Now I know why my grandad used to say “I’m off to reset the points” every time he popped outside to light his pipe, (imagining, somehow, that my grandma wouldn’t notice the smell when he came back in ) … I’m having to fiddle with ’em as much as me old grandad 

Rummaging around in the “big box of things I bought when I couldn’t work on the car”, I found the Aldon Ignitor kit that I’d got from Burtons. You don’t seem to get much for your seventy quid 

Aldon Ignitor for a Pinto-engined Capri

Off came the distributor cap, followed by the points and the condensor module – at which point I lost the “patina” battle and removed the dizzy to give it a bit of a clean. I turned the engine by hand so that the cam timing mark lined up and the rotor was pointing at the no.1 lead, so I’d know where to put it back, then skinned my knuckles freeing the damn thing from the block 

I cleaned up the unit with a potent combination of white spirit and Mr Muscle multi-surface wipes (ain’t no dirt gonna beat that ), then put in the baseplate, fitted the magnet thingy over the shaft, attached the black module to the baseplate, fed the wires out through a grommet in the hole where the condensor used to sit, then set the magnet/module gap with the clear plastic spacer that’s provided in the kit.

Aldon Ignitor fitted into the distributor on the Capri

I wanted to retain the ability to easily switch back to using points, should it be necessary – like when I’m stuck on the hard shoulder of a French autoroute with no spares backup from Aldon – so I replaced the connectors on the two wires coming out of the Ignitor to match up to the existing wiring. The black wire to the negative side of the coil got a spade connector to link to the (whatever you call the thing a spade connector slots into) socket that previously went onto the condensor. The red wire got a ring spade (?) connector to simply push over the negative post on the coil.

Distributor with Aldon Ignitor refitted to Capri

Connected the wires up, reconnected the battery, turned the key and amazingly it fired first time  and ran horribly 

Time to bring out the big guns then, with a suitably retro autojumble purchase 

Gunson's Timelite

Connected the unshielded bit of metal to no.1 spark plug and the other lead into no.1 lead, turn the key and the timing light started flashing. I was ready to “start saving on garage costs and petrol bills”

Once I’d switched off the garage lights, then huddled over the engine bay to block out the light from the pitch black rain-filled thunderstorm sky, I was able to make out the dim orange flicker of the timing light on the crankshaft pulley  A couple of twiddles of the distributor body later, the timing was set at 8°, the engine had stopped trying to shake itself to death and everything got screwed down tight. The old points gubbins go into a bag in the toolkit in the boot – should they ever be needed.

Not wanting to get piss-wet through waiting for the RAC lady if it all went wrong, I held off on a test run until I got home this evening. Fired up first time and ran alot better than it has done since I’ve had it  Took it out for a spin, and whilst it’s loads better it’s still a bit rattly at the top – so I’ll take a look at the valve clearances now I’ve got the bendy spanner for the job. Might also have to fashion an exhaust hanger too for where the manifold meets the centre section, as it’s rather wobbly and it could be that that’s making most of the noise