Land Rover Series 1 distributor change DM2 to electronic ignition 25D distributor

Just a few thoughts shared about the replacement of my distributor on the Series 1 2.0 litre side valve engine.

After driving around the Series 1 and getting the cobwebs off the old girl I realised how sluggish and lazy the engine had become. I was sure it ran better before and checked the timing and checked the plugs etc.

I checked the old Lucas DM distributor, the cap was chipped and a poor fit, the rotor arm was loose and could move about 30-40 degrees on the shaft and the shaft itself was sloppy and moved about 45 degrees with little or no resistance. How did this start first time and run as well as it did ???

It was time for a change, I looked for similar DM distributors on eBay hoping to pick up a bargain. No such luck, but a new 25D distributor caught my eye from Simonbbc. Now I recon I have seen this same spec 25D4 fitted to 2.0 litre side valve engines in the Rover 60 and Land Rover engines in the past and I was sure the drive dog was the same.

I wanted a side entry cap, so I could reuse my old leads and so they didn’t rub on the bonnet. I like points, ‘cos I can adjust and fiddle with them. Simonbbc  sold points and electronic types. I bought a NEW points type 25D4 with side entry cap, it arrived in good time and sure enough it looked better than I thought it would.

Once I removed the old DM type after setting the engine to roughly TDC No1 I could see that the drive dogs were the same. It was a nice fit in the engine and it was easy to snip ½ inch from the old leads and refit into the new side entry cap. The DM coil lead went into the side of the DM body so I cut and fitted a lucar connector and attached it to the terminal on the 25D body. The quality and finish of the 25D body looks great in the engine bay.

It started first turn and I retimed the engine, no need to adjust the points gap or the vac adjust screw on the side !!! it ran smoother and ticked over slower. I could hear the points opening as the plastic rubbed over the cam on the spindle it was so quiet. I quickly took it for a run, what a difference it made. I am delighted and perhaps I will fit the electronic kit that he sells later on or even a powermax red rotor arm when the time comes.

Why had I not sorted the distributor out before, such a simple job and such a big gain ?????

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Comments
  1. Brian Robson says:

    Hello I have had some problems starting my series 1 lately,& googled the number on the distributor. I found your artical very informative,did you purchase the distributor compleat? The cam has worn the heel of the points down after just 400 miles.
    I didn’t fit them, must be soft/cheap this won’t help.Is it worth having the points, will it alter the timing if the points wear as befor? I would appreciate help. Brian.

  2. chris says:

    Hi I fitted the complete distributor because I know setting the points once the cam is worn is a nightmare
    I always dab a bit of grease on the points heel
    To be honest I should of bought the electronic spec new dissy Simon sells but I needed to check the quality first
    I’m very pleased to say the least my starting problems have gone and the engine is very responsive. Best money I spent on her for years .
    It just shows how everything was worn and the intervals sloppy and for that reason I decided not to just change the points . The rotor arm would turn in it’s location slot !!!
    For the next stage I plan to fit the elec kit he sells since i am negative earth but I’m sure my coil hasn’t been changed over and it’s too cold to go out and mess about checking which side is live.
    I will make a neat wiring feed with both wires inside a plastic sleeve so it’s not obvious looking from the outside.
    I also thought about asking if he did discounts for a group or club purchase
    Anyway good luck

  3. federico rossi says:

    Hello, thanks for the tip. My 1956 has a distributor problems too. I checked in the simonbbc and found several 25D4. No 25D4 land rover had side entry cap. Which one exactly do you recomend? Regards

    • simonbbc says:

      Thank you for your email, I would suggest this unit for you HERE
      Please remember that you need negative grounding on your vehicle.

    • simonbbc says:

      I would suggest the standard electronic 25D as this allows you to run this with your current igntiion coil or alternatively you could move to the high energy solution and this gives you the benefit of moving to a high energy ignition coil where the spark is more powerful and more accurate through the rev range.

  4. George Sollish says:

    Thanks for the tip. I have a ’52 Minerva (negative ground 2.0L side entry distributor cap) with a bad distributor. I’d like to go electronic, and your idea looks like the way. Just to confirm, which side-entry cap did you fit? Anything else I should know?

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