MFOPMA: 5/3/2000 - 9:17:26 AM
PerTronix drop in
I was just weighing the advantages (and costs) of the Mallory and MSD electronic ignitions when I saw in Red's catalog a pertronix electronic drop in module for the 1949-53 post style distributor. What I was wondering is whether the stock distributor w/ vacuum advance was so wretchedly deficient to unwarrant such a choice. I'm not in competition but would like to have a dependable starting running engine that can handle a few rpms(conservatively) w/o puking.

JWL: 5/3/2000 - 10:16:39 AM
RE: PerTronix drop in
The stock distributor limits your choices for carburetion. I've never been able to satisfy myself with recalibrating the stock, vacumn advance, for use with anything besides a stock carb. If you don't intend to modify, I see no problem with the Pertronix upgrade.

MFOPMA: 5/3/2000 - 11:56:55 AM
RE: PerTronix drop in
I was thinking maybe about dual carbs for looks, but am really starting to rethink that. I checked into the MSD solution a little more closely. They have the post-style distributor, a spark box and a timing controller (for retarding the timing at cruising speed to obtain better mileage) but the total package is in the $500 range. Wow! Also, I don't know of anyone using such a set up to know if it would even perform. The pertronix drop in looks pretty good

gene: 5/3/2000 - 1:44:57 PM
RE: PerTronix drop in
I've been using a Pertronix unit in my OHV engine for a couple of years. It reall picks up starting and MPG. It has been flawless, but if it fails, a set of pints will drop in in just a few minutes. Gene

MFOPMA: 5/3/2000 - 2:38:45 PM
RE: PerTronix drop in
Is there a good way to test the vacuum can/lever on the distributor to see if it is still in good working order. Or should I consider it bad and get new?

Lars Brandow: 5/3/2000 - 2:45:32 PM
RE: PerTronix drop in
Hi MFOPMA the problem with the original vacum distributor is that it works backwards compared to ordenary distributors (using the vacum difference, under and over the throttle plate). And it dont have any mechanical advance. Its a long story but belive me if you want to use anything other than the one original carb, Junk the original distributor and get one with 'normal' mechanical advance and vacum can, Thats my tre öre

lemonbusters: 5/3/2000 - 2:43:31 PM
RE: PerTronix drop in
Hi, I've used Pertronix in every car I've had, that uses points and I'll tell ya they are flawless and cheap and drop right in. I only had one set-up give me some grief, the air-gap between the pick-up disk and the ignitor was too great so I had to shim the shaft for end play, no biggie though. As for the kit for the 6 volt poss grd system, Mick at Remonds recommends using his special coil that puts out less resistance. The whole kit...$155.00us I'll be getting one for my '53 in a couple of weeks. Hope that sold it. Cheers, Roland.

Gene: 5/3/2000 - 8:16:21 PM
To Rodnut: using steel looms
Rodnut: please eloborate on your comment about not using steel wire looms 'with this system'. Are you speaking of any Pertronix system, or only on 6 volt systems? I've been running a Pertronix on a 12v system with 7mm Accel wires in billet looms for a couple of years with no problems. Am Iasking for trouble? Thanks for your advise Gene

rodnut: 5/3/2000 - 10:10:30 PM
RE: To Rodnut: using steel looms
Gene: Well, according to Jere Jobe, from whom I purchased my 12v system, these looms can cause the problems mentioned, either 6 or 12v. I assumed that he knows something of these units, so I took his advice. I also quized Pertronix about this, and they were in agreement. That you have not had a problem either debunks these theories, or you've been lucky!? I know that seperating the plug wires on racing vehicles is common practice, due to cross-firing and grounding problems, especially with high powered ignition systems! Now, on a mild (comparably) motor, this could still be occuring, but it may not be as noticable as when your nitpicking 10th's of a second. From all I've read and observed over the years, with high output ignitions, you want to isolate the wires from ground, as well as each other. I've seen engines with hot 12v ignitions in street cars running at night, and you could see the wires cross-firing in the dark, but the engine 'seemed' to be running alright. Obviously, it could have been running a lot better. With the old 6v point systems, you couldn't get them to cross-fire if you tried. Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' too it!

Gflat: 5/4/2000 - 9:55:03 PM
Pertronix Ignition vs Steel Looms
Rodnuts comments are really timely. I've been running a Remund/Pertronix ignition system with open wires on my model A for two years with no problems.The Remund/Pertronix system on my 48 Merc 59A with MCF Chrome looms (sure are pretty)just failed for the second time after only a few hours.I talked to Mickey Remund a couple of days ago,but he didn't ask if I was using metal looms.He is replacing these units under warranty so it's surprising that he didn't ask if I was using metal looms.At any rate I'll give him a call tommorow and get his comments and report back.

rumble seat: 5/5/2000 - 6:15:05 PM
RE: Pertronix Ignition vs Steel Looms
I went through about 6 of these in a year's time on my 59AB flathead with a 6V system! They would fail without any warning of any kind. I purchased one from Jerre Jobe of Vintage Carburetion and then purchased a second for a backup ($390 each with cap, rotor, and coil!). The first one lasted about 2 months and went out in the middle of Kansas in a downpour. This one lasted longer than any of the others. One lasted less than 10 miles! Jerre said Petronix told him the problem was I was running a 6V generator. They said a 6V generator gives off voltage spikes of 350 to 355 Volts and they were getting into the electronics and destroying them. They tried several different mod's to correct the problem, but with no success. Jere stood behind them 100%, but sometimes it was several weeks before he'd get a failed one repaired and back to me. Then one winter evening I'd put a new unit on and went to a car meeting. Had a front come in and it was below 20 degrees by 11PM when I started home. The ignition failed again halfway up a long hill. It had been a total of 17 miles! Lots of fun changing over to a stock distributor and all the associated wiring in the dark and cold. I'd had enough and called Jerre and told him about the latest failure. And that I'd had enough and I wanted a refund because I'd been assured by him they were absolutely bulletproof and would last about 100,000 miles. He gave me no guff, and refunded all but $75 of the $780. Of course I had about $100 in shipping failed units back to him.... I got to swallow these costs. Since then a friend of mine put a Petronix on his 289 small block Ford. It had 160 miles when it went bad... about 115 miles from home and no spare distributor! Not a happy camper. I won't use Petronix in anything. If they're marketing junk that won't do what it's supposed to, I sure don't want anything to do with their products. Of course this is just my opinion and everyone should do what they deem best. I had new Packard 7mm wire in wire looms though, but Petronix nor anyone else said a thing about it. Since then I went to a Mallory dual point without any problem in the least. At least these can be repaired alongside the road if needed... rumble seat

Gflat: 5/5/2000 - 11:45:00 AM
Remund/Pertronix Electronic Ignition
I called Mickey Remund this morning regarding the use of metal wiring looms like Motor City Flathead(MCF).He says that if your wires are old and cracked they will short out to the metal looms and the engine will run rough,but it will not cause the electronic ignition to fail as it doesn't care where the high tension ground occurs i.e. at the spark plug or somewhere else on the high tension side.Of course the engine will run lousy if the high voltage grounds before it gets to the plug.A friend of mine had his Remund/Pertronix system fail when the high tension wire from his coil to the distributor fell out of the coil while the engine was running.The module immediately failed-I guess because there was no place for all that energy to go.Mickey Remund's phone number is 619-460-3620 if any of you want to talk to him in California. I guess I'll leave my MCF wire looms on for now.

Lars Brandow: 5/5/2000 - 2:04:28 PM
RE: Remund/Pertronix Electronic Ignition
I Think the reson for not using the steel looms is more of a magnetic thing. When you run a voltage through cable and the let it 'collapsw' fast a magnetic field will ve created in the steel looms. And this will create some kind of load on the Pertronic unit.

Gflat: 5/5/2000 - 8:28:23 PM
RE: Remund/Pertronix Electronic Ignition
To Lars-That's a good point about the magnetic field and the steel wire looms.But does that apply to any electronic ignition system or just the Pertronix system and if so why.I'm still kind of undecided on this issue.

Bubba: 5/7/2000 - 7:57:48 AM
RE: Remund/Pertronix Electronic Ignition
I have the Patrick's/Mallory elecronic down-front on my motor with 7mm wires running though s.s. wire looms I made myself (patterned after MCF's expensive ones) and have not had any problems whatsoever.

Gflat: 5/8/2000 - 10:51:43 PM
To rumble seat
Just read your post of 5/5/2000 regarding the string of failures you had with the Pertronix Electronic Ignition system in your 59a.Doesn't sound like they have a clue as to where their problem is.I'll try it one more time (two previous failures repaired under waranty) and then ask for a refund. Like you I carry a conventional spare distributor and coil but the things always seem to fail at the worst time.I'll let all of you know how it goes, but won't be driving much until upholstery is done in another month or so.

Bruce Lancaster: 5/9/2000 - 9:06:22 AM
RE: To rumble seat
Am I correct in remembering that these failures were on 6 volt versions? There was a note on this recently in Secrets of Speed (A magazine for 4 cylinder Ford hotrodders, not the late model high tech stuff we discuss here...), and I believe it had to do with low voltage and not high. If I remember right, the 6 volt one will die immediately at a voltage not very far below 6. I will try to find this and will post when I do. Bruce

rumble seat: 5/9/2000 - 10:57:40 AM
RE: To rumble seat
Bruce: I hadn't heard about a note in Secrets of Speed. I doubt if I had low voltage since the entire electric system in mine was checked thoroughly several times by myself and a couple of electronic gurus. I run an Optima 6V battery and it was less than a year old when I started messing with the Petronix dist. But I'm interested in what you find. Interesting since the majority of failures were during the day when headlights etc. would not lower the voltage in the system. Please let me know.... rumble seat

rodnut: 5/9/2000 - 3:49:12 PM
RE: To rumble seat
Now, I admit that when it comes to 'electronics', I'm a bit in the dark, but I was talking with one of my hot rod buddies last night. I mentioned this Pertronix deal, and he told me that if you don't have the proper ignition coil to go with an electronic ignition, if a plug or plugs misfires, it will blow the module, due to a large voltage output!? He lost me about half way through, but said most electronic set-ups use a coil with winding ratios of 400 to 1 in order to prevent this problem from occuring. Apparently the winding ratio in a points ignition coil is different! Anybody out there know anything about this? Jere Jobe said I needed to use his coil with his 12v system when I purchased it!

rumble seat: 5/10/2000 - 8:01:19 AM
RE: To rumble seat
rodnut: When I bought the two distributors from Jere Jobe I got the complete package with each of them as he recommended. Each came with a distributor, rotor, cap, and coil. I replaced my plug wiring with the 7mm Packard that I ordered with the first distributor. I too was told the electronic system had to use a special type coil by Jere, so I used his exclusively. I followed his instructions exactly. Before ordering I queried him on the dependability of the unit. Jere said there were thousands in use and many had over 100,000 miles on them without a problem... and that he'd never had a problem with any of them. When I was having problems, he said he called Petronix and they said they had problems with the 6V units, but not with any of the 12V. Funny thing, but they still continue to market the 6V units!

Bruce Lancaster: 5/10/2000 - 11:19:25 AM
I found the Secrets of Speed article I mentioned. I think if you have 6V pos ground, the scary part doesn't apply to you. If you have 6V neg ground, you need to keep a bushel of spare modules in your trunk. The scary part, from SOS October 1995: 'I spoke with the fellows at Pertronix the other day and they say that while the 12V unit will work as a 6V negative grd system it will completely fail when the system drops down to 5.8 volts' (this was written before the release of the 6V pos system). I think this means failure on every slow start. Some other interesting stuff from SOS July 1995: Unlike other electronic systems, the Pertronix can stand up to short term reverse polarity, and the 12 volt N system can be used as 6V N by leaving out the ballast resistor-but see the alarm note above! Could your units perhaps have the wrong module and be blowing from running reverse polarity as well as low voltage? I guess that's unlikely, with all the calls to the supplier. Another thought: Someone said the units are vulnerable to very high secondary voltage, which would be caused by any large gap in the secondary side. Is it possible that your rotor and advance mechanism are out of phase with the point plate so that at some point in your advance curve the rotor is an excess distance from the cap terminal and the spark builds high voltage to try to get across the gap? I would think this could probably be studied by setting up your system and a battery on the work bench and playing around some. Bruce.

Jim: 5/10/2000 - 8:58:51 PM
RE: PERTRONIX-Rumbleseat
Bruce, You have posted more info than I have been able to find our on the Penronix system. I have a 12vN system in a pancake dist with 42 crab cap. I got the'kit' thur a dealer that got it from Micky. I was so pleased with it that I tried to buy several from Mickey but he would not sell the pieces, insisted on what I considered a expensive dist rebuild job. I have been keenly interested in the 6v P system and parts and have asked direct questions with no success. Are you saying that when the voltage drops on a 6v module that it blows the module? Do you know what the actual difference in the 6V module is from the 12V?

rodnut: 5/10/2000 - 11:02:54 PM
Electronics OK, let's try and get to the bottom of this deal! So far, we have received a lot of input, put it is rather convoluted. Will everyone who has, or has had a Pertronix ignition on their flathead please respond with information as follows: Is/was your system 6V+, 6V-, or 12V-? Is/was it a crab or 8BA distributor? Is/was it run with a special coil? Was the system purchased as a complete unit, or a kit, and from whom was it purchased? Was it run with or w/out metal wire looms, and if with, were they stock or hot rod style? Were the looms grounded to the engine? Are/were you using a generator or alternator with it? What is/was your experience - good or bad, and how many miles did you get/have you got on the system? Any other info you would like to share concerning this subject would also be of interest! If you have experience with this ignition on any other engine, please include info on it as well. Thanks-a-lot for your time and input..... rodnut

Gflat: 5/10/2000 - 11:35:03 PM
O.K rodnut here's my data: 12V-/crab/Etron coil supplied by Remund Ignitions/My distributor rebuilt by Remund/Hot rod style stainless wire looms grounded to engine/alternator. 1000 miles to first failure/50 miles to second failure. When unit is returned I will use a Pertronix coil.

lemonbusters: 5/11/2000 - 8:23:47 AM
Hi rodnut here goes, it is a 8BA dist, 6v+ and came from Micky Remund as a kit with a special low resistance coil for $155.00 us funds. His number is 619-460-3620. It is run without metal looms, and I'm still running the stock generator.

rumble seat: 5/11/2000 - 8:54:54 AM
Rumble seat here. My system is 6V positive ground. Crab ignition. Used special coil that came with the unit. Purchased as a kit from Jere Jobe of Vintage Carburetion after reading an article in HRM about the dependability of the units. Run with hot rod stainless steel wire looms using Jere Jobe's 7mm Packard wiring as recommended. Looms grounded to engine. Engine grounded directly to frame and to battery with separate battery cables. Optima battery used. Run 6V gen. Experience was the distributors are junk. Went through 6 units (bought 2 complete systems so I'd have a spare) in less than a year. Only one lasted about 1000 miles. All the others failed a lot sooner.... one lasted 10 miles! Gave up and bought a dual point Mallory. I won't use a Petronix in anything that I work on. In my opinion they're junk.

Jim: 5/11/2000 - 1:05:29 PM
Rumbleseat, What went bad, not the mechanical end of the dist? The only Petronix parts that come to bear are the rotor, pickup unit and coil. Those pickup units and coils are identical to conversions for later model dist. (the dist you were using would be a pancake with remote coil) Used with a 12V system there should be a definate facter for failure that should be something that can be identified. The same components seem to have given very good service in late model conversions.

rumble seat: 5/11/2000 - 12:18:28 PM
Oops! Forgot to mention other engines using Petronix ignitions. Two friends have small block Ford 289 V8's and changed to Petronix ignitions. They're both 12V neg ground and neither use wire looms. One lasted nearly 800 miles before going out on a Sunday drive in the mountains. He replaced it with another brand of electronic ignition and hasn't had a problem, but has only put about 500 miles on it. A second friend's lasted about 180 miles before it failed. It failed on a snowy day on a trip to the southern part of the state. Had to have it towed in and no towing insurance! Not a happy camper to say the least. He went back to a stock ignition. Both said they wished they'd heeded my advice and not bought a Petronix unit. A member in my Roadster club has a built up 351V8 Windsor, 12V with aluminum plug wire holders (not looms) that are grounded. He's had his Petronix on for several years and swears by it. He hasn't had the slightest hic-cup in over 20,000 miles!

TedK: 5/11/2000 - 10:27:18 PM
Have a Pertronics unit in my 28 A roadster with B overhead and Mallory housing. I installed the kit myself.It is 12V neg. ground. Using a GM alternator. Used a stock coil without resistor and it worked great until I put in an MSD coil without resistor. The module fried in about 2 minutes while running in the garage. Pertronix replaced the unit under warranty and advised me to use the external resistor with the MSD coil. Did this and it worked great. the engine is now out of the car and going into a Vicky. Put about 2000 miles on it with no problems. Have put a few kits in stock Model A's 6 volt +ve ground. The main concern with 6 volts is to make sure it has an excellent ground. Tied to get a kit for 49 Caddy which is 6 volt -ve ground and Mickey says that is not available. My 32 coupe has a Mallory dual point running on 6 volts. About 3000 miles on it. Only problem was the condensor failed about 500 miles or so. So far the spare condensor has held up.

saltracer: 5/11/2000 - 11:13:06 PM
Had a Pertronix conversion in a Mustang with 351w, stock coil. No problems, probably 10k or so.

rumble seat: 5/11/2000 - 5:19:52 PM
Wasn't mechanical. The rotor is an aftermarket '42 Ford rotor as is the cap. Since I ordered two of the distributor kits I had two of everything including remote coils, caps, and rotors. The coils were marked on the outside for use only on transistorized ignitions as well as being 6V. I don't remember if they said positive ground on the coils or not. However, I had informed Jere exactly what I had when I ordered them. I even included that it had a generator and had a positive ground. In my correspondence on returning the first and second failure I even went so far as to reiterate what I was running. The spark would stop without a blubber of any kind. Jere Jobe said all of the electonic modules failed due to stray voltages that were caused by my 6V generator. And they were getting into the system. He said to use a radio suppresor on the generator. I did and it did nothing. According to Jere, the stray voltage is caused by the generator producing a voltage spikes in the neighborhood of 150 volts DC. So I replaced the fields, brushes, end plate, and armature in the generator with NEW pieces. No help. Tried two new voltage regulators. No help. He also said these stray voltages would destroy all condensers... radio and distributors. Other than what he said I don't have a clue what caused them to fail since I didn't want to touch anything for fear of losing the warranties on both ignitions. Petronix tried adding some electronic pieces (like zeners I'd guess). They did absolutely nothing. Jere said if I converted it to 12V it would solve all my problems. Funny he didn't say a thing about converting when I talked to him at length when I ordered it. He said they were bullet proof. Well I'm not about to convert to 12V just so their crap MAY work. I've got everything exactly the way I want with 6v now. As far as working good in late model conversions they sure didn't on two that I know of in the last year as I explained in an earlier posting.

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