Author Topic: 1960 Austin 850 Project  (Read 44471 times)

Offline tsumini

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #275 on: March 26, 2020, 11:21:47 PM »
So after fighting an engine issue off and on since January I finally identified and fixed the problem.
The problem? apparently a flaky erratic ignition condenser.

Re-capping: previous posts detail some of the engine run problems encountered; changed fuel pump, replaced kinked fuel line,cleared fuel line, gravity fed carb, changed carburator without improvement.

I was able to run the engine but was hard to start. It showed evidence of fuel problem but couldn't determine if ssupply or caarburation problem. It was run with a timing light which occasionally indicated misfires and would stop flashing when it stumbled and quit. Wasn't sure this was a sparking problem or coli problem.
 I checked and adjusted the points (.020 adjusted back to .016) Contacts and condenser had been installed new with not more than five hours run time).  I installed a new 12V coil and saw some improvement but it still stumbled after a few minutes.Took the ignition resistor out even though coli said to use a resistor. all this without nay imporovement. Adjusted the mxture so many times i wasn't sure where it was. Couldn't get it to run long enough to set right. Wasn't sure that I wasn't flooding the engine.
All this and exhibited the same erratic run, start. When it wiould run it would run like a banshee, so WOT ran great but idle was a nightmare.
 
Last few days I redid all the things I changed; re-installed the SU fuel pump- no change hard to start, stumbled then quit. Ran with gravity feed- no change; stumble then quit. Changed the carb back to the original carb. No change. Back to original parts except new coil. Hard to start, rough runnning, misfiring.
Then got to thinking the only thing i haven't changed are the points and condenser. I was going to change them but needed to order and continued troubleshooting. Seemed that was the only thing left and ignition was suspect anyway.
I wondered about the condenser so I googled symptoms of a bad condenser. At that time I presumed the the engine simply would not start or run. Surprisingly there was info that a condesnser going bad will exhibit hard to start, rough running, misfiring. I realized this described my engine's symptoms to a tee.
Since i hadn't ordered a set of points I didn't have a condenser so I dug around my old parts bin and found an old distributer with a old Lucas condenser. Installed the condenser and strated the engine. I think it was flooded as it sttered around the ran. Blew the cobwbs out WOT and it stated to run like sewing machine. tweaked the mixture, checked the timing ran till running temp reached without a hitch. Shut it down and restarted without any problems.
And Bob's your uncle.

My first experience with a bad condenser.
Now to clean the yellow pollen off. Its in the garage. How does that stuff get in? Duh Open garage door.

Offline BruceK

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #276 on: March 27, 2020, 06:15:46 AM »
Success! Lots of good old mechanical detective work there. 

So much different from just plugging in a scanner and reading the codes.  ;D
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville
1992 Toyota LiteAce

Offline MiniDave

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #277 on: March 27, 2020, 10:13:07 AM »
And that's why I convert every engine I work on to pointless ignition. I've only had one failure, and it was over 20 years old and easy to diagnose......no spark. Changed it out, runs perfectly again.

Glad you found your demon too - but if you want to make sure it doesn't happen ever again, switch to a Pertronix or the like.
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline tsumini

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #278 on: March 27, 2020, 11:49:28 AM »
And that's why I convert every engine I work on to pointless ignition. I've only had one failure, and it was over 20 years old and easy to diagnose......no spark. Changed it out, runs perfectly again.

Glad you found your demon too - but if you want to make sure it doesn't happen ever again, switch to a Pertronix or the like.
No spark is what I expected of a condenser failure mode, not a "99.9% of the time it works." mode.
Couldn't seem to figger out if it was ignition or fuel problem but  the next step was pointless. ;D



Offline MiniDave

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #279 on: March 27, 2020, 01:19:27 PM »
 :D
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline BruceK

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #280 on: March 27, 2020, 02:43:30 PM »
Electronic distributors for the Mini are dirt cheap.  A complete distributor unit under $75 last time I looked - including a cap.   Probably even cheaper now.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville
1992 Toyota LiteAce

Offline tsumini

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #281 on: May 24, 2020, 12:20:48 AM »
i spent today installing a Pertronix LU142 electronic ignition. What looked like a 15 minute job turned into 5 plus hours. and still doesn't even start. It was running fine with the points but hard to start.  Anyway the screws supplied seemed to be the wrong thread size so fiddled around with those until I found they were just ahrd to start. Turned out ok but the rubber grommet where the wires go thru didn't seem to fit either so looked a a spare dizzy i had and found out that the plate underneath the mounting plate should have been removed and the metal forks  the points mount to, should have been cut off. Since I already had the unit mounted I trimmed the rubber grommet to fit. Since the coil said to use a resistor I wired it per instructions. As usual no start no spark nada. Checked wiring nothing. rewired without the resistor. Still nothing. Not even a sputter. Don't have a remote start button so it was difficult to check for spark but don't think even the coil is sparking.
Gave up for the night so may bring in my helper to check for spark somewhere tomorrow.
Not sure how this thing works so checking the coil for charge may be the only thing.
Anybody have any troubleshooting ideas?
Looks like I'm going back to points. It did run well when hot but hard cold start.

Offline MiniDave

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #282 on: May 24, 2020, 10:42:20 AM »
A few things - I have gotten a bad one of these - they either work or they don't.

Next make damn sure you hooked it up right - red wire to coil + and black wire to coil - if you did it wrong, it will fry the unit instantly.

Do you have 12V to the coil? I've not heard of adding a resistor to the coil + before on one of these, but it will not work if it doesn't have 12V to the coil - if you have a ballasted primary wire it won't get the right voltage. To check you can run a jumper from the starter hot lug to the coil and then see if it goes.

Lastly, I've had two Minis that start exactly the same way - they never start cold if I just crank them, but if I give it a 3 second crank, then off, then crank again they always seem to start easily on the second crank. No idea why, but that seems to be how it works. When warm they start normally.....
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline LarryLebel

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #283 on: May 24, 2020, 01:32:32 PM »
If its an Ignitor I it will burn out if you leave it on for more than a minute or 2 without turning the motor over.

Offline 94touring

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #284 on: May 24, 2020, 02:50:23 PM »
Easy to fry those as stated. 

Offline tsumini

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #285 on: May 24, 2020, 04:13:25 PM »
So I got out studied Troubleshooting guides. All wires checked for proper install. All resistance and voltage checked Ok. Petronix specified that the igniter gap should be .030. Checked and it was about .075. That could make a difference. The igniter is mounted on two posts with no adjustment either in the ignitor mount or in the plate. So I took out the dremel and elongated both igniter mount holes enough to get .030 gap. Didn't have any other TS to do so buttoned it back up.
Fired right up! better start than with the points. Points needed a strong battery to wind it up but the battery I have tends to fade real fast.
Warmed it up and it runs a lot better. No random missing. It started to rain so will put off shake down until later. I may check valve clearance when running as one valve is noisy.
If I take the valve cover off will oil spray everywhere or can I quickly check clearances before oil gets everywhere?
Somewhat annoyed at Petronix for the hacks needed to install the system. It was made out to be  a fifteen minute job as a bolt in. No mention of a minimum gap until troubleshooting.
I may even put one in my tractor now.
 


Offline 94touring

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #286 on: May 24, 2020, 04:57:01 PM »
You wouldn't think it would be such a pain in the butt!  I've always just bought a whole new unit and sounds like I'll continue to do so.

Offline tsumini

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #287 on: May 24, 2020, 05:14:57 PM »
By whole new unit you mean distributor all built up right? You're probably right the dizzy I have I think has a few miles. Would have saved some hours.

Offline 94touring

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #288 on: May 24, 2020, 05:17:39 PM »
Yeah a whole dizzy with the electric guts.  Spares has some affordable options all the way up to something more advanced like the csi unit I run with programmable curves.

Offline Jimini II

Re: 1960 Austin 850 Project
« Reply #289 on: May 25, 2020, 07:46:06 PM »
Easy to fry those as stated.

The original petronix systems had that issue but the later Petronix II is supposed to have resolved that issue.

A few years back there were a lot of bad condensers and on a Mini run i had one fail even installing another new one it still had issues.
I stopped at a parts store in a small town and having no luck finding the correct condenser i bought one for a 1960s Chevy 6 cylinder. It was too large to install inside the distributor so i attached it to the vacuum advance mounting screw on the outside and it ran better than ever.
I converted to electronic ignition but always carry a set of points and condenser or a complete distributor.