Pertronix shipment arrived from Delta this afternoon. After supper, went out to the garage and spent about a half hour mapping out “before and after” diagrams of the ignition wiring. I had to remove the ballast resistor and account for all the wires… it wasn’t too bad actually. I was able to remove the ignition feed wire (white/slate if I remember right) from the ballast resistor and just pull it over to the coil and connect it directly to “coil+” (SIDE NOTE: I rebuilt my tach to RVC standards with the Spiyda kit a while back, so I don’t have to worry about the infamous “my tach doesn’t work with Pertronix” issue).
This done, the old coil and ballast resistor were removed, and the Pertronix Flamethrower coil was installed. I had to wrap a few layers of rubber tape around it to get it to fit snug in the old coil bracket… I’ll find a more elegant solution later.
Then, I just taped and tied off the other wires for now since they aren’t being used for anything (I also installed a gear reduction starter last summer so my direct feed to the coil from the starter relay is nonfunctional… both ends of the white/yellow wire are disconnected), Connected the tach feed to “coil-” and considered the coil done.
Moving on, I turned the engine to TDC, pulled the distributor cap, and noted which terminal the rotor was pointing at, double checked the other end of the wire, and it was indeed #1. Numbered the plug end of the wires, and removed one at a time and installed them on the new Pertronix cap in the relevant positions. That done, and after a quick trip to O’Reillys to pick up a new coil wire (the Pertronix coil uses a regular push on connector while the old Lucas coil used a screw on) I was ready to start on the distributor. Unplugged the remaining wire (again not being used in the new system, the other end is tied off at the coil end), removed the retaining nut, and pulled the old Lucas distributor. Noted the position of the rotor, aligned the Pertronix rotor in roughly the same spot, transferred the mounting plate over from old to new, and installed the new distributor… just had to wiggle the rotor a little to get the shaft to seat in the oil pump housing. Tightened everything up, reinstalled the cap, pulled the plugs and gapped them to .035″, reinstalled them and commected the wires, connected the red and black wires from the distributor to the coil, and figured it was worth a try at this point since I knew the timing had to be at least close.
Connected the timing light, said a little prayer, and turned the ignition key. And… she started right up. Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. A little rough, but running. Checking the timing light, she was about 5 degrees ATDC, so I loosened up the distributor and got her set to about 14 degrees BTDC at about 1100 RPM idle. And, after tidying up a bit, took her for a drive for about 20 minutes, hammering her pretty hard, and not a single bit of hesitation. She’s never run like this.
So, after all of this, I just should have listened to everyone who said “ditch the points and go electronic”. I would have saved myself about a month of hassle, and the conversion was actually pretty painless. Of course, all the other stuff like carbs, plugs, air filter, etc. is now checked over so in hindsight it probably was a good thing that I went through all this troubleshooting.
Tomorrow, I’ll go back in and route the wires properly and figure out what to do with all the extra wiring that isn’t being used any more. And come up with a better way to mount the coil. Just happy to have Ms. Jenavieve running like she should again.