BX16v Distributor central electrode wear

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Gordon
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BX16v Distributor central electrode wear

Post by Gordon » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:02 am

Hi, when buying the car the previous owner had had problems starting the car. I tracked it down to the distributor - central electrode was almost non existent to the point that the surrounding plastic moulding for the electrode had worn/melted. I replaced the distributor cap and rotor and have had no problems for 10000kms in 6 months. However checking the electrode it was severely worn and pitted on the end - I filed it smooth and have driven a couple more months. Checking the central electrode its going to need replacing very soon.
Can anyone help with the cause of the electrode wear? The rest of the distributor looks fine, as does the rotor.

Thanks, Gordon
Gordon
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1994 Xantia 2.0SX

mike st gilles
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Post by mike st gilles » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:13 pm

HI Gordon, I don't have that much knowledge of the type of set up on the BX (my experience with modern cars is mainly diesel) but do remember that the 'older' distributor cars used a (I think it was a capacitor) to restrict the type of face burning that occurs when the spark is too 'long'. Just another part of the ign system (on the older cars it used to look like a silver cylinder about 1" long by 1" in diameter with a single wire to one side of the contacts and fitted either inside the actul dizzy or just tacked on the outside). Used to replace as an set when the points were done.
I should think that the BX being 'state of the art' when it was produced would have a different system probably allied to the ECU, but I'm sure that the other much more learned members of the club will put you right if thats wrong.
Mike
Garlic Bread 'its the future'.
90 BX TZD Auto lives in France. 93 BX TXD Estate having had Ken Newbolds magic wand waved over it. 98' Honda Deauville NTV650.. '86 Fiat Ducato Swift Kontiki Camper

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Post by CitroXim » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:21 pm

The 205GTi boys who put valvers into them :twisted: :twisted: seem to have a load of problems with the distributor cap and rotor arms which I understand are pretty expensive to replace. Theirs seem to regularly smash into a thousand pieces rather than burn up though :?

I reckon yours may be failing due to either a problem with the ignition amplifier, coil or the HT leads themselves. The coil and HT leads would be my first port of call, HT leads especially if they are not pukka replacements. If say, they were straight copper rather than resistance types then you may have excess voltage running around, leading to lots of arcing and burning. Using the correct spec. of HT leads on a high energy electronic ignition system is very important.

In truth, a new set of leads, a coil and an amplifier are not all that expensive in relation to a regular swap of cap and rotor arm.
Jim

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Way2go
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Post by Way2go » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:55 am

mike st gilles wrote:but do remember that the 'older' distributor cars used a (I think it was a capacitor) to restrict the type of face burning that occurs when the spark is too 'long'. Just another part of the ign system (on the older cars it used to look like a silver cylinder about 1" long by 1" in diameter with a single wire to one side of the contacts and fitted either inside the actul dizzy or just tacked on the outside). Used to replace as an set when the points were done.
:idea: Are you thinking of the Capacitor which was connected across the points on an old ignition system? This was there to reduce the arc on the points themselves and diminish pitting & the effects of points "bounce". A capacitor on the EHT of the dizzy itself would likely be problematic for a few reasons.
1991 BX19GTi Auto

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Vanny
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Post by Vanny » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:12 pm

Gordon, in my opinion its a matter of quality. You'll likely find that you have fitted a cheap Intermotor or other generic branded part, which really don't last long and often suffer from poor perfromance. I'm currently using an intermotor one and carrying a back up for when it dies!

Those that have been around the 16v engine a lot more than me swear by the performance and longevity of the genuine OEM parts, specifically the Ducellier made dizzy, but these can set you back around £100+ for cap and rotor, so its hardly surprising that its not my first option for fitment. Once i can afford it though i'll upgrade!


have a search on the BX 16v Club website for more details;
www.bx16valve.co.uk

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:16 pm

I've got a Beru set - (spare for the 16v), (which was around £40) from GSF. Are they any good at all?
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
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Vanny
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Post by Vanny » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:21 pm

going by the quality of there glow plugs then i would guess the Beru cap must be okay, certainly better than the dodgy Intermotor jobby! Actually i wonder if thats why my idle has gone a little eratic? I had put it down to a gummed up ICV but could well be the dizzy at fault

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Post by docchevron » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:37 am

Beru are ok (ish), but I wouldn't use them personally.
Mine will always have Ducellier, they last well and dont give up at inoppertune moments.

Yes they are expensive, but as with so much in life, you get what you pay for.
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mike st gilles
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Post by mike st gilles » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:52 pm

Are you thinking of the Capacitor which was connected across the points on an old ignition system? This was there to reduce the arc on the points themselves and diminish pitting & the effects of points "bounce". A capacitor on the EHT of the dizzy itself would likely be problematic for a few reasons.
Just a shot in the dark really!
I thought (correctly as it happens) that with the progress and advent of new technology that this 'old' system that I described would have been improved and in this case completely done away with.....I cetainly wasn't suggesting combining the 'old' and the 'new' as it were.
Turns out as I re-read it now it was referring to a different part of course.
I also thought that there would be club members who would doubtless give a much better (and correct) solution to Gordon's problem.
Mike
Garlic Bread 'its the future'.
90 BX TZD Auto lives in France. 93 BX TXD Estate having had Ken Newbolds magic wand waved over it. 98' Honda Deauville NTV650.. '86 Fiat Ducato Swift Kontiki Camper

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BX16v Distributor central electrode wear

Post by Gordon » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:25 am

Thanks guys for your input. The original distributor that I replaced was a BERU. Looking at the previous owners receipts it looks as though the distributor and rotor lasted 32000kms, and was well passed its used by date. The distributor and rotor that I purchased is an EXCEL make -whoever they are - the cap costing NZ$112 and rotor $58. Checking it at the weekend the end of the central electrode was covered all over in tiny pits as was the contact point on the rotor. If I knew how to attach photos I'd add it to show the condition.
Locally I can purchase replacement 5mm electrodes, but not 6mm for this distributor. I got a carbon brush and cut/smoothed it down to a circular 6mm diameter ( complete with attachment piece for the spring, so will give that a try when needed, but whether its the correct hardness grade of carbon only time will tell.
Cheers, Gordon
Gordon
1948 Light15
1966 ID19
1991 BX 1.9GTi 4x4
1994 Xantia 2.0SX