Clockwork Ignition problem - Piers
Mk I Escort 1298cc X-Flow engine (GT spec)

Engine misfires badly throughout the rev range - badly enough to stall if left idling for 20 - 30 seconds.

It's across all cylinders and from checking there is no output from the coils HT lead.

The dizzy shaft has a bit of wobble (side to side).

Timing is OK.

Any suggestions of a possible solution would be welcome...

So far my plan is to work from cheapest up, so having checked timing, connections, gaps etc I suppose condenser then coil HT lead then coil.

Re: Clockwork Ignition problem - John Slaughter
I'm assuming that timing is set correctly, in which case condenser or coil are probably at fault. As I recall these engines are very critical on ignition settings (a couple of degrees retarded is noticeable on the road) and I always found they ran best with genuine Ford points, plugs and condenser. Points are best set up with a dwell angle meter.

The timing light will show how bad the distributor wear is but as it happens I have a brand new distributor for one of these in the garage. E-mail me direct if you're interested. Nominal price + postage will cover it.


Re: Clockwork Ignition problem - Andrew Moorey
Wear in the distributor shaft is an occupational hazard with motorcraft dizzies. A new one will help but to help soldiering on with the old a common problem was poor baseplate earthing. The baseplate relies on contact between the moving and static sections of the plate and as it wears the earthing suffers. To prove it disconnect the vacuum pipe to the distributor and see if the misfire has eased or disappeared. If so contrive an earth wire from either of the points retaining screws or the condenser and one of the screws securing the baseplate, this of course after replacing same with new items. I don't see any real advantage in setting up the points with a dwell meter as the wear will nullify any benefit. Instead set the gap with a 16 thou' feeler and check the gap on all four lobes. This will ensure that the worst one will still be correct in relation to the others.
Good luck!!
Re: Clockwork Ignition problem - Alvin Booth
On a Mini many years ago I had a similar problem in which the car would begin missing badly. Come to a stop and the engine would tick over smoothly and rev at stationary.
Drive away and it would begin again. Did everything plugs, leads, the lot.
Eventually poking in the distributor the condensor fell out attached to its wire.
What was happening was the L shaped bracket soldered to the condensor which attaches it to the base plate and provides the earth had come apart.
When the engine produced a pull through the vacuum pipe to the distributor which rotates the base plate the earth from the condensor parted.
Come to a stop and it moved back into its place and was Ok again. Revving while stationary didn't produce so much vacuum and it didn't miss.
Similar to Andrew Moorey above I know but worth a try if the condensor is the same as it is on the Mini.
Re: Clockwork Ignition problem - John Slaughter

Your certainly right about the wear rate of the Motorcraft distributors. However, I reckon a dwell meter does help even when there is wobble on the shaft, as although the dwell angle will drift it does enable it to be set to a mean value. It helps if the lobes are worn, and certainly once the points have been used and a pip has built up it's not possible to use feeler gauges with any accuracy, so it really comes into its own. I reckon it's the best way to do a check on the points - wouldn't be without one.

Re: Clockwork Ignition problem - Andrew Moorey
Totally agree John in 99% of cases. AC Delco dizzies on Chevettes was another one where I wouldn't use dwell meter for the same reason.

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