Distributor query

I have a horrible feeling I know the answer to this......My distributor has done around 100,000 miles. It still works, sort of. There are new plugs in the car but there's still a hesitation on gentle throttle openings. The vacuum advance doesn't work at all. I've attached a vacuum pump to it and there's no movement on the base plate. Is it time to spend a lot of money on a new distributor and decent leads?
I guess it's too high a mileage to bother rebuilding the dizzy?
I had seized vacuum unit too. Bought a new one from Powerspark. Also got electronic points kit at same time. Both seem to work well. Hope this helps.
I tried new vacuum unit and replacing points with electronic ... after timing scatter issues etc. replaced entire dizzy at NEC show for an. brand new full electronic unit plus coil . £100 all in. no electrical. issues since . fuel is another matter !


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Hi Johnny,

A distance of 100,000 miles isn't really all that far, not for a quality distributor. The biggest issue with the Lucas 35D8 distributors is that they will see wear in the shaft, and if you are still running points, then that will cause running problems. With an electronic ignition system such as Lumenition installed in place of the points, lateral wear in the shaft will cause no running issues. The vacuum advance will only work to advance the timing typically when cruising along a motorway using very little throttle.
Take the cap off and turn the rotor against spring pressure. When you release it, does it return quickly to its original position?



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I would get it rebuilt if theres no play in the shaft... Mine had issues in the shaft even with lumenition. I went for a new cheap dizzy in mine. It works but fries ignition amps on a 12 monthly basis. Just make sure you have a spare and a philips screwdriver in the car.
Thanks for all the replies. I have another query. Does the ditributor body sit flush on the engine? The one I've bought is exactly the same dimensions as the old one, but I have a feeling it's not engaging in the oil pump drive properly. It sits with about 10mm space between the body and the engine. The drive doesn't look offset, but there's something not quite right in there. More ideas please......Many thanks


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The bottom side of the flange on the distributor housing that the clamp fits on to should be flush with the timing cover. Chances are it's the oil pump drive stopping it going fully home.
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I had a feeling that's what was happening. It'll have to come out again then. Something to do over Christmas ....that'll be popular at home !
Thanks for the help.


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If you have it properly aligned with the distributor drive gear you may find that turning the engine over by hand allows the oil pump slot to line up and it will drop down fully home.


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Did you replace the dizzy or is this the original still? I had this issue with a simon bbc dizzy. I had to file some of the dizzy away where it fits on the oil pump drive for it to actually go home. They are way too tight. Neither of the two i tried would go on even with force.
I am bit late commenting but here in SA, I had the diaphragm in my advance capsule replaced by a local distributor company. The clever thing they do and I don’t know how, is to open the thing up and close it again, leaving no tell tale marks at all. It cost the equvilant of about £11 and works well. It is virtually certain that if your car has the original capsule or one that was replced more than ten years ago, it will not work now and probably has not worked for a long time, it may well leak air into the inlet manifold too. It makes a noticeable difference to fuel consumption in cruising conditions. Unfortunately, it got lost in our ‘postal system’ for some months, forcing me to import a new one from Winns at serious expense.

Many years ago, back in early 80’s, I had the same problem on my first 3500 and was able to make use of a capsule from a Peugot 404.

unstable load

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Ian, I was going to ask you if your SA meant South Australia or South Africa, but as soon as I saw your reference to our "postal system" it made the connection...:rolleyes:
Where are you? I am in Cape Town,
Hi John, I am currently in St Francis Bay but on the point of moving to PE. I have had my car for 30 years and just in the last few minutes, completed the conversion to electric fan cooling. Fast hey? My car has only done 64k kms so you can see I don’t drive it often. I am a little incapacitated due to a neck injury so find working on the car a problem but I still love to tinker with it and keep it looking amazing. My email is irmcnee@icloud.com if you would like to keep in touch.