Points or Electronic ignition in the VW distributer

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: Points or Electronic ignition in the VW distributer
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Moorehead on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 06:23 pm:

I know I am not not supposed to run a distributor, let alone with a VW head. I have been doing it for years with good success and some day, might go back to the original set up.
My question is, does anyone have the same set up as above and have you ever tried or compared any difference between the point or electronic ignition module available? The electronic one does not points, so less moving parts. There is no condenser with the electronic module and it has two wires, one each going to each side of the coil. Of course, when touring, a spare module would be necessary as I don't think most auto parts stores are going to have one. And I don't know how likely others on a tour maybe carrying one. The change back to points is easy and are points and condenser are available most anywhere.
Any comments, pro or con, are welcomed.
Also, is it possible and likely to have a coil for the above to have intermittent problems causing erratic missing, if everything else is in good shape? Or is a coil either bad or good? If on 12 volts, if the coil has an internal resistor, can that resistor go bad or be faulty and how could it be checked?
Thanks
Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rick Goelz-Knoxville,TN on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 06:42 pm:

Tom, i have been using a 12 volt Pertronix in my 26 for ten years and have never had a problem, i have the coil mounted in the 26 coil box that has been ventilated, i carry the points and condenser in my tool bag but have never needed it, it never misses is not erratic. i just installed it ,set the timing ,easy, and have not touched it since.

Rick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Moorehead on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 07:01 pm:

I have similar success for the past 10 years. Now I have a miss that is elusive. Up until this couple of weeks, I have never touched it. I thought maybe someone would suggest something I was missing. I have three other cars with the same set up, both in 6 volt and 12 volt. Never has this issue with any of them. And it is not consistent or constant. Still has plenty of power. With all the electrical, new plugs, wires, wiring, switch, either checked or replaced, my next move will be the carburetor, an NH that has been flawless for several years. Was running fine when put up in December.
Very challenging!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Brian Eliason on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 07:29 pm:

Tom,
I have had Pertronix and Compu-Fire electronic modules on my VW cars for about 15 years. In that time, they have worked perfectly. If I was running a distributor on my T, I would go with either of those in a heartbeat. Points were a lot of work in comparison.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Tillstrom on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 07:46 pm:

Hi Tom

Do you run a separate ground wire to the distributor head? If not that has been known to cause an issue. It happened to my 27 once then a few months later it ate the fiber timing gear (unrelated). I put it back on coils when that all happened.

Ralph ran a 6 volt pertronics on a car he used to have but it was harder starting than with points. I'm sure on 12 volts that won't be an issue.

I would try grounding the distributor head.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Tillstrom on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 07:54 pm:

Oops. Back to the rest of your question. If you are lacking a ground wire, and the distributor body is getting an intermittent ground it will produce what you are experiencing. The reason for this is the primary side of the coil isn't passing current at the moment the points open. No power=no fire. It's hard to trace but that is where I would start. I suspect the coil is ok.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Moorehead on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 07:56 pm:

The head is not grounded with an additional wire. I will try that and if it works, the rest of the cars will get it too.
Thanks to all for the suggestions thus far. It is good to know that others find this to be a good system with few problems.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky, Lytle TX on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 10:59 pm:

It's kinda funny that technology has made a full circle. Todays cars have gone back to one coil-one plug design and a timer. One of these days, you guys will catch up. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker on Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 01:06 am:

I use a distributor on the speedster, it ran Ok but with an occasional miss. Then I installed a tachometer and the reading were very erratic. Added a ground wire from the distributor body to the generator and all was well in speedster-land.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Iversen on Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 01:07 am:

I wonder if this distributor conversation could be expanded a bit. A few years ago I purchased a LA factory built '25 PU that had a newly short blocked engine, by Vic Terrel, in S. Ca. but, in assembly, had the mag and magnets removed. Not the engine I wanted in that score, so I put it in a speedster project with the Tex. T VW dizzy & petronixs unit. At first start up, down the road it went like a demon bent on delivering me upside down in a ditch; everything seemingly OK, except for my uncertainty in finding a correct lever advance for full steam ahead. Throttle down, the spark lever becomes the gas pedal and I am unable to detect the sweetest position. Many times I have heard the forum sages describe the message coming from an over advanced engine but my failing hearing is not discerning the crossover point. Is there a timing light solution? Or is my engine's health at the mercy of my tin ear? Another question: Unable to accept the timer hold down finger as a reliable second stabilizer for the base mount, I used available engine fastener points to make a positive down-pressure fixture but how to address the inherent wobble in the dist. upper body? Last run, I had periodic backfire sessions, arrested by retarding close to set up position on the spark lever (ATDC), and then re-advancing. Too late today to put it back on the road, I fabbed a bracket for the dist.--half circle band wrap/other half a spring wrap so it's stabilized but easily turned by the spark rod. However, I doubt that was the source of backfiring. Another consideration: I've used the headbolt held brackets that route the spark wires, wrapping them with tape where they bunch through the bracket openings but, of course, they're kissing otherwise due to the bunching. Problematic?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Moorehead on Friday, May 30, 2014 - 01:07 pm:

Ken
I agree with your comments. Full circle is correct.But for now, I will use the distributor as it has been successful for me. I found that for the most part, folks running on coils do more maintenance on their systems than I do overall. I don't get free starts, I don't hear the coils buzzing, music as some call it, but teh car runs well and i have little issues. Like I have said before, at some point, I will set one of them up as it is supposed to be.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Moorehead on Saturday, May 31, 2014 - 08:48 pm:

I finally found my problem. Somehow, the spring that holds the points opened became dislodged and limited the travel of the points. I noticed that the points were not opening up as much as I remembered but never thought about a pivot problem. I did notice a point misalignment that was just a little off. But when the spring and pivot were put in their proper position, the points opened up fully. Before this discovery, total point gap was about .080". Now I am not 100% sure this was the cause of the miss and now that I have the new electronic ignition installed, I am just going to have to wait until the next failure to happen before I find out for sure. The new electronic pick up sure seems to do a good job. And from what I haven read on this forum, they last a long time, trouble free.
The other interesting part of this story is when I went to the local small VW parts house, I asked for the module to replace the points and condenser. The guy behind the desk said no, but he had a new distributor for $89 with the electronic module installed, cap, rotor and all. That was only $6 more than the module by itself.
That makes for a good day.
Thanks to all for the suggestions on the fix. And I did add a ground wire to the distributor at the suggestion of others here. Runs like new again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Sunday, June 01, 2014 - 12:10 am:

Tom,
Add a ground wire attached to the distributor head. I have been running a 009 distributor (Texas T) with a Pertronix module for many years. Before adding a ground wire I was having erratic missing. After adding the ground wire, no more erratic missing.
If I remember correctly for the 12 V. unit, in researching Pertronix technical data it stated that you should have 4.5 Ohm resistance (Ballist or resistor built in the coil). The coil with built in resistor that I was using was only 2.5 Ohm so I added a Ballist resistor from NAPA to bring the total resistance up to 4.5 Ohms.

I do not understand why Texas T does not provide a ground wire and include it in their instructions provided with each distributor.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Barker - Dayton, OH on Sunday, June 01, 2014 - 12:43 am:

Les, The instructions do note that you may want to install a ground wire, though you're correct in that they do not provide one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Moorehead on Sunday, June 01, 2014 - 06:43 am:

Les
Where do you buy the Pertronix module? Around here they run $82 dollars. I bought the whole distributor with pick up and all for $89. Seems kind of expensive just for the pickup. But I am cheap too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Monday, June 02, 2014 - 12:04 am:

Tom,
I bought a used Pertronix module from a VW repair shop. He had several and was asking $25.00 each.....I bought one and carry it as a spare. I was driving our model T at the time on tour.....showed him the 009 distributor setup. He was impressed to see a VW distributor on a model T.

Dave,
The last distributor I bought from Texas T was 4 yrs. ago. At that time, there was nothing in the instruction talking about adding a ground wire. With the erratic missing many of us have experienced.....I would think a simple ground wire/instructions would be included. Their distributors are expensive.....including a simple 16 gage ground wire with terminals should cost less than $1.00


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Monday, June 02, 2014 - 12:07 am:

Tom,
I bought a used Pertronix module from a VW repair shop. He had several and was asking $25.00 each.....I bought one and carry it as a spare. I was driving our model T at the time on tour.....showed him the 009 distributor setup. He was impressed to see a VW distributor on a model T.

Dave,
The last distributor I bought from Texas T was 4 yrs. ago. At that time, there was nothing in the instruction talking about adding a ground wire. With the erratic missing many of us have experienced.....I would think a simple ground wire/instructions would be included. Their distributors are expensive.....including a simple 16 gage ground wire with terminals should cost less than $1.00


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris from Long Beach & Big Bear on Monday, June 02, 2014 - 09:26 am:

When using a three-way regulated generator such as from a Ford Falcon before Alternators or a mid 50's G.M. generator, you will get spikes of up to 17 volts and that will fry the Pertronix. See scope reading below. Pertronix likes 12 volts, not bouncing between 14 and 17. Mine averages 15.4 volts. I fried three of them.
Generators with vibrating regulators can not be regulated accurately.




pertronix


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