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Rapide Lucas/Rita ignition


New Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
This is my first shot at this lark and as you see by my test run message I didn't find it at all easy finding my way around the VOC web site!

My Lucas/Rita Ignition system is playing up or should I say packed up after being on my series 'D' Rapide for about 15 years. I am ashamed to say i have not done any serious mile munching in all that time. All the usual things got in the way like bringing up a family, lack of time etc.

1) Engine starts 1st to 3rd kick and ticks over ok.
2) On pulling away engine 'misses', Sparks breakdown in all gears.
3) Gets progressively worse eventually engine packs up completely
within half a mile.
4) Engine now VERY hard to start again. And same senario when it does.

I've done all the bleeding obvious. Thoroughly checking out the Carbs, Petrol Flow, HT Leads, Wiring etc.

1) Is it worth the bother trying to repair the unit or get it repaired. I've heard some negative reports about the Rita Ignition. Am I right or wrong?
2) What are the alternative options to replace the Lucas/Rita with a Reliable unit?

I would be most grateful with any of your suggestions.

Cheers ROD

Simon Dinsdale

VOC Machine Registrar
VOC Member
VOC Forum Website Moderator
Hi Rod,

Several years ago I had a car which exibited the same problem. It started no problem and would tickover, but as soon as you moved away and increased the revs it would misfire and eventually stall and be difficult to start for several minutes. The problem was the ignition coil which was an oil filled coil and not a modern solid potted coil. What was happening was the coil was breaking down internally and as you increased the revs, it put more load on the coil which heated it up and made the problem worst. Once the coil cooled down the car would start again.
So if you havent already checked the coils, try borrowing a replacement just to try as you may not be able to electrically measure any fault.


Robert Watson

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I'm with Simon --- The Rita system draws a huge amount of power and will fry coils. With the Dyna coils they would go about 2500 miles and then over a very short period, start to miss and then die. You need coils with at least 3Ohms each resistance.


Peter. C

Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Rita Ignition

Hi Rod - I remeber your "D" leaving Cassington with a lot of spluttering and that was months ago. I have been running a Rita system on the Viscount for 16 years without trouble, I have a spare coil and triggering points which you are welcome to borrow to see if it helps. I am only 8 miles away and can be contacted on Oxford499@voc.uk.com.



Lucas Rita

Hi Rod.
The Rita system is ok if you provide good heat sinks for the ends of the coils where they are mounted to the machine. Mine consist of roughly 2 cubic inches of alloy which keeps the dyna coils quite cool. The only problem is that you must maintain 12v or else the system will not fire the coils. I'm running twin plugs too and the beast usually fires up first or second kick.
Good luck with the bike and keep both wheels on the ground.
Cheers, Phil Primmer

Len Matthews

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
As we are talking about a "D", why not revert to the original set up? Roy Price can supply the distributor kit so avoiding the mysteries of solid state electronics. He advertises in MPH.


New Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Rapide 'D' Lucas/Rita Ignition

Many thanks to everyone who took the trouble to reply to my Ignition problem. All the Info and Advice is very much appreciated.

I started to go down the Coil route as advised and on checking my service history book found much to my surprise that I had only fitted this Single Coil Twin Output Unit 2 years ago. (The old memory cells ain't what they used to be!) So I rang Mistral Eng. where I bought it from and John Carpenter said that they had no problems with them. If I returned it to them, they would test and replace free of charge if it was faulty. But first, to check out the 3 pin connection from the Electronic Amplifier. As after being in service for 15 years like mine had (another memory lapse!). The pressed out brass Female Ends 'Give' making a bad connection. This is unseen as these brass connections are encased in a thick clip-together plug.
As yet I've not had time to check this out yet but have to own up to something I missed when checking the wiring. That is that the 3 encased wires to the Amplifier were cable tied to the distributor cowling bracket and the OUTER sheathing had worn through completely to the inner wires. But the INNER coverings appear to be in tact. Can't get in the garage now til Saturday so watch this space. Oh, and thanks Pete for the offer of your Coil for a test run, much appreciated. Will give you a shout if I decide that I need it. I must make an effort to join you all at the Cassington meets on Monday's.

Cheers ROD
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