Help and Tips



Engine doesn't turn over? NO - CONTINUE TO READ. YES- GO TO 2.

Check the battery terminals and engine earth strap are both tight. If the starter motor clicks it might be jammed. If so, put the car in gear and rock the car back and forth to free it. Check for a dodgy solenoid by bypassing the terminals with a jump lead. If the starter motor still isn’t starting then it is most probably a goner.


Turn the engine over and then remove a spark plug. Give it a good sniff, does it smell of petrol or look wet? If its none of them you can suspect the fuel system, continue to 3.
If you can smell petrol on the spark plug go to 5.


Find out if petrol is arriving at the carburetor by disconnecting the fuel pipe. Then switch on the ignition until you can hear the fuel pump clicking. If its not clicking then suspect a faulty fuel pump. If it is clicking but nothing is coming out of the pipe then suspect a blockage in the fuel line. If all is well and you have the clicking and fuel then lets move on.


Still won't start? Make sure the choke mechanism isn’t jammed and moves freely. Check the air filter isn’t blocked. Remove the air filter and lift the piston. Check the piston lifts smoothly and drops with a nice clunk as it hits the bottom. Take a look in the float chamber and see if it has become blocked with old dirty fuel. If it has then it would pay to strip and clean the carburetor. Once this is done and all ok try to start the car start again.


Still not starting ? Check the ignition by replacing the plug lead on the spark plug you removed earlier and place it on top of the engine block. Hold it with an insulated screwdriver or insulated plyers. If the plug is earthed onto the engine block and you turn over the engine the plug should spark.


No spark? Check the ignition wiring carefully, remove the bullet connectors one by one and check for corrosion, clean them and check they are a nice tight fit when you push them back together.


Clean the distributor cap and check for airline cracks in the plastic or other signs of earthing. Are the electrical contacts (points) worn? Are the plugs and coil leads clean and tight? Check the earth strap underneath the car. This connects the body of the car to the gearbox. Is it still connected. If so check the straps contact points are all clean and it has a good clean earth connection.


Check the distributor components. Are the contact points pitted? Is the gap correct? Check the condenser - they're hard to test but cheap to replace. Rotor arms can often cause problems. Even when they look fine they may conceal earthing issues. Try a different/replacement rotor arm. It wouldn’t hurt to buy a new replacement of both parts as its good practice to carry a spare set. Make sure the spark plugs are undamaged and correctly gapped. Check the leads all fit tightly into the cap and onto the plugs with a nice click when fitted. Finally suspect the coil. Again buy a new coil as its also good practice to carry a spare in the boot.


Finally give the cap and leads a generous spray with WD40. This should help prevent earthing problems.


If the engine still doesn't start, then check the compression of each cylinder with a gauge. If there isn't any compression you may have cylinder head or valve problems. Also check there aren't leaks in the carburetor manifold. This could seriously weaken the mixture.


If the car hasn't been used on the road for a long time the petrol could have lost its volatility or become contaminated with water from the atmosphere. Drain the stale fuel and refill with fresh petrol.

Hopefully once all the above has been checked and rectified the engine will now start and run ok.

Engine Breathing

Some pointers to standard Minor breathing arrangements.

* The earlier cars had a pipe pointing straight down on the tappet chest cover which was the inlet for engine breathing.

* The outlet was via the pipe on the rocker cover to the air.

* The Oil Filler Cap on these engines should be solid ( i.e. NO wire filter in it.)

* The 'straight down' pipe was found to leak oil, so was later changed to a swan's neck shape which stopped a lot of the leakage.

* Later engines had a different system where the breather pipe on the tappet chest went straight to either a valve device on the inlet manifold and then to the carb. Or, straight to the carb so this was now the outlet and necessitated a change in the Oil Filler Cap which now had a wire filter in it and had become the breather inlet.

So the rules are:-

* If your engine breathes into the air filter it should have a 'solid' oil filler cap.

* If it breathes into the carb the filler cap should have the wire filter in it and the rocker cover should not have a breather pipe on it.

* These filter type caps are supposed to be changed every 12,000 miles but can be thoroughly cleaned with a good de-greaser etc.

* If the revs rise considerably when the filler cap is removed then the wire filter is clogged up.

Hope this helps...

Identifying your Morris Minor : click on the Magnifying glass

Test for electronic ignition

Paint codes: