What I have is a 24 coupe with a 12 volt system, an alternator and a distributor. I've heard the reasons to go to the original electrical system but for now I want to stay with the distributor. I am tired of condenser and point problems and I have ordered an electronic ignition. The installation seems quite straight forward and I'm good there. I have #1 cylinder set at 15 degrees past TDC. I will need to set the timing. How do I time the engine using an electronic ignition system? I have an OHM meter and a LED timing light. Can I rotate the head so the trigger point for cylinder #1 is coming up, then put the cap back on, connect the timing light to the #1 spark plug wire and the other end to a ground. Turn on the ignition switch and turn the head until I get a flash?
I don't understand the question. I converted a Bosch dist. In one of my cars to electronic and timed it the same way as I did before. I think with a distributor you will want to set the initial timing closer to top dead center.
I believe the 15 degree figure is used with the original ignition system. If I am wrong we will hear about it shortly!!
The answer is yes, that would work. I assume the distributor has some way of automatic advance, or you can advance it manually with the lever?
Douglas, I have the instructions on setting the timing for points and Pertronix but it is a PDF and is too large to post, also set the plug gap to .040.
Douglas, I sent you an e-mail, when you respond I can send the instruction.
Hey Rick, I sent my address to you to send the PDF. Is the spark going to be that much hotter that I will need to widen the gap to .040? I'm currently at 0.030. I've heard that the engine will run a lot smoother and idle better. I've had some trouble getting it to idle down below 300 RPM.
The way I set the timing before was to connect an OHM meter across the points and when points opened the OHM meter showed the broken connection and had my set point. With no points, I didn't know what to connect to.
Thanks everyone for the help.
Probably too late for you, but kirkengines.com sells a neat little "transdensor" that keeps the points, but drops the current to almost zero
Additionally, unless you are a REALLY high mileage driver, I'm wondering if perhaps your problem couldn't be solved with a simple "ballast resistor" in the ignition circuit. ALL old 12 volt point ignition systems I know of used a ballast resistor while running which dropped to point voltage (and correspondingly the current ) down to about 8 volts. The resistor was bypassed when starting to ensure a good hot spark and the points would last about 10,000 miles. Easily done by just running a wire to the hot side of the coil with a diode in line from the starter terminal. The diode prevents current flowing from ignition circuit to the starter
Lay number one plug on the block with the plug wire attached. Crank the engine over slowly, when the spark occurs it will be at the same point your ohm meter moved.
Les, don't forget that convention point style distributors used a bypass system to send full voltage through the points on cranking. Once the car started the system switched back through the regular electrical feed with the condenser in line. Trying to start a conventional point system with the condenser dropping the voltage down to the usual 9 volts was never easy. With a little creative wiring you could easily install a condenser into either the battery or magneto circuit that was battery fed. That should stop the point burning as you suggested.
Forgot to mention: just use a timing light. Take a little paint and make a reference mark on the block, then bring the piston to the correct BTDC height, and put make a mark directly across from the first. Start the engine and watch the timing marks, Bend the rod to get the marks directly opposite each other with the timing light.
To save a lot of removing of the distributor cap you can easily see which of the 4 plug wires is going to get the spark by looking at the rotor position when the points open and fire the coil so just set the distributor cap off to the side and pull the coil wire out of the center of that cap and prop it up near a ground so yo can watch the coil fire. Since you have #1 piston at 15 degrees past TDC you only need to move the dizzy housing until you see the points are closed and then rotate a bit further to the point where you see the coil spark to ground and you have it. You can move the dizzy again and again a few times to make sure you know where the point is that the points start to open since that is when the coil will fire. Tighten the housing and put the cap and coil wire back and confirm with starter and timing light or whatever other means you use. I would also check the pin on the front of the motor while hand cranking the motor and stop when a coil fires. The pin should be almost horizontal but slightly down on the right hand side which on a clock face means the pin is at a position just past the 3 o'clock - 9 o'clock position. TDC occurs when the pin is exactly horizontal and you want to fire at 15 degrees past that when the spark lever is all the way fully retarded.
Hope this helps.
Make sure you have a ground wire attached to the Distributor head.