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Triumph TR6 - TR6 won't start. Any suggestions??
|I brought a sleeping 71 TR6 two weeks ago. |
The car turns over when I turn the key, but it just won't start. So far, I've replaced the battery, spark plugs and coil, but the car still won't start. I do smell fuel so I know fuel is going through, and after testing the spark plugs, I get no sparks. Does anyone know what seems to be the problem?
|Points, condenser, rotor, bad distributor cap, bad wire to cap, broken ground wire in the distributor...Check voltage to coil first. Then go to the next thing. If the coil has power, you should be able to get the coil wire to arc to ground by turning engine over. If you get fire to the distributor, but not out of the wires, bad rotor(cracked). Just keep it simple in your search.|
You answered your own question.
Without spark there is no fire:)
Replace your points and condensor. Check the rotor and cap. Are the spark plug wires OK? Obviously it is not the coil or plugs. Is there 12Volts at the coil with ignition on?
Do an oil change if she has been sleeping for a long time.
Also it is almost imposible to start a car with old bad gas.
|You also may want to go to the "D'oh, I can't believe..." thread and see what Brent B had to say about points installation on his old MGB. There are two plastic washers (sometimes linked by a stringer). Seen many a car with no spark because the condensor, low tension lead and plastic washers on the points were installed incorrectly.|
|I want to thank everyone for all the quick feedback. I'm a newbie when it comes to british cars and was becoming very frustrated. |
I checked the distributor and there's no power coming out of the wires. And after speaking to a few people that know more than I do, I was told the next step is doing a distributor tune-up.
I will post my successful or unsuccessful story as the saga continues. Wish me luck!
|Hey, Vince. Start at the lead to the coil - do you get 12V there with the key on? Then check the lead to the distributor. it has a real flexible connection throught the body that sometimes fails.|
Make sure the points are opening when the trying to start, then check that the leads to the points & condenser are inside the plastic washer so as to be in contact with the points and NOT in electrical contact with the screwed connection.
If you get juice up to there, then start checking the high tension side starting at the coil.
|Okay. I checked the lead to the coil and it has very weak reading. The lead to the distributor has no reading at all. I can see that the low tension lead is broken, but the rotor does spin while trying to start. |
The points are not opening, and I can't seem to find any plastic washer. Where exactly should the washer be? I have checked the Moss, the Roadster Factory and the Official Triumph manual from Bently, and I can find no information on the plastic washer. ???
On the lead to the coil do you get 6 to 10 volts ign. on?
Then with engine turning does it go up to about 12. That is OK resistor wire.
I don't have the Bently manual here so I can't guide exactly. But by the sounds of it you know how to read a meter. Your 2 point arms have to be isolated from each other with the points open? If you look at the book I am sure it has an exploded diagram.
Points only open slightly .014 to .016 thou. by book. Turn by hand and check with meter if you do not have feeler gauge. May be pitted together. Continuity no continuity as it turns.
|Unless someone has pitched it, the plastic washer should be on the points. If not, get new points as the plastic washer is supplied with the points, it is not available as a stand alone part anymore. The washer is, or least it used to be, two washers that were tethered together (way, way long ago, it was two washers, no tether). The lower part goes between the lower plate at the spring post of the points and the spring, the upper plastic washer goes between the spring and the hex nut. The low tension wires are fitted against the spring directly below the upper platic washer. Try to get Lucas stuff if you are looking local, all of the usual suspects (Moss, Roadster, etc) will supply you with Lucas stuff.|
Probably the best illustrations are in the Roadster full catalogs such as the TR6 Vol 2 "Green" catalog, Plate DU. The tether between the upper and lower washer segments is clearly shown. The line from the diagram number "12" goes straight to it. There are three wires inside the distributor to worry about. First, there is the wire that feeds in from the coil through a plastic bushing, these have been known to break and require replacing. A break here and you get no low current to the points. Next there is the condensor wire. Typically never a problem, but one time, did get a new condensor that was bad right out of the box. These are the two wires that are fitted against the spring with the upper plastic washer on top. The third wire is the ground for the breaker plate. This wire is hard mounted to the breaker plate base (sometimes called the upper breaker plate) and runs to an eye fitting that goes under one of the screws that hold the breaker bearing plate (sometimes called the lower breaker plate) down. I hadn't really looked at it that closely before, but the Roadster TR250 catalog shows one of the older point sets where the washers were untethered and is the best illustration of how the wires, plastic washers, spring and hex nut stack up.
One thing you will likely hear suggested once you get the car running is to go with something like a Pertronix Hall effect unit or a Crane LED unit and dispense with the points/condensor. I have found that some of the aftermarket rotors will not fit with those. I have run a Pertronix Ignitor for some time and later added an MSD 6AL, I seem to recall that Brent runs one of the newer Crane units that has an external box similar to the MSD. Again, the usual suspects normally carry both the Crane and the Pertronix.
you can find information on these at:
|There was a very nice pale yellow TR-250 at VTR in Red Wing, Minnesota that arrived on a trailer. Yes he was planning to put it in the concours (he did very well too) but this trailer had picked him up about 100 north of Chicago where he lives. Before leaving home he put in a new rotor. 100 miles later the TR spluttered and died. To get to VTR, he called a tow truck who brought him the other 400 or 500 miles. Everyone put in their two cents as to what he should do. After trying all these other expert's ideas, he had another new rotor as a spare and he decided to put in this new one. It not only started but ran till he took his foot off the pedal. Then it died. If he kept it revving, it would run, all the way acros to the wash hoses where he washed his car, then it wouldn't start again.|
To cut a long story short. Both these rotors were defective. He put on the old one had had been running before he left home and after that the car ran fine.
There have been a rash of rotors that are worst than a rash of bacon. (Or is it a rasher of bacon ?)
Thus endeth the first lesson for today.
Andy Mace of Triumph Herald fame and former VTR President wrote on another site the definiton of "RESISTENTUALISM", (ri-zis-TEN-shul-iz-um) noun
The theory that inanimate objects (such as new rotors) demonstrate hostile behavior against us. [Coined by humorist Paul Jennings as a blend of the Latin res (thing) + French resister (to resist) + existentialism (a kind of philosophy).]
AT LAST, a word to describe what we've all been going through for years with our beloved cars!
Thus endeth the second lesson for today.
Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
|I assure you I've purchased more than my fair share of bad rotors (loose contact). My solution has been to super glue the brass contact to the plastic base to end all play in both the rotor and the timining.|
|So, where is the most reliable place to buy rotors? I have never in my life tuned up a car, but it is time for me to learn how. It sounds scary, but then it can't be too hard. Can it?|
|How do I know if the rotor I purchased from Moss is bad? |
The reason why I can't find any information on the plastic washer is because I don't have a copy of the vol. 2 TR6 from TRF, which is currently Out of Stock. :(
I was considering putting in an electronic ignition based on the suggestion of another TR6 owner. He tells me it's much more reliable. Then someone else suggested that I should leave everything as original as possible. Any thoughts?
|Check the tightness of the brass doglegged contact on the top; it should not move at all. Another problem that can develop over time is the tip of the dogleg can get fouled (gets black) thus making it difficult for the current to jump to the cap tower. Periodically I'll scratch the tip on a cinder block to remove the buildup.|
As far as the electronic ignition, you'll hear pros and cons about their reliability. I have had great success with my Pertronix, but others have not.
|Ok, here we go again. I replaced the points, condensor, rotor, distributor cap and low tension wire. I replaced them one at a time and check for a spark after each installation.|
After replacing the points, I got a very weak spark (whereas before, I was not getting any spark). The same happened after replacing the rotor, distributor cap and condensor. But after replacing the low tenison wire, I was rewarded with absolutely no spark.
I am waiting for the wire that feeds in from the coil through a plastic bushing, the wire looked pretty beat up but was not broken. Maybe it broke as I was installing all the other pieces. This wire should arrive tommorrow and I'll install it and give it another crack.
I also noticed that at the end of the vacuum unit there is a tube that doesn't connect to anything. Any thoughts?
Many thanks in advance for everyone's great help.
|The thin wire is pretty fragile and may have broke? For testing you can use any wire for that while waiting. Don't keep it in there may hamper distrubutor advance.|
Some of the distributors have 2 vac units one was never attached used in England only. Some with one vac have removed to give mechanical advance with no vac retard.
Do you have a multi meter? Cheap way of testing if wirings ok.
|Okay. I replaced the coil, rotor, low tension wire, low tension block, points with plastic washer, condenser, distributor cap and high tension wires. And guess what? Still no sparks and car still won't start. |
What else could be wrong?
|Earlier you said the 12v lead to the coil had a "low reading". There's no ballast resistor there - the wire comes straight from the fuse box (top fuse) according to the diagram. Check the fuse holder for corrosion. Pull the fuse and clean everything up with light sandpaper (don't use steel wool - something might go to ground). If the fuse looks funny at all - replace it. Also check the wire spade connections to and from the fuse. A volt meter would really help you here as part of a wire might be corroded inside the insulation.|
It that doesn't work, try moving the coil wire from the top fuse to another switched fuse connection - I have one on the second one down. If it works then the problem might be in the ignition switch.
|Any idea on how to remove the ignition switch? According to the Bently manual, it said to "pull-off the plastic ignition cover." Well, that didn't work. There seems to be a couple of screws on the back holding the plastic cover to the ignition. |
Additionally, I did as you suggested using the volt meter to check the wire going into the positive side of the ignition coil, now there is nothing. I unwrapped all the electrical tape to follow the wire back to the fuse box. However, the wire did not go the fuse box, rather it was plugged into a white platic housing with another connection on the other side. I'm not sure what this is (I'll check some catalogs to get a better discription of what this is), but the wire coming out the other side went through the firewall.
Also, can anyone suggest a more detailed TR6 book to buy? The Bently book isn't helping much...
|My freshly replaced '71 ignition switch (CC60260L0) is held into the column lock & tumbler assembly by just a flexible plastic retainer. No screws at all.|
Beg, borrow or steal a copy of TRF's catalog. It's incredible!
white plastic deal sounds like an inline fuse. You seem to have some custom wiring there?
Go to this page for Dan Masters wiring diagrams for tr 250-6. Print off the year you require page 3 I think and back page with symbols.
Now lets start the car!
First look for switched 12 volts on the fuse pack. Should be white wire from top of fuse to coil. But anyone will do if modified.
Check if that white wire does have 12v with ignition on and 0v off? If not find one that does. Connect to coil. Check for spark and if there try to get the car started.
Don't rip out a whole lot of stuff just yet my advice.
I can hear your frustration from here....:)
I have taken out my email but if you want check the older posts like trs for old guys no XX starts with b and email me so we have a more direct I did this and this happened deal going.
|Yep - try what Bill suggests. Run a new wire from a switched fuse to the + coil terminal and see if it starts. It might help to bury some goose bones in the back yard, too.|
Not sure of your last post?
Why would you find picking up any switched 12v to coil comparable to witchcraft?
Since Vince points out current 12v power source is iffy to none existent. Any switched consistant 12v source on a Tr6 will at least get him in the ballpark to start the car? Am I wrong?
I think there was some disagreement from you that a positive feed line can also become a ground. Sorry it can. Yep I test many items by grounding them all the time. Dead shorts and grounding are 2 seperate things.
He is new getting frustrated pulling things apart. Not usually too good for a newby TR owner.
After email with Vince, car has some major custom wiring going on. Plus some burnt stuff?
He sent me a pic of a part that I don't recognise, that the coil wire was coming out of. If anyone has a 71 or may be willing to ID this let me know. I have been through parts manuals and the pic is a bit fuzzy but I don't have a clue what it is.
|Hey, Bill. |
All I meant was that it might help to appease the Great Goose on this one. Hey - why take chances? I DO agree with the need for a good 12v source - check earlier post.
Don't think it was me you're thinking of about the positive becoming a ground thing - I had exactly that with wiring after installing a gear reduction starter. So yes, I know it can happen.
Please don't interpret an obtuse joke on my part as a slight against your experience - that was not the intent. When I disagree with someone I usually spell it out plainly.
In fact, yesterday I switched the dashpots over to straight weight oil (40W) because what you said about the multi-vis got me thinking. We'll see how that experiment goes.
|I'll be interested in the outcome of this.|
Sometimes I just want to get in a car and go look at these issues. <G>
I'm thinking about motorcycle fork oil in my SUs. Just for fun, for an experiment.
J (goose bones indeed)
Yah with my old brain wandering off to GM country lately Brent. Burying bones may be the better choice for Vince...:)
Vince is away for a week Jim so we may get there eventualy but I will post. I agree with go look is easier!
Still trying to find out what the part is with burnt wires he sent me a pic of. Anybody want to take a look. I remember seeing this thing? But forget what it is? If my 72 had it I must have chucked it but might have been on the 250 years ago. Help apreciated?
James off the subject. Hows your Edelbrock lore from rodding days? Have 2 600 cfm 1405 performers running way rich. One in Mikes has only made about 20 passes down strip from new. Kits and springs changed/staggered you name it nothing helps including Eddies techs who seem unusally mum on subject? Just wondered if you had heard anything.
|Bill e-mailed me a pic of the plasitc piece and I started to e-mail back to him but thought it best to just post it.|
The fuzzy picture Vince sent you then you sent to me has 2 spade terminals on it.
1. Is it a thermal resistor? VWs have this in the glow plug circuit for diesel. ...overload protection to the glow plugs. Why it is here???
2. Has the DPO tried to change to a Ballast resistor ignition system??
Does Vince have a MM to measure resistance across the 2 terminals?
Definitely not OE on a 71 TR6.
I just read Vince's post. If the wire goes back through the fire wall (probably to ignition) then I suspect it is an addition to a change to Ballast resistor ignition system. Absolutely no need for this."
As Bill posted:
"Now lets start the car!
First look for switched 12 volts on the fuse pack. Should be white wire from top of fuse to coil. But anyone will do if modified.
Check if that white wire does have 12v with ignition on and 0v off? If not find one that does. Connect to coil. Check for spark and if there try to get the car started."
Vince..this is your starting point. If you do not have voltage to the coil, no matter what you change, it will not work/start. It is good you have replaced with new but do yourself a fovour and start from the beginning. Find out why you do not have 12V at the coil!!!!!!!!!
GO TO THE FOLLOWING ( as Bill suggested)
Do not pull the ignition switch just yet! You are getting into stuff that probably is not the problem and is leading you on a wild goose chase. ( I knew I could get that goose in here some how:)
Do the following please Vince.
Remove HT lead from coil to distributor.
Turn the ignition key to on. Do the 3 bulbs in the tach and speedo come on? (Ignition warning, Brake warning, and low oli pressure warning)
If so the ignition switch is OK.
Now with ignition on (not auxilory or start but in run position)Read 12V at the + terminal of coil. If no 12V then find out why.
From the schematic, you have a White wire from ignition switch ( run position) to TOP fuse of fuse block. A second W wire (same terminal on the fuse block) goes DIRECTLY (without passing go:)to the + terminal of the coil (NOTE: the other side of the fuse should have 2 green wires). If you do not have this set up then here is your problem. It sounds like this "extra" little fuse or whatever it is, is your problem. GET RID OF IT!!!!!!
I guess you need to determine if the wire comming out of the fire wall to the white plastic gizmo is the all illusive white wire from the ignition switch that should gave gone directly to the fuse block.
Bottom line: you need a wire coming from ignition on position ( it IS a white wire) directly to the fuse block and another wire from same fuse (same side) directly to the + coil.
If you determine that the wire through the fire wall that connects to the white gizmo is the correct W wire and the wire (White??) on the other side of the white gizmo goes to the correct fuse then join these 2 wires and by-pass the gizmo. Now do you have 12 V at the coil??? Even better, do you have spark?? (reconnect HT lead:)
Here endith the KISS approach.
One final reading for you Vince is a Archives post titled "Ballast/non-ballast ignition" Dec. 2002.
You might want to check your coil resistance.
Remove ALL wires from coil and do ohms reading across + and - terminals. 1.5 OHMS???
|Good Job Richard|
Thanks for the help. I didn't think I had ever seen anything like that on a TR.
|I was able to get a 12V reading coming out of the coil, and I was able to find a wire with 12V going into the ignition switch. Nest, I tested each spot in the fusebox and found barely any power from each and everyone of them. I also tested the ignition switch and found only two plugs with weak readings. |
I decided to connect a wire directly from the coil to the ignition switch, since I know both have 12V going in and out, and try to start the car that way. Guess what? Still no sparks.
What else should I try? Until next time...
Try and be more specific - "weak" and "barely" don't really describe volt readings. If you connected the coil to a wire to a switch output with low voltage it's not suprizing it won't spark.
Try running a jumper wire from the battery + terminal to the coil + terminal and see if it sparks. Note that if it starts, the key won't kill the engine - you'll have to disconnect the wire. If it does start, though, you either have a bad ignition switch or a bad connection from the battery to the switch. I'm starting to suspect the latter due to all the "weak" readings.
Sorry about being vague. I will try to be more specific from now on.
The fusebox gaves me anywhere from .12v to .35v reading across the board, while two plugs from the ignition switch gave me just .25v. All other plugs from the ignition switch had 12.5v readings.
Bill has asked me to clean and polish all of my connectors since they look to be corroded. I will try what you suggested and get back to you.
Thanks again for all the help.
|This is what I did today, and I still can't get any sparks.|
I used a jumper wire connecting directly from the coil, which has 12v reading going in and out, and the ignition switch, which has a 12v reading as well, but got no sparks.
I also tried what Brent suggested by running a jumper wire from the battery + terminal to the coil + terminal and got no sparks that way too.
This is it for me. Drop me an email if anyone is interested in purchasing a PROJECT TR6.
I want to thank everyone again for all your help!
|Don't fret yet gang Vince has some DPO wiring problems as we all have had. Couple of cold ones and a good nights sleep will see a new day??|
Getting the frustration level down and step by step method up may work. Hell he's had so much frustration he must be on cursing terms with the car. Thats always the first step to TR passion..:)
I invite anyone to post that has not wanted to throw a large wrench at "there" little sweetheart at least once????
|Yeah, Vince - don't give up yet. I think it's time go go back to the distributor and have another look around. |
One thing that troubled me was how, from an earlier post, you lost spark when the "-" low tension coil lead to the dist was replaced. That's puzzling.
OK - you sure the flexible low tension lead that comes thru at the cap and the condenser lead are electrically in contact with the points, but not in contact with the screwed post? You sure the points are opening & closing? How about the ground wire from the plate the points are mounted on to the dist body? Everything nice & tight there? That's really about it - the biggest pitfall is that low tension/condenser connection. Double check that and try again with the direct wire from the battery.
|Don't give up Vince !!|
It can be frustrating we all have had similar problems..is there a mechanical friend you can entice to come by ( maybe with a cold beer or a tall drink ? )..that always has worked for me ! hahha
Sometimes a fresh approach is all it needs. I'm sure based on my experiences that it is a just that one thing that was missed..sometimes in my case 3 or 4 times !!
|I Think a summary is in order here.|
Vince, like everyone says, do not give up. We guarantee you will get spark.
First off, I think you are WAY WAY WAY ahead of yourself. Do NOT look for spark (at least not yet). Your problem is before the spark plugs!!!! IMHO the only way you wiil get your desired spark at the plugs is to start at the beginning.
Vince, I PROMISE you that if you follow what I suggest you will get spark at the plugs...not yet...later!
So to eliminate some frustration, please do not look for spark at the ends of a spark plug wire. Also Vince, please do not take anything I say personally....I am only trying to be very specific.
Being specific will help us all in helping you solve this little gem of a problem. Beleive me this is a minor problem and it CAN be resolved!
1: You have replaced all components in the ignition system. This is good.
2: You have been able to get 12V at the coil.
3: You have been looking for spark (from the plugs) and do not have.
At this point I do not care how you get the 12V to the coil. We can deal with this later. (I agree with Bill it could be a DPO, Damn Previous Owner, cause. I would suggest a "disconnectable" (aligator clip) wire from Battery+ to coil+ terminals. We now know there is 12 V at the + coil terminal. Set your Volt meter to a 20V scale ( if your meter is digital). Not 200V scale. Make sure your - lead of the volt meter VM) is to a GOOD ground....the battery - terminal?
With the HT lead DISCONNECTED from the distributor and not near metal, the 12V MUST be read at the + terminal of the coil WITH POINTS CLOSED. Say that last statement again to yourself Vince. To close the points simple loosen the points adjustment screw and close the points. Do not fret we will set the gap later. Remember we are testing thing now not trying to start the car.
DO YOU HAVE 12V (battery voltage)AT + TERMINAL OF THE COIL???????????
I will say YES because you are directly connected to a 12V source...the battery. If you do not have 12V then you have a battery problem..it is that simple so far.
Disconnect and remove the 12V lead from the battery and to the coil+ terminal.
Connect the HT lead between coil and distributor.
The contacts (points) MUST BE OPEN>>>>MUST BE OPEN for this test so adjust the points adjustment screw so the points are open. Reconnect the 12V lead to the battery and this time connect the other end to the - coil... -COIL not + coil terminal.
DO YOU HAVE 12V AT THE -TERMINAL OF THE COIL??????
This following information is the most critical to follow. THIS is probably where your problem is!!!!
If you have 12 V then go have a beer and skip down to STEP
If no 12V then here is the solutions.
1. The coil is no good...replace and start again at STEP 2
2. There may be a short circuit to ground in the distributor or a short circuit to ground in the HT lead from coil to distributor. So which one??
Disconnect the LT lead (the wire from - coil to distributor). Take another volt reading.
If zero volts are read then there is a break in the primary winding of the coil...replace the coil and start at STEP 2.
If you read 12V then the short is either the HT lead or within the distributor.
Replace HT lead and start at STEP 2
If still no 12V then the distributor is your short.
The LT lead itself should be OHMED out. Remove it totally and OHM it out...you should get around zero to say less than .1 OHMS If any OHMS reading greater replace the wire and start at STEP 2.
The internal wire and connetor lead that connects the LT lead to the distributor could be bad. This is a very flexible wire and should not be frayed and shorting to ground. You did not mention replacing this piece. Remove it and OHM it out..same very small OHMS reading..check the flexible wire from frays to see if the internal wire strands are visible and able to touch an earth. Replace if necessary and start at STEP 2.
There is another flexible lead connecting the points terminal to the capacitor (condensor). Is it frayed and bare wire?
Check that the capacitor is not earthed. Remove from its mounting and check the voltage (You are determining a bad condensor here).
Finally I need help on this point. I am EI so not sure of this area. Steve P mentions the "anti" ground plastic washers. Would someone be so kind as to spell this out a little clearer...this could be the problem.
Vince, I am sorry but I must stop here...gotta go out. There is a NEXT procedure for doing test with the points closed. If someone wants to contine the story , be my guest
Vince I have not done anything unusual here. This SAME information, along with the rest of the story, is clearly written in a publication called "Lucas Fault Diagnosis Service Manual".
It is a helpfull document.
sorry gotta go .
Let us know your resaults of the above....most important...have fun!!!
|Thanks guys for all the encouragements. What can I say? Mystery loves company? :)|
I followed what Rick suggested, and couldn't even get past STEP 2. I got 12v reading in STEP 1 at the + terminal of the coil with points closed and HT lead disconnected. However, I get ZERO volts with the points open, HT connected and battery+ to -coil terminals. I then disconnected the LT lead and got zero volts. So apparently the brand new coil I brought from Kragen is bad?? And I discovered the new rotor I brought from Moss is broken as well?? Now I'm questioning if any other new parts are bad.
Should I reorder from Moss or TRF instead? Or does it matter? Rick, thank you very much for the detailed instruction. I was also able to find a copy of the "Lucas Fault Diagnosis Service Manual" online.
lend a helping hand
Vince, Yes the coil is bad..replace it. Just out of curiosity, take an ohms reading across the coil..no wires attached to coil at all. You might find you have a high ohms reading. It is possible that you connected the coil up backwards and this would damage the coil.
You did not get 12V at the - coil terminal ...the coil is bad.
Each step tells you what is in need of replacement.
" I was also able to find a copy of the "Lucas Fault Diagnosis Service Manual" online.
please do us all a fovour and post the link to this please.
It will definitely help me do a lot less typing next time:)
Keep us posted lad and good luck.
|Here's the link to the "Lucas Fault Diagnosis Service Manual." |
|Hey Vince there you go your first post to help others. Thats what its all about. I didn't have that. Now I do....:)|
Thanks you could have posted about about 4 years ago...would have save me a few bucks:)
Yup, now I have it too. Follow the procedure in the book Vince.
This thread was discussed between 29/03/2004 and 14/04/2004
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