5B•4 Ignition system
4.1 Releasing the distributor cap clips
1 Mark the spark plug HT leads to aid refitting,
and pull them from the distributor cap. If it is
required to remove them from the spark plugs,
it will be necessary to remove the inspection
cover from the centre of the cylinder head.
Release the clips from each side of the
distributor cap, and place the cap to one side
(see illustration). If the clips are tight, use a
screwdriver to prise them off carefully.
2 Apply the handbrake, then jack up the front
of the car and support on axle stands (see
"Jacking, towing and wheel changing"). On
manual transmission models, the engine may
be rotated by turning the front right-hand
wheel with 4th gear engaged. On automatic
transmission models, it will be necessary to
remove the right-hand wheel and also the front
section of the wheelarch liner, in order to use a
socket or spanner on the crankshaft pulley.
3 Remove No 1 spark plug (nearest the timing
chain end of the engine).
4 Place a finger over the plug hole, and turn
the engine in the normal direction of rotation
(clockwise, viewed from the crankshaft pulley
end) until pressure is felt in No 1 cylinder. This
indicates that the piston is commencing its
5 Continue turning the engine until the "0°"
mark on the flywheel/driveplate is aligned with
the timing mark on the bellhousing. Check
also that the rotor arm is pointing towards the
position where the No 1 HT lead segment
would be if the distributor cap were fitted. If
there is no mark on the rim of the distributor
body, make a mark with a small file.
6 Using a dab of paint or a small file, make a
reference mark between the distributor base
and the cylinder head.
7 Disconnect the wiring plug for the Hall-
8 Where applicable, disconnect the vacuum
hose from the double-acting vacuum capsule.
9 Unscrew the distributor clamp retaining
bolt, and remove the clamp.
10 Withdraw the distributor from the end of
5.1 The ignition system amplifier unit (Hall-
the cylinder head. Note that the distributor
driveshaft incorporates an off-centre drive
dog, which engages a slot in the end of the
11 It is not possible to renew the Hall sensor or
the slotted vane, and if either of these
components is found to be faulty, the complete
distributor should be renewed. The only
components which may be renewed are the
vacuum capsule (where fitted) and the rotor arm.
12 To remove the vacuum capsule, unscrew
the retaining screws, and unhook the operating
arm: When refitting the vacuum capsule, turn
the Hall sensor clockwise as far as possible,
then move it backwards and forwards while
locating the operating arm on the pin.
13 Take care not to touch the Hall sensor with
metal tools, as it may be damaged.
14 The rotor arm is bonded onto the
distributor shaft, and must be crushed and
destroyed in order to remove it. Secure the
new rotor arm to the shaft using locking fluid.
15 Check that the distributor is still at TDC
with No 1 cylinder on compression. Check the
condition of the O-ring seal on the distributor
shoulder, and renew it if necessary.
16 Turn the rotor arm so that it is pointing
towards the No 1 TDC position on the rim of
17 Slide the distributor into the cylinder head,
with the previously-made marks aligned. When
nearly fully entered, it may be necessary to move
the rotor arm slightly, so that the dog engages the
slot in the exhaust camshaft. If a new distributor is
being fitted, position the distributor body so that
the rotor arm points towards the No 1 spark plug
HT lead segment position in the cap.
18 Refit the clamp and tighten the retaining
19 Where applicable, reconnect the vacuum
hose to the double-acting vacuum capsule.
20 Reconnect the wiring to the Hall-effect
21 Refit No 1 spark plug, and tighten to the
22 Make sure that the socket or spanner is
removed from the crankshaft pulley bolt (where
6.2 Removing the ignition cartridge
retaining screws (two arrowed)
applicable). On automatic transmission models,
refit the wheelarch liner and roadwheel.
23 Lower the car to the ground, and tighten
the roadwheel bolts (where applicable)
24 Refit the distributor cap, then reconnect
the HT leads.
25 Check and, if necessary, adjust the
ignition timing as described in Section 14.
1 The ignition system amplifier unit is located
on a cooling plate on the left-hand inner wing
2 With the ignition switched off, disconnect
the wiring plug from the amplifier unit.
3 Unscrew the retaining screws, and remove
the amplifier unit from the inner wing.
4 Refitting is a reversal of removal.
Note: The individual coils sit in canisters which
are filled with oil. The canister wall is translucent
to allow the oil level to be checked. If the oil level
is low, this could be the cause of loss of
performance. There is no facility for replenishing
the oil, replacement of all four canisters is the
only option. Should replacement be required on
an early model it is necessary to purchase an
adapter lead to connect the loom to the later unit.
1 Disconnect the battery negative lead.
2 Unscrew the four screws securing the
ignition cartridge to the top of the cylinder
head. An Allen key will be required for this (see
3 Where applicable, unscrew the bolt and
release the cartridge wiring support clip.
4 Where applicable, unscrew the bolt and
disconnect the earth lead.
5 Disconnect the system wiring plug(s),
located either behind the battery (non-Trionic