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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Accuspark electronic ignition

Hi All,

Does anyone have experience of the Accuspark electronic ignition system. On eBay these are available as a points replacement module or with a replacement distributer. This seem good value at 70 but cheap isn't always good!

I'm decommissioning my 1275 midget that's been of the road for several years and the existing distributor is pretty raspy with some pay and the casting is damaged where it fits into the block.

I like the idea of getting a new distributer and electronic ignition.

Anyone installed one of these?

Thanks

Bob
Rob Storer

You need to ask them what advance curve they are tuned to and then decide if its right for your car. I had this problem with my B. You can get a 25D distributor with electronic contact breaker for as little as £65. Not proper Lucas of course and with an indeterminate advance curve. Powerspark of Bromsgrove have something similar but when I asked them about the advance curve the either wouldnt or couldnt tell me what it was so I didnt buy. A friend of mine has put one of these in his Midget though and says its great. Advance curves for the B are well documented and show a massive difference between the 25D and 45D (rubber bumper) distributors. I don't know about the Midget. In the end I went for fitting Luminition to my existing distributor. It seems to follow the specification for centrifugal advance despite having dome 140,000 miles. At the other end of the scale you can fit a 123 with a selection of different advance curves if you have circa £270 to spare. These have the advantage of being fully electronic - no mechanical centrifugal or vacuum advance. I'm led to believe that Aldon and Distributor Doctor have high quality units available too but will set you back.
Paul Hollingworth

If you just replace the nasty points and condenser as you rightly point out it still leave the mechanical bottom part that went out of tune within a few years of leaving the factory so decades of use, abuse and neglect won't make them better.

I've no idea about the Accuspark dissy but buying cheap always gets you cheap, I know of poor reports about their HT leads and spark plugs.

I have a 123-ignition fully electronic dissy, fit and forget, been on now for over 10 years.

Now I might probably try the CSI fully electronic distributor.

I know there are others on here who use the 123, I think there may be some with the CSI and perhaps the Accuspark.

Personally I wouldn't go for the Accuspark and I wouldn't work too much about curves unless your car is a lot off standard and/or not for road use.
Nigel Atkins

Thanks Paul, I'm now binging to understand how little I know about this subject and why systems range in price from £70 to £450.


So another question:
The Accuspark replaces the points on a standard distributer that has vacuum advance. Des anyone know f these have a programmed curve of do they use the vacuum to a dance ignition as per the original points system.
Rob Storer

Bob,
are you getting too concerned about these curves, is your car a fully serviced and tuned, a fast road/track machine.

If you're referring to the advance on a fully electronic dissy then it's done electronically on the 123, and I'd imagine on the CSI and Accuspark but obviously not on an igniter head that only replaces the points and condenser.

Missed the edit with the following -

http://www.csi-ignition.nl/en/home.html

http://123ignition.nl/

Note I have been using the standard (non-programmable) 123 on it's 'lowest' (curve) setting on my modestly uprated (and serviced and tuned) 1275 Midget very successfully on different types of fuel for the last 10 years and the engine goes well.
Nigel Atkins

Thanks Nigel,

My Midget has been of the road for 5 years. I'm struggling to get it running properly and I suppose I'm looking for cheap and easy options but as we all know this often isn't the best way forward.

The car was running okish when it was played up but did have an intermittent misfire. Anyway first attempt to get it running again resulted in it running on 3 cylinders and and making a lot of top end noise. Took the rocker cover off and found a stuck valve. Tappin with a hammer wouldn't release it so head off and valve replaced along with new valve guide.

It's all now back together, next attempt had it running on 2 cylinders but cleaner up etc rotor arm and distributer cap and it will run on all 4 cylinders but only at 2000 rpm plus.

All ignition components were relatively ne when it was laid up and it has a dodgy no-brand electronic points replacement module.

What I probably need to do is replace all the ignition components and get it back to standard with points.

It does have new petrol and I've checked the float needles and had the dashpots off and stuck some fishing line down the jets to ensure they are clear and used plenty of card cleaner.

Will try rotor arm, distributor cap, leads and plugs and see if that gets it running better.

Great to be back on this forum.

Bob
Rob Storer

Rob
If the running cleans up with revs it 'usually' points towards either a vacumn leak or the carbuettor linkages are out of whack, Which two cylinders are out at idle-?

On the Acuspark modules, I've fitted quite a few of just the points replacement modules, all the advance system stays exactly as before, all you are replacing is the points/condenser--The only issue I've ever had with one was a broken wire--The wiring with them is very light and you have to make sure there's enough loose inside the dist. to allow for movement of the vac. advance plate, but not too much. Also on the outside of the dist. the wiring needs support by securing along the original wiring otherwise it blows about in the wind and fails, apart from the wiring though they're good value , start easier and noticeably smoother to drive
willy
William Revit

I've heard bad reports on the cheap Chinese pick ups. its said the scatter on the timing is +/- 5 deg (crank I think). I went for Luminition Magnatronic, who knows what the scatter is on that or on points for that matter. Probably the points replacement with the best reputation would be the Ignitor as used by Aldon, Burgess and the Distributor Doctor.
I have to say there has been negligible difference in the performance and economy of my B compared to the points set up since I went electronic.
On the subject of advance curves, how do you tell which is best suited to your Midget and its state of tune. I helped my friend fit a 123 to his B and we went for the Standard Chrome bumper curve (40897) which Peter Burgess says in his book is suitable for all but the most extreme states of tune. My friend is very pleased how his car goes.
Paul Hunt gives some references to Lucas data for BL cars in his excellent Bee & Vee pages. I haven't studied the stuff for the Midget since its been 40 years since I owned one.
Paul Hollingworth

Bob,
I only know the very basics but I know if you don't start with them then it's difficult (or impossible) to proceed efficiently. The relevant Driver's Handbook (see photo of mine) gives servicing and maintenance instructions and schedule, for the whole car not just the unimportant engine.

Servicing - basically often just boils down to cleaning and lubricating (this makes items more freely operating too). Such as checking and cleaning the carb linkages as Willy has put. If you've not been servicing the dissy and it needs it then that wouldn't help.

Maintenance - setting or replace items as required - such as finding vacuum leaks Willy suggests.

Rotor arms have been renown for causing problems, intermittent difficult to pin down problems too, I'd go to the Distributor Doctor for his original Red Rotor arms to be sure, might as well get the dissy cap from him too.

NGK spark plugs are generally considered the best, spark plugs are often overlooked (same as rotor and dissy cap).

I'm totally with Willy as from what I've read many of the inexpensive igniter heads seem to get the blame for their problems but the true cause is usually the person that installed it, not allowing for plate movement inside the dissy and careless routing outside the dissy.

By all means get the points back on IF they're in good condition and fully functioning to get the car running well but after that I'd recommend you ditch them for something better.



Nigel Atkins

Paul,
I think there are two reasons why it may be that you only have negligible difference in performance and economy.

With small improvements you can take advantage of these without realising it, you drive the car that little bit harder or more briskly thus negating the improved economy and you quickly get used to the improved performance that it become the new normal.

If you only have the top part of the dissy on electronic it leaves the bottom still mechanical and possibly worn and out of tune so this negates some of the improvements of the electronics at the top. As I put earlier I've read the dissys were out of tune within a few years of leaving the factory so decades of use, and perhaps abuse wouldn't improve them. It'd be like Usain Bolt and I joining together for a three-legged race, I might hinder his performance.

I've had a few different electronic igniter heads on the four 'MGs' I've had over the years and all have brought improvements over standard CB points for starting, idling and running.

For the last 10 years I've had a fully electronic 123 dissy, although I got this before going to Peter Burgess Peter did used to sell 123 and has set up my Midget a few times on his rollers IIRC always with the 123 fitted, it's great fit and forget, no fiddling with gaps or timing.

Back in the mid-1990s I used to take my MGs (I had a Spridget and BV8 r/b roadster) to Bromsgrove MG with the two Johns and Nigel and the MGC fan boss who's name I forget. And - Shaky, who wrapped my B round a tree but they tried to tell me it had been repainted one side after being scratched from coming off a lift. When I got it home that night and cleaned it I could tell by the sound of tapping the panels that they were new so it was more than a scratch repair. The truth was confirmed to me a couple of years later by IIRC someone I meet but didn't know.

When the boss bought a new at the time RV8 and I asked if I could have a ride in it (can't remember if I drove it) the reply was yes, after all I'd help pay for it, and that was very true I gave them a lot of work.
Nigel Atkins

" the MGC fan boss who's name I forget"

Graham Pearce
Dave O'Neill 2

Thanks Dave, that's it. I can't remember if I ever saw him but if I did it was very rare. He'd split up with his wife (divorced?) by that time because of MGCs I think but was getting back together at the time IIRC.

The young mechanic, black-haired John, ordered and bought a new MG model the MGF, I couldn't afford one but the mechanic that worked on my old cars could. I had test driven one at a dealership, more sat on it that in it and to me the brakes were too good you'd need another MGF behind you if you braked hard, totally unlike the track brake pedal feel of a club mate's early Elise which was disconcerting for me used to soft pedal feel.

I did buy a MX-5 (Mk2) after my wife wanted a Fiat Barchetta which were only available as a lhd import at the time but after the tail pipe trim fell off our Fiat Cinquecento I decided owning another Fiat would be too much hassle.

Bromsgrove was one of the few places I saw an Elf petrol station and I'd fill up there as IIRC Elf was 98? at the time.

Later I used to pass by on the way to another marque at Kingswinford. I called into Paul Matty's once, boy were prices high, I obviously looked like I couldn't afford them (which was correct) as I was left to myself but I'm sure I'd have got along with Matty as he looked a bit of a miserable sod (like myself).

Nick Wale's place was out there too, he sponsored something with our club one year, it was when he was going to be a dealer for the revised Jensen brand, he had one or two of them (SV8?, I've got a disposable camera photo somewhere) on a very small stand at the show, they were more contemporary American looking than English.
Nigel Atkins

Thanks guys, lots of good information. I'm going to stick with the current electronic points replacement, replace service items and strip and clean the carbs and try again. Carb needles did have some verdigris that I cleaned off but jets may be dirty.

Currently it does seem to be running correctly on 1 and 2 - plugs dont get as hot as 3 and 4 so I'm assuming could be the front carb.

Thanks again

Bob
Rob Storer

When I first got my B, I did do some business with Bromsgrove MG but shortly afterwards they folded. I vaguely remember 'Black John' and Graham Pearce. The later is still around acording to friends who know him better than I do. As I understand it, there was a falling out and half of them went on to form 'Midland Sports and Classics'. I spent a fair bit of money with them but had a falling out when they refused to sell me parts over the counter. I wanted a £4 exhaust rubber mount but the minimum order was £12. Their loss was David Manners's gain.
Nigel - I like to think I had my points set up pretty well but I got fed up of having to set dwell and timing at least once a year. Shouldn't have to do that now. I checked my distributor advance curve with a timing light and it was pretty much spot on. The centrifugal advance mechanism and springs appeared to be in good nick although the spindle bushes were a little worn. That doesn't matter with the electronic set up.
Paul Hollingworth

'Black John' was the young mechanic with 'Blond John' inside, I think he was a manager or part owner who got together with Graham Pearce when the MGC part went down - but I could have it wrong or remembered wrong, I can't really remember a parts side to the business.

The position of the timing marks on my Midget make it a PITA and neck to try and see, preventing such farting about is essential to me, I loath any work on the car, anything reliable that reduces farting about on the car is for me, I only enjoy driving it.
Nigel Atkins

Nigel

Graham started off in one unit, just doing parts. He gradually expanded into adjacent units and went into mechanical work and restorations. Bob and the other John became directors before the business went bust, then they went off to set up MSC.

I bought some parts off 'Blackie' a couple of years ago when he was winding up Classic MG in Lye, after his business partner disappeared. He said Graham was now (then) into antiques.
Dave O'Neill 2

Dave, interesting, thanks.

I thought Blond-John was a partner but wasn't sure with my memory. I'm not sure if I knew of Bob but there's something in the back of my mind same as now I think about it the part sales. I was often there on a Saturday morning to drop of or collect or both.

They had a few units when I used to go there and were into restoration as I commented on the poor condition of the new B roadster Heritage shells they had with a piece of wood wedge in as bracing and Black-John told me they'd had to add the wood as they were delivered without bracing.

I didn't realise who MSC were or that Black-John had set up his own business (he's possibly Grey-John by now). I know he'd remember my V8 as it was left to him to tell me it's the invented story of it "being scratched" and us being at the unit early one morning having driven back from Inverness overnight because there was a bad noise from the freshly restored engine. Turned out to be a £5? metal foil sandwich MGRV8 exhaust manifold that was damaged so a few minutes to fit a (50p?) standard gasket and we were off, to Wales, yet another holiday interrupted by classic car problems.

Graham and antiques rings vague bells too.
Nigel Atkins

Well, I didnt know that Classic MG in Lye was Blackie. No sooner than I became aware of them they had gone. The aquired a half finnished restoration of an BGT that my friend left when he died. Would have been a good buy when it was re-assembeled.
Graham Pearce still has a big house near Belbroughton, well at least he did when a friend pointed it out whilst we were walking past a few years ago.
Paul Hollingworth

My 79 MGB points continually collapsed regardless of what what I did to ensure the points were securely in place and set to spec. Switched to a Lumunition unit some 18 years ago and it's been flawless ever since. Quicker starts, more power and dependable.

Not to start a firestorm about Points vs. Electronic, but, dependability ranks high on my list.

Cheers

Gary
79 MGB
gary hansen

I always ran with Lumenition on my race cars and never had a problem.

I was planning to keep the B on points, but I had doubts about the distributor. I recently bought a 65DM4 electronic dissy from a Metro, but it seems the centrifugal advance is seized.

So... Iíve just fitted a 123 dissy that I picked up on fleabay a couple of years ago. Just got to decide which curve to use.
Dave O'Neill 2

Dave,

Not normally much to go wrong with the centrifugal advance mechanism, I've not seen one of those electronic ones but if like the earlier model the cam part can get stuck to the main shaft if not lubricated occasionally, an easy fix in my experience with dismantling and a quick clean up of the old gunk and relube.
David Billington

Dave,
if you haven't got the fitting instructions you can get them off the 123 site. - http://123ignition.nl/

If it's the non-programmable for road use only then with mine it was set to the standard curve (lowest setting of group of four settings out of 16 offered) and when I said to my mate about perhaps moving it up one he laughed and said I didn't have a track car, plus Peter has left it at that setting on the RR tune-ups.

HTH.

Nigel Atkins

David

Yes, I would imagine it wouldn't take much to fix the advance mechanism, but I wasn't sure if I would need to remove the amplifier module to get to it, as I don't have any heat-sink compound.
Dave O'Neill 2

Nigel

The 123 came with some instructions and a list of settings for various MGB distributors - there were quite a few fitted over the years.

I set it to one suggested for my dissy, but it seems to give a lot of vacuum advance, even when revving the engine. There is a lot less advance with the vac disconnected.
Dave O'Neill 2

Dave,
is the dissy in keeping/matching with the rest of systems for that period, the obvious of course - ask Peter, he used to sell 123.
Nigel Atkins

This thread was discussed between 12/04/2020 and 15/04/2020

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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