Tech Chat.

It’s become Learned Counsel’s and my habit to get together a couple of times a week over a cup of tea to thrash out problems we have or anticipate having with our various projects. Yesterday, we explored various ideas as to why the rev counter was reading double. We decided that a ballast resistor was the answer. What prompted this thought was the instructions for the electronic ignition showing various configurations with and without a resistor – then the penny dropped..

Electronic ignition

I’ve fitted the electronic ignition and the car started immediately – more immediately than with the points. Unfortunately, the oil filter cover sprang a serious leak and I had quickly to shut down. After cleaning up, I pushed the car back in the workshop and put it up on axle stands to take the brakes off. I’ve decided it would be a false economy to re-line just the front brakes because the back ones will be sure to start squealing not far down the road – so to speak.

Brakes off

It gave me the chance to whip the rear offside hub off as well. Because I’d over-filled the diff (reading the Morris book, not the Hillman book) and the drain hole at the end of the half-shaft casing had got a bit bunged up with paint, the diff oil had leaked into the drum and made a bit of a mess of the linings. I wasn’t sure whether the felt washer had failed or not so I had to get to the bottom of it while the brakes were off. I found also, a broken return spring on the handbrake shoes. Fortunately, brake return springs are not something I’m short of.

Rear hub

I’ve realised that instead of struggling with the shoes and risking a screwdriver going through a hand, it’s quicker and easier to remove the brake torque tubes to get the shoes out.

Front hub

And similarly with the front shoes, pulling the bottom pins is the easy way through the job. It’s still a fiddle and a bit of a struggle but less than it might be otherwise. As the brake lining company is in Norwich, I thought I may as well go on to North Walsham to get a step plate for the nearside wing. It turns out that because of the nature of the wings, I’ll have to use a dickey seat step; all the other plates are too big or the wrong shape. I bought also some 1″ head coach bolts for the wing mountings; they look a bit more vintage than the smaller headed variety.

Headlight fixings

The evening was taken up sorting out the headlamp mounting scheme. I called in to see Chumley (with a bag of Norfolk sausages) and he gave me a bit of pvc/nylon sort of bar to turn up some shaped washers to go between the headlamps and their mounting brackets. It’s such awful stuff to machine that I ended up grinding an old chisel to shape and, by hand, using that as a tool. No doubt Learned Counsel will have something to say about that over the next cup of tea.



4 comments on “Tech Chat.

  1. Simon says:

    So you find the electronic ignition worth it? I could upgrade mine. I am using the Bosche dizzy on the Austin (all the originals are worn out) and there are loads of electronic kits available for that. I do know when I added electronic ignition to the MGB, even with a rebuilt distributor, the timing became rock solid.Even with new points it was always quite jittery.

  2. I went for a run yesterday; only a few miles to test the brakes and the new ignition. The engine started more readily, it settled down almost immediately and the throttle response was much better. I’m using a system by Pertronix from the USA – can’t be beat in my opinion. (I’m still taking the points and distributor in a bag for when it all goes pear-shaped).

  3. Why do you want my name? says:

    I ‘borrowed’ an Accuspark (see ignition set up and fitted in my Model A dissy and it did make the engine run smoother. It was mounted to a back plate that still allowed the use of a manual adv/ret mechanism however a downside to using it was that you could not start the engine ‘on the handle’ mainly because it simply was not possible to hand turn the engine fast enough to get the electronics to fire. I’ve since had to return it to it’s owner and I rather miss it.


    • I thought the point of electronic ignition was that it would generate a spark on the slightest touch of the handle; my VP1 aircraft, when I converted the engine from mags to electronic, became positively dangerous if you even breathed on the prop! I’m pleased with the Pertronix set-up so far.

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