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Help needed with ignition (running and starting)


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The problem started on my '74Tii (Tii non-vac disti with points) a few weeks ago when the car started "stuttering" while driving -- felt like the ignition was cutting out completely for a second. The tach would jump when I stepped on the clutch to change gears.

I suspected the condenser - though it was only 1000mi old (changed with new points and plugs). I swapped in a used Bosch condenser and the problem seemed to mostly go away, although not entirely.

So I ordered new Bosch condenser from Pelican and bought a set of Karlyn OEM plug wires as well. I installed them and tried starting the car, but ti would not start. I left the ignition in the on position as I went to check the connections and realized I had not connected the condenser to the coil. It sparked as I connected it.

I tried again. Still would not start. But, it was smelling like it was flooded. So pulled of the sparkplugs and blew in some compressed air and let it sit before I put it back in.

Still would not start. So, I went back to the used Bosch condenser. Car started right up, but ran a little rough until I reved it up (I suspected some plugs were fouled). I should have stopped here.

Since it was running, I thought I'd try the new condenser once more. No go. Smell of fuel once again. So again pulled the plugs to air it out. Swapped back to the used Bosch condenser. Still no start.

I've got fuel. The connection from the coil to the condenser and points is good. What am I missing? Will get my wife to assist tomorrow and will check for spark.

Also, when I pulled out the plugs the last go-round I noticed that 3 of the plugs (Bosch Super Made in Germany) had a loose insulator. The entire insulator and central electrode would rotate easily within the body. Looks like there was some blowby between the insulator and the body of the plug. Never had this happen before. Is this common?

I've replaced with new NGK BP6ES plugs. Will try again tomorrow. :(


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Try the basics when you get chance. Check for spark when cranking at plug and coil wire. Try to open the points manually. What happens? Does this finally give you a spark? Do you get a big spark at the points? Check all HT lead connections are snapped home properly.

Voltage at coil low tension connections ; both cranking and steady? Check the points themselves, put some emory cloth between them and make sure they are clean and parallel.

The replacement plugs will definitely help

rtheriaque wrote:

Carbs: They're necessary and barely controlled fuel leaks that sometimes match the air passing through them.

My build blog:http://www.bmw2002faq.com/blog/163-simeons-blog/

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the only way a spark plug breaks like you describe is from

incorrect socket use - cocking the socket, side force, over tightening

at an angle???

but back to the real no start-irratic running

everytine you desturb the distributor with yer searching

you desturb the points enough to maybe start.

The real problem is in the points, how they are NOT

installed correctly, not adjusted correctly, missing

or poor point plate tiny ground wire from the to

interior of the dist. housing. It's all very simple,

but amazink what people don't SEE!.

a nice closeup photo of the distributor with

the cap and rotor off please

'86 R65 650cc #6128390 22,000m
'64 R27 250cc #383851 18,000m
'11 FORD Transit #T058971 28,000m "Truckette"
'13 500 ABARTH #DT600282 6,666m "TAZIO"

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Checked the points gap -- was about .35mm. Adjusted it bak to .4mm. Still no go.

Pulled out #1 wire, inserted a sparkplug and had my wife crank the engine. No spark. Then tried the HT lead from the coil. No spark.

I do have voltage at the coil with ignition in on position. Engine is grounded -- I measured 1.4ohm from the disti bolt to a screw on the right side of engine bay.

The coil measures about 1.5ohm beween the 2 connectors and 13Kohm from center output to the side that connects to the condenser. I need to check this site if these readings are ok. This is the red coil.


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Sounds like a low tension thing to me. Try pulling the points apart with the ignition on. Does this give you a spark? When the points are open measure the voltage across the points

rtheriaque wrote:

Carbs: They're necessary and barely controlled fuel leaks that sometimes match the air passing through them.

My build blog:http://www.bmw2002faq.com/blog/163-simeons-blog/

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Well, it was back to rechecking everything. Then something showed up. I had tested the connection from the coil to the condenser previously and it had checked out ok. But, now it showed open -- probably an intermittent open somewhere. I used a fresh wire to directly connect the coil to condenser. Started right up. FINALLY!

But no tach now -- even ofter reconnecting the loom at the coil end. Will need to take that part of the wiring apart and fix.

Will then need to check if I needed a condenser at all and if the previous problems were related to this wire -- which I jostled each time I swapped condensers.


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The wire had broken off at the connector near the condenser. After removing the dried up and stiff wrapping of electrical tape from an old repair, I repaired it with a fresh OEM style connector while reusing the connector cover. Works well now. All the condensers I have are probably ok as well.




Beer and football now.


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