How to Install an Electronic Ignition

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Newer electronic systems offer a more stable spark, increased durability, higher RPM and the possibility of more advanced digital controls for top-end applications.

Electronic Ignition Conversion

Step 1

Remove the plastic distributor cap from the distributor body by releasing the retaining clips around the base of its perimeter.

Step 2

Remove the rotor (the part in the middle that spins). Some have a retaining screw, while others simply pull off.

Step 3

Remove the points and condenser. The condenser is the small cylindrical object attached beneath the rotor. Follow the wire from the condenser to find the points assembly.

Step 4

Pull out the nut from the points assembly to separate it from the primary ignition lead.

Step 5

Follow the wire lead to the ignition coil and disconnect it.

Step 6

Push the wire lead up from the coil through the body of the distributor, and remove it.

Step 7

Feed the two wire leads from your new ignition module up through the hole in the distributor from the inside.

Step 8

Slip the supplied protective rubber grommet over the wires from the outside, and secure it into the distributor body. You may have to grease the outside of the grommet to slip it through the hole.

Step 9

Attach the supplied eyelet connectors to the outside end of the wires with a set of wire crimps.

Step 10

Attach the new ignition module where the condenser used to be with the supplied screws.

Step 11

Connect the black ground wire in the most convenient location on the inside of the distributor body.

Step 12

Connect the lead wire from the distributor to the ignition coil where you removed the old one.

Step 13

Install the round black magnetic shutter wheel at the base of the rotor shaft. There should be .030 clearance between it and the ignition module.

Step 14

Reinstall the rotor. This is a good time to replace both it and the distributor cap as cheap insurance against future problems.

Step 15

Now reinstall distributor cap. If you did not remove the plug wires, the engine should fire up without a problem.

Skill

  • Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need

  • Electronic conversion kit
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Pry bar
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Set of ratchets
  • Set of wrenches
  • .030 feeler gauge

Tips

  • Part of the reason for installing an electronic ignition is that it allows you to use a control box, such as the MSD 6A. To make the best of your conversion, plan on including a control box and ignition coil with a higher-voltage unit.

Warnings

  • If you’re going to upgrade your plug wires to take advantage of your new higher-voltage ignition, make sure to spend the extra money on electronically shielded cables. This will prevent interference with the car’s more sensitive electronic systems, such as the radio and various engine sensors.
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