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RWD - Pertronix Problems

Volvo RWD 1800 Forum

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Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

Hi Everybody, just tried installing a pertronix electronic ignition in my car to replace the points and condenser. I had to splice and solder about 6" of wire, but overall it went well. The red to the coil positive, the black to the coil negative. The engine had been running okay, but when I went to start it, nothing. I was assuming it would run a bit rough until I adjusted the timing, but nothing. I took out the Pertronix and replaced the points & condenser, and still nothing. I'll have a buddy over tonight to give me a hand and turn the key while I troubleshoot, but I was wondering if anyone has had a similar problem, and if I could have fried any other components by installing the Pertronix. Ugh!

I just checked, and the tachometer doesn't move when the engine is turning over, so maybe that's a clue? I need to check the wiring diagram, maybe I knocked a wire loose somewhere.





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    Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

    Problem solved. I opened up the distributor cap to see again if there were any loose wires and I noticed quite a bit of free play in the rotor - turns out the distributor wasn't properly seated. When I was taking out the Pertronix, one of the little bolts had fallen in near the vacuum advance, and I had to take the distributor out and turn it upside-down to get the bolt out of there.

    Still don't know why the Pertronix didn't work - I didn't take off the distributor until after I'd installed it and tried to get it working - but that might be something I try to figure out tomorrow. Phew! I was worried that I somehow had fried my fuel injection system with the Pertronix.





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      Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

      The little bolt may have been shorting out the mounting plate to the distributor body.





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        Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

        Oh, the bolt wasn't loose when I was trying to start it with the Pertronix, it only fell loose after I took it out, and I removed it before I re-installed the points. I wired the red to the positive of the coil and the black to the negative of the coil, but I also found this method which I think I'll try next time:

        https://mkjtang.blogspot.com/2010/02/pertronix-ignitor-points-to-electronic.html

        I also think that the timing was so far off when I installed the Pertronix that it didn't even run roughly, it just didn't start at all. I'll try again this weekend when I can get a pal to turn the key while I set the new timing.





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          Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

          Fran;

          Do you mean to say you installed the Pertronix and didn't check and adjust timing before starting attempts???...if it doesn't say to do this in their installation instructions, shame on them!!

          Don't take this wrong, but if you didn't know, or at least consider this should be done, I guess we can write it of to inexperience, but if that's the case, I'm thinking you shouldn't be undertaking such a job without checking installation instructions or asking about it here...

          I suggest you familiarize yourself with the Static Timing Procedure (applies in principle and practically to elec ign conversions): http://www.sw-em.com/Volvo%20Ignition%20from%20Scratch.htm#Static%20Timing

          Cheers





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            Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

            I checked the timing, thanks Ron.





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              Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

              Ron's timing notes are fine but I would suggest the following. If you are happy that your timing is correct. Check it with a strobe at about 1500 revs and note/mark the timing position. Fit the Pertronix and repeat the timing again with the strobe. Not unusual for the Pertronix to skew the timing one way or the other a little due to magnet positioning. If wrong, readjust the distributor to return it to the original setting. Job done. It's very unlikely that just fitting the Pertronix will bring about a no start situation after fitting unless something else has been disturbed or wrongly connected. Even with quite a big timing error, the engine should still start. Having the engine warmed up before the changeover makes for an easier start.





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    Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

    Problem solved. I opened up the distributor cap to see again if there were any loose wires and I noticed quite a bit of free play in the rotor - turns out the distributor wasn't properly seated. When I was taking out the Pertronix, one of the little bolts had fallen in near the vacuum advance, and I had to take the distributor out and turn it upside-down to get the bolt out of there.

    Still don't know why the Pertronix didn't work - I didn't take off the distributor until after I'd installed it and tried to get it working - but that might be something I try to figure out tomorrow. Phew! I was worried that I somehow had fried my fuel injection system with the Pertronix.





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      Pertronix Problems 1800 1973

      I've used a Pertronix for years without a problem on my '70E. Black wire goes to the white wire of the tachometer, red wire from tach goes to neg. terminal of coil. Red wire from Pertronix, along with two brown wires, goes to positive terminal of coil. Tach works fine.

      Some time back I did extensive experimenting with an MSD box, but could never get the tach to work with it, as it is current driven, an archaic system. In the process of experimenting, I accidentally, momentarily grounded the red wire from the Pertronix. I hope you didn't do that, because it fries the thing.

      I kept the MSD Blaster coil, which requires interrupting the the red Pertronix wire/brown ignition wires with a ballast resistor. It also likes the plugs gapped a bit wider. I'm very happy with that arrangement.





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