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Username Post: Pentronix ignition: yes or no?        (Topic#351837)
ghettosled 
Poster
Posts: 50

Loc: Moorhead, MN
Reg: 03-29-11
07-02-18 07:30 PM - Post#2738759    

1963 Impala SS 327. Thinking about updating the ignition and wonder if it's worth it. Will it eliminate worrying about dwell and other problems associated with points? Will it give better starts and hotter spark? Thanks in advance guys👍



 




Jalapeno 
Senior Member
Posts: 9723
Jalapeno
Loc: The Republic of Texas
Reg: 04-30-00
07-02-18 07:50 PM - Post#2738761    
    In response to ghettosled

About 12K miles ago I installed the Pertronics lobe-sensing pick-up in my stock 265 distributor. I love it, no more points to worry about. You must use a hotter coil with it, like their Flamethrower series.

Jalapeno


 
raycow 
Honored Member
Posts: 27764
raycow
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Reg: 11-26-02
07-02-18 11:47 PM - Post#2738773    
    In response to ghettosled

I have Pertronix on 3 different engines, and I kept the stock coils, all of which work fine. This is because I just wanted freedom from maintenance. If you want (or expect) better performance than stock, then you may need to install hotter coils such as Jalapeno recommended. However, make sure you use only coils which are approved by Pertronix. If the coil primary resistance is too low, this can damage the module.

Ray

Those who choose an automatic transmission want transportation. Those who choose a manual transmission want to drive.


 
beagrizzly 
"10th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 1885
beagrizzly
Age: 68
Loc: south texas
Reg: 08-04-12
07-03-18 08:48 AM - Post#2738807    
    In response to ghettosled

If you don't care about looking "stock", a less expensive option might be a factory HEI. They are as dependable as an anvil. I have never had an issue with one.

I put an ACCEL cap, rotor, and advance kit on my race car and it worked great for what it was.

It will require a set of plug wires as well.

Griff

if you're gonna be a bear..................

1960 Biscayne (the 6T)
2005 Yukon XL
2007 GMC Sierra Classic 8.1
2009 Silverado
2011 Escalade ESV


 
dgstarr 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 82
dgstarr
Loc: Portland, OR
Reg: 04-16-13
07-03-18 02:24 PM - Post#2738835    
    In response to ghettosled

I have been using the basic Pertronix ignition since about 2000, first on my 63 327 and then on my 62 327. I use the Pertronix coil and run a .040 spark plug gap. I get good starts and have not had any issues. Both engines are stock, one 250 hp and one 300hp. I use Petronix plug wires, although it is not necessary. I would not hesitate to recommend it.

Dave



 
ghettosled 
Poster
Posts: 50

Loc: Moorhead, MN
Reg: 03-29-11
07-03-18 07:04 PM - Post#2738866    
    In response to dgstarr

Thanks everybody,really helpful feedback! I think I will installing one in the near future mostly due to your positive reviews. Thanks again.



 
rrausch 
"14th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 13886
rrausch
Loc: L.A, Cal. & St. Louis...
Reg: 04-07-03
07-03-18 08:36 PM - Post#2738876    
    In response to ghettosled

I've installed Petronix on 3 different engines and LOVE them. I put 90,000 miles on the last one, with no adjustments, and it never let me down.

1953 210 Convertible, 261 with dual Carter YF 966S carbs, P.S., Remote Bendix P.B. Booster... shade-tree restoration about done.




 
Brian64SS 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1193
Brian64SS
Loc: Milwaukee, Wi
Reg: 09-30-00
07-04-18 09:03 AM - Post#2738936    
    In response to rrausch

I like points. I've never had any problem with them that people complain about here. Quality ones are out there, simple to adjust once and leave alone.

Brian
1964 Impala SS, 283 (not original), 4-speed (26 years)
1964 Impala 4-door hardtop, 283 Powerglide (3 years)
They made a million but I only have two.


 
junky 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2655

Loc: Northeast CT
Reg: 06-27-10
07-04-18 09:55 PM - Post#2739006    
    In response to Brian64SS

I agree with Brian. If my points fail, I can install a new set in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. If the Petronix fails, I will be spending a lot more time just to put everything back to the way GM built it. I buy NOS Delco points, and have never had a set fail me once!
Maybe it is me, because I am old.. very old.. very, very old.. I can remember gasoline for 15.9 cents a gallon and even as low as 8 cents when two stations got into a gas war. Damn, I do miss those gas wars!!

Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level, then beat you with experience.


 
dhinnah 
Poster
Posts: 2

Loc: Lincoln, NE
Reg: 07-08-18
07-08-18 10:58 AM - Post#2739350    
    In response to ghettosled

I put a Pertronix on my -64 327 about 9 years ago, and have not touched it since. As several have said, points work fine, but need adjustment and replacement occasionally. Mine starts great, runs smoothly to 6000 rpm, and the plugs stay clean.



 
4speedman 
Contributor
Posts: 123

Reg: 08-24-12
07-09-18 07:30 PM - Post#2739506    
    In response to Brian64SS

I like points they are cheap, reliable and our hobby cars are not driven that much so a set will last for years and if you want to adjust them a couple of minutes with a dwell meter is all that is needed.I keep a extra set in the glove box but i don't ever remember being broke down on the road because of a point failure.



 
rrausch 
"14th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 13886
rrausch
Loc: L.A, Cal. & St. Louis...
Reg: 04-07-03
07-09-18 11:05 PM - Post#2739526    
    In response to 4speedman

Another reason I just thought of is with Petronix my plugs look better and last longer. I think that's because of the hotter spark from the unit.

1953 210 Convertible, 261 with dual Carter YF 966S carbs, P.S., Remote Bendix P.B. Booster... shade-tree restoration about done.




 
Bel Air kiwi 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4328
Bel Air kiwi
Loc: New Zealand
Reg: 04-24-14
07-09-18 11:06 PM - Post#2739527    
    In response to 4speedman

Hi Guys. Pertronix is one of the many systems available that allow you to convert your standard distributor from points to electronic or optical switching.

What they do is keep the ignition advance settings as built as they retrofit to your standard distributor.
What they won't do is fix a worn distributor, and so if your distributor needs a rebuild a replacement HEI may be more economical.

The second part of any HEI system is that each set of points can only handle about 2.5 amps maximum of current.
Therefore the coil must be made with an internal resistance in the primary circuit to limit the current flow to below this level.

That's why we had twin points system as this ups the potential primary current to double, with the same point life.
Double in with the right matched coil give double out.
But unless they were synchronised very accurately they would burn up quickly and they still wear just the same.

Electronic systems are not limited in the same way as points so you can choose your primary current. Normally in the 5-7 Amp range to keep the secondary under 45kV. Some race systems are now using 11 Amps, but these can cause people real harm.

You should match the coil to the switching system. For Pertronix this is specified in Ohms of resistance in the coil primary. Typically the value is 3 Ohms stock and dependant on the system and number of cylinders this may drop to a 1.5 Ohm primary. Each manufacturer uses their own values to prevent interchange.

If you go outside the correct Ohm range then the units will often fry, so don't do it.

Points 12V may give you in the 18-23 kV secondary range. HEIs are normally around 45kV. This will test the insulation of your cap rotor and leads but give you far better starting, idle and running. You can open your plug gap up to say 40 thou as the ignition has the power to do this now, and you may be able to drop a heat range

If you have a ballast ignition you need to remove this first.

Pertronix makes 6V kits as well. You cant tell when they are installed as they look stock externally.

Cheers Kiwi


48 3100 RHD, 51 Deluxe 4DR RHD, 51 Bel Air parts car, 52 Bel Air P-Glide LHD. Others 23T, 32 Tudor, 58 Edsel pacer 4DR HDT, 79 F250 351C RHD. 69,70,82 Capri. No mobile, no TV, and no Jap cars.

"They made a desert and called it peace." Tacitus


Edited by Bel Air kiwi on 07-09-18 11:23 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
55Brodie 
Contributor
Posts: 207
55Brodie
Age: 66
Loc: Little River, SC
Reg: 12-26-15
07-10-18 03:20 AM - Post#2739529    
    In response to Bel Air kiwi

I must respectfully disagree with your explanation of dual-point systems. The purpose of dual points is increased dwell time which allows the coil adequate time to fully saturate. The benefit is usually only apparent at higher rpm.



 
IgnitionMan 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3407

Reg: 04-15-05
07-10-18 10:38 AM - Post#2739565    
    In response to 55Brodie

Dwell saturation time IS the ONLY reason dual points were developed, on some of the very first 6 volt systems, and carried over to later resisted 12 volt systems.

ONLY Ignitor worth anything is the first design (the one first done by Per-Lux, and called Ignitor 1 for use on farm and industrial uses, then carried over into cars), and run with the resistor in place and functional, STOCK GM point coil, good set of mag suppression, spiral core wires, plug gaps down to .035 maximum.

I have NEVER seen an "HEI Ignitor", and EVERY test I have hands-on performed on Ignitor systems, with all sorts of coils, resisted, not resisted, have never shown one more volt of spark energy from any of them, no matter volts in, special coils, spark plug gaps.

Sorry if you disagree with that, I've just done this work, EVERY day for the last 40 years plus. I've learned to live with it.



 
55Brodie 
Contributor
Posts: 207
55Brodie
Age: 66
Loc: Little River, SC
Reg: 12-26-15
07-10-18 01:41 PM - Post#2739589    
    In response to IgnitionMan

Thanks for debunking some of the bunk that floats about the interwebs, Dave.



 
IgnitionMan 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3407

Reg: 04-15-05
07-11-18 03:42 AM - Post#2739660    
    In response to 55Brodie

It's tough sometimes getting the real info out. A lot of good, and fully well intention'd people have had so much of both innocently, and more purposefully incorrect, misleading info forced upon them, it doesn't make for good tech results, nor sometimes, feelings. They sometimes blindly believe what is mildly, to outright totally wrong, because there isn't anyone that actually knows around to make sure they get the correct procedures and/or, answers.

The worst is a lot like "fake news", it is over hyped ads by manufacturers, and their "techs", to sell all levels of sometimes only a small few great, right down to useless, bad products.

Then, there are techs that really have no business being in the field they are in, come up with some very bizarre tech "help", and procedures that just don't work, because they don't know what works, and doesn't, they just needed a job, and that one came along.

It can get right down confusing at times. Then, there are other influences like "dyno tuning". Dyno's are a fantastic, and essential tool for PARTS DEVELOPMENT, but horrible final tuning devices. So are flow benches, none test with a wet flow mixture, only dry air, and, the head porter stops porting just after the best result is seen, the cut just past the best one as it gets worse.

Still, there are people in all this that are stellar at helping, like grumpy, he excels with great info, personal hands-on knowledge and experience, and gives great info for everyone. He is one of a small handful here that are extremely good.

Lots to consider and investigate, use common sense, look very closely.



 
Bel Air kiwi 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4328
Bel Air kiwi
Loc: New Zealand
Reg: 04-24-14
07-11-18 03:39 PM - Post#2739722    
    In response to IgnitionMan

Hi Guys. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and what work experience they have may be relevant. But it doesn't change an opinion into fact.

Dwell wasn't the only issue that was driving twin points systems. However, it is a secondary limitation of the Kettering or points type system.

Our recent technology is all electronically or computer controlled coil ignition systems.
The points and condenser have gone, the distributor has gone and the ignition leads with them.

What remains is the coil, usually mounted directly on the plug giving one per cylinder.
There is a reason for this, as it has always been the coil that made the spark.

The current and voltage into the primary, the coils construction and internal resistance, with assistance from the condenser have always been the determinants as to what secondary output the coil makes.

If you are limited by the mechanical integrity of the switching system.(Points) to just 2.5 Amps at nominal 12V then that limits what the coil can produce in the secondary.

Just as the length of your stride will ultimately limit how fast you can run, the limit of the input current in the points system holds the viable secondary output to a level that is marginal in many situations.

HEI just means High Energy Ignition and although GM uses it in marketing, in engineering terms it refers to ignition systems that are not mechanically constrained down in the 18-23kV range.

By eliminating the points the coil can be freed from the job of limiting the primary current to allow the points to survive.

It doesn't matter if its Pertronix, Lumenition, hall effect, dura spark or whatever system you choose.

If you can put more primary current through a suitable coil you will get more secondary current out.


This doesn't mean points or Kettering ignition systems are bad, or even unsatisfactory. It just means they have a limit. And they were of a particular time in the industry.

Alternatives that allow double or triple the spark power are now standard in the OE market and available as retrofit technology.

Personally, I have vehicles with points, points with ballast, OE Bosch electronic distributor, Pertronix kit, magnetic crank trigger with wasted spark coils. They all have their merits and applications.


With reference to the dyno. Way back last century when I was apprenticed as a Motor Mechanic our five bay workshop had a rolling road and full vane tunescope. Much to my chagrin, the site manager had the rollers removed and sold the unit to store more coal to sell in winter in the bay. $$$$$
When you are simply doing maintenance work it does not produce enough advantage to justify the charges and just didn't make economic sense to our customers.
A couple of years later we started doing gas conversions and it would have put us at the forefront, but it was gone.

Cheers Kiwi






48 3100 RHD, 51 Deluxe 4DR RHD, 51 Bel Air parts car, 52 Bel Air P-Glide LHD. Others 23T, 32 Tudor, 58 Edsel pacer 4DR HDT, 79 F250 351C RHD. 69,70,82 Capri. No mobile, no TV, and no Jap cars.

"They made a desert and called it peace." Tacitus


Edited by Bel Air kiwi on 07-11-18 03:57 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
dgstarr 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 82
dgstarr
Loc: Portland, OR
Reg: 04-16-13
09-04-18 10:32 AM - Post#2745274    
    In response to ghettosled

My Pertronix 1181 Ignitor magnetic ring has failed. I have discovered that an improved model that has a lobe sensor instead of the magnetic ring is also available. The newer one is part number 1181 LS and it can be used on GM V8 distributors from 1957-1974. The LS models are much easier to install and should be more reliable. You must replace the whole kit, but they can be purchased for as little as $75.

Dave



 
62BillT 
"16th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 5733
62BillT
Loc: Moneta, VA
Reg: 09-24-01
09-04-18 10:45 AM - Post#2745277    
    In response to dgstarr

Late to post. Looks like I missed this one back in July, but another Points fan here. I run the Heavy Duty Borg-Warner Points. Switched from Delco after they dropped the "Made in USA" on them. Have had great luck through the years with B-W.

Member:
-National Impala Association
-Vintage Chevrolet Club of America


 




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