Is a points conversion worth the trouble? - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Is a points conversion worth the trouble?

I have a '65 283ci which has an Edelbrock 500 cfm and Performer intake along with a Melling MTC -1 and a .030" over bore. I still have a bone stock ignition system but the engine runs great. I can see the benefit of not having to mess with the points in the distributor by using a conversion kit. However on my setup is there going to be any other benefits? Am I going to notice a difference in horsepower on such a small displacement, or a change in gas mileage with my powerglide (usually get 12-14 mpg)? If I did by a conversion kit is a new coil, plugs, and wires going to make a big difference also? Sorry for the lengthy post but just trying to weigh my options before I shovel out some cash. Thanks for any help/experience you guys may have!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 10:31 AM
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Look at my last post #240 on Steve's Nova Site. I did exactly what your talking about to our Nova. I like this conversion, because it's designed for single wire GM distributors and to use all of the OEM parts. No extra ugly wires or boxes. I did notice that the car starts and idles much smoother. BUT, Keep your points, condenser and screws in case you break down somewhere. You can put the points back in.
As far as the rest of your questions...Read everything on the Breakerless-SE on both websites. Should explain a lot more than I can.

http://www.stevesnovasite.com/forums...195701&page=16

There are links in the link above.

Chris
Warrenton, OR
'68 CJ-5 - Sold
'74 Nova
'10 Camaro
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info! Haven't seen that one before, was looking at the Pertronix and Mallory ones (the ones in the Classic Industires catalog).
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 03:27 PM
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An HEI is a noticeable improvement over points ignition. No more Dwell timing issues and there are no points to bounce at high RPM. With factory parts there is an issue with heat build up in the HEI module leading to reduced voltage to the plugs at higher RPM use. The factory HEI system wasn't designed to fly above 5,000 RPM (there is an actual 5,200 RPM rev limiter built in BBC HEI distributors. Aftermarket distributors such as MSD uses higher heat rated mil spec transistors inside their modules that are not as easily affected by high RPM heat build up., and have big heat sinks built around them like you sere inside computers to dissipate the heat.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Big Dave. Maybe I will just leave it alone for now since I'm not running in the higher rpm range that much. Also if it's not broke I probably shouldn't be screwing with it lol!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 08:11 PM
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The change is worth it and pays off with easier starts, less maintenance and a stronger spark than convential points/coil.
I doubt you'd get a noticeable improvement in gas mileage, but certainly the low-end spark is greater and will lead to a slightly better combustion at lower rpm's.

No need to change plugs or wires, you just want to be certain you're getting proper voltages with a conversion as our old cars have built-in resistance in the wiring for the key. The instructions with a kit should help work around that.

Plenty of folks have done the upgrade and I don't think anyone has ever had a complaint, usually just the opposite.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 09:14 PM
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I'm from the old school and still run points. I don't put on high mileage and just put a new set in about every 3 to 5 years. About once a year when I'm servicing the vehicle anyway, I'll put the Dwell Meter on it just to check it. Sometimes it will need a little adjustment with a turn of my Allen screw driver. I used to run Delco Points, but once they quit stamping "Made in the USA" on it about 20 to 25 years ago I switched to Heavy Duty Borg Warner Points.

For me, I like the way GM made them and it's also pretty much a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", lol.

-Parting Out over 75 '58 to '73 Full Size Chevy Cars-

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2016, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the insight guys. I guess for now I won't screw with it but probably will be something I do when I need to change my points at a later date.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to give an update. I ended up buying and installing the Pertronix 1181LS. I have to say for someone who has never looked inside a distributor before the installation was super easy. Turns out my points were worn too, even though I had no real side effects. I would say it starts a little quicker now but haven't really noticed much else. Either way I figure it will pay for itself as long as it keeps working. Thanks again guys for all your help!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:05 PM
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With an HEI you can increase the spark plug gap from 0.35" to 0.41" thanks to the increased voltage to the plugs. With the wider gap (and resister plugs) your motor should have a bit more spark energy to fire your fuel air charge. It shouldn't miss as frequently as it might have before.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't think the points conversion counted as HEI, also I still only have a stock coil. I just changed plugs and set them to .035 and seems to be running just fine.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:44 PM
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The HEI part is the transistorized ignition that eliminates the points. You are still using an inductive ignition to fire the plugs, just substituting a Hall effect Transducer for a mechanical set of points.

This differs from a Capacitive Discharge ignition system that uses a capacitor to store a charge as opposed to generating a charge with a coil.

Big Dave
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks for the clarification Big Dave. Maybe I will re-gap my plugs and see what happens.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2016, 07:16 PM
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Leave the gap at .035 with the stock coil. You should get the matching pertronix coil tho, as the unit is made to work with that coil. Once you have the higher voltage coil, open the plugs to .045.

I have the Pertronix III in 3 of my cars now.

'62 Impala SS 409 TH350
'66 Chevelle SS 496 M20
'70 Chevelle SS 396 M20
'67 Camaro ss/rs 350 PG
'38 Chev coupe street rod
'54 Chev 210 2 door
'69 Chev C10
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2016, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking about getting the coil. Will I need to re-adjust my ignition timing if I increase the spark plug gap or increase jet size?
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryForest View Post
I was thinking about getting the coil. Will I need to re-adjust my ignition timing if I increase the spark plug gap or increase jet size?

You shouldn't have to. Opening the gap is to compensate for the leaded fuel verses the unleaded fuel. You want a larger gap for the fuel of today. I'm running a stock coil on the Nova currently. May be I need to take Big Dave's advice and get a different coil.....

Chris
Warrenton, OR
'68 CJ-5 - Sold
'74 Nova
'10 Camaro

Last edited by jayhawk500; 05-01-2016 at 10:56 AM.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 01:50 PM
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Big Dave hasn't mentioned a coil up until now. You change the ignition coil from the oil filled single pole wound coil (like you used to wind wire around a nail to make an electromagnet when you where a kid) to an open air E and I coil only if you change from an inductive (points or HEI) to a capacitive discharge system (MSD, Crane Fireball, or Malory ignition box). The actual voltage on a coil is not determined by the number of windings as would be the case with an AC transformer, but by the resistance in the secondary circuit (plug wires and spark plugs). You could have a 70,000 volt, big honking yellow Accel Super Coil, bolted on your firewall (as many a ten from the late sixties did); but if your spark plugs and resister wires break down and fire at 35,000 volts that is the upper limit of the system. Having windings that could potentially yield 70,000 volts is a waste of money; and was only a marketing ploy used by Accel, since there wasn't a car built back then that could ever achieve that voltage.


The voltage is generally determined by the spark gap. But if you have spark plug wires that leak voltage then the spark will find another ground path besides the spark plug. Just raise the hood on a dark road way (at night, not under a street light) to see if your car is putting on a light show for you. If you have bad plug wires you will see the voltage arcing to the motor where ever the wires are closest looking like a miniature lightning storm.


You change the coil to match the inductance values need for your ignition box because if you do not match the coil to the box it will reduce the life of the box burning it up very quickly in some cases. MSD offers two or three different coil choices for every box they sell. If you don't buy one of their recommended coils it voids their warranty. So be sure to research the required coil and list it on your warranty claim if one of their boxes goes bad. (excessive heat and vibration also will damage the box and promote poor performance. Not disconnecting power during the install will almost surely blow it up before you ever get to turn the key).


Big Dave
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 10:22 AM
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Once again, Thanks for the advice Big Dave.

Chris
Warrenton, OR
'68 CJ-5 - Sold
'74 Nova
'10 Camaro
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