The distributor needs to be overhauled and all the old crud removed and lubricated with clean synthetic motor oil to assure proper operation of the centrifugal advance mechanism. It is recommended that owners tackle the job themselves, since most dealers or mechanics seem unwilling or unable to do the job properly; many will merely dump penetrating oil down the top of the rotor carrier shaft, wiggle it until it seems to loosen up, and pronounce the job done. Of course, the unit promptly re-seizes soon thereafter. If long-term trouble-free operation is the intention, disassembly is absolutely necessary -- even with a brand new off-the-shelf distributor -- to insure that the original lubricant as well as any grime or varnish buildup have been completely removed.
There is one other problem with simply dumping penetrating oil down the center. Penetrating oils or solvents are often highly volatile and highly flammable, and the next time the car is started there is a little "pop" as the distributor cap is scattered all over the engine compartment. This normally doesn't harm anything else, but you'll be upset paying for a new cap.
Since people unfamiliar with the Lucas distributor will need to be taking it apart, this site provides some pictures of the parts involved to help make the job clearer.
The Jaguar V12 was fitted with a Lucas distributor up to 1989, when the
Marelli ignition system was introduced. The early cars had an OPUS
ignition system, which was replaced with a Constant Energy Ignition (CEI)
system in 1982; both of these systems used a Lucas distributor and both have
the same history of centrifugal advance seizure, but the distributors are
Choose the link for whichever distributor you need to look at:
In addition, there is a page comparing
the two designs.
The Marelli (1989-94) is a totally different animal with a gutless distributor and the advance curves controlled by a computer.
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