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February 2011 Homepage
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Series Land Rover Points Need Changing Often


Sparking across the contact points gap can cause damage to each surface, changing their profiles and so changing the effective gap between the two surfaces. The spark is reduced in severity by the condenser, which is infact it's job. So one possible cause of points deterioration is a faulty condenser. This is best diagnosed by noticing the magnitude of the spark when the points are flicked open with the igniton ON, and then trying again with a new condenser fitted. They are cheap and readily available.

It also matters which way the electric current passes across the contact points. If the current is in the wrong direction then more surface material transfers during a spark, so pits and craters appear in the points surface. What you’ll notice is progressively more difficult engine starting and perhaps the need to change the points every few hundred miles. For a negative earth Series Land Rover, the contact breaker lead goes to the negative terminal (-) marked on the ignition coil. For a positive earth vehicle it goes to the positive (+) terminal. If the coil’s terminals are the old style and labelled SW and CB, then the contact breaker lead goes to the CB terminal regardless of the earthing of the vehicle.

If the points surfaces are badly pitted, they can be smoothed, to some extent, by using abrasive paper or a fine file. This is best done with the points removed and the gap re-set (usually 0.015in for a Lucas distributor or 0.017in for a Ducellier). The points will then need to be renewed as soon as possible though because the geometry of the points have changed and accurate ignition timing will not be possible.

It's a good idea to smear the distributor spindle with a little grease to prevent the plastic heel of the points assembly from wearing down and reducing the points gap.


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