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Re: [T3] I think I found the problem, sort of

On 18 Dec 2002 at 11:21, Earthman? wrote:
> Plus, I think WD40 will leave a slight film, which after time (especially in the presence 
> of high voltages) *may* gather a layer of 'dust' that *may* conduct electricity, creating 
> cross firing, etc.. 

While I never bother with anything other than wiping with a clean, or even 
oily, rag, I don't think WD-40 or LPS-1 would cause any problems. There's 
really no source of dust INSIDE the cap and oil is a good insulator. I keep 
both the inside and outside of my cap and coil nose clean, however, because 
dirt buildup, while generally non-conducting, can attract moisture and lead to 

> The only thing I would ever 'spray' into a distributer cap is a high quality electronic 
> contact cleaner, it leaves no film...  a good <99% rubbing alcohol will also clean up 
> moisture, but there you're inside massaging things, best only if you've removed it 
> completely.

Nothing wrong with alcohol, but the contact cleaner would be a waste and most 
of it DOES leave a film which is meant to prevent oxidation of low voltage 
contacts. The center contact in our dist cap is a spring loaded carbon button, 
which is self cleaning, and the outer contacts never get any closer than 1mm 
apart, so surfact condition is irrelevant. If your spark won't jump this gap, 
it doesn't have a chance in the high pressure around the spark plug nose.

It's just too easy to get carried away with this stuff. It really isn't rocket 
science and it generally doesn't take anything special to deal with them.

You can even sand or grind away a carbon track as a temp fix, although the 
rough bakelite that this leaves behind will accumulate dirt faster and may 
break down again eventually.

As long as I'm preaching moderation, let me repeat my admonition not to just 
"replace everything" when you suspect that you need a tune-up or are having 
ignition problems. Our SP cables are made up of a bunch of replacable parts, 
some of which can never be replaced if you throw them away. Hang on to the very 
special, very nice right angle dist cap connectors. You'll never find new ones 
anywhere. Condensers, if they are Bosch virtually never fail. I've never seen a 
bad one and I don't think Russ has either. Bosch dist caps last forever, too, 
unless you abuse them and crack them. The OE Bosch coil is as good as any you 
can buy and will never fail.

Here are the things to look out for:

Replace points which are too pitted to file down.

Replace spark plugs when either electrode no longer has sharp corners on it.

Replace SP wires (you can replace the WIRE only) when it is cracked, or so hard 
that it seems like it is about to crack. I sell it by the foot if you can't 
find it locally.

Replace the brown bakelite SP connectors when they no longer measure 1000 Ohms.

Replace the rubber air seals when they get too hard to conform to the engine 
shrouding and no longer seal. 

Everything else that people commonly replace should really just be left behind, 
because the original parts are better than the ones you can replace them with.

Jim Adney
Madison, WI 53711-3054

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