Ignition Wire Replacement
Octagon Newsletter … June 1990
By Jack Baker
Even though my 'B' was running well I felt the burning need to make it run better. This improvement desire is easy to spot in the human male. It can be identified by, (a) Blue finger nails, (b) Wax build-up, and (c) A big 'M' on the forehead.
While in Portland last September. I heard a familiar sound, something like a mother bird, tsch, tsch, tsch. I looked up, from cleaning a moth wing from the radiator, to find the happy face of a car parts salesman. He told me my old black Lucas ignition wiring was not giving me enough juice. He just happened to have some nice blue, high performance stuff. Panting, The 'M' shining, I bit.
Soon I was advised by a friend that blue wiring was tarty. Worse my radio went all to hell. Noise, on the week AM stations, made the radio useless … as if a radio is a must in a 'B'. I installed every filter known to Radio Shack, no luck. Grounded the hood, no luck. Checked with a radio expert … new antenna, no luck. The second expert told me my high performance wire was solid core. Every wire is a small radio station broadcasting noise. You can't use that kind of wire and have a radio.
I sent to the U.K. for official new MGB wire. It arrived, in really tarty, bright yellow. Jeremy hated it, I hated it, the radio loved it.
I went to Vancouver and noted a hesitation at constant speed around 68 MPH. Once home I checked with the Wizard, Mike Owen. He at once suspected the ignition wire was the problem. It seems that, because of the lean mixture, holding a steady speed at cruise requires a strong spark. Mike found a poor connection at each end of the wire between the coil and the distributor. It is most important that you insure a good contact when installing ignition wire. Mine was not seated well and was arcing.
I am now happily driving a car with good radio reception and lovely, non-tarty, graceful, flowing, original black ignition wire. Thank goodness I didn't toss it.
P.S. Anyone want to buy a nice set of yellow ignition wires?
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