The flashtube is probably bad
I wound some extra coils of wire around the original flashtube and still was not able to get good ignition.
I did have an old Rollei E36RE flash with a bum/shorted capacitor. I took the tube out of this unit and jumped it to the back of the tube socket on the EG&G and it works perfectly. Fires every time!!
This tells me the flashtube that came with the device is worn out.
One remaining problem is that the flash intensity on the settings 10-2 and 10-3 is almost exactly the same. 10-4 is much less intense to the eye and is probably working correctly.