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SP250: points versus electronic ignition

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heh101353
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:34 am
Location: Basel Switzerland

SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by heh101353 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:46 pm

I bought my SP in November 2015 and after 3.5 seasons there's a reoccurring problem - points and condenser. (I average 4500 miles per season).
The first time the problem occurred my mechanic suggested to go the electronic ignition route.
I did not want to follow his advice for two reasons:
1. a pair of points and a condenser are easy to carry and to replace at the roadside or you may even be able to limp home
2. electronic ignition, when it’s gone it’s gone, much bulkier to carry a spare unit and costlier as well.

Last weekend it started all over again. Severe misfire above 3000 RPMs under load. On Tuesday I could hardly bring her to life and very rough running on low RPMs. Dropped her at the workshop. Mechanic calls back and says the brand new condenser is crap. The engine starts up, runs for 30 sec. and then dies. He offered to adapt the bloo.. thing so he could install his “Super Duper Yellow Cable Condenser”.

Replacing each and every year the points and condenser sheds a new light on the “electronic ignition route”.
I started to look around a bit and there are quite a few systems and different brands on the market.
Even very small ones which fit into the distributor.
But then you may have to change ignition leads from copper to HT leads, maybe the coil as well …

What is your experience?

Any advice is very much appreciated.

Thank you
Hans

Big Col
Posts: 407
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:45 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by Big Col » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:32 pm

I tried two different types of electronic ignition systems in my Darts and was disappointed with both. I can’t recall which I tried but they weren’t the cheapest available. I also fitted electric power steering and found that the electronic control units packed up after short periods .
I concluded that if using electronics on old cars, then the electrical system as a whole must be in excellent condition. Right from charging unit to voltage regulator and on to general wiring, gauges, lighting and earths with all the correct suppressors fitted where applicable.
I ran all my Darts (3 of them) all year round and averaged five or six thousand miles each year. The only time I found problems was when I fitted parts manufactured by present day Lucas company that Comes in the green and white boxes. I couldn’t ever be assured that they were Chinese fakes or indeed if that is where all the Lucas stuff is made. Even the common suppliers let crap through the supply chain with known doubts.
It should be remembered that ignition parts are generally considered to be consumable items with a service life. That said though I would of thought that for the amount of mileage generally done in classics, changing to electronic may not be cost effective. As you suggested in your post, original ignition bits and pieces don’t take up much room and can be easily replaced during road side repairs.
Colin,
I may be slow but I’m rough as well !

classiclife
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Location: Ridgewood - East Sussex
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Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by classiclife » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:38 pm

Hello Hans,

Electronic ignition is a generic subject not just model specific, as far as success or failure is concerned. There are many who swear by it and others who do not; either as a case of issues in the past or just will not entertain it. The question you need to ask yourself and you have already done that - is do you accept point 1 or point 2 that you have made ??

You are correct in stating that a lot of modern condensers are poor quality and really does pay to try and secure a decent brand. Part of the ignition system that is often looked and is equally problematic is the rotor arm. Current trend is to fit the new style red top rotor and I have to say these units are excellent. May I suggest you obtain one of these if you do not currently run with one. It may well be your issue is the rotor arm in conjunction with the condenser. Points usually do okay BUT faulty condensers can reduce their effectiveness and life span very quickly.

I'm a big fan of electronic ignition and to date have not had an issue with any of the cars I have owned or currently own.

A number of issues occur because the installer has not installed the electronic ignition (EI) correctly. Secondly, EI requires a more powerful coil because EI generates a more powerful spark. Ideally you should open your spark plug gap an extra bit as this allows a fuller spark to be created which is beneficial.

As for which EI you go for is a matter of personal choice. Some will say go for "A" whereas some will say go for "B" as they had problems with "A" - I think you can see my points, excuse the pun !!

On my 2x current classics and some classics in the past I have used the EI that fits within the dizzy. I have also used a fully converted electronic distributor; all have worked well.

My understanding is that you cannot currently get a converted EI distributor for our V8's - only the units that fit inside or a remote unit.

I have used SimonBBC and Lumenition units and both have provided faultless service.

If you are concerned about your EI packing up and being stranded, then the option is to carry an additional EI unit and replace. I know some people who do extensive mileage on EI, carry a spare dizzy that has points and & condenser fitted for a straight forward swap.

With regard to HT leads, I have copper leads with the EI and I've not experienced any issues.

As you say there is plenty of choice and high cost does not guarantee the best option !!

I am sure plenty of Forum users will be able to give you suggestions, I can only say what I have found to date.

Hope that assists ??

Regards.

Richard.
1968 Daimler V8-250 Saloon
DLOC East Sussex Area Representative.

Southern Classics Society Events Co-ordinator.
www.southernclassics.org.uk

steve thomas
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon May 09, 2016 2:22 pm

Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by steve thomas » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:49 pm

Hans
I recently went the other way with my saloon, replacing the electronic ignition with points and condensor. It was primarily for the reason you mention in not being able to fault find the electronic system (Lumenition I think). In my case the car would cut out after about 30 minutes and only restart after a period of cooling down. Having exhausted all obvious causes, i changed to points and no more problems. I feel much happier having a system I can understand and fault find relatively easily. I have to say I also prefer keeping these cars original and love the elegant solution of the 2 sets of points. I’d not come across that before, this being my first v8 engined car.

I also had a similar issue with my other classic using an Aldon unit that fits inside the distributor. This was a more difficult choice as the points are almost impossible to access without removing the distributor, but I’ve gone back to points and not regretted it. In both cases the cars start and run as well as with the electronics as far as I can detect.
Regards
Steve

Warsash 2
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Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by Warsash 2 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:02 pm

Hi
I have differing experience with the V8 250 and the SP both using the Lumination system. On the V8 there have been no problems in 4 years of running. The SP has been a different storey 2 systems have failed, usually in the form of a misfires. I have changed it back to points using a distributor refurbished by the distribution doctor. The parts he supplies are great quality and I can recommend him either for a refurbishment or parts supply. The SP is +ve earth which may be part of the problem the V8 is -ve earth which electronics are designed for. We changed the SP distributor at the International and have done 1500 miles with no problem.
Colin

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heh101353
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:34 am
Location: Basel Switzerland

Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by heh101353 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:25 pm

Thank you all for sharing your opinion.
I guess we all agree that points and condenser should last quite a bit longer than just 5000 miles.

Together with my mechanic I had a close look at the distributor this afternoon . We found the shaft runs a bit wobbly. Maybe this might be a reason ...
Looks like the whole thing should undergo a refurbishment.
New points and a "SUPER DUPER CONDENSER" installed and it fires up as usual and no misfire at all.
@Big Col: Oh yes, the contents of those green and white boxes is not beyond reproach ... it's not the first time the condenser out of the box failed miserably.
This time round the engine did run for 30 seconds and then died. Applying sideways pressure on the condenser contact made it run o.k.
@Richard: you're right. Those units that fit into the dizzy invalidate my point "2."
Past winter I changed the dizzy cap (the old one had a crack), points, condenser and rotor arm (new red one).
After around 300 miles the new rotor arm was practically worn being "drilled" by the carbon brush. Swapped the carbon brush from the cracked cap to the new cap
as well as the old black rotor arm. Still looks good after more than 3000 miles.
@Steve: your opinion is grist on my mill to stay with points.
@Colin: I very well remember the problem you had at the International. I was one of the bystanders not daring to swap the dizzys. ;) ;)
So your back to points as well.

For the rest of the season I stay with points and condenser (especially as there is now a SUPER DUPER CONDENSER in my dizzy) :twisted:
Maybe there will be more members sharing their opinion which will help to make up my mind.

Meanwhile, thank you very much for your kind response.

A far more pressing issue raised it's ugly head. The pulley from the water pump paints a nice dark stripe to the inside of the bonnet.
You guessed right water pump is leaking. Drop by drop by drop.
My mechanic said: "You're not going very far if this is not fixed immediately".
To emphasize his point he loosened the fan belt which resulted in a thin but constant stream of coolant running down to the floor. :evil:

Thanks again
Hans

classiclife
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:55 am
Location: Ridgewood - East Sussex
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Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by classiclife » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:08 pm

Hello Hans,

Although you are in Switzerland, I still thought I would flag this company as they do an excellent job and provide a lifetime guarantee. I appreciate the cost may be a bit high due to being overseas and non-EU; but their work is superb and is very reasonably priced. In addition their turn around is very swift, normally within a few days.

http://www.ep-services.co.uk/

I have used them, as well as some other classic vehicle owners I know - they have all reported excellent service and products.

Regards.

Richard.
1968 Daimler V8-250 Saloon
DLOC East Sussex Area Representative.

Southern Classics Society Events Co-ordinator.
www.southernclassics.org.uk

User avatar
heh101353
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:34 am
Location: Basel Switzerland

Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by heh101353 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:44 am

Richard, thanks for pointing this out.
Most of the time it's really helpful to be directed to companies where other enthusiasts made good experience.
The cost is another subject, but rest assured here in Switzerland prices are just sky high and most of the time it's more cost effective to look around elsewhere.

In the case of my water pump, as I need to be back on the road by Saturday my mechanic ordered a reconditioning kit which will be installed today. :P
Fingers crossed ...

We're are attending the biggest British Car Rally at Mollis airfield. (around a thousand cars, classic and new) Not to be missed!
Impressions may be found here:
https://www.british-car-meeting.ch/fotos

Regards
Hans

classiclife
Posts: 397
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:55 am
Location: Ridgewood - East Sussex
Contact:

Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by classiclife » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:41 pm

Thanks for the Mollis Airfield link, Hans.

I've viewed the website and the combined tabs, it looks a great event with plenty going on.

Is it a one-day event or over the weekend ??

Quite tempting to take the Daimler down there next year !!

Regards.

Richard.
1968 Daimler V8-250 Saloon
DLOC East Sussex Area Representative.

Southern Classics Society Events Co-ordinator.
www.southernclassics.org.uk

simonp
Posts: 364
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:59 am
Location: Birmingham

Re: SP250: points versus electronic ignition

Post by simonp » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:31 pm

I have used points for 32 years on my SP. I would recommend sending your distributor to the Distrbutor Doctor for a thorough overhaul.

SimonP
Daimler SP 250 - "To feel its eager response as you open up is to know a new motoring adventure"(Sales brochure) The adventure continues!

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