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  • Stock electronic ignition vs. aftermarket

    I've been wondering for a while about the electronic "transistorized" ignition found on later Studebakers. My 1966 Cruiser has it, but it was disconnected in the 1970s because some mechanic was servicing the ignition system on the car and couldn't figure it out. So I have no first hand experience with the stock system.

    My question is: Is anyone using the stock transistorized system on their car? How does it compare to the regular points and condenser setup of the same vintage? How does it compare to new electronic systems put into an older Studebaker.

    I have heard that the stock system wasn't really that good, but I tend to think it must have been pretty decent when new, or Studebaker wouldn't have put it in their cars.

    I don't want a debate about different new systems and how great they are. I want to know about the original setup and good IT was or is.
    "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

  • #2

    The early transistor ignitions still used the points as a low voltage switch to trigger the solid state section. I'm not sure what tolerance was needed to assure the correct function of the electronics, but with the poor track record of Prestolite distributors, it alone may have been the cause of your unit not functioning. That said, underhood heat still works against transistors, modern or vintage. Keep the look and install a Pertronix.

    Bob Johnstone
    64 GT Hawk (K7)
    1970 Avanti (R3)

    Comment


    • #3

      The early transistor ignitions still used the points as a low voltage switch to trigger the solid state section. I'm not sure what tolerance was needed to assure the correct function of the electronics, but with the poor track record of Prestolite distributors, it alone may have been the cause of your unit not functioning. That said, underhood heat still works against transistors, modern or vintage. Keep the look and install a Pertronix.

      Bob Johnstone
      64 GT Hawk (K7)
      1970 Avanti (R3)

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't think any of those early systems were very reliable. I cannot speak for the Studebaker system, but I had a 67 Corvette with the early Delco electronic ignition system. GM replaced four of them under warranty before the warranty ran out. When they die, the car stops -- wherever you are at that moment. That got kinda old after a while, and I switched to a Mallory distributor with old-style points.

        Skip Lackie
        Washington DC
        Skip Lackie

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't think any of those early systems were very reliable. I cannot speak for the Studebaker system, but I had a 67 Corvette with the early Delco electronic ignition system. GM replaced four of them under warranty before the warranty ran out. When they die, the car stops -- wherever you are at that moment. That got kinda old after a while, and I switched to a Mallory distributor with old-style points.

          Skip Lackie
          Washington DC
          Skip Lackie

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow, Skip. That's bad. I hazily remember now all the gripes people used to have about electronics in cars, not to mention computers. I still think simpler is usually better, but I have to admit cars have been getting much reliable over the last several years, in general.

            I hope Studebaker didn't have quite that bad a time with the units they installed.
            "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

            Comment


            • #7
              Wow, Skip. That's bad. I hazily remember now all the gripes people used to have about electronics in cars, not to mention computers. I still think simpler is usually better, but I have to admit cars have been getting much reliable over the last several years, in general.

              I hope Studebaker didn't have quite that bad a time with the units they installed.
              "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just a little more filler about older units in general. A buddy had a '74 Road Runner and I had a '78 Country Squire. Both units would go out without any warning. I kept two DuraSpark II modules in the glove box just in case. I didn't realize until after I sold the car that Ford extended the warranty to 100K because of all the problems. I must have gone thru 4 or 5.

                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Tom - Valrico, FL

                1964 Studebaker Daytona

                Tom - Bradenton, FL

                1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
                1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just a little more filler about older units in general. A buddy had a '74 Road Runner and I had a '78 Country Squire. Both units would go out without any warning. I kept two DuraSpark II modules in the glove box just in case. I didn't realize until after I sold the car that Ford extended the warranty to 100K because of all the problems. I must have gone thru 4 or 5.

                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Tom - Valrico, FL

                  1964 Studebaker Daytona

                  Tom - Bradenton, FL

                  1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
                  1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That Duraspark system was the worst. I had that setup on my '87 Wagoneer. Every so often the truck would just... shut off. I'd throw it in neutral and fire it back up again, but it was a pain. Sometimes I'd have to get out and whack the box a couple of times to get it sparking again. I replaced the control module a couple of times (Echlin parts, Hecho en Mexico) and she'd run great for a while and then crap out some more. Never did shake the gremlins off.


                    [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                    Clark in San Diego
                    '63 F2/Lark Standard
                    http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                    Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That Duraspark system was the worst. I had that setup on my '87 Wagoneer. Every so often the truck would just... shut off. I'd throw it in neutral and fire it back up again, but it was a pain. Sometimes I'd have to get out and whack the box a couple of times to get it sparking again. I replaced the control module a couple of times (Echlin parts, Hecho en Mexico) and she'd run great for a while and then crap out some more. Never did shake the gremlins off.


                      [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                      Clark in San Diego
                      '63 F2/Lark Standard
                      http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                      Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        my '64 Cruiser has the studebaker electronic module still under the hood although it has been converted back to points. The car belonged to the dealer till '94 when I bought it so I would guess that it didn't work out well. I've never tried hooking it back up, it is just kind of interesting to see it there.
                        Rob

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          my '64 Cruiser has the studebaker electronic module still under the hood although it has been converted back to points. The car belonged to the dealer till '94 when I bought it so I would guess that it didn't work out well. I've never tried hooking it back up, it is just kind of interesting to see it there.
                          Rob

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            in my experience, the "electronic" breaker points are worth having. I have had several different makes of cars with 'em and have no complaints. The rest of the electronics seem to have a built-in self-destruct mode. The Chrysler Lean-Burn system would have to be among the worst under-performing systems. Didn't last long, either.
                            /H

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              in my experience, the "electronic" breaker points are worth having. I have had several different makes of cars with 'em and have no complaints. The rest of the electronics seem to have a built-in self-destruct mode. The Chrysler Lean-Burn system would have to be among the worst under-performing systems. Didn't last long, either.
                              /H

                              Comment

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