[Healeys] Car dies suddenly

i erbs eyera3000 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 19 20:29:21 MDT 2019

I'm with everyone else. bypass the battery cut off switch and see if that
fixes the problem.
Ira Erbs
      _______                                  _______
     (______ \____1959 BN4____/ _______)
          BT7 engine and disk brakes

1967 MGB  [image: MG]

A racing car is an animal with a thousand adjustments. Mario Andretti
Please excuse random auto corrects and misspelled words

On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 1:48 PM Michael Oritt <michael.oritt at gmail.com>

> Yesterday morning I went out for a drive and after about five miles the
> car suddenly died. There was no rough running, sputtering or missing
> leading up to it—the car simply died. I coasted to the side of the road and
> after about 30 seconds since the key was still on I pushed the start
> button. To my surprise the car started immediately, revved freely and idled
> smoothly. A bit perplexed I decided to drive on to see what would happen
> now that I was paying close attention. The car accelerated smoothly and ran
> fine for about 1/2 mile and then it died again in the same manner as
> earlier. I shut off the key, popped the hood and examined the ignition
> system. Everything seemed fine—all spark plug leads were firmly in place as
> was the lead from the coil to the distributor. The power wires to the coil
> were tight and the harness/connector to the distributor (see below) seemed
> fine.
> After scratching my head for a couple of minutes I got in the car, turned
> on the ignition and pushed the start button. Again, the car started right
> up and ran normally. With fingers crossed I headed for my shop/garage,
> about ten miles away and got there without any further event. Though the
> problem did not seem to be fuel related I decided to verify that this was
> not a fuel delivery issue. I have a double-headed SU fuel pump wired to a
> switch mounted just behind the driver’s seat which allows me to switch
> between pumps as well as turn the fuel pump off. While I was running the
> car at highway speeds it ran perfectly on either pump and when I selected
> the “off” position it slowly lost power as I expected it to—but in no way
> like it had suddenly twice died 15 or so minutes earlier. This indicated I
> was not dealing with a fuel issue but rather something related either to
> the ignition system or to the primary wires that run to it.
> This morning I dove a bit deeper to try and diagnose the problem. The car
> has a Mallory Unilite ignition system tied to an MSD coil which has been in
> place and performed faultlessly for a number of years. I removed the
> distributor cap and everything appears to be okay, at least visually. The
> interior of the distributor was clean and dry as was the cap, leads, carbon
> contact, optical reader, etc. Mallory specifies the use of a ballast
> resistor in the lead from the power source to the coil and with the engine
> fast-idling I tested 12.5 VDC to the resistor and about 5.5-6 VDC out of it
> and at the positive coil terminal.
> I have a large low-oil pressure light that is mounted in the dash in place
> of the original overdrive switch. It is wired from the ignition switch
> through a 10 psi normally-closed switch mounted in the oil pressure gauge
> sender line and then to the light. I point this out because both times when
> the engine shut down yesterday the light immediately came on, from which I
> conclude that the ignition switch itself is not the source of the problem.
> And though I did not remove the ignition key switch the wires to and from
> it seem tight and intact.
> So my question is: What do I do? I hate to throw parts at it without
> finding something that appears to be defective but I don’t know where to
> start any further tests, etc. I also don’t want to simply wait for the
> issue to happen again. BTW over the weekend I drove about 150 miles with no
> issues whatever. Beyond installing four new plugs last week I have not
> performed any work related to the ignition system. All
> suggestions/questions welcome….
> Best--Michael Oritt, BN1
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