Contact-breaker points are responsible for transferring the electrical current from the coil to the spark plugs to start your car’s engine. But as the current passes through the points, it causes one point to metal and deposits its residue on the other point. The unwanted deposits can hinder the performance of the contact breaker points and, as a result, causes problems in starting the car. Replacing contact-breaker points with a simple screwdriver will ensure that your car’s ignition functions properly and your car starts smoothly. However, you will need to adjust the points accurately to get the engine working. Read on to find out how to fit and adjust contact-breaker points to get your car started.
Contact-breaker points are prone to wear. It is advisable to replace the contact-breaker points every 10,000 kilometers or twice a year, depending on your car usage. Knowing how to fit and adjust contact-breaker points can help you easily replace the contact-breakers regularly.
Things you will need
Replacing and Adjusting contact-breaker points is an easy task, which will require the following things:
- The car’s owner’s manual
- New contact-breaker points
- A set of screwdrivers
- A vacuum source
- A set of spanners
- A dwell meter or a multimeter with a dwell feature
- A dielectric grease
- Some paraffin or petrol
- A feeler gauge
How to Remove Old Contact-breaker Points
Before fitting the new contact-breaker points, you need to take out the old ones. Follow the following steps below to remove the old contact-breaker points:
Step 1 – You need to identify the distributor and then unscrew or unclasp the distributor’s cap off. Now remove the rotor off and remember its exact position. You will now be able to spot the contact-breaker points in the base of the distributor.
Step 2 – Make sure that your car is in the neutral gear. Using an appropriately sized spanner on the engine pulley, rotate your car’s engine. As the camshaft rotates in the distributor, the heel of the gear tooth is pushed outward on the cam lobe, causing the contact breaker points to open as far apart as possible.
Step 3 – You have to disconnect the electrical wires of the coil and the capacitor from the back of the contact breaker points. But make sure that you disconnect the battery first in order to avoid any electric shocks.
Step 4 – Now, from the base plate, remove the locating screw to free the old contact-breaker points from the base of the distributor. You would be able to see signs of pitting in the form of deposits of tungsten from one point to another.
Note: If the deposits appear to be more than 1mm thick, you need to change the capacitor as well.
Step 5 – While replacing the contact-breaker points, you also need to check the retard weights and the mechanical advance of the distributor base plate. Remove the plate and check if the weights can move freely on their locating points.
Step 6 – Also, check the condition of the resisting springs. Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to improve the spring elasticity.
Step 7 – Ensure that the capacitor is secure in its place and refit the distributor base plate.
Note: If the retard weight and the advance are vacuum load sensitive, then use a vacuum source at the end of the unit to see if the base plate moves with reference to the locating points. Once the source is removed, the plate should fall back to its place and remain static.
How to Fit and Adjust Contact-breaker Points
Once the old contact-breaker points are removed, you can fit the new points in the distributor. The steps below can guide you in fitting and adjusting the new contact-breaker points.
Fitting the Points
Step 1 – The new contact-breaker points have a protective coating over them. You have to use paraffin or petrol on a cloth to clean the points. Allow them to dry before you go on to the next step.
Step 2 – Now, you have to fit the points in the base plate and locate the fitting screw to tighten them in place. Leave the points loose enough so that they can move easily in relation to the plate.
Adjusting the Points
Step 1 – Adjust the heel of the gear tooth on the camshaft, so it rides on it smoothly.
Step 2 – Use a feeler gauge to adjust the gap between the contact-breaker points according to the dwell angle specified for your car. You have to consult your car’s owner manual to find the specified dwell angle for your car.
Step 3 – Tighten the locating screw with a screwdriver once the dwell angle is adjusted.
Step 4 – Reconnect the wires from the coil and the capacitor in place on the base plate.
Step 5 – You now have to place the rotor back in the distributor and reattach the distributor cap.
Step 6 – Check the battery leads and connections and reattach the battery.
Step 7 – Now, using a multimeter or a dwell angle, you need to check if the dwell angle is in accordance with the angle specified. Readjust the angle by repeating the steps mentioned above, if required.
And there you go, fresh contact-breaker points in place. Start the car and take the car for a test drive to ensure that everything works perfectly under different engine load conditions.
If the car still has trouble starting, other reasons might be involved. Check if your battery has the right amps. Test your car’s battery to see if your car needs a battery replacement. You can use a car battery charger to revive the battery in some cases.
Knowing how to fit and adjust contact-breaker points can help you save time and money. Since the points need regular replacement, doing the job yourself can save you the hassle of going to a workshop for a simple task such as this.