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Thread: Electronic Ignition Conversion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    327

    Default Electronic Ignition Conversion

    I searched lots of prior posts, but still not sure of the answers to my questions.

    Engine: PCM 302, holley 4-barrel
    Distributor: Prestolite. Didn't have my reading glasses with me when I tried to read the ID plate, but looks like the following: First line: ??JL 12100-E
    Second line: 7 8 1
    Third line: Prestolite
    Fourth line: IBM 7007s 2 K

    Its points, condenser, rotor distributor that I want to convert to electronic ignition. I'd like to get conversion kit, not replace entire distributor.

    What part do I order? What's the best place to get it online? Is there a specific marine version versus automotive version for spark arrest or protection? Is it money well spent (seems like the conversion is +/- low $100s)?
    "Three Ts"
    1986 20' Conwalk
    302 PCM (Ford)

    1964/2000 23' Custom Uniflite Flybridge
    IH 6.9L Diesel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    North Port Fl
    Posts
    94

    Exclamation Re: electronic ignition

    When I Ordered mine one question was.......

    IS IT A SCREW DOWN CAP OR A CLIP DOWN CAP.

    Otherwise it was year model ect..

    T5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Havertown, PA
    Posts
    13,252

    Default

    SKIDIM.com used to sell the Prestolite factory conversion kits (turned the points distributor into the factory electronic unit - no kludges) but I do not see them on their site anymore.

    The difference between the screw-down and clip-down caps is the shape of the grommet hole where the wires come out of the distributor body. I was told the kits are otherwise identical and that you could use Silicone sealant to fill the grommet voids, if any, when using the kit made for the opposite distributor. There is no change over the years or between cap types, in terms of the other mechanical dimensions of the guts of the distributors - except, because of cap clearance changes, the rotor shapes are different but kit installation does not change that.

    If you want to go with (and can find) the Prestolite factory parts, the kit comes with a new rotor/reluctor shaft (easy swap out), new springs and the screw-in factory module. Last pricing I saw was in the $130 - $150 range, mostly driven by dwindling supply (greed), not cost of manufacture.

    Prestolite has changed hands a couple times in the last 10 years and I am now under the impression that they no longer are manufacturing replacement parts for the distributors.

    Pertronix makes conversion kits (Ignitor, Ignitor II) for the Prestolite "IBM 7007" distributor: Ignitor - 1581; Ignitor II - 91581 but I don't know the pricing. Your Prestolite "IBM 7007" distributor sounds like it is a clip-down cap.

    Here's a link to their conversion catalog. Page 18, ~1/2 way down the page under Pleasurecraft:

    http://www.pertronix.com/catalogs/pd...ition_conv.pdf
    '98 200 Open
    - SeaMaxx 351 CID Ford, 260 HP, Holley Carb, FWC
    - N39 59', W75 18'
    - LBI, NJ; Upper Chesapeake Bay, MD

    Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow they WILL make it illegal.

    "We're not lost, Private -- We're in Normandy." : Maj. Richard Winters, Easy Company, US Army 101st Airborne. Normandy on D-Day

    Disclaimer: Any suggestions made in these posts are just that, suggestions. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi: "Who's the more foolish - the fool, or the fool who follows him?".

  4. #4
    pwillie Guest

    Default

    There is a complete dist. electronic Prestolite for 175.00 on ebay

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    327

    Default

    Thanks for the info. I think I'll go with the Pertronixs conversion kit instead of looking for a swap out of the whole distributor on ebay.

    It looks like the Ignitor II is the way to go, Part 91581. One more question: The feature comparison sheet says the Ignitor II is compatible with low resistance ignition coils (unlike the Ignitor)- I'm assuming my existing coil is probably considered low resistance and should mean I don't have to replace the coil - is that correct? Would it be a good idea to replace coil anyway, or just leave it alone if its working?

    Thanks again. Now knowing that Prestolite sold its business awhile ago I understand why all the places that showed some type of Prestolite conversion kit didn't actually have them available.
    "Three Ts"
    1986 20' Conwalk
    302 PCM (Ford)

    1964/2000 23' Custom Uniflite Flybridge
    IH 6.9L Diesel

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Havertown, PA
    Posts
    13,252

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Three Ts View Post
    It looks like the Ignitor II is the way to go, Part 91581. One more question: The feature comparison sheet says the Ignitor II is compatible with low resistance ignition coils (unlike the Ignitor)- I'm assuming my existing coil is probably considered low resistance and should mean I don't have to replace the coil - is that correct? Would it be a good idea to replace coil anyway, or just leave it alone if its working?
    If the coil you have is the one that was on the engine and looks like a generic "black" coil, it is probably NOT low resistance. Standard coils generally have primary resistances of 1.5 - 3 Ohms. "Low" resistance, performance coils run around 0.6 - 0.8 Ohms.

    I know that the Prestolite electronic module (and the original Pertronix Ignitor) can be damaged if used with performance coils, without a ballast resistor - too much current. The Prestolite electronic distributor that came on my engine, new, was paired with a standard Motorcraft coil (1.5 Ohm) and had no ballast resistor. Evidently the Ignitor II has beefier circuitry and is rated for higher currents and can be used with a performance coil without a resistor.

    When I switched to the MSD box, I also installed MSD's High Vibration Blaster Coil and it has a 0.7 Ohm primary resistance. If I have to switch back to the straight Prestolite electronic module, I need to add a 0.8 Ohm ballast resistor (or reinstall the original coil) to keep from damaging the distributor module. In retrospect, because our engines are not high compression racing engines expected to see 7,500 RPM, it really is not necessary to go to the low resistance coils - I doubt that you'd see any performance increase. IMO, that's money better spent elsewhere and it also avoids added messing around of you ever had to go back to the original ignition for any reason.
    '98 200 Open
    - SeaMaxx 351 CID Ford, 260 HP, Holley Carb, FWC
    - N39 59', W75 18'
    - LBI, NJ; Upper Chesapeake Bay, MD

    Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow they WILL make it illegal.

    "We're not lost, Private -- We're in Normandy." : Maj. Richard Winters, Easy Company, US Army 101st Airborne. Normandy on D-Day

    Disclaimer: Any suggestions made in these posts are just that, suggestions. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi: "Who's the more foolish - the fool, or the fool who follows him?".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    327

    Default

    Thanks Kurt! I do have the generic black coil - I'm sure its the original equipment that came on the engine, so I'll just leave it like you suggest. Found a place that sells the Ignitor II for less than $100 (www.carshopinc.com). Looking forward to doing the conversion and finding out the result in performance and ease of start up. I was going to replace plugs anyway, so I'll do that too, and sounds like the gap can be increased w/ the electronic ignition for stronger spark. I'm still hoping to get close to 3 nmpg at optimum cruising speed with this change, new slick bottom paint, and some carb adjustment. Well see.
    "Three Ts"
    1986 20' Conwalk
    302 PCM (Ford)

    1964/2000 23' Custom Uniflite Flybridge
    IH 6.9L Diesel

  8. #8
    pwillie Guest

    Default

    Kurt,if I switched my current dist(with points) to the electronic ignition dist., what will else I need to do? Change coil? etc.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Havertown, PA
    Posts
    13,252

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pwillie View Post
    Kurt,if I switched my current dist(with points) to the electronic ignition dist., what will else I need to do? Change coil? etc.....
    It really depends on what distributor you have and whose conversion kit you use.

    The major advantages to the electronic conversion are you don't have any mechanical or contact wear on a set of points - little or no long-term adjustment needed and you can deliver more energy to the coil with (usually) no ballast resistor. You get a better spark from a stock coil and most of the systems state that you should use the stock unit. The electronic modules should fire a slightly fouled plug better than the old points style - gives you better reliability during extended trolling. You may see a slight improvement in fuel economy but it won't be earth shattering.

    I put the MSD 6M-2 marine box in mine, partly because I'm a performance nut and I had a 6A on my '94 supercharged Bronco 302 and there was a performance increase over the standard electronic distributor in that application simply because you need more spark energy to fire the plugs when under boost. The marine version ain't cheap!

    If I were converting from a points distributor to just the electronic module, I would leave the coil alone, at least initially. New spark plug wires would probably be a good idea.
    '98 200 Open
    - SeaMaxx 351 CID Ford, 260 HP, Holley Carb, FWC
    - N39 59', W75 18'
    - LBI, NJ; Upper Chesapeake Bay, MD

    Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow they WILL make it illegal.

    "We're not lost, Private -- We're in Normandy." : Maj. Richard Winters, Easy Company, US Army 101st Airborne. Normandy on D-Day

    Disclaimer: Any suggestions made in these posts are just that, suggestions. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi: "Who's the more foolish - the fool, or the fool who follows him?".

  10. #10
    pwillie Guest

    Default

    My 302 is an original 1989 and I want to go electronic,with a new distributor.I can buy a new complete dist. for 175.00 What do you think.?

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