timing needed to be advanced further than usual for smooth running, but things sounded good at idle and under revs.  I did the timing by ear, which is probably bad but has always worked better than using the strobe.  We haven’t been for a test drive yet because I felt like a badgers arse by the time all this was done, but hopefully there’ll be a slight improvement.

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