Distributor Maintenance

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The Lucas booklet entitled:- “Running Instructions for the LUCAS coil ignition equipment.” has a section on distributors which is reproduced below.





When an automatic timing mechanism is not fitted with the equipment, the ignition control should be retarded for starting but advanced as soon as the engine is running at speed.  The ignition should be retarded when the engine is pulling slowly on full throttle, e.g., when hill climbing.  When starting, always retard the ignition control, other-wise there is a danger of backfiring. 

When the equipment is fitted with an automatic timing control, there is no need under normal running conditions to make use of the manual control usually fitted, not in the case of an Austin Seven.  This is provided for use under special conditions, e.g., when the engine is in need of decarbonising, the experienced driver may find that the engine is assisted by retarding with the manual control.  One of the advantages of  automatic timing control is that the ignition will always be retarded when starting, consequently there is no need to use the manual control for this purpose. 


1 Distributor Shaft
Add 1 one or two drops of thin machine oil to oiler every 1,000 miles.  On some distributors a greaser is provided instead of an oiler.  Give the greaser one turn about every 500 miles.  Repack the greaser with a good quality high melting point grease when necessary.

2 Cam
About every 3000 miles give the cam the slightest smear of vaseline.

3 Distributors with Automatic Timing Control
About every 3000 miles withdraw the moulded rotating arm ''G" (Fig 6) from the top of the spindle by lifting it off, and add a  few drops of thin machine oil.  Do not remove the screw exposed to view, as there is a clearance between the screw and the inner face of the spindle through which the oil passes to lubricate the automatic timing control.  Take care to refit the arm correctly and to push it on to the shaft as far as possible.

4 Contact Breaker Pivot
Every 5000 miles, place a single drop of thin machine oil on the pivot ''J'' (Fig 6) on which the contact breaker lever works.

5 Distributor Gears
When distributors are mounted on the dynamo and are driven from the dynamo shaft, the gears are packed with grease during assembly and should not need attention for a considerable time.

Periodically, say, when the engine is being decarbonised, move aside the cover on the gear housing and if the gears are dry, add a little high melting point grease.  Care must be taken not to add excess of grease, otherwise it may work its wav into the dynamo or distributor. 

In warm and tropical climates, the lubrication of the moving parts will need more frequent attention.

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This article originally appeared in CA7C Seven Focus Mar 2002, pp21-23.

See also:

Bosch Distributor Conversion

Distributor set-up