1973 silver shadow 1
john miller

Sheffield, UK

#1 Jan 5, 2013
thanks for your help yan re my starter motor. the engine now turns over but it wont start as there is no spark. it has new leads, dist cap, rotor arm and points. it has had a new coil fitted with the wires going to a ceramic type conector (looks like a resistor).
have you any idea why there is no spark, and how can i test to and from the coil.

thank you john miller
Jan Forrest

Rotherham, UK

#2 Jan 6, 2013
Cheap multimeters are available from a wide variety of sources to permit accurate checks on voltage / current / resistance, etc. Although I've already got a large and expensive one I've bought several much cheaper ones on eBay for a couple of quid each (including postage) to allow me to keep one in each car, one in my touring caravan and give away a couple as gifts!
With one of these to hand you can check the low tension leads at the coil and if the earth side has a good contact with the chassis. It's not unknown for the center conductor of either to break while leaving the insulation intact. Also check for voltage either side of the resistor. It's there to give a lower voltage during normal running, but should be bypassed during starting to allow for a lower battery voltage while the starter is dragging a lot of current.
john miller

Sheffield, UK

#3 Jan 6, 2013
thanks jan, will give that a try.
john miller

Sheffield, UK

#4 Jan 9, 2013
thanks jan once again. was getting 6 volts to the coil but still no spark, i removed the dizzy cap and opened the points with a flat screw driver and this produced a spark, i then put pack together and tryed again . ye ha got a spark at the plugs, but no start. no fuel coming up so after reading one of your other posts i removed the stone protectors from the pump and tapped it with the ignition on and just as you said it started to burr away. i then cranked it and without hesitation the V8 burst into life.
that was the first time it has been run in 4 years it sounds a bit lumpy what should i look for. and how can you tell the tempeture of the engine/water.
once again thanks for your help, your other posts have been very help full.
Jan Forrest

Rotherham, UK

#5 Jan 10, 2013
Congratulations. You're more than half way there.

As I wrote; 6 volts is about right for normal operation as it's a 6 volt coil. To allow for voltage drop while the starter motor is turning over the engine there's a second temporary feed allowing full battery voltage which operates only while the key is in the 'START' position.

If the points had to be opened by hand I can only come to the conclusion that they must have become welded together. If so they should either be replaced or at the very least stoned flat. If you examine them closely you should see that one has a slight pit near the center while the other one has a corresponding bump. Only that bump needs to be removed. The more off center they are, the more the points gap was wrong or even that they might be not closing parallel to each other. This can happen if the arm of the moving contact has been accidentally bent while fitting the points set. Since you say that they were recently replaced I guess that you didn't get the static gap quite right or, just as likely, that the condenser (capacitor) needs to be replaced. With a failed or disconnected one you will get excessive arcing at the points which will cause the erosion of one with the removed material being transfered to the other.

Obviously you've read what I wrote about the 2 sets of points in the twin fuel pump. If your pump fails to fire up in future you will need to replace or clean them up in much the same way as above. The condition of the 2 condensers in the pump(s) is just as important and for exactly the same reasons. However there is another possibility for apparent pump failure. There's an oil pressure switch on the engine which cuts the pump's electrical feed if there's zero oil pressure. Obviously it's overridden during starting and for a couple of minutes after to allow the car to start, but is designed to stop the engine (eventually) if there's a drastic failure of the oil pump.

Can I assume that the engine is still a bit lumpy even when it's up to full operating temperature? Unfortunately there are way too many possibilities for this:
Ignition or valve timing slightly wrong
disconnected or broken vacuum pipework
'Stale' fuel - although I recently recommisioned a car that had been stood for 5 years with a full tank of unleaded and it ran 'sweet as a nut' on that fuel.
Carbs out of balance or fuel/air mixture not quite right
Etc, etc.

Unfortunately most Shadows weren't fitted with a temperature gauge, although it's not difficult to add one. Many owners take out the ammeter or battery condition meter - whichever was requested when the car was ordered - and replace it with a temp gauge of the same size. I've got, but not yet installed, a multi gauge (water temp, oil pressure, rev counter) which will fit neatly into the hole in the dash after I've removed the right hand 'bullseye' air vent.

Have you got or ordered your copy of 'The Shadow Owners Companion' by Jon J. Waples yet? You really should! Think of it as a 'Dummies Guide' to Silver Shadow ownership with many aspects of a workshop manual. Even though I've got the full Rolls Royce official workshop manual for the Shadow I still wouldn't want to be without my companion as well.
john miller

Sheffield, UK

#6 Jan 10, 2013
hi again jan. thanks for sharing your knowledge again it is very helpfull. i will be working on the shadow on saturday.
i am so glad it is running now , so i can get on with the little jobs.
i will keep you up to date with my progress and problems. i hope to get it mot,d mid february then in to the paint shop and on the road for march.
cant wait to take the wife and kids a run down the coast to largs to have a picnic.
all the best jan

john miller

Sheffield, UK

#7 Jan 12, 2013
hi jan , its saturday night, just in from the garage, drove the shadow out on to the drive, done a three point turn then smoke started to come out the engine bay, i turned it of and had a look. the hydrolic fluid filler cap had blown off and covered the engine in oil, is this because it has not run in 4 years and maybe air locked.
allso the gear selector was not do ing what it should, drive was neutral and reverse was 1 and L .
one last thing, i am going to get the rear calipers reconditioned, will the hand brake caliper come off together with the brake caliper...
thanks jan.
john miller

Sheffield, UK

#8 Jan 13, 2013
hi jan, im thinking this might be the gear box oil cap, it has a dip stick.

cheers john
Jan Forrest

Rotherham, UK

#10 Jan 13, 2013
By the way: I'll be camping not far from you at The Trout Inn, Lechlade-on-Thames over the weekend of 21st to 23rd June, but not with the Shadow. I have a couple of other cars that serve for that function as well as a 6 man vis-a-vis tent, a 4 berth trailer tent AND a 4 berth caravan! No idea yet as to which I'll be using that weekend LOL. Depending on the circumstances at the time I could even be stretching it to 20th to 24th. Perhaps we could meet up and put faces to names?

Hope you have better luck with the Shadow and we can go for a short spin in her.
eddy g

United States

#11 Aug 30, 2016
which of the wiring for the dash is primary i accedentley have disconnected majority of wiring behind dash now car won't start where should i start or in what order should i look when plugging back in lol in simplest terms
baldies uk

Stockton-on-tees, UK

#12 Dec 19, 2016
How do I adjust the points gap on my Shadow One single point distributor ? Thanks

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