Last night I decided to finally replace the broken vacuum advance on my distributor (45D). It has had a hole in it for quite some time but I wanted to get it replaced for the road trip to MMW. Despite my careful efforts not to create a new problem while solving another, the car will no longer start.
I took photos and marked the location of the distributor relative to the pinch bolt and the rotor position before I removed it. I had to disconnect and move the coil out of the way to get at the two bolts to remove the distributor and clamp.
Once out I removed the two screws securing the vacuum advance unit and tilted it out as the workshop manual suggested. Getting the new unit to slot onto the peg on the back of the base plate was not as easy. I had to remove the rotor and the two outer screws that secure the base plate to the distributor body. Then, after several tries and a little manhandling, I was able to get it connected. I referred to my photos on rotor position relative to the dog gear and reassembled the internals.
I set the rotor position to the right location and reinstalled it in the engine. When I went to start it, it barely cranked and didn’t even attempt to turn over. I opened it back up and it looked like the points gap had closed up from all of the pulling on the plate. I set the gap to 0.010” because that is what I found via a hasty internet search (although with a clearer mind this morning it looks like it is supposed to be between 0.014” and 0.016”). I replaced the cap and tried to crank it over again. Nothing. It at least cranks normally now but there is no firing at all. I double-checked all the leads and they are secure. I left the leads connected to plugs and the cap while working so I know that the leads are still connected in the right order.
Clearly I screwed something up in the process of what should have been an easy repair, but what? Can anyone provide some suggestions on what / where to start to track this down?
1963 Austin Cooper Mk1, 1275, Dual HS2s