A standard Series Land Rover is not known for its outstanding performance ON the road. So, if the distributor is not working efficiently then you will certainly be aware of the consequences, though you may not realise that this is where the problem lies.
The job of the distributor is to distribute sparks to the spark plugs at the correct times and in the right order. Removing a spark plug and holding it, with insulated pliers, near the engine block, with its supply lead connected and the engine running will let you know if the system is working well. However, it will not tell you how efficiently it is operating.
The Series Land Rover distributor includes, the replaceable contact points, condenser and rotor arm (these items are dealt with in more detail on separate homepages (see Homepage Archives )
factor in ensuring that the distributor works efficiently and that your Series Land Rover runs well, is the lubrication of the moving parts. The contact breaker plate can be removed and the centrifugal advance weights underneath checked for ease of movement. The purpose of these weights is to change the timing of the spark as the engine load is changed, as under acceleration conditions. If the spark doesn't arrive in the combustion chamber at exactly the right time then fuel will not burn efficiently and power will be reduced. Adding one drop of oil to the top of the spindle underneath the rotor arm helps in the lubrication required to make this happen.
Spark timing is related to contact points gap and this can be affected by wear of the red plastic heal which constantly rubs on the spindle. Adding a thin smear of grease to the heal helps here.
The vacuum advance cylinder also adjusts spark timing and attempts to balance the timing of the spark with engine load requirements. Disconnect the vacuum tube from the carburettor end and give a good suck down the pipe whilst watching the contact breaker plate. The plate should move. If it does not then the diaphragm in the unit may be perforated (not repairable) or the two concentric rings of the contact breaker plate have ceased up - meaning the centrifugal advance weights won't be working either and you have a SICK Series Land Rover.
(To see previous homepages visit the Homepage Archives link)