I changed the distributor cap and rotor on my car today, probably the cheapest repair I could attempt to try to get rid of the starting problems it’s been having.
The problems have mostly been apparent in rain or otherwise damp weather, but once I also experienced it after the car had been driven for a while, parked in a carpark, and had been in the sun for a couple of hours. The starter engine would turn, but nothing would happen for a while – then after some turns the engine would start coughing, as if one or a few cylinders would fire, and then it would slowly start being able to keep itself going – for the first few seconds still coughing a lot.
I expected this to be due to an old power distributor, and indeed it didn’t look too nice inside when I got it off. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but the car has been fine the 3 times I’ve started it since… not a very good statistical basis, since it hasn’t rained, but it’s nice to know that it hasn’t ruined the engine. The car felt a bit faster afterwards – but I’m sure that’s just the rush of pride of mending my own car doing that 😉