K11 Distributor Trouble


I have owned a K11 1.0 1995 N Reg Micra for 2 and a half years. It's been a great car, very reliable first-time starter, until it had problems staring after damp weather about a year ago. The problem got worse and worse until it had to be kept in our garage every night to be sure of it starting in the morning. It eventually had a service, and I think having the distributor cleaned up solved the problem.

After the service it was starting every morning and was no longer being kept in the garage overnight. I drove to my parent house last weekend however, and it was terribly wet during the night. The car did not start in the morning. Took it to garage that did the service, they got it started (usually a bump start would do the trick to get it going again, and once going it would start every time, but wanted the garage to look at it while it wasn't starting). The guy at the garage said the distributor had a low spark, that Micra's of this age often have distributor problems. He advised I get a new distributor put in.

Took car home and covered engine every night and it started every day this week until this morning (it was very wet again last night).

My questions are:
- Has anyone else had a similar distributor problem?
- Why would one very wet night 1 week ago, cause the old problem to return?
- If getting a new distributor is in fact the only option, how much should I expect to pay, roughly, with labour included?




Club Member
the dizzy,s tend to fail when they get hot tom, (cam sensor fault) then they,ll run ok when they,ve cooled down
yours sounds like a sparkleak maybe, in or around the cap
Thanks frank.

If there is damp inside the distributor, would that not interfere with the spark? But if it is a sparkleak, would replacing the cap fix that? Would the garage not have picked up on a sparkleak though?


Club Member
dunno tom :grinning:, but i would give the dizzy and cap a good spray before forking out for another dizzy :eek:


Buy & Sell Member
I paid £20 for one from a scrap yard, removed and fitted it myself and it works beautiful. It's a relatively straight forward job to do as long as you mark out where the origional distributor was set to. Since i removed the part from the donor car i had the luxury of being about to mark the replacement distributor relative to where it sat against the engine, so i had two sets of markings to go by which was a big help.
The reason why the distributors are prone to fail is because they're a combination component, it's a distributor with a coil and a crank angle sensor built into it. So if one of those components fails then the whole thing has to be changed.
It was a design goof, like the throttle bodies.
Easy and cheap fix. If you have it done at a garage, assuming you supplied the part, for the same price i paid for mine, i would guess around £100 - £120 with labour. Again it's a simple job, just time-consuming, and a garage would probably want to pass some more time by playing with their strobe light. Mechanics love their toys :laugh: