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Pertronix Basics & Installation Guide

Pertronix Basics & Installation Guide

Introduction:

 

The first step towards upgrading your points-based ignition system is to figure out which Pertronix belongs in your distributor. If the distributor has ever been replaced, you have to make sure the distributor matches the Pertronix you are ordering. Years BMW Model Pertronix # 1969-72 2002 excluding Bosch dist. # 0-231-115-045 1847V 1972-73 2002 with Bosch distributor # 0-231-180-003 1847V 1972-73 2002 with Bosch distributor # 0-231-180-008 1843 1972-73 2002tii 1847V 1974 2002 Tii, 2002 1843 1975-76 2002 1847V 1977-79 e21 320i (in case you're running one on your '02) 1847V

 

Installation:

 

If you have about an hour you could install it that quickly after you get it. Follow the directions in your manual on how to get the old stuff out and then you can start putting the Pertronix in.

 

The instructions that come with the Pertronix are generally very good, so we suggest that you just follow them for the most part. There are, however, three trouble spots that some people run into. The first is a small solder spot that appears to be in the way in one of the brackets. Just work with it a little and you should be able to get it positioned well.

 

View of Pertronix magnet and sensor installed (need photo)

 

Second is the rubber grommet that you have to put through a hole. Needle nose pliers and a small screwdriver help here.

 

The third thing is the magnet piece that goes over the shaft. The top of it needs to be flush with the top of the sensor. It has some areas that need to line up and some people have had problems with it. You still use the same rotor and cap, but you may want to replace them if you haven't in a while.

 

Pertronix leads go to postive and negative side of coil (need Photo)

 

The Pertronix upgrade is easy, quick, and very rewarding, especially if you are running some elderly points. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them to the Message Board!

 

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Will the 1847V work with my 1969 '02 with the Distributor number 0-231-115-045?  My model has the point post on the base plate of the distributor which is in the way of the Petronix base plate.  If I remove the point post, would it work?  

Thanks in advance.  Kaz

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I bought an ignitor but want to make sure my ground is below 3 ohms. My temp gauge spikes into the red when I turn on the lights which may be the ground. The distributer creates a build up on the points. I am concerned it will burn up the igniter. 
tom

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The 3.0 ohm rule for PerTronix is about coil resistance:

"Four & Six cylinder engines require a minimum of 3.0 ohms of primary resistance. NOTE: If your Ignition coil has the recommended primary resistance, remove or bypass all external resistors. Do not remove resistors if the coil primary resistance is lower than 3.0 ohms."
 

Here’s some other general PerTronix resistance and grounding checks you might run…PertronixTestsforVoltageandResistance.thumb.jpeg.f80e6086ae8019367c1c159116b75975.jpeg

 

Your temp gauge grounding issue (maybe a cluster or sensor issue?) would not necessarily affect your ignition.

 

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10 hours ago, visionaut said:

Do not remove resistors if the coil primary resistance is lower than 3.0 ohms."

The new PerTronix Ignitor II calls for a coil with a primary resistance of > 0.45 Ohms and no resistor (wire or external) on the coil (+).

They highly recommend their Flame Thrower II coil which has 0.65 Ohms primary resistance.

Specs were different for the earlier PerTronix ignition modules.

The Ignitor II also has "adaptive dwell" which maximizes performance of the coil by adjusting the dwell time based on rpm.

 

Here's how I wired mine. I kept the original resistor wire just in case I wanted to revert back to the original points/condenser and follow the path of greater resistance. However, based on how my car runs now... I'll never go back!

 

PerTronixSketch.thumb.jpg.81c4739f3a38a510017a777a44647153.jpg

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@John76 - what about how it runs is improved?  I can see Pertronix maintaining the ideal dwell and timing, but in theory it shouldn't be improved over a properly adjusted points and condenser (ideal dwell and timing), should it?  Not that setting dwell to its ideal value is easy with points (I have a heck of a time dialing in the dwell with two flathead screwdrivers).  But I've been viewing it as requiring less frequent maintenance rather than improved performance.  Am I missing something?

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Make sure the magnetic sleeve on the shaft is seated properly , I’ve had my Petronix for well over 10 years and whilst changing rotor arm and cap chasing a slight misfire  I managed to dislodge it, never occurred to me it may have happened and it made for some very odd running, could’ve kickicked myself when I finally systematically went through everything and sorted it🙄

Edited by SydneyTii
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1 hour ago, johnnyb said:

what about how it runs is improved? 

Quicker starting, cleaner plugs, smoother idle for starters. I haven't put on enough miles to see if gas mileage has changed.

The absolute #1 reason for the "upgrade" from points/condenser is the easy maintenance...NONE!

I kept my points clean, dwell adjusted, coil properly powered through the resistor wire, and meticulously kept the original distributor lubed and shimmed to spec. Now the dizzy just spins with no points...and the timing marks are rock steady.

What a PIA it was to adjust the dwell. I was pretty good at it, but after 47 years it was getting harder to get right (old eyes & hands).

BTW, another "upgrade" was the switch from the old mechanical voltage regulator to a solid-state model. 

If I ever have to present my car as "original"... I'll put a fake condenser on the dizzy and the SSVR in the original can with the yellow tape just like @JohnS did with his relay.😎

John

 

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I've had the 1st generation Pertronix in both of my cars for over 15 years and they haven't skipped a beat.  I guess with the newer Pertronix, the fact that it can handle more current is a plus?  I recon you must get a hotter spark by bypassing the resistor when using the Igniter II which can handle less total resistance than the Igniter I?  By bypassing the resister, do you ever have to worry about overloading the coil?  It sounds like the 123 folks always bypass the resistor and use a Bosch "red" coil and I haven't heard of any coils overheating or exploding, so I guess it isn't really an issue?  I've always wondered about that...

 

 

Edited by JohnS
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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

newer Pertronix, the fact that it can handle more current is a plus?

I must be a plus.

The use of a resistor on the coil (external or resistor wire) is to protect the points. The reduced primary resistance also extended the life of the coil. A hot spark is needed to light a cold, rich mixture, but once the fire is started with 12V to the coil (via the wire to the #15 tab on the starter or through the external resistor relay), the coil is very happy with 9V.  The original coil was 2-ohms, the resistor wire was 0.9-ohms, the spark plug wires came with 1k-ohm caps on the distributor and 5k-ohm Bakelite connectors on the plugs. Factory recommended non-resistor spark plugs because the resistance was already there.

The new (improved) PerTronix II ignition makes the "old" ignition system obsolete. The Ignitor II module can handle a coil with a primary resistance of 0.45-ohms (12V now produces 45k volts to the distributor), no resistor caps are needed on the dizzy towers, no resistor caps needed on the plugs, and no worries about finding non-resistor spark plugs. The readily available (and cheap) 5k-ohm resistor plugs are all that is needed (along with carbon-core spark plug wires) for RFI, EMI suppression.

So, what's not to like?  No coil worries, no external resistor or "sneaker" wire, no resistors on the dizzy or plug caps, no points, no condenser, no wear & tear on the distributor, and much more time on your hands to fiddle with the "other" 50-year-old gremlins hiding in our beloved cars.

Happy motoring,

John

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Alas, the PerTronix Ignitor II isn’t recommended for use with an MSD Ignition…

 

Luckily they still sell the Ignitor, which IS recommended. And in the 1847V model needed for my 002 mech-only dizzy.

 

My Ignitor has been trouble free since Nov 2001 firing the ‘ol MSD. I got two of ‘em from BimmerPartsCo, haven’t yet needed the spare. :)

 

 

Edited by visionaut
1847V
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I noticed that even with the Igniter I they have a WARNING in the instructions:  "Do not use solid core spark plug wires".  Does anyone know if the stock wire sets (with resistor boots) from Kingsborne are solid core or not?  I've been using the Kingsborne wires along with Igniter I's on both of my cars for well over 15 years without any issues.

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14 minutes ago, JohnS said:

"Do not use solid core spark plug wires"

The solid core wires create too much EMI & RFI which can interfere with electronic components (inside the Ignitor module).

Easy to check ...Measure the resistance from end-to-end or pull off a boot and look at the core. If you see a copper or steel wire...it's solid core and the resistance is near zero.  A carbon core wire is basically a string imbedded with carbon particles to conduct the energy to the plugs with high resistance. Spiral wound spark plug wires are also available with less resistance but added "shielding" for EMI/RFI suppression.

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

Does anyone know if the stock wire sets (with resistor boots) from Kingsborne are solid core or not?

Not. You’d know if you bought solid-core plug wires (not generally available for 02s, typically fabbed to suit, and used for racing only).

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1 hour ago, visionaut said:

 

Not. You’d know if you bought solid-core plug wires (not generally available for 02s, typically fabbed to suit, and used for racing only).

Good to know having just purchased a new stock 7mm set of wires from Kingsborne.  I undid one of their wires and appears to be spiral wound copper.  I know Kingborne also offers 8mm, but I tried it before and don't see the need on my relatively stock cars.  Shows how much I know about wires.  Their wires seem to be good quality though.  Thanks

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