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  • Ignition: Electronic Ignition

    I'm converting a Stude V-8 Prestolite dist. to electronic.I'm using parts from an Autolite from a 440 Mopar, a G.M. 4 pin ign modual, a coil from a '94 Chev. truck or a '76 Vega and a relay for 12v to coil. My question is, the Vega had a condenser on the coil and on the modual, the Mopar had no condensers. Do I need either condenser? There is no mention of condensers in any of the write-ups I have found on the forum. Also, there is nothing about what year vacuum advance unit was used for the conversion. There are several different numbers listed in the parts catalogs. Thanks- Jim

  • #2
    That is going to be a joy to repair and find parts for when one of all those Electronic Parts fails.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
      That is going to be a joy to repair and find parts for when one of all those Electronic Parts fails.
      I agree and have never had a problem staying with my original points.

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      • #4
        The condensers are to suppress radio interference so are not required unless the ignition noise is a problem. Just leave them off.
        The Mopar hall effect pickup is as reliable as they get and the GM module likewise unlike the pertronix units which are known to fail from time to time.
        My only advice is to use a coil from a car that also uses the GM 4 pin. It is important to use the matched coil for a few reasons like impedance and charge rate etc.
        A badly matched coil can fry a module.
        Allan
        Allan Tyler Melbourne Australia

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        • #5
          I have just done the same conversion into the body of a Champion six distributor...that I mounted to the stem of a Lucas distributor from a Triumph TR6. It throws a nice hot spark on the bench. I put the module on a finned aluminum heat sink. The components are a very tight fit in the smaller six-cylinder distributor body. I had to mill down the reluctor a hair, and also the rotor, and cut a relief in part of the distributor cap to clear the support for the pickup coil. I think it will work in the car, but I am not happy with it, because of the fact that both the rotor and cap, normally service items, have to be modified. I am going to see if if it's possible to develop an optical trigger that will reliably fire the GM module. That could be made a lot smaller than the old Mopar magnetic pickup coil.
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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          • #6
            Before installing EFI with ESC on the two GTs (too many acronyms, I know), I would not have had a clue as to the contents of this thread. Now, I follow all the above and encourage your efforts. The Mopar/GM hybrid you are planning has been tested extensively, and proven to be reliable and efficient. Those who do not understand may suggest going back to points and condensor, but that can be an option for the next owner, without much trouble, should they choose.

            I'd eliminate the condensor, and take a SWAG with any vac-advance that will fit, with movement clearance. I agree with Allan on a matching (epoxy) coil, even though its ugly and will look out of place on the Stude.

            I predict you will like the results. If nothing else, you'll have bragging rights and the satisfaction of having met the challenge of doing it
            Last edited by JoeHall; 03-16-2015, 08:59 AM.

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            • #7
              I've been a mechanic all my working life and understand the electronic ignitions and have worked on many of them. They have left more cars dead than the points systems that come stock on Studebakers. I just see no need to change from a reliable points system to a more complex electronic igintion system.Besides every change costs money, and I'd rather put that money into needed parts or gas for a nice drive.

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              • #8
                Complex? Basically the same number of parts. Points, distributor cam, condenser, coil? vs. pickup, reluctor, module, coil? Plus the electronic system can give you a much hotter spark when cranking, and while driving, too. With the GM HEI, you can gap your plugs at .045" which lets them ignite a leaner mixture more reliably (and that is why GM developed HEI, for emissions reasons). With today's alcohol-adulterated gas, that is a bonus. And the Kettering ignition is really working at 100% only immediately after a tune-up, and then the performance slowly degrades as dwell changes, and the points oxidize. When the electronic ones fail, they usually fail 100%. And both the module and pickup are cheap parts now, both less than $20 at RockAuto.com, so you can carry spares in your glove compartment. And points and condenser don't cost much less, and it is recommended to replace them every 10,000 miles, so it's an ongoing expense. Remember, we are talking old-school electronic ignition here, still has mechanical and vacuum advance, and no engine management computer at all.
                Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                • #9
                  Plus one!@!
                  Originally posted by TWChamp View Post
                  I agree and have never had a problem staying with my original points.

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                  • #10
                    Plus one!!!!
                    Originally posted by TWChamp View Post
                    I've been a mechanic all my working life and understand the electronic ignitions and have worked on many of them. They have left more cars dead than the points systems that come stock on Studebakers. I just see no need to change from a reliable points system to a more complex electronic igintion system.Besides every change costs money, and I'd rather put that money into needed parts or gas for a nice drive.

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                    • #11
                      So far, I have about the same amount of money invested as I would have if I bought a rebuilt distributor and I would not have enjoyed the challenge near as much. Plus, I have had only one problem with electronic ignition and that was my own fault. When it first came out, I crossed a wire and blew the control module!

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                      • #12
                        I have a 63 lark driver, been on road 20+ years all mopar ign, 3 pertronics ignited cars and a points car, one is even turboed 2 actually if you count on going projects all dependable and driven often. Your choice, i like a challenge too! Doofus

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                        • #13
                          My 1980 Ford truck has been driven 100,000 miles in 35 years with the original ignition module, never had a problem, the timing never seems to change, now running my third set of plugs.

                          My 1989 Mitsubishi Montero has run 335,000 miles with the original ignition module, timing never changes, once got careless and let the plugs go over 100,000 miles with no missing or increase in fuel consumption. Anybody have similar experience with a points ignition??????
                          Trying to build a 48 Studebaker for the 21st century.
                          See more of my projects at stilettoman.info

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                          • #14
                            When I had my 64 Hawk I had electronic ignition never had a problem in the 26 years of ownership , it only broke down when my gas gauge stuck and I ran out of gas on the way to the SDC nationals in 97 ! I have converted many cars from pts. to electronic and none have failed . When the big three automakers went to electronic ignition back in the early 70's yes I did see my share of problems the first few years , but as time went on electronic became very reliable , I have had pts. fresh out of a sealed box that had oxidation to where they would not work. How many of your late model brand x cars has failed you ??? I ran my 2005 Toyota truck with over 200k on the original plugs !
                            Joseph Kastellec

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                            • #15
                              I like some of the newer ignition boxes that fire the plug three times per cycle below 3OOO rpm. Less likely to misfire and waste gas!
                              Bez Auto Alchemy
                              573-318-8948
                              http://bezautoalchemy.com


                              "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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