BMW Tune-up Tip

Regarding the article “Basic Tune Up Procedures Part 1” in Vol. VIII No. 1, it seems you are guilty of committing my favorite error. You stated in the article that new points should be set at the lower limit of the allowable gap range to accommodate wear of the rubbing block that will increase the gap. That statement is true for the dwell angle (which is inversely related to gap), but not the gap. The dwell angle should be set at the low limit on new points to accommodate for wear of the rubbing block. This setting should agree with the high limit of the gap (but probably will not).

The above confusion gives rise to the rhetorical question, “Why bother with feeler gauges?” It seems that setting points with a feeler gauge is like adjusting valves with a claw hammer. Points set with a feeler gauge will have to be reset with a dwell meter anyhow, rolling the car around in gear is too much work if avoidable, the gauge is useless unless the points are new, and it is possible that the gauge will leave an oil film on the contacts. As an alternative, simply observe the dwell meter while turning the engine over. If the dwell is too high, increase the gap. If the dwell is too low, decrease the gap. If the meter stays at the high end of the scale, the points are not opening at all. If the meter stays at zero, the points are not closing at all (or I forgot to connect the damn hot wire to the condenser again). One final comment to those who still insist on fumbling with a feeler gauge, turning a two pound distributor is a lot easier than pushing a two thousand pound car in gear and will accomplish the same thing.

Author: L. E. “Jake” Jacobson


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