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Article: Points and Pertronix

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Uberxy Avatar
Uberxy Steve Fox
Va, Charlottesville, USA   USA
I’m agnostic on this subject, FWIW.

https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/21/ignition-debate-points-vs-pertronix?utm_source=SFMC&utm_medium=email&utm_content=19_January_30_HagertyNews



SR
73 TR6
86 930



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-31 05:34 AM by Uberxy.

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TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
At least one factual error in that article: The gap gets bigger if the points erode by any significant amount. Normally they don't erode enough to change the gap; but the gap sure doesn't get smaller because of that.

He also missed a couple of points:

1) The Pertronix will NOT work if the voltage at the module drops below about 8 volts. Normally that won't happen, but it turns out my gear-drive starter will still spin the engine fast enough to start, with the battery only putting out about 6 volts. Which is exactly what my (defective) battery was doing.

2) That also means you cannot push-start the car when the battery is almost totally dead. Again, not normal operation, but being able to push-start when the battery would just barely drive the red light has gotten me home more times than I can count.

3) Pertronix specifically warns against leaving the key on for more than a few seconds. Doing so can permanently damage the module. And unfortunately, it is at least possible that the damage won't show up immediately, but cause a failure down the road. Dunno about you, but I've often left the key on when trying to troubleshoot a problem. And I don't always remember to pull off a coil wire. (I believe there is now a new module available for TR6 that solves this problem, but last I checked it was not available for TR2-4)

Feel free to call me biased. I tried a Pertronix on my TR3 for a year or two, and decided that I like points better. Yes, they need to be either cleaned and adjusted, or outright replaced, on a regular basis. But it's an old car and there are lots of other things that should be attended to as well. Eliminating just one of them doesn't seem like a big advantage to me.

I've covered literally hundreds of thousands of miles with points. In all that time, I've had exactly two failures, one of which let me limp home (with lots of coughing and sputtering). Every single aftermarket electronic ignition I have tried has disabled the car in less than 50,000 miles. Now which one is less reliable?



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

maxd Avatar
maxd Bill Davenport
Fort Pierce, FL, USA   USA
Actually the gap does get smaller as the rubbing block on the points wears down. I've had two occasions were it closed up enough that the engine wouldn't run, Once on my 65 Mustang and once on my TR6. That having been said I personally prefer point to Pertronix. Resetting the points was an easy fix and wouldn't leave you stranded like a Pertronix failure.
Bill

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LFMTR4 Avatar
LFMTR4 Lou Mijares
Scottsboro, AL, USA   USA
My car came with a Pert, I left it in. One day I left the key on for 5 minutes and it fried and took out the coil. Somebody had a set of points, I had another coil. Set the points with a business card and I have been running them ever since and never missed the Pert.

TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
In reply to # 1593304 by maxd Actually the gap does get smaller as the rubbing block on the points wears down. I've had two occasions were it closed up enough that the engine wouldn't run, Once on my 65 Mustang and once on my TR6. That having been said I personally prefer point to Pertronix. Resetting the points was an easy fix and wouldn't leave you stranded like a Pertronix failure.
Bill
Right. But the author explicitly separated rubbing block wear from contact erosion, and said they both reduce the gap.

The only time I've had significant rubbing block wear was when I forgot to lube the cam, on a 67 Dodge.



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

tomshobby Avatar
tomshobby Tom Smith
Windsor, WI, USA   USA
I have been running Pertronics for nearly 12 years without a problem. That includes having run coast to coast through 28 states and the three western provinces of Canada. Before that I had points go bad in as little as 20 miles. I would not trust points for a trip to get groceries. They seem to be a crap shoot, sometimes they are good and sometimes they are not. A couple years ago I was left stranded with my Midget with points, now it has a Pertronics and has been fine ever since.
Funny thing is that in the 60's and 70's I had no problem with points but not that way any more.



Tom Smith
1976 TR6
1974 Midget

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
Electronic ignition has been just about universal on modern cars for almost 40 years, the reasons were mandated by emission requirements requiring more efficient combustion.

The points ignition relies in a six lobed cam on a shaft running at half crank shaft speed.
Depending on the run-out of the shaft and the accuracy of the cam ramps (considering wear also) your points may open somewhere around 6 degrees (crankshaft rotation) of where you carefully set your timing.
We set our ignition timing on #1 cyl, but how many of us verify the timing on the other 5 cyls?

During the 1980s constant energy ignition systems such as the GM HEI became the norm, with millions of units were fitted.
IMHO drivers since have seldom though much about the ignition on their daily driver cars. I myself have put 500k miles on one system without incident or maintenance!**

I do not belive that aftermarket EI's ether Hall effect or Optical have yet matched this standard.

Optical ingitions are only as good as their trigger (emmiter and receiver) and module.
The common (Petronix, Accuspark) hall effect ignitions seem to favour 'under the cap' instalations where they are susceptible to both heat and electro magnetic effects.

The GM HEI module can be bought for as little as $15, the trigger (AKA Reluctor or star wheel) and pick-up are simple and bulitproof.

Triumph themselves used this system, and many original units are still in opperation today.

**Toyota like Triumph, used a similar module to GM, but mounted the unit in a substantial heat sink away from the engine. The common replacmet IS an inexpensive GM module.

ima68tr Tom Fremont
MILFORD, OH, USA   USA
1968 Triumph TR250 "Jaqueline The Ripper"
STANDARD make the best points I've found, and I'll never go electronic ( again ) on mine. Had a fling with CRANE years ago but a persistent low speed miss ended the relationship when a 150K mile points distributor cured it. A spare set fits easily in the trunk...

Our engines are not that sensitive to point, plug gap or timing settings. 5% +/- won't be missed, and by today's standards that's a mile.

Distributors should be rebuilt after 100K miles and for sticklers maybe 50K at the very most. Who's putting that kind of mileage on his TR nowadays?

Points can cope with modified engines pretty well I'd say, from experience:



Tom

stevejahr Steve Jahr
Grass Valley, CA, USA   USA
Good lord should we really all be using hand crank starters too?

I get it: these are old cars so old tech is part of the appeal to some. I will keep my cell phone and my AAA card and run electronic and reduce that maintenance factor to zero (yes I know cell phones do not reach everywhere... but I can walk if I really have to, it is healthy and builds character).

gfe05111952 Avatar
gfe05111952 George Earwaker
Falls Church, VA, USA   USA
I installed Pertronix in my GT6 and '67 Spitfire. I was always careful not to leave the ignition on and the engine not running, but both units failed. Went back to points and have never, ever had a points failure in 35 years of Triumph ownership. And I drive my cars a lot, not just to shows like some. Not that there's anything wrong with that.



George
1967 Triumph GT6
1967 Triumph Spitfire4 Mk2
1968 Triumph Spitfire Mk3



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-01 09:36 AM by gfe05111952.

poolboy Avatar
poolboy Ken D
Sandy Hook, MS, USA   USA
I have had both the Pertronix Ignitor or points and condenser on both TR6's at one time or another and I didn't notice any difference in terms of performance; although timing, that is slight rotations of the distributor, was necessary when switching back and forth in order to return to the ignition timing's sweet spot for that particular set of components.
Currently and for a few years, I've been back to points and condenser as supplied by
the "Distributor Doctor"
http://www.distributordoctor.com/distributor_condensers.htm
Resetting the timing as well as keeping the points and condenser as 'back up' is mentioned in the Step by Step Pertronix instructions.
BTW, Jeff Schlemmer of Advanced Distributors, will do anything he can to talk you out of the Pertronix Ignitor in the Triumph 22D6 Lucas distributor..



ZS carb repairs
kencorsaw@aol.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-01 10:57 AM by poolboy.

Toot Avatar
Toot John T
Northbrook, IL, USA   USA
I have had three Pertronix Ignitors on my TR3 engine in my 1960 Morgan Plus 4. Two of them burnt out. The fact that I still use a Pert probably qualifies me as stupid. However, I learned from computer development that the user is normally the cause of the problem. Yes they are voltage/heat/resistance sensitive. The first time it burnt out I had left the ignition on while setting the valve lash. I’m a little slow too. The second time I called Morgan Spares and they immediately asked what coil I was using. I told them it was a Bosch Blue. The tech did not like that answer. He said resistance - Ohms were wrong. Can’t recall what it should have been. However, he recommended the matching Pertronix Coils. I took his advise and haven’t had a problem. I like the stability of the distributor with the Pertronix, but if you are happy with points, KEEP THEM. Regardless, always carry complete points backup or a spare Pertronix.

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 1595598 by Toot I have had three Pertronix Ignitors on my TR3 engine in my 1960 Morgan Plus 4. Two of them burnt out. The fact that I still use a Pert probably qualifies me as stupid. However, I learned from computer development that the user is normally the cause of the problem. Yes they are voltage/heat/resistance sensitive. The first time it burnt out I had left the ignition on while setting the valve lash. I’m a little slow too. The second time I called Morgan Spares and they immediately asked what coil I was using. I told them it was a Bosch Blue. The tech did not like that answer. He said resistance - Ohms were wrong. Can’t recall what it should have been. However, he recommended the matching Pertronix Coils. I took his advise and haven’t had a problem. I like the stability of the distributor with the Pertronix, but if you are happy with points, KEEP THEM. Regardless, always carry complete points backup or a spare Pertronix.

I don't belive that Petronix, Accuspark, Crane etc. Are as good as they could be. While most problems (as pointed out) may be owner caused they DO crap out more often than they should.

In the 1980's OE suppliers were able to produce reliable ingitions that would stand up to 100k mile emission test requirements.
Often they would exceed that by a wide margin.

Should that not be possible for our cars?

Fogspawn, CA, USA   USA
1974 Triumph TR6 "Machine"
you would think... I tried Pertronix before having
sorted out every other running issue... bad idea.
when I finally sorted it out to the current extent,
I don't need it anyway. points, condenser work fine...
also just dug up and read closely the original drivers
handbook that came with car and Bentley... there is much
useful stuff in there abt. carbs and ignition.. notably in the handbook...
we tend to skim over such docs these days since such handbooks
as we often receive with today's products are so lacking detail we
do not take them seriously.
w

Toot Avatar
Toot John T
Northbrook, IL, USA   USA
I fully agree. The Pertronix Ignitor should be more reliable. If that engineering results in a box outside the distributor, so be it.

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