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Thread: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

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    1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    As mentioned in my intro post. This car has had everything robbed ignition wise from under the hood. I ordered a Multi relay but is the ignition on the FI model a standard 12V ignition to coil and a ground or is it something else?
    Does anyone have pics of the factory mount of the coil and wiring? Trying to go backwards on everything. I found what I assume were ignition parts in the trunk but am not getting spark if I wire it directly to the battery.

    Having trouble getting pics to upload but I found an ignition control module and Magneti Marelli coil in the trunk. Haven't found how to test the control module to determine if it is bad.

    Thanks in advance
    Phillip

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    Legendary Lancista SubGothius's Avatar
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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    IIRC, the FI models ('81-82) had a brick-style coil (not cylinder-style) mounted to a bracket on the driver's side strut tower. Standard 12v electronic ignition, I think with a GM-style HEI control module (or did the ECU handle ignition on FI cars?) triggered by a magnetic pickup in the distributor body. Stock coil and dizzy were Magneti Marelli, but I gather a Bosch dizzy spec'd for a Fiat Strada can also work, maybe more reliable/available/affordable.
    Best regards,
    -Tye (1979 Lancia Beta Zagato spider)

    "In theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."
    -Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    Quote Originally Posted by SubGothius View Post
    IIRC, the FI models ('81-82) had a brick-style coil (not cylinder-style) mounted to a bracket on the driver's side strut tower. Standard 12v electronic ignition, I think with a GM-style HEI control module (or did the ECU handle ignition on FI cars?) triggered by a magnetic pickup in the distributor body. Stock coil and dizzy were Magneti Marelli, but I gather a Bosch dizzy spec'd for a Fiat Strada can also work, maybe more reliable/available/affordable.
    All accurate. It has a GM module like you suspected. It is bolted to an aluminum finned casting that is attached to the left hand shock tower (there is also some grease/goo between it an the casting for heat transfer). The ECU doesn't run the spark rather the spark triggers the ECU to fire the injectors (all at once not sequential). So if you don't have spark, you don't have fuel.
    1974 Fiat X1/9
    1981 Lancia Zagato

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    Quote Originally Posted by LanciaPaul View Post
    All accurate. It has a GM module like you suspected. It is bolted to an aluminum finned casting that is attached to the left hand shock tower (there is also some grease/goo between it an the casting for heat transfer). The ECU doesn't run the spark rather the spark triggers the ECU to fire the injectors (all at once not sequential). So if you don't have spark, you don't have fuel.
    Perfect, thank you. Those are the components I have but when wired direct to the battery and starting I am not getting a spark from the coil. I ordered a new HEI. This car has had nearly everything unplugged are removed so I am replacing as I find the missing link.

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    First thing I'd replace is the magnetic pickup in the dizzy, unless maybe the one you've got looks brand-new including (especially) the wires from the pickup itself to the grommet where the harness enters the dizzy housing. The spark gaps between the rotor and cap terminals generate ozone that degrades the wire insulation and then the wires themselves, which may look fine at a glance until they just crumble when disturbed, so give them a good wiggle to see if they're still sound.
    Best regards,
    -Tye (1979 Lancia Beta Zagato spider)

    "In theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."
    -Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    Quote Originally Posted by SubGothius View Post
    First thing I'd replace is the magnetic pickup in the dizzy, unless maybe the one you've got looks brand-new including (especially) the wires from the pickup itself to the grommet where the harness enters the dizzy housing. The spark gaps between the rotor and cap terminals generate ozone that degrades the wire insulation and then the wires themselves, which may look fine at a glance until they just crumble when disturbed, so give them a good wiggle to see if they're still sound.
    ^^^^Sage advise that might not be intuitive that will save you a lot of grief^^^^

    Only thing I will add is that even though this is an obscure Italian car, the ignition system is not really complicated. A multi-meter and a little knowledge of where you should see 12V and what should be grounded goes a long long way. You can test the coil with an ohm meter, but they are pretty robust. You can't test the GM modules to my knowledge but they are also very robust.... and cheap too if you just want to rule it out. Mark Bury from Turin Sportscars once told me the thermal compound between the module and the cast aluminum heat-sink is very important for longevity.



    1974 Fiat X1/9
    1981 Lancia Zagato

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    Quote Originally Posted by LanciaPaul View Post
    ^^^^Sage advise that might not be intuitive that will save you a lot of grief^^^^

    Only thing I will add is that even though this is an obscure Italian car, the ignition system is not really complicated. A multi-meter and a little knowledge of where you should see 12V and what should be grounded goes a long long way. You can test the coil with an ohm meter, but they are pretty robust. You can't test the GM modules to my knowledge but they are also very robust.... and cheap too if you just want to rule it out. Mark Bury from Turin Sportscars once told me the thermal compound between the module and the cast aluminum heat-sink is very important for longevity.



    Thank you. I have that. Actually electrical and welding is my stronger points just have no data to know what ranges these components should meter out with. I ordered new Magnetic pick up, combo relay (missing), HEI, Wires caps etc. The car had the ignition switch robbed as well so I am wanting to test as is instead of trying to test from the battery. I ordered a wiring book but it looks very basic. My issue is learning what is missing so I am not chasing my tail when a component is missing. Fuel system looks like it was drained so it is dry, I ordered a fuel pump as this one seems dead when being wired direct. The car seems like it was drained (fuel system is dry as well as coolant)to be put away after the owner died then maybe someone came along and started robbing parts.I feel the engine is healthy and learning of the past owner he was a superb mechanic and this was his daily driver.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_3615 (1).jpg   compression.jpg  

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipinGa View Post
    Thank you. I have that. Actually electrical and welding is my stronger points just have no data to know what ranges these components should meter out with. I ordered new Magnetic pick up, combo relay (missing), HEI, Wires caps etc. The car had the ignition switch robbed as well so I am wanting to test as is instead of trying to test from the battery. I ordered a wiring book but it looks very basic. My issue is learning what is missing so I am not chasing my tail when a component is missing. Fuel system looks like it was drained so it is dry, I ordered a fuel pump as this one seems dead when being wired direct. The car seems like it was drained to be put away after the owner died then maybe someone came along and started robbing parts.I feel the engine is healthy and learning of the past owner he was a superb mechanic and this was his daily driver.
    I've always read that for a coil, there should be 1.4-1.8 ohms between terminals and 8,000-12,000 ohms between either terminal and the tower.
    1974 Fiat X1/9
    1981 Lancia Zagato

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    Quote Originally Posted by LanciaPaul View Post
    I've always read that for a coil, there should be 1.4-1.8 ohms between terminals and 8,000-12,000 ohms between either terminal and the tower.
    Thanks Paul. I show 2.4 across terminals and 7770 terminal to tower. In 25 years of messing with cars I have never actually had a coil fail but this one seems out of range so guess an order is on the way.

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    Re: 1981 Beta Under hood Ignition Help

    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipinGa View Post
    Thanks Paul. I show 2.4 across terminals and 7770 terminal to tower. In 25 years of messing with cars I have never actually had a coil fail but this one seems out of range so guess an order is on the way.
    I read a little more and seems some guys saying up to 2 ohms is okay and some say as low as 0.4 is okay. So maybe my range is a little tight. In any event, 2.4 seems like it is outside of most people's range...but like you, I have never seen a bad coil other than the can-type that can sometimes leak.
    1974 Fiat X1/9
    1981 Lancia Zagato

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