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Probably timing!


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After putting a few bits back together after a general engine bay clean up, my 2L Vitesse mk1 won’t start. Initially it had a new solenoid which fixed the cranking issue (thanks for the help on that).

Then it started for about 20 seconds and died, wouldn’t start again. It would turn over but wouldn’t fire. I had changed the fuel hose for Gates barricade during the clean up and the fuel feed seems fine - there were a couple of black “slugs” I cleaned out of the float chambers but fuel seems to be getting to the inlet manifold (which also was removed and was refitted with new gasket). The plugs are also getting wet with fuel.

i put a remax sports coil on and fitted new NGK BP5ES plugs (but undid that to make sure it wasn’t causing the problem and refitted the original BP6ES plugs). Today I fitted new condenser and points and it starts with the help of a squirt of “easy start” but won’t keep running for more than a few seconds.The points have been  set to 15 thousandths.

i think it’s the timing, I was very careful not to move the distributor within the clamp but the vernier dial might have been nudged.

Using the 3 and a bit turns (out from full in) to advance the ignition with the Vernier seems to have helped a bit. Before I unclamp the distributor to start the setup from scratch with a lightbulb etc, these photos show the current crank and distributor cam settings. The first 2 pictures correspond to each other (crankshaft and distributor shaft positions), as do the second 2.

The white indication mark was already there when I got the car.

Ive got half a tank of BP 98RON fuel which was in the tank over the winter (with stabiliser)

if anyone has some ideas - much appreciated as always!





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I'm not sure about these particular engines, but most of the ones I've worked on would at least start if the timing was within a country mile. Might not idle or run nicely but would at least start.

If the rotor arm is pointing at "about where no.1 plug lead connects" when it's at somewhere just before TDC on the compression stroke of #1 then that will probably be close enough.

After cranking are there signs of fuel in the carb throats?

If you take #1 plug out and turn it over with the plug connected and resting on something well earthed does it spark?

I don't want to teach the sucking of eggs... but all your plug leads are in the right place and connected to the right plugs?

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first thing ..it ran before you worked on it  ...so  its time to backtrack through whats been disturbed and double check

replacing fuel hose is ideal candidate for small slivers of rubber cut off when inserting the metal pipes and block the back of the float needle

what else have you touched /moved or cursed at ???

give the plugs a good hot dry out.

check firing is 153624 

if you bridge /open the points with a tool is a spark visible 


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Even if you say the plugs are getting wet I'd still guess that it's fuel-related; if it ran for about 20 seconds that's the old fuel in the carbs burning off. If it starts with Easystart, then it runs until it burns that off too, but then stops as there's no further fuel getting through. It must be getting a spark or it wouldn't run at all, and I can't see it being so far off on the timing that it can't continue to run even erratically. Strip the fuel lines down, clean out, and see if that improves anything.


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I’ll have another look at the fuel feed tomorrow. 

The new points and condenser definitely helped though, before they went in, it wasn’t interested in starting at all!  (Other than a couple of times when it first went back together - and that was with a couple of misfires).

Ive checked the firing order and the carbs had a pretty good clean out - no harm in having another look though.

Thanks, will report back.

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Am I correct in thinking the distributor runs anti-clockwise. In which case, remove all plugs, keep leads on and turn engine over by hand with ignition on and check sequence of sparking. If in doubt which way the engine/distributor spins, just push car a litle while in gear and observe crank.


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From bad to worse!

Took the carbs off for another clean up. In the process of removing the float valve to clean it, I snapped off one of the lugs that locates the float fulcrum. If I wasn’t cursing before...

Is it fixable?


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Unless I am missing something in the photographs the 15 thou gap does not correspond to the peak of the cam on the dizzy ? But may be I am missing something in the photo ?

If my interpretation above is correct, then the dwell angle will be out and the capacitor may not get enough charge to discharge enough current  through the coil, and thus not creating enough HT to spark across the plugs, and then when it starts running and is under greater pressure, hence it stops after 20 seconds or so.

I agree that it should start with the timing out, however, if the time to charge the capacitor is restricted less discharge across the coil will happen and a lower HT voltage, meaning it will not jump the spark plug gap.

Be sure that the 15 thou is at the top of the dizzy cam and then the gap opens at the static point before TDC.

If the picture is meant to show the point at which the points open and the static timing marks my apologies. Nonetheless, I once had an engine ( midget 1275 ) display the same characteristics, three capacitors later it ran fine !









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Thanks - I’ll try a repair first. The needle valve on that carb was a bit “sticky.” I wonder if that’s the problem? The valve pin not moving freely when the float drops not filling that chamber. Gave it a good clean out and soaking but might as well order a new one.

re the timing photos, the points are set to 15 thou at the widest point - the photos just show the crankshaft position which relates to the distributor shaft position - probably not much use really!

can anyone recommend a good cleaning product to get rid of crud from inside fuel lines etc other than standard carb cleaner?

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Took all fuel lines apart. I'd had a slight leak from the output of the AC pump for a while and had put some Loctite thread sealant around the brass nut. Maybe some had found its way into the Float / needle valve. Anyway - all completely cleaned up and re-assembled. Each carb needle valve was cleaned out, the "sticky" one has been replaced and the JB Weld repair seems to have worked (thanks for the suggestion). The holes in the jet were all cleaned out and blasted with air. Wouldn't start with / without choke or with / without easy-start / carb cleaner. Left it an hour, sprayed some carb cleaner into the carb and it started, ran for about 10 seconds then quit. Took the float chambers off again. Fuel primer is sending fuel to the chambers and if the engine is cranked over there is a good supply to the float chambers from the pump. Where is the next likely candidate for a blockage? The fuel going into the chambers looks clear of any debris or anything that might cause a blockage, but something downstream might be blocked. 


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On 30/04/2020 at 18:44, Pete Lewis said:

a job for jb weld or chemimetal

I used JB weld on carb worn spindles, roughed up the contact surface, spent ages sanding to spindle profile. Failed after a few months, softened and clogged up the free movement. I think at one time it may have been petrol resistant, not so sure now?.



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I've checked the petrol tank hoses - they all seem ok. Switched between main and reserve tanks.

The first JB weld repair failed so I did a slightly more industrial job and left it 3 days to cure. I used the marine stuff and it's supposed to be petrol resistant (at least that's what it says on the packaging).

Also cleaned up the air valves and  casing, re-centred the main jets and set the mixture to the default 3 full turns from touching the air valve on the bridge. It won't fire at all now!  

Made sure the gaps are all correct on the spark plugs and there is a good blue spark.

Does anyone know of someone in the North Bucks area (Aylesbury / Buckingham) who could come and have a look - when it's deemed safe? Quite happy to pay and make tea  provide tea / cake / biscuits!  

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I know a couple near Buckingham who know their Triumphs (and other cars) fairly well, having owned more than most. I don't think they're on here but if it looks like restrictions are easing before you sort it out yourself then I could ask them.

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1 hour ago, TRevver said:

It’s JB Weld Marine Weld. I can’t say for sure how well it’s worked but here’s the link 

JB Weld JB8272 Marine Weld Waterproof 2 Part Epoxy Adhesives https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000KKPFFA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_TT5UEbAEPS72M

If it doesn't work give me a shout and I'll dig a servicable CD150 body out of my box of spares for you.


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