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MG TD TF 1500 - Condensor or coil?

I've had the same setup for 2 years: a new dizzy from Brown & Gammons and a new "Lucas" sports coil.

It's always worked perfectly but this afternoon I'd done 10 miles or so when I felt a miss, followed 30 seconds or so later by another one. Nothing else for a couple of minutes, so I put it down to maybe a bit of dirt in the petrol tank. Then it started.

The miss got progressively worse, with spells of normal running followed by a bucking bronco of a ride. The running got rougher and rougher and I slipped the clutch to try to keep going, as I headed for the final hill before home. I knew if I reached the top of that, I could coast down to my front door.

As I glided down the hill (it's half a mile long), the engine died completely; I restarted it without much problem but it died again. Finally, it wouldn't start at all.

The momentum took me right into my drive. Up with the bonnet and out with the spanners and screwdriver. The fuel filter was remaining full so it wasn't the pump. Condensor or coil, I wondered? I had a new condensor, which I fitted.

Mindful of the old advice of "only make one change at a time", I was about to try starting the engine when the phone went. That call took half an hour; when I finally got clear, the car started perfectly and ran without hesitation. I only had time for another run of 5 or so miles and did that without any problems at all.

But I'm still wondering if the coil is the culpret and the 30 mins delay has foxed me into thinking the new condensor has cured things. I'll give it a few runs around the block tomorrow to see if I can work it out once and for all, but I'll have to stay close to home. I don't have a spare coil to carry with me, although I think it's time I put one by.

A couple of spare condensors won't go amiss either, I guess.

- Tom.
Tom Bennett - 53TD 24232

Could it be you tightened a loose points plate down while swapping condensers?

Just for the heck of it, make sure the distributor terminal isn't grounding to the engine.

A dying battery will do the exact same thing, crap out then run after setting for a while.

Put the old condenser back in and doublecheck. It'll probably run just fine.

Been there, done all that!


Looking at a fuel filter is OK for telling if fuel is getting to a filter, but it doesn't guarantee that fuel is in the float bowls. Removing the bolt and peeking inside the float bowl is better. On occasion the needles can stick.

But if I were betting, I would say condenser.

Dave Braun

Another thing that can happen is the Dizzy shorting out against the tach generator... Mine has done that twice and it shows the same symptoms as yours. I wire the tach gen to not allow it to turn down.
Tom Maine (TD8105)

"Dizzy shorting out against the tach generator"....
easy fix for that:

David Sheward

I did that as well Dave. Made mine out of a piece of copper. Solved my problem/
Tom Maine (TD8105)

Once again, thank you for your comments.

A bit of feedback: It's a beautiful morning here and we're hoping the weather holds up for the last day of the Olympics which is going on 15 miles or so west of me, so I've managed 30 miles this morning and deliberately included some hard driving.

The car ran perfectly, without miss or hesitation at any time. The points plate was tight when I changed the condensor and I've not touched the tach gear housing, so I'd tend to rule those out.

That seems to point to the condensor. I've no time now to swap back to the old condensor to check properly but I will do that as soon as I can and let you know.

Thanks again for the comments. It's always reassuring to know there's somewhere to turn when things go pear-shaped. I'd probably not have gone for the condensor in the first place had I not spent some illuminating hours over the past year or two, absorbing all I could from the BB archives.

There's an "End of the Olympics" party this afternoon at my local pub, so I'll be fit for nothing by tonight. We've lived with the planning for the past 7 years but the consensus at the moment is that it's been well worth it. The idea that the UK might ever come third in the medals table was a nonsense until a few days ago but I expect the whole nation will wake up tomorrow morning with one enormous hangover - even the teetotalers will end up paying their share of the 7 billion the Games have cost.

- Tom.
Tom Bennett - 53TD 24232

OBTW: I had 2 bad new sports coils ...right out of the box ...but that was over 10 years ago.
I changed to pertronix Flame Thrower.
It was "chrome" ...but a bit of black paint and a Lucas sticker made it OEM!
David Sheward

This thread was discussed between 11/08/2012 and 12/08/2012

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