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Help With Ignition Points


turbophil
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I recently bought my 72' 2002 and just wanted to do a small tune up on it to get me through the next couple of months. One of the things it badly needs is new ignition points.  The ones installed are worn and the rub pad is non-existent.  

I ordered new points from IE, gave the distributor number when ordering online but received two sets??  They pretty much look the same but the contacts are slightly different.  Would anybody recognize or know which set is for my distributor?  The distributor # is 0231180003  JFUD 4. 

 

This is what I have. The one on the left has 2 small pads welded together, the middle has one thick contact pad and the right is my old shyte.  I checked and they both seem to be the same thickness so does it matter which ones I use?

 

46CA9B17-9F80-4B87-B16E-F34762627D28-135

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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Whatever you do, please keep in mind that correctly fitting and setting the points is only one part of maintaining the distributor.  If you convert to electronic ignition (something I personally would NEVER do), you still need to preform lubrication service on the distributor at 4,000 mile intervals...........much more frequently if you use the car infrequently.  If you fail to maintain the distributor properly, the advance mechanism and shaft bushing will not advance correctly/smoothly and the bushing will wear beyond the wear limit.

 

Sorry for the underlined paragraph.  It was unintentional and I didn't figure out why it was underlining until I'd written the paragraph.

 

Not going to get into a debate about points vs. electronic.  There are strong arguments for both.  I just happen to be on the points side of the argument..........with 48 years of experience to support my preference. :)

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Bud,  Thanks for the reminder about dist maintenance and the underline made sure I read it!  

What are your concerns about electronic ignition?  I thought it was a no-brainer way to make our cars more reliable and less work?

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It takes me maybe five minutes, one time each year, to check and adjust dwell angle and lube the dizzy.  If I reset the dwell angle precisely where I had it, when I first installed the points, I will also have automatically reset the timing correctly.  I find the operation to be childishly simple and I really don't consider it to be work at all.   So much for "all the work" in running points.

 

As far as reliability is concerned, points never fail suddenly or unexpectedly or with no warning.  In fact, the only way points will fail is through total neglect and incompetence on the part of the driver/maintainer...........and the car gradually run less and less well, over a period of several thousand miles, until it is running like shit.  Also, at that point, it probably won't fail out on the road, but, rather it finally will refuse to start.  However, unlike electronic ignition, a few minutes of work with a screwdriver and the car is up and running, again.

 

While electronic ignitions systems range from fairly reliable to very reliable, they are not infallible.  When they do fail, it is generally without warning and there's no quick, easy, road-side fix to get you going, again.  Personally, I refuse to be subjected to that kind of risk (roadside failure), when I can eliminate the risk with something as simple and easy as a properly maintained, stock/OEM ignition system.

 

Many will tell you about the immediate and dramatic improvement they noticed, when they replaced their 02's points ignition (which they fail to notice or report was likely very much worn out from neglect) with a Pertronics or other electronic ignition.  What the electronic system will do, that a points system won't do is to compensate for a badly worn distributor shaft bushing.  When that bushing is badly worn, it becomes impossible to set or maintain dwell angle, because the shaft is wobbling around and changing the dwell angle (and, therefore, the timing, by a couple of degrees) every revolution.  This makes a smooth idle impossible and results in uneven performance all the way up the rev range.

 

But, the fact is that our engines, in stock tune, really do not care how hot the spark is, as long as it occurs at the correct time.  A coil & points ignition will deliver plenty of spark right up to the stock red line of our engines.

 

A lot of money is being made by vendors selling "high-performance electronic ignition systems".  The reality is that a stock, OEM coil and points ignition system, in as-original condition (in other words, well-maintained and not worn-out) will function every bit as well, under "real world" conditions as the latest whiz-bang, high-tech electronic system. 

 

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not condemning electronic ignitions.  I'm just saying that a lot of the claims by those who profit from the sale of them are, shall we say, a bit optimistic/over-stated.  Personally, I like to enjoy the total reliability of my bone-stock, original, un-molested 2002A (which we've owned since it was brand-new), which has always been very carefully and lovingly maintained and I refuse to spend money on anything that could possibly compromise the reliability and enjoyment I get from that car.

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RI, huh?  Tell you what; why don't you just drive your 02 to Pittsburgh, next July, for Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix?  Our local BMW club really does a great job of hosting our out-or-town BMW owners and there's something interesting/exciting/fun to do for the whole week between the two race weekends.  Best of all is the club has some sort of connection with the Spaten Brewing Company and much of the beer (my cold beveridge of choice) is free. ;)  Check out www.pvgp.org .

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I contacted IE and was told to install the points that screw in properly. They both screw in the same so I'll flip a coin. The distributor does have a bit of play so I will set it as best possible and consider a rebuild or cough cough, new distributor with electronic set up.

I do like the idea of keeping it all old school with points as well. I have plans of doing an engine build and some go fast goodies though so I'll decide then. Just need it to run ok in the time being.

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post-10-0-54963800-1375327157_thumb.jpgI agree completely with Bud Osbourne's post above.  I ran Pertronics in my dizzy ('75 Automatic that been my daily driver for 33 years) for about a year at one point - 'til it failed me on the road.  Luckily posts on this board had advised me to carry my old points with me in case of this very occurance.  Switched over, and have run points ever since. 

 

About 10 or 15 yrs. ago as I pulled into an independent BMW mechanic's shop I asked him to take a look at my points.  His reply was, "Your car won't run.  It has absolutely no metal on the arm side of the points."  Guess the last of it must have vanished as I drove into his shop because I'd just driven 70 miles at 80-85 mph to get to his place.  Electronic ignitions don't continue like this.

 

Bob Napier

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