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  1. #21
    Active Lancista Radman's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    OK the new electronic distributor is now in and working, thanks all. The distributor was the Marelli S105C as predicted so I have set it at number 2 as advised.
    Problems encountered were, firstly no timing mark was identifiable on the pulley wheel to set the engine in the correct position in cylinder 1. This was solved by checking the position of the piston using a screwdriver placed in the spark plug orifice.

    Also removing the drive gear from the shaft of the old distributor was tricky and took quite a lot of heat and some persuasion after removal of the pin. Fitting it onto the shaft of the new distributor was straightforward with a combination of shimming washers selected from the two units to give what felt like the correct minimal play up and down.
    The unit dropped back in easily and the instructions followed regarding setting its position using the green LED light although in this position the engine would not start and the distributor needed rotating anticlockwise quite a long way until we got it to start and rev nicely. Maybe I hadn't quite understood the instructions but it certainly seems to be working well now.

    Unfortunately I could not test drive the car as when I removed the radiator grill for ease of access to turn the engine the grill fractured at several of its thin vertical links and so I will now have to work out how to get this repaired. Possibly using some form of aluminium brazing?

    Jem

  2. #22
    Legendary Lancista Marnix's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radman View Post
    Problems encountered were, firstly no timing mark was identifiable on the pulley wheel to set the engine in the correct position in cylinder 1. This was solved by checking the position of the piston using a screwdriver placed in the spark plug orifice.
    I am not sure where you are looking. There is no mark on the belt pulley at the front. The mark is on the flywheel at the back. If installed, remove the hot air hose to the air inlet, and there is an opening on the bell house, where the tooth of the flywheel are visoble (it may be that there is a cover screwed over it, originally is was covered, but on most engines I have seen the cover is gone). On the crankcase, is stamped a line, probably with a mark 1/4. There is one tooth on the wheel that has a special mark on it, indicating the TDC position of piston 1 or 4 (you got to find out if it is 1 or 4, the engine makes two turns for each cycle, so it can be #1 or #4 at TDC). Usually the mark on the tooth is very difficult to see, I always paint that tooth white, so that it easily recognizable with a strobe lamp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radman View Post
    The unit dropped back in easily and the instructions followed regarding setting its position using the green LED light although in this position the engine would not start and the distributor needed rotating anticlockwise quite a long way until we got it to start and rev nicely. Maybe I hadn't quite understood the instructions but it certainly seems to be working well now.
    Normally it works rather accurate. One common problem is often that the distributor is turned 180 degrees the wrong way around. It takes some understanding to know what to do with the static advance. And my experience is to really set it accurate, you need a strobe light, and adjust with the engine running (at idle, less than 1000 RPM)
    Lancia Fulvia 2C 1964
    Lancia Fulvia Coupe Rallye 1,3 1968
    Porsche 924 1979
    Alfa Romeo 33 1.4IE 1993

  3. #23
    Active Lancista Radman's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Electronic Ignition?

    That's really helpful advice thank-you. As this was the first time I have meddled with a distributor it seemed a little tricky but now it is in and working I can say that it is not a difficult job at all when you know what to expect. I will get the timing set more accurately once the car is ready for the road but at the moment just by adjusting it by ear the engine is running very well. At least I now know where to look for the timing marks!

    Jem

  4. #24
    Legendary Lancista lancialulu's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    Imho you cant time an engine particularly a Fulvia by ear. They run sweetest at tickover and off load on more advance than is good for the engine at normal load and 4000 plus rpm....

  5. #25
    Experienced Lancista tangmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radman View Post
    Problems encountered were, firstly no timing mark was identifiable on the pulley wheel to set the engine in the correct position in cylinder 1.

    Jem
    I might have missed something in the text but the timing mark should be on the flywheel which you can check through an opening at back of engine. There is no timing mark on front pulley.

    on my car the brake booster pipe somewhat covers it and you need to pull it away to see it.

    edit: sorry didn't see marnix post....


  6. #26
    Legendary Lancista lancialulu's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    Yes use the flywheel

    but to make life easier I mark the front pulley and crankcase in a way that I know how to read timing and much easier to set and check that way easpecially on a sport.

  7. #27
    Experienced Lancista tangmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    There has been multiple posts regarding pertronix ignitor and electronics ignition.

    I'll ad my two cents from my experience over last 2 days.

    To say I was curious on how different an electronic ignition would be compared to points would be an understatement so I bought a pertronix mr-ls2 kit. My current set of points has only had about 5000km run time. It felt to me like it was becoming slightly more "angry" when cold but a lot of that is town driving so could just be dirty spark plugs and they only have about 1500km on them.

    I feel a bit guilty for going electronic ignition. I think it is a bit smoother from cold and I cannot really say that it is better at high rpm but so far so good.
    Just like points I understand that leaving ignition could will burn out this device and or coil. Just did a school run with it this morning and a lively 10km run yesterday evening after the change and tomorrow i'm doing a 200km trip so i'll ad points , condensor , feeler guage and timing light to my kit ,but so far so good

    The kit fitting was easy apart from slightly modifying the device bracket since a screw fouls the bracket.


    My conclusion:
    For daily driver use and standard open road driving , if you really struggle with points or have an itch go for it. Personally I agree with other people in that it is not this massive difference in response.

  8. #28
    Legendary Lancista Marnix's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    I noticed there is a lot of confusion about the "electronic ignition". Maybe I can add my bit to sort out some of the confusion. I know of three main types (setups).

    1. what was usually called transistor ignition. Normally the contact breaker in the distributor drives the coil directly. This places a quite heavy load on the cont points and also causes some sparking there. With "transistor ignition", the contact breaker does not drive the coil directly, but is used as an input to a an "electronic box" (actually, there isn't much inside but a power transistor, hence the name) that will do the driving of the coil current. The contact breaker is a "signal input" for the transistor box which does the actual coil current switching. Advantages are: original distributor can be used in original state, only an addition of the transistor switch box is involved. The contact breaker points will not wear out by sparking (they will wear mechanically of course). The advantage of using the original distributor is at the same time the disadvantage: the dynamic ignition advance is being performed by the mechanical setup with flying-out weights and springs, which often doesn't work too well anymore due to wear and old age.
    2. systems that replace the contact points in the original distributor with an optical or "hal effect" magnetic sensor, that drives the associated electronic box (box similar to the "transistor ignition" above, but getting the optical or magnetic sensor sensor signal as input, instead of the original contact breaker signal. Advantages are that the original distributor can still be mostly retained (only the contact breaker is being replaced internally) so the original looks is retained. The optical or magnetic sensor gives also a "cleaner" signal, without the contact "bouncing" effects from the original mechanical breaker switch. But it still uses the original dynamic ignition advance system with the flying-out weights and springs of the original distributor which often doesn't work too well anymore due to age and wear.
    3. a complete replacement distributor unit, fully electronic (and typically computerized). The original ignition distributor is replaced by an electronic unit which is compatible. Usually the dynamic ignition advance is performed by the computer inside, without mechanical stuff like fly-out weights and springs, making it much more reliable. Got the advantages of the previous, and in addition no troubles from the mechanical dynamic ignition advance anymore. Nearly maintenance free (except for the rotor and cap, due to wear by the sparking switching there). Disadvantage: it is not the original, not even in looks.

    A common misunderstanding is that any of these would really boost performance of the engine. While it may improve engine performance slightly due to better sparks, none of the ones I know have as aim to boost performance, but only to make the system more reliable and offer better spark quality.
    The possible exception may the programmable versions, where the internal computer can be programmed to create a custom dynamic ignition advance curve, which may increase performance by "pushing" the engine (at the risk of wearing out the engine faster or even ruining the engine longer term due to detonation and other effects you really don't want experience)
    Lancia Fulvia 2C 1964
    Lancia Fulvia Coupe Rallye 1,3 1968
    Porsche 924 1979
    Alfa Romeo 33 1.4IE 1993

  9. #29
    Legendary Lancista Taddraughn's Avatar
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marnix View Post
    I noticed there is a lot of confusion about the "electronic ignition". Maybe I can add my bit to sort out some of the confusion. I know of three main types (setups).

    1. what was usually called transistor ignition. Normally the contact breaker in the distributor drives the coil directly. This places a quite heavy load on the cont points and also causes some sparking there. With "transistor ignition", the contact breaker does not drive the coil directly, but is used as an input to a an "electronic box" (actually, there isn't much inside but a power transistor, hence the name) that will do the driving of the coil current. The contact breaker is a "signal input" for the transistor box which does the actual coil current switching. Advantages are: original distributor can be used in original state, only an addition of the transistor switch box is involved. The contact breaker points will not wear out by sparking (they will wear mechanically of course). The advantage of using the original distributor is at the same time the disadvantage: the dynamic ignition advance is being performed by the mechanical setup with flying-out weights and springs, which often doesn't work too well anymore due to wear and old age.
    2. systems that replace the contact points in the original distributor with an optical or "hal effect" magnetic sensor, that drives the associated electronic box (box similar to the "transistor ignition" above, but getting the optical or magnetic sensor sensor signal as input, instead of the original contact breaker signal. Advantages are that the original distributor can still be mostly retained (only the contact breaker is being replaced internally) so the original looks is retained. The optical or magnetic sensor gives also a "cleaner" signal, without the contact "bouncing" effects from the original mechanical breaker switch. But it still uses the original dynamic ignition advance system with the flying-out weights and springs of the original distributor which often doesn't work too well anymore due to age and wear.
    3. a complete replacement distributor unit, fully electronic (and typically computerized). The original ignition distributor is replaced by an electronic unit which is compatible. Usually the dynamic ignition advance is performed by the computer inside, without mechanical stuff like fly-out weights and springs, making it much more reliable. Got the advantages of the previous, and in addition no troubles from the mechanical dynamic ignition advance anymore. Nearly maintenance free (except for the rotor and cap, due to wear by the sparking switching there). Disadvantage: it is not the original, not even in looks.

    A common misunderstanding is that any of these would really boost performance of the engine. While it may improve engine performance slightly due to better sparks, none of the ones I know have as aim to boost performance, but only to make the system more reliable and offer better spark quality.
    The possible exception may the programmable versions, where the internal computer can be programmed to create a custom dynamic ignition advance curve, which may increase performance by "pushing" the engine (at the risk of wearing out the engine faster or even ruining the engine longer term due to detonation and other effects you really don't want experience)
    I suppose there is also a fourth type that exists but is much less common.

    4. Coil on plug or Coil near plug (it's something I've contemplated)

    Distributor can be thrown in the trash completely and the spark is run by a standalone ECU like Megasquirt, Emerald, Link, etc. that use trigger wheels or other types of sensors to determine crank angle (for wasted spark type ignition) or crank angle and a cam sensor (hall effect, trigger wheel, inductive, etc) for fully sequential ignition. There is one video on youtube of a guy running fully sequential coil on plug ignition on a fulvia. His build was over on RetroRides and he no longer has the car, but I've talked to him about it a little.

    The main advantage would be that you build your own ignition tables and can control the amount of advance you want probably to a higher degree that with the tunable version of the 123 Ignition (although I'm not 100% on this since I haven't used this version of the 123).

    Edit: along with the ECU you can have other advantages like knock sensors, multiple tunes, etc. but maybe this shouldn't be lumped into the ignition discussion.

    Disadvantages? lots. Way more expensive that all other options depending on the ECU that you go with. Plus you have to source some coils that will work for the fulvia from some modern-ish car. I'll have to go see what coils the guy I've just mentioned was using. All this plus it looks next to nothing like the origional. However, if you don't care about originality (you can always change it back if you want) and you want to do fuel injection too, it might be a good idea?
    Last edited by Taddraughn; 29th May 2019 at 10:03 AM.

  10. #30
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    Re: Electronic Ignition?

    I myself have been contemplating the megasquirt route... I read the restoration thread over on retrorides if memory serves me correctly, and have been toying with the idea for a while. Besides I Love Playing with Electronics! ( I have a penchant for vintage guitar amps) I also fancy a go at fuel injection, although I have never seen anyone do this for a Fulvia.
    Anyway, I'm a way off making that decision yet, but reckon I probably will go the Megasquirt route for the ignition with a view to maybe doing something with fuel injection later ( I know I might offend the purists with this, But i reckon it would be great fun!)

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