<VV> "Points" to ponder - Pertronix Issues
Sethracer at aol.com
Sethracer at aol.com
Thu Oct 27 10:51:50 EDT 2005
There are several reasons that all of the car manufacturers changed from
point actuated ignitions to electronic based distributors, then eventually
distributorless electronic ignition systems. First was the advent of Smog
regulations. The creeping car warrantees of the late 60's and eventually, the
ignition system performance required to meet the Smog Rules, mandated a change to a
better performing, longer interval-between-maintenance system across the car
lines. With initial toes in the water of transistor based systems, like the
Corvette and a few others, for GM, that ended up as the HEI distributors.
Those were designed to meet the 50,000 mile smog warrantees. (Two other factors,
larger plug gaps and better ignition wires helped.) The smog rules also
caused the cars to run a bit leaner under many conditions. This made the mixture
harder to fire so more voltage was needed and the systems were adjusted to
provide it, reliably. The maintenance needed to keep a points based system
within smog regulations, timing - especially, could eat them up. And they had to
guarantee performance for that mileage.
Now - for the Corvair. The Pertronix offers some of the same advantages of
the factory systems, the provision for higher voltage if needed and less
maintenance. Some people need it, and some don't. We are talking about adding a
system to a vehicle that is about 40 years old, and has seemingly made it this
far. Of course, some of us older folks have problems that we didn't have 40
years ago as well. Age matters. But performance cars all moved away from
points for reasons of high-RPM performance. The Corvair points plate was not
designed to use a high-tension points spring, needed to reliably reach much over
6000 RPM. You can install it, and it will work for a while, then the pivot pin
of the points plate will wear and you will have erratic dwell and idle
issues. The better the high-RPM points performance, the faster the wear. The
original points design, circa 1962, was never designed for that high RPM usage.
Again, if you never buzz your motor, it may be a "feature" you don't need.
Standard type points on an original point plate will last fine at 3000 RPM. As
far as the turbo motor, that may, indeed, be a special case. Smitty mentioned
that Turbos did get special coils. That may have targeted goofy cylinder
distribution issues at all speeds as much as on-boost ignition needs. Those
original coils may be long gone by now on many cars. I think that a cheap
insurance policy to keep good performance on a Turbo is to install a Pertronix II and
a matching coil. The Pertronix, unlike many other ignition systems, is
virtually invisible as installed, with no "Big Ugly Box" screwed on a frame rail.
(one extra, short, wire) The aftermarket coils can be disguised as stock,
leaving the engine compartment pristine, or, at least, only as dirty as it was
before. Like any electronic part, it is subject to possible failure at some
point, so I subscribe to the "Points, on a plate, with the wire, in a baggie,
in the glove compartment" policy, as part of the installation.
Finally, nobody is saying that you must install an Ignitor, or keep points,
for that matter. People are answering a question from a Corvair owner who is
concerned about performance and expense. There will always be trade-offs! -
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