Electronic Ignition Upgrade - Points No More

An Easy-As-Pie Upgrade From Breaker Points To Electronic Ignition

John Nelson May 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)
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This is the era of modern wonders, where everything is transistorized, digitized, and miniaturized. Yet even now, many enthusiasts still use breaker point ignitions on their classic Chevys. For others, the frustrations of trying to keep a breaker point-fired vehicle in top running condition has been reason enough to join the electronic brigade. Breaker point systems do have some positives, though. Points are cheap and fairly easy to install. Many enthusiasts are comfortable with setting them up. And for restoration projects, they are one sure way to maintain some originality. But for the utmost in firing precision and maintenance-free convenience, an electronic ignition is the way to go.

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The first step is to remove the old points and condenser. Our distributor had been recently rebuilt, so we weren't worried about excessive end or side play in the shaft; if you remove the shaft in your donor distributor, make sure to check it for excessive wear.

We recently came across this new Breakerless SE system for single- and dual-point distributors with windowed-style distributor caps and decided to upgrade a distributor that was awaiting installation in a shop car. Using an uninstalled distributor made it much easier to take photos of the process, but it's just as easily done with the unit in the vehicle. When in comes right down to it, installing the new electronic system was every bit as easy-if not easier-than installing a new set of points and a condenser. Everything also looks box-stock when it's all back together. All the new components fit under the cap, and the only wire exiting the distributor is the one that was there when you started.

We dropped our new electronic ignition equipped distributor into an early small-block, and it fired up and ran like a champ. With no moving parts to worry about, we can drive to our heart's content and only have to replace the occasional cap and rotor. The real payoff, though, is knowing that we won't be pulling that cap off in a few thousand miles to reset the points.

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