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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2000, 08:08 PM
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Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

Ok, just kidding about the magneto..

Well, I've been pondering ignition upgrades/changes for a while now. I am leaning towards the TR ignition, but there are some things bothering me. First, my 95 pickup just ate an ignition module...sucks, eh? Left me stranded on the side of the road. Had to bring the semi and beavertail and winch it on to tow it home and diagnose the problem. Second, I was working on the old Farmall 560, replacing the points and condensor. It just seems so simple. Coil, condensor, points, rotor, cap, wires. Complete ignition system. What function does the computer perform that is so dramatically different than the points and condensor? Is there a way to convert a 304 to a good old points ignition? Would I be crazy to do so? I'm just becoming increasingly intimidated by computerized ignitions. Just want something simple that I can fix with a screwdriver and a feeler gauge. Someone talk some sense into me. Or alternatively, give me a clue as to how I should begin research into a points conversion...

I don't really have all that hi-po of a 304...stock internals and all, so my main concern isn't brute power...it's reliability and fixability and simplicity. With points, if you've got a screwdriver, a set of points and a condensor (ok, maybe a spare coil) you can fix just about any ignition problem. What spares do you have to carry with the duraspark? How easy is it to diagnose problems?

The jeep is up and runnin...damn...work work fix..the jeep is...damn...work work fix...the jee...damn
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2000, 08:28 PM
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

I have a delco points distributer for an AMC. Needs a new drive gear. Price is free, you pay shipping, but I hope someone talks you out of this, because the best way to go is the duraspark distributer, with the TR upgrade.

Thanks, Ray

post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2000, 11:46 PM
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif[/img] Deano, Deano, Deano......it will be at least one more year before I am close enough to just dash over and take your temperature to see if you are running some kind of fever, so for now I'll operate on you long distance.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img] As someone who has gone from hand crank and magnetos (we didn't have an electric start tractor till I wuz in Hi Skool) to the TOTAL TR upgrade, let me say that I have walked just as many miles because a points distributor failed as I have with any of the rest of the stuff. In fact, I NEVER left home without a spare GM rotor to fit the GM HEI. I've had modules fail, and even had a pickup coil break in half???? What you need to do is stake everything on a good DURA-SNARK (Jeep Duraspark)setup, and then upgrade to the TR high energy setup. The achilles heel in the DS IS the module, but they are inexpensive AND easy to change out. You can run dual modules....TR has a schematic posted for that....OR, you can get real paranoid and run completely dual systems with dual Hall Effect triggers and dual coils. A real racin' setup. In any case, the module is a big improvement over points in lots of ways, and an MSD module even more so. The MSD with the super-long spark duration burns the fuel so much better that your fuel mileage will be so high that you'll have to drain the fuel tank every few miles to keep it from running over.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img] Yeah, you can dress up the points on a rock and get the distributor to fire; and Yeah, magnetos run with no outside current required, but even an old dog like me has to admit that there IS a better way. We will have two modules in our system, and another one in the tool box just in case, but not everybody is as paranoid as we are when it comes to reliability.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img]

CJDave
Quadra-Tracs modified While-U-Wait by the crack moonguy[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif[/img] Quadra-Trac Team.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif[/img][img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2000, 11:07 AM
 
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

OK...

Your '77 Jeep had the Prestolite ignition. It's a first generation electronic ignition, and it's crap.
It had little to no R&D, and no real world testing, or AMC would have went with a different supplier.
Look for a gold tone control module, and a large plastic vacuum advance on the distributor.

A breaker points ignition is simple. Before the turn of the century kind of simple...
(And I don't mean the 21st. century...)

The biggest problems with breaker points are...
1. The system is degrading very quickly. Ever hear of breaker points going 10K with out a tune up? How about 50K? Or 200K? 200K or more is common for modern electronic ignitions.
Just because it's running, doesn't mean it's running correctly.

2. Breaker points are very limited on timing and dwell control, and those changes are dynamic, and unpredictable.

3. Ignition coils tame enough for breaker points are very low output, and barely produce enough spark energy to get the fire lit. They were all that the early engineers had, but times have changed in the last century...
That's why everyone wanted to get away from them...

4. Conversion to a GM HEI or other type of ignition will require a custom built distributor, and rewiring your engine bay to accommodate the new ignition system.
One must remember, the GM HEI is a first generation electronic ignition system too, so switching to a GM HEI is just a conversion, not an upgrade, except for the use of the E-core type ignition coil, but it was ill designed, and puts out too much voltage, and not enough amperage or spark duration...

5. The DuraSpark is a proven system, when combined with the bullet proof Motorcraft distributor, and the second generation E-core coil, it is most effective and reliable.
It is also an ignition system used specifically on your type of engine, so custom parts are NOT needed, readily available, and relatively cheap.

6. The TFI ignition module that is mounted on the distributor on your '95 Ford truck is an entirely different animal that the finder mounted DuraSpark module.
Ford has a real problem with those modules going bad with no warning.
You may want to check AllData and see if there is a recall on them... I know there is a recall on some models, but I don't know if your truck is one of them.

7. Magnetos are a major pain in the ass to tune and maintain, but they do work with no outside power source. A real plus if you intend to go somewhere replacement batteries are not readily available.
A magneto and a permanent magnet generator and you are ready for World War III.
Don't forget to park on a hill, as Jeep never installed a front hand crank....
---------------------------------

You asked for someone to talk sense to you ......
Here it is.

If you want the wiring diagrams and part numbers and such, let me know and I'll post them.

"I Have The Body Of A God... Buddha"
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2000, 02:12 PM
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

These opinions are like, well, er, ... well, you get the idea. CJD and TR gave the answers I would expect. And, I would 'echo' their opinions, for everyday driving, and for 99.9 percent of us, and all within a phone-call of the AAA. But, you've mentioned something that really hits home, with me. That is the part about 'fix-it-with-a-screwdriver.....', cheap, trouble-free (in the short-term), reliable, blah, blah..... There is one application (at least for me) where points make a lot of sense. When I REALLY go off-road, and I'm talking 100's or 1000's of miles away from where AAA will service, I prefer points. I have wheeled in Baja, and lots of other areas south of the border, where it is a total pain to be dealing with electronics. I was with a friend one time, that had a near-new Blazer (HEI), and got broke-down about 70 miles off of the so-called 'main' (dirt) road that runs Baja. In total, it was about 425 miles, mostly dirt, to a 'near'-border-town, where there were parts. IMO, with electronics, there are way too many expensive parts that MIGHT give trouble. For many of us, it does not make a lot of sense to 'stock' one-each-of-everything, just in case we need a spare. For these applications, I still prefer points and a carburetor. A small investment for points, condenser, a fuel pump, some hose, along with spare (used, cheap, free) coil, couple plugs, and maybe some wire, and other odds-and-ends, and you can solve almost anything. And, you do not need any diagnostic equipment. If self-reliance is a factor, points and a carburetor still make sense to me. In fact, several years ago, when my wife and I had a modern car that was giving electronic 'fits', after getting towed four times on the same 4-day trip, we vowed that anytime we are going to be travelling 'off-hours', meaning overnight, weekends, holidays, we will take one of our older cars, with points and a carburetor. We have never been towed, in over 40 years of driving, with one of the older cars. We have been towed nine times with the same modern car, which has EFI and a computer, and electronic ignition. Never again, will I trust myself to a modern car, if I really have a schedule to keep.
On-the-other-hand, at least 99.9 percent of my driving is such that I use a modern car. And for this application, I feel that the modern electronics, while they work, are great.

bobH
post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2000, 03:01 PM
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

<font color=purple>Kinda going another direction with this, but there was this old German farmer around here "way back when" who was working the field with an old JD. Stopped for a "call of nature" & inadvertantly whizzed on his magneto. Knocked him goofy & when he came to on the dirt, he realized that he had knocked the tractor into gear when he fell off. "I never knew my Jooooohhhn Deeeeere could go thaaaat fast". [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img][img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

</font color=purple>TEX

http://sites.netscape.net/gumboracing


post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2000, 06:05 PM
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

Love it..... Reminds me of hooking a fence charger up where male dogs 'frequent'. Good for a couple of chuckles.

Back to your question about the 304, 77CJ.... I had one of those, strictly as an off-road vehicle. In the first 27K miles (from new), I had THREE module failures. TR is correct. The Prestolite system is POOR. And, back then, the modules were in the $100-range. Back then, I didn't know about Motorcraft DuraSpark ignitions, and I really wanted SIMPLE off-road reliability. I got a 304 points-type system from an earlier 304, perhaps about 1974. It worked great, but recall... this was for off-road, and not very many miles, and not for a daily-driver. If faced with the same problem today, I'd go with the DS system, unless I had Baja on my mind.

bobH
post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-07-2000, 03:47 PM
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

Ok, Ok...you guys are right. Thanks for the sense talk...My 95 Ford Pickup with only 62,000miles on it just ate its equivalent of a coil (if it looks like a coil and sparks like a coil...) which left the big 300 on the side of the road while I hiked to the nearest auto parts. I'll do the TR ignition...probably with the dual modules...as soon as I get the newest set of directions...and when I get some cash, I'll probably invest in the MSD box as well...

The jeep is up and runnin...damn...work work fix..the jeep is...damn...work work fix...the jee...damn
post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-07-2000, 04:16 PM
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

There's a service notice out on Ford products with the TFI that are 'eating' coils. I've seen it mentioned here, by TR, and I also saw it in a Counterman magazine. I believe some earlier Fords (not your 95) had a possible TFI coil problem, and the bulletin also said to check the coil-circuit resistor (actually a resistor-wire), if there is a coil failure.

bobH
post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-07-2000, 09:14 PM
 
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Re: Ignition quandary...TR? Points? Magneto?

My Postal Jeep seems to be burning up the Ignition Module. I was idling along a woods trail and the Jeep stalled. How theck it stalls on a flat trail with an automatic I couldn't figure out. So...I pop the hood and notice smoke rising from the module and its "inner goo" had become molten and poured down the firewall. I let it cool down and drove a couple blocks to work. After work I drove a mile home with no problems.

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