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Fitting vacuum advance to a Canadian

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  • Fitting vacuum advance to a Canadian

    Hey all, I've got a 1979 Canadian Mini that was turned into a 1380 around 2000. It sadly has no name except maybe "Yippee, I get to take the Mini".

    It's got the 41404 distributor that is 45D type fitted to Canadian Minis. I'm trying to add a vacuum advance unit to it for better gas mileage. I can see the small stub it is supposed to go onto, inside the distributor under the metal side cover. For giggles I pulled on it with a hook and it doesn't move at all. The regular mechanical advance works correctly via my timing light with tach.

    So is it possible vacuum advance mechanism in the distributor is rusted solid? It hasn't been used in the life of the car or distributor as far as I know. Or, is it not possible to fit vacuum advance to this particular distributor?

    1979 Canadian Mini Saloon

  • #2
    If the distributor is original from a 998 Canadian Mini, it is unlikely to be the best one for the 1380 1275cc engine regardless of adding the vacuum advance or not.

    Regarding the 41404, I've not tried to do what you would like to do. If you don't get an answer here, I'd suggest posting on the Mini Mania Forum. There are a few very knowledgeable Canadian Mini owners that participate there.
    The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.


    • #3
      The TMF Forum in the UK is also quite an active one especially with later cars like yours. As a lot of the cars I've seen there are 'bitsas' so might be worth giving a try?
      Last edited by Bertam; 10-02-2018, 11:06 AM.


      • #4
        It's very likely that the first thing either of those forums will suggest is that you use a different distributor. Using a mechanical advance curve that you know is wrong (998 vs 1380 and all the changes that entails) and then trying to find the correct vacuum advance unit (there are dozens of different specs) isn't likely to give you optimum results. The $200-$300 you spend on a modern distributor will be worth it in your time saved and wear and tear on the engine.

        If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...


        • #5
          My advice would be to go to Advanced, fill out the worksheet and send it off to Jeff for a custom built distributor with an advance curve to suit your particular application. I've used his expertise a couple of times and was very satisfied.


          • #6
            Or, I've heard several claim nice results from a properly set up 123, although, they tend to be a bit pricey.
            All Together Now..... Everybody.......


            • #7
              Have to agree with Jerry on Advanced Distributors. A great 'old skool' resource and probably the best way of getting a distributor / ignition system that is fully optimized to work with your engine. Far better than mixing and matching bits and bobs IMHO. Jeff also sells high quality ignition parts as well.

              Last edited by Bertam; 10-02-2018, 11:17 AM.


              • #8
                Got it, thanks for the advice folks. My car feels like it goes like stink but after reading your wise comments, I finally got the right search terms. Yep it's the dizzy for a Canadian 998. Ugh. It's possible the springs have been messed with but I doubt it. Chuck (Cheleker?) commented the advance curve was less than ideal when he looked at it for the previous owner.

                One issue with going the advanced distributors route is I don't know which cam I've got. Haven't tried contacting the engine builder but it's been nearly 20 years. I've considered trying to plot it by rotating the engine and watching the valves for open and close points. Anyone tried that? All I know is it's a 'Cooper' cam and not too wild.

                I keep putting this one in my cart and not getting around to it: 12G4180MS. Now that I'm more confident I know what dizzy I've got, I my try it.
                1979 Canadian Mini Saloon


                • #9
                  The distributor from Mini Spares that you referred to is for a pre a plus engine. The hold down clamps for the distributor are different and I think that the pre a plus has a shorter drive.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jerry View Post
                    The distributor from Mini Spares that you referred to is for a pre a plus engine. The hold down clamps for the distributor are different and I think that the pre a plus has a shorter drive.
                    Yep, my engine is pre a plus. It's got the big bracket for the alternator and the correct dizzy clamp.
                    1979 Canadian Mini Saloon