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 Posted: Mar 6, 2021 12:52PM
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CA
Good to know you got it sorted. Considering the trouble you've gone through, I suspect a bluetooth 123 would just add complication.

.

"Hang on a minute lads....I've got a great idea."

 Posted: Mar 5, 2021 10:11PM
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Thanks for having the wherewithal to post the update!

 Posted: Mar 5, 2021 02:57PM
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US
Update:

I talked to 123, and they said it sounded like a failed circuit board.  They had a NOS circuit board in stock (I have one of the very first 123s for classic Mini non A+).   It's a simple install, and now the car is running normally.  I checked my selected curve with an electronic advance timing light, and it matched the advance specs at given RPM.  

Not sure I should have spent $130 on the board, but that's still a lot less $ than the new bluetooth programmable models, and if I can get another 12 years out of it, I'll be happy.

Craig

 

"I drive a Mini. What are you compensating for?"

 

 Posted: Feb 25, 2021 03:33PM
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Thank you Spank.

I walked through the steps outlined after first bench testing the 123 for spark, and the coil for proper resistance.  The 123 produced 4 sparks per rotation, which I expected since the car runs with it (but grossly advanced timing).

After finding TDC and verifying flywheel timing mark, I then installed a distributor in known good working order.  Rev limiter wire removed.

The car started and idled, and I set it at 22 degrees advance.  At 3000rpm it advanced to 30 degrees.

Verdict:  Electronics in the 123 have it stuck in advance beyond its designed maximum advance, or at least beyond the intended advance of the curve I had selected.

I'm going to talk to 123 and see if they can repair it, or upgrade discount on one of the new bluetooth programmable models.  


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spank
Step 1, eliminate variables. You have a rev limiter installed. Disconnect that absolutely while you're trying to figure things out.

Step 2, disconnect all wires from your coil (one of those should be your rev limiter) and isolate them from the chassis and engine (meaning make sure they don't ground out or spark on anything-- a piece of tape wrapped around them should suffice).

Step 3: pull your valve cover off and rotate your engine in the proper direction (clockwise if you are standing and looking at the motor from the radiator side, or you can think of it as the fan blades need to travel UP at the front of the car, and DOWN at the back of the car). Watch the rockers closest to the radiator. The sequence you are looking for is the SECOND rocker from the radiator will go down and then it will start to come back up and then as you continue to slowly rotate the engine about a half turn and you will look for your tdc mark on the flywheel. If the FIRST rocker starts to move down STOP! AT this point you rotate the engine BACKWARDS and look for the TDC mark that you put on your flywheel. A little bit of slow backwards engine travel by hand will not be a problem regardless of the type of timing chain setup you have. Once you are confident you have the tdc mark nearest to when the second rocker is fully up but immediately before the first rocker starts to move down go ahead and put your rocker cover back on.

Step 3: Go ahead and put your 123 distributor in the distributor hole. leave the black and red wires disconnected though. Doesn't matter which way the drive dog is put in or any of that other stuff... wherever it's pointing is just fine for right now. Put the rotor on your center of the distributor. Keep the cap off and all spark plug wires disconnected/removed from engine bay for now. (make sure your car handbrake is on, the gear lever is in neutral and whatever you used to help you rotate the engine is no longer attached to the engine or in the engine bay)

Step 4: Just run a small test wire from the battery + terminal on your starter solenoid (the big lug where your battery connects inside your engine bay) to the + terminal on your coil. This test wire will ALWAYS be hot whether or not your ignition key is turned, so be careful with it and where you put it when it is disconnected from the coil but still connected to the solenoid lug.

Step 5: Now connect the red wire from the 123 ALSO to the + terminal on your coil.

Step 6: Connect the black wire from your 123 to the neg - terminal on your coil. Then rotate the 123 BODY anti-clockwise (lefty loosey) and watch for the green light to come on at least partly inside the little window.  if you need to disconnect and reconnect your red/black wires to keep them from getting twisted while you rotate, that's fine just be sure to reconnect them before you start rotating the body again. If the green light NEVER comes on, and you are 100% sure there is 12v going through your jumper wire to your coil + connection, it is more than highly likely that your 123 is fried. The 123 has a failsafe in it I believe to protect it from some minor mistakes, but there are always better "mistake-prone people" than there are effective fail-safes...

Step 6b: If you DO get the little green light to come on while rotating the body anti-clockwise, GREAT! now is the detail... Rotate the body clockwise a smidge until the light JUST goes off again. Now use one hand to put slight gentle clockwise pressure on the rotor (just to take up any mechanical play/slack) while you gently creep the distributer body again anti-clociwise and until the little green light JUST trips back on and is at least partly visible in the little window.

Step 7: Tighten your distributor in place and also temporarily disconnect the jumper wire you have going from your battery solenoid + to your  coil +. This is just to make sure you don't leave power connected to the coil or distributor too long and cause something to "cook" / get too warm during the next step.

Step 8: Now take your dizzy cap with NO spark plug wires on it and offer it up to the distributor like you are going to clip it on -- get the locating lug thingie to mesh between the cap and the distributor but don't clip it on. Now sneak the cap back off... Which spark plug terminal is the rotor pointing closest to (if you can imagine seeing through the orange cap)? The rotor will turn anti-clockwise so you are looking for where the rotor is currently pointing -- so the plug wire connection directly beneath it or that it's just about to line up with as it rotates anti-clockwise. When you are confident you know which spark plug terminal that is, go ahead and connect a plug wire to that terminal and connect it to the spark plug closest to the radiator and of course clip your distributor cap on.

Step 9: Connect the rest of your spark plug leads. The wire terminal immediately anti-clockwise to the first wire you put on is cylinder #3 so connect a wire from that lug to the spark plug that is 3rd farthest from the radiator. The next terminal as you travel anti-clockwise on the cap is also the one that is directly opposite or across from that first one you did and that is cylinder #4 so connect a wire from that terminal to the spark plug closest to the clutch or furthest from the radiator. The last terminal in that anti-clockwise rotation will be cylinder #2 so connect a spark plug wire from that to the spark plug second from the radiator. And finally connect the center terminal of the cap to the coil terminal.

Step 10: Reconnect the jumper wire from your battery + from the solenoid that you used earlier to the + on your coil. Go inside the passenger compartment and crank the key and try to start your car.




Alternative Steps If you have to use a points distributor... The following assumes you have the points installed (isolated) properly and gapped properly / close enough and your condenser is also installed and working--

Instead of putting the flywheel perfectly at tdc, put the flywheel at 7-10 degrees before tdc when using points.

Alt Step 5-6: Connect the little wire coming off the distributor to the negative (-) position on the coil using a jumper wire. Rotate the distributor body anti-clockwise until the points just start to open and give you a hint of a spark. this might be tough to see but if your points are good and your battery is good and your connections are good and your eyes are good and the lighting is favorable and you rotate the distributor body slowly enough, you will be able to see (and possibly hear) the spark. Do this a few times to make sure you got it at the right instant. I like to put a little tiny bit of clockwise pressure on the rotor to take up any mechanical slop while I'm rotating the distributor body anti-clockwise.

Go to Step 7 above

 

"I drive a Mini. What are you compensating for?"

 

 Posted: Feb 23, 2021 04:56PM
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".....Regarding the drive gear, I always recalled that when setup the way it is recommended, the rotor points toward plug #1.   With mine, one tooth has it pointing toward plug #2 (slightly left of it), and the next tooth over has it pointing past plug #1, toward the alternator.  I removed the drive gear multiple times, and couldn't find a position at exactly the peak of TDC where the  drive gear had the rotor pointing at #1..."

I don't know if this is part of the problem .... but its kinda back to front...  

The basic setup is:

1. Set the points gap

2.  Set engine to TDC on the compression stroke..

3. Rotate dizzy until points are just about to open 

4. Connect the plug wire which the rotor is (ore or less) pointing at to No 1 plug ,,, wherever the rotor happens to be pointing, that is No 1.

5. Connect the rest of the plug leads in the specified order.

If you have set the drive mechanism up as specced in the manual, then No 1 will be somewhere around 2 o'clock... But it doesn't matter.  You set TDC (on compression) and points about to open then the rotor is pointing to No 1 ... wherever that happens to be on the clock face.  If its not pointing where you want it, then you adjust the drive.  The only reason you set the drive as recommended in the manual is that it gives the neatest plug lead layout.  

Spank has explained this is much greater detail.    I agree with everything he said .. just trying to simplify it a bit.  You seem to have chosen a position for the No 1 lead and then worked backwards????

I still have difficulty in accepting that the engine will start and idle in any reasonable way with 36 deg of advance....

Setting the idle timing at TDC will get the engine started but is maybe not the optimal timing ...but thats another story :)

Cheers, Ian



 Posted: Feb 23, 2021 11:18AM
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Step 1, eliminate variables. You have a rev limiter installed. Disconnect that absolutely while you're trying to figure things out.

Step 2, disconnect all wires from your coil (one of those should be your rev limiter) and isolate them from the chassis and engine (meaning make sure they don't ground out or spark on anything-- a piece of tape wrapped around them should suffice).

Step 3: pull your valve cover off and rotate your engine in the proper direction (clockwise if you are standing and looking at the motor from the radiator side, or you can think of it as the fan blades need to travel UP at the front of the car, and DOWN at the back of the car). Watch the rockers closest to the radiator. The sequence you are looking for is the SECOND rocker from the radiator will go down and then it will start to come back up and then as you continue to slowly rotate the engine about a half turn and you will look for your tdc mark on the flywheel. If the FIRST rocker starts to move down STOP! AT this point you rotate the engine BACKWARDS and look for the TDC mark that you put on your flywheel. A little bit of slow backwards engine travel by hand will not be a problem regardless of the type of timing chain setup you have. Once you are confident you have the tdc mark nearest to when the second rocker is fully up but immediately before the first rocker starts to move down go ahead and put your rocker cover back on.

Step 3: Go ahead and put your 123 distributor in the distributor hole. leave the black and red wires disconnected though. Doesn't matter which way the drive dog is put in or any of that other stuff... wherever it's pointing is just fine for right now. Put the rotor on your center of the distributor. Keep the cap off and all spark plug wires disconnected/removed from engine bay for now. (make sure your car handbrake is on, the gear lever is in neutral and whatever you used to help you rotate the engine is no longer attached to the engine or in the engine bay)

Step 4: Just run a small test wire from the battery + terminal on your starter solenoid (the big lug where your battery connects inside your engine bay) to the + terminal on your coil. This test wire will ALWAYS be hot whether or not your ignition key is turned, so be careful with it and where you put it when it is disconnected from the coil but still connected to the solenoid lug.

Step 5: Now connect the red wire from the 123 ALSO to the + terminal on your coil.

Step 6: Connect the black wire from your 123 to the neg - terminal on your coil. Then rotate the 123 BODY anti-clockwise (lefty loosey) and watch for the green light to come on at least partly inside the little window.  if you need to disconnect and reconnect your red/black wires to keep them from getting twisted while you rotate, that's fine just be sure to reconnect them before you start rotating the body again. If the green light NEVER comes on, and you are 100% sure there is 12v going through your jumper wire to your coil + connection, it is more than highly likely that your 123 is fried. The 123 has a failsafe in it I believe to protect it from some minor mistakes, but there are always better "mistake-prone people" than there are effective fail-safes...

Step 6b: If you DO get the little green light to come on while rotating the body anti-clockwise, GREAT! now is the detail... Rotate the body clockwise a smidge until the light JUST goes off again. Now use one hand to put slight gentle clockwise pressure on the rotor (just to take up any mechanical play/slack) while you gently creep the distributer body again anti-clociwise and until the little green light JUST trips back on and is at least partly visible in the little window.

Step 7: Tighten your distributor in place and also temporarily disconnect the jumper wire you have going from your battery solenoid + to your  coil +. This is just to make sure you don't leave power connected to the coil or distributor too long and cause something to "cook" / get too warm during the next step.

Step 8: Now take your dizzy cap with NO spark plug wires on it and offer it up to the distributor like you are going to clip it on -- get the locating lug thingie to mesh between the cap and the distributor but don't clip it on. Now sneak the cap back off... Which spark plug terminal is the rotor pointing closest to (if you can imagine seeing through the orange cap)? The rotor will turn anti-clockwise so you are looking for where the rotor is currently pointing -- so the plug wire connection directly beneath it or that it's just about to line up with as it rotates anti-clockwise. When you are confident you know which spark plug terminal that is, go ahead and connect a plug wire to that terminal and connect it to the spark plug closest to the radiator and of course clip your distributor cap on.

Step 9: Connect the rest of your spark plug leads. The wire terminal immediately anti-clockwise to the first wire you put on is cylinder #3 so connect a wire from that lug to the spark plug that is 3rd farthest from the radiator. The next terminal as you travel anti-clockwise on the cap is also the one that is directly opposite or across from that first one you did and that is cylinder #4 so connect a wire from that terminal to the spark plug closest to the clutch or furthest from the radiator. The last terminal in that anti-clockwise rotation will be cylinder #2 so connect a spark plug wire from that to the spark plug second from the radiator. And finally connect the center terminal of the cap to the coil terminal.

Step 10: Reconnect the jumper wire from your battery + from the solenoid that you used earlier to the + on your coil. Go inside the passenger compartment and crank the key and try to start your car.




Alternative Steps If you have to use a points distributor... The following assumes you have the points installed (isolated) properly and gapped properly / close enough and your condenser is also installed and working--

Instead of putting the flywheel perfectly at tdc, put the flywheel at 7-10 degrees before tdc when using points.

Alt Step 5-6: Connect the little wire coming off the distributor to the negative (-) position on the coil using a jumper wire. Rotate the distributor body anti-clockwise until the points just start to open and give you a hint of a spark. this might be tough to see but if your points are good and your battery is good and your connections are good and your eyes are good and the lighting is favorable and you rotate the distributor body slowly enough, you will be able to see (and possibly hear) the spark. Do this a few times to make sure you got it at the right instant. I like to put a little tiny bit of clockwise pressure on the rotor to take up any mechanical slop while I'm rotating the distributor body anti-clockwise.

Go to Step 7 above

 Posted: Feb 23, 2021 10:59AM
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CA
Okay, back to the drawing board...

My Haynes (1969-1996) wiring diagrams all show the white wire going to the + terminal of the coil. That's for negative ground cars. You didn't mention if your car is positive or negative ground. (If you had a ballasted ignition system, you'd also have the ballast wire which should be white/pink trace.)

On the 45D4, are the points properly isolated and not shorting? Are they properly gapped? (I had a neighbour who couldn't get his V8 Olds Cutlass to start - he'd set the gap with the cam between peaks: the points were always open. Once I set them on a peak, it fired right up.)

You said you tried two electronic advance timing lights to read the timing. They told you the same story - your timing is way off. Use a timing light to SET the advance - rotate the distributor to get the desired idle advance - somewhere between 0 (zero) and maybe 10 deg BTDC. (My Haynes says 4 deg. BTDC @ 600rpm for a Cooper S 1275 (1969-1972). If you had an idle timing of 36 and went for a ride, the mechanical advance would send it ballistic. Lucky you just burned a plug electrode.

When you set your 123, you should have the engine at exactly TDC for cylinder 1 (but not running, of course) and the ignition on. Then you turn the 123 just until one of the LEDs lights up. Wherever the rotor is pointing should be where you connect the plug lead for No. 1. If you don't like the direction it is pointing (say toward the starter), then you have to adjust the dizzy drive gear.

Don't just rely on the timing marks on the pulley or flywheel - they are the same for cylinders 1 and 4. Pull the rocker cover and check that a valve is open (depressed) on cylinder 4 and both valves on cylinder 1 have slack in their rockers. If not, wind the engine in the forward direction until it is. As I suggested, forget about your reference mark on the dizzy clamp.

.

"Hang on a minute lads....I've got a great idea."

 Posted: Feb 23, 2021 09:01AM
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US
Hi Dan, yes I mentioned the compression test to show that timing is likely not out of phase, where a valve might be slightly open on compression stroke.  

Regarding the drive gear, I always recalled that when setup the way it is recommended, the rotor points toward plug #1.   With mine, one tooth has it pointing toward plug #2 (slightly left of it), and the next tooth over has it pointing past plug #1, toward the alternator.  I removed the drive gear multiple times, and couldn't find a position at exactly the peak of TDC where the  drive gear had the rotor pointing at #1.

Question about wiring:  My understanding (and how I have mine wired) is that the car white wiring harness wire goes to the - side of the coil, and the distributor wire (single wire on 45D4) goes to the + side of the coil.    The 123 has a black and a red wire, which I have connected to the - and + coil terminals respectively.     

The car will not start at all with it wired this way now, but I initially had the white wire connected to the + side of the coil (everything else the same), which probably burned out the 123.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Moffet
If, after rebuild, your engine ran at all, the valve timing should be OK. Compression testing has nothing to do with ignition - you are only testing how well the pistons compress air against the valves. 180psi suggests the valves are OK.

One thing that may be off is the ignition drive gear, which meshes with the camshaft. When you pull a distributor, there's a good chance it pulls the drive gear up and out. Since its gears are spiral, when it drops back into place, it likely is off a tooth or two... or more.

Another thing is that the 123 may have been delivered with its drive spud ( the thing that connects to the drive gear) 180 degrees out of position (mine was).

With all that, go back to basics. Pull the dizzy. Pull the drive gear and reinstall it with its drive slot oriented properly for your engine. Then check the drive spud on the distributor is oriented to match the drive gear. Now, set the engine on TDC with the valves on cylinder 1 completely closed. You should see the timing marks on the flywheel, if any. If not, make a pointer and mark on the crank pulley. (The original marks may be off or gone due to the rebuild.) Ignore any marks you made for the dizzy - they probably are not relevant any more.

Now try the 45D4 with a condenser. If the condenser is shorted, disconnect it for the test - its purpose is to limit arcing at the points, so the engine should run without it. A short run won't hurt the points.

Once you get it running with the mechanical dizzy, try the 123.

Remember idle timing should be measured/set with the vacuum advance disconnected and plugged on the carb side of the disconnect to prevent an air leak.

 

"I drive a Mini. What are you compensating for?"

 

 Posted: Feb 23, 2021 08:47AM
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US
Using an electronic advance timing light, I verified that the timing was 36 degrees advanced at idle.  I bought another electronic advance timing light because I thought the first one might have gone bad, but the reading was the same.  Also, on a short drive (before I realized the timing was too advanced), I burned the electrode strap of plug number 1 off.

I realize that I need to setup the 123 again since the engine was apart, which I will do.  I previously marked with permanent marker the 123 body and clamp mounted to the block where it was setup with the LED shining through the round hole, and rotor held to the right to remove freeplay per installation instructions.   I can't see how that would have changed more than a degree or two as everything went back in the same, including the same cam and offset cam key, pulleys, timing chain, etc.  

I'm heading to a friends in the morning to start from scratch with TDC verification and using his known working distributor, coil, condenser and bench test mine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1963SV3
".....I have a 123 distributor which was setup static to an existing mark I made on the distributor and the clamp, which aligns with the LED coming through the hole in the 123.    

I am having trouble with understanding this 
statement.  I understand it to say that you set the timing and zero advance at TDC??  But when the engine started you measured the advance with the engine idling at 36 deg advanced???

So, did you actually set the timing at 0 ... or did you set the timing at a mark you had previously made on something?

I do not believe there is any way you can set the timing at 0  and then have it magically suddenly advance to 36 ..(maybe if there were no advance springs in the dizzy so that as soon as the engine rotates the advance weight are flung out to full advance?? ... but I would think the engine would just stop???)

As the little robot said .."More input"  :)

Cheers, Ian

 

"I drive a Mini. What are you compensating for?"

 

 Posted: Feb 22, 2021 03:08PM
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CA
If, after rebuild, your engine ran at all, the valve timing should be OK. Compression testing has nothing to do with ignition - you are only testing how well the pistons compress air against the valves. 180psi suggests the valves are OK.

One thing that may be off is the ignition drive gear, which meshes with the camshaft. When you pull a distributor, there's a good chance it pulls the drive gear up and out. Since its gears are spiral, when it drops back into place, it likely is off a tooth or two... or more.

Another thing is that the 123 may have been delivered with its drive spud ( the thing that connects to the drive gear) 180 degrees out of position (mine was).

With all that, go back to basics. Pull the dizzy. Pull the drive gear and reinstall it with its drive slot oriented properly for your engine. Then check the drive spud on the distributor is oriented to match the drive gear. Now, set the engine on TDC with the valves on cylinder 1 completely closed. You should see the timing marks on the flywheel, if any. If not, make a pointer and mark on the crank pulley. (The original marks may be off or gone due to the rebuild.) Ignore any marks you made for the dizzy - they probably are not relevant any more.

Now try the 45D4 with a condenser. If the condenser is shorted, disconnect it for the test - its purpose is to limit arcing at the points, so the engine should run without it. A short run won't hurt the points.

Once you get it running with the mechanical dizzy, try the 123.

Remember idle timing should be measured/set with the vacuum advance disconnected and plugged on the carb side of the disconnect to prevent an air leak.

.

"Hang on a minute lads....I've got a great idea."

 Posted: Feb 22, 2021 02:51PM
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".....I have a 123 distributor which was setup static to an existing mark I made on the distributor and the clamp, which aligns with the LED coming through the hole in the 123.    

Also, I'm running an HIF44.

Idle timing was 36 degrees advanced. ..."

The trouble with remote diagnosis is that you did what you thought you did ... but we don't really know where you are?


I am having trouble with understanding this 
statement.  I understand it to say that you set the timing and zero advance at TDC??  But when the engine started you measured the advance with the engine idling at 36 deg advanced???

So, did you actually set the timing at 0 ... or did you set the timing at a mark you had previously made on something?

I do not believe there is any way you can set the timing at 0  and then have it magically suddenly advance to 36 ..(maybe if there were no advance springs in the dizzy so that as soon as the engine rotates the advance weight are flung out to full advance?? ... but I would think the engine would just stop???)

As the little robot said .."More input"  :)

Cheers, Ian

 Posted: Feb 22, 2021 11:23AM
 Edited:  Feb 22, 2021 11:23AM
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US
Hi, this is my first post in at least 4 to 5  years.  Car has been off the road, and I mothballed and forgot about it so I wouldn't be tempted to give it away.  Definitely a love-hate relationship!

I rebuilt the motor (1275 Cooper S +.040), and gearbox.  Had crank turned and re used an Elgin cam with low miles.   I used a cam timing wheel and 4 degree offset key to achieve correct cam advance.  I actually didn't remove the key from the cam as it is the same motor, cam and crank that came out.   Dots on cam and crank pulley lined up when installing chain, and after installing the motor, compression is 180psi on all 4 cylinders. Leak down was consistent between all 4 cylinders.  It was lower than normal, but the rings are not seated yet. I marked the flywheel at true TDC, which was about 1 degree off from the original mark.

I have a 123 distributor which was setup static to an existing mark I made on the distributor and the clamp, which aligns with the LED coming through the hole in the 123.    

Also, I'm running an HIF44.

Idle timing was 36 degrees advanced.   On a suggestion, I installed a spare 45D4 points distributor, and advance was over 40 degrees.

Before going further into it, I realized after trying both distributors that I had installed the white car wiring harness wire to the + on the coil, instead of the -.     I was told that this likely burned out the 123, and it did burn the points wire (and probably the condensor) in the 45D4.

I moved the white harness wire to the - side of the coil, and now the car does not start with the 123 at all.  It did start with the 45D4, but still read 40+ degrees advanced at idle.    I replaced the condenser with an old one I had lying around and the car would not start - but I have no idea if the condenser is good.

I've not tried a known good distributor or coil yet, but will do this on Wednesday when I tow the car to a friends place.  There's also a rev limiter in the car, which connects to the coil negative.  I don't know how or if this would interact with the strangeness going on.

I don't believe compression would be 180psi if timing was out of phase.    

Any ideas?

 

"I drive a Mini. What are you compensating for?"