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Old 05-17-2018, 09:01 AM   #1
Corley
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Default FSI distributor issue

I bought Elvira last fall, and it came with an FSI distributor installed. I'm playing with a Honda distributor project, so was checking out the FSI timing / advance before pulling it, and I discovered that whoever installed it, had set it at about 5 degrees after TDC, instead of the recommended 0 degrees. Being so retarded, it idled very slowly, so apparently because of this, they had cranked the idle speed up to an acceptable idle speed. However, this caused the idle jet adjustment to become quite ineffective, and the main jet (GAV) had more effect on idle.

When I installed the Honda distributor with a 10 degree vacuum activated advance at idle, of course the idle speed jumped up a lot, and I had to back off on the idle speed adjustment. This, in turn, restored the effectiveness of the idle jet screw, so now it has the effect it should have.

Just thought that was interesting, and if someone with a FSI distributor has difficulty with their idle jet, this may be the issue. If the butterfly is open past a certain point, the idle jet looses it's effectiveness.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:15 AM   #2
Growley bear
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

The idle jet is by passed just as you commented but the engine with all systems operating properly will idle very well with the full retard position of 3 degrees after top dead center which is where it usually ends up when setting up timing using the Ford method.
When idling very slowly, 350-400 RPM after the idle air adjustment is properly adjusted moving the GAV can have a usually small but noticeable effect on the idle quality after the engine and carburetor are up to operating temperature.
It has also been my experience that the FSI electronic ignition system is highly overrated.
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:26 AM   #3
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

All flathead engines can stand very little TOTAL advance compared to OHV engines. Check total advance before driving the car. It is possible that you FSI was set up for a OHV engine???
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:52 PM   #4
michael a
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
All flathead engines can stand very little TOTAL advance compared to OHV engines. Check total advance before driving the car. It is possible that you FSI was set up for a OHV engine???
The fsi distributor is a wonderful addition to any Model A. It's a shame that because some people cannot understand how to properly install them suddenly they are a piece of junk. I would not go back to that stock distributor for nothing all it is good for is winning Shows. Personally I enjoy driving my car and if that is your bag don't hesitate to use the FSI electronic ignition

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Old 05-20-2018, 07:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
All flathead engines can stand very little TOTAL advance compared to OHV engines. Check total advance before driving the car. It is possible that you FSI was set up for a OHV engine???
Jim, I have a 6-1 head and had to make a shim for the FSI to limit total advance to 20 deg. Thanks to tbirdtbird
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:14 AM   #6
Corley
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I have very little against the FSI distributor, it is an improvement over stock in most regards, but it is not nervona. First, if set as FSI suggests, it leaves your timing at 0 degrees of advance at an idle, which can lead to overheating in parades, and a carburetor idle adjustment that is largely ineffective. (That is what this thread points out is possible). Second as variously reported, the total advance of the FSI distributor can be between 27 and 30 degrees, which is a bit much for some model A engines under heavy load conditions, especially if equiped with a high compression head. These things are not fixable be turning a screw.


But, all that said, it does eliminate having to mess with the spark lever, and gives an electronic ignition. Both good things, and it's not all that ugly. What I am trying to accomplish using the Honda distributor with a vacuum advance, is to fix those problems which FSI leaves you with. And guess what, I've installed it, and it works a treat. (It does require some machining in order to fit, so is not for everyone.)

Last edited by Corley; 05-20-2018 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 06-03-2018, 06:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Corley:
I have a 7:1 head on a .100 over engine. The car is 12v neg ground. I had modified my FSI zipper distributor to cut down the centrifugal advance and made the plate movable so I could retard it slightly when climbing hills. The timing seems to jump all over the place (which it didn't do with a B distributor)
I was looking at the Honda distributor. I have a rebuilt unit to play with. The problem is there is no cable to connect to the module. I would like to know which terminal on the module connects to which side of the coil. Also, any idea where I can get the cable that goes into the distributor?
Thanks
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

20180521_090144.jpg

Until Corley checks in this is what worked for me.

Red positive... green negative

Negative ground.

I finished the machine work this weekend

I used the info submitted by Corley.

Randall

Last edited by Josh Randall; 06-03-2018 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:23 PM   #9
Josh Randall
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

model a honda 2 (640x480).jpg

Other end.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:02 PM   #10
Corley
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Looks good Josh, and the wiring shown is correct. The terminal farthest from the wire exit point on the dizzy body is the positive, and is connected along with the 12volts to the plus side of the coil. The connection closest to the dizzy wires exit point goes to the negative side of the coil. It is a good idea to run a good ground to the case, but not essential. The coil should be a 12volt unit with internal resistor, and will measure 3 ohms or greater. This combo will supply you with a hot spark that will jump almost an inch.

I tried running Elvira on 6v with this setup, and it does run, but the spark is very weak, so no dice for 6v cars. It would only jump about 1/8th of an inch. Perhaps a different coil would allow operation on 6v, but the lower resistance primary winding might be really hard on the electronic module. Or, maybe not, no way to know except try it. Since the electronic module is isolated, this could be used with a positive ground system.

If you go with the Honda dizzy, I think you will like it.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:08 AM   #11
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I think Corley is being to humble. Friday, when I was at his house, he lifted a spark plug wire while Elvira was running and I think it made a 2 inch jump. I was really impressed!
Random ROG
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:46 AM   #12
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Quote:
I tried running Elvira on 6v with this setup, and it does run, but the spark is very weak, so no dice for 6v cars.
One could try putting a small 6V battery in series w/the coil and the car's 6V system.
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Old 06-05-2018, 03:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

first ive lerned about this Honda dist what years models are these from? and what moduals must you use with it?
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:48 AM   #14
Corley
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I've had numerous requests for more info on using the Honda distributor, so here it is, once again. Credit for this does not go to me, but rather to some guys in the SF Bay area, who have been running these for about 20years.

1978-1981 Honda Civic, and other models used this dizzy, made by Hitachi. It's electronic, and turns CCW, like the model A. It has a centrifugal advance, just like the FSI. The thing it has which FSI does not have, but this Does have, is a vacuum advance. This corrects the overheating issue at idle due to retarded timing which some have when using the FSI diz. It also gives a nice cruise advance.

To make the conversion for use on a model A, some machining must be done to the Honda diz. First, the base diameter needs to be turned down about 0.060", to make it fit the 1" hole in the model head. Then you will want to shorten it to match the model A diz, and also shorten the shaft, and cut a Tang on it. Basically, you make the bottom half of the Honda unit look just like the bottom half of the model A unit.

Since this is electronic, it comes with the electronic unit inside the distributor, and this needs to closely match the coil. I use a 12volt coil with internal resistor. If you meter the primary, you will get something greater than 3 ohms, and less than 5 ohms. Wire it as described in the previous posts. That's it. (This electronic unit is also used by several other cars, including some Nissons, and the 1.9L Chevy S-10. It is Rock solid, and your FLAPs has them in stock.)

I suggest using a NuRex timing tab, which is marked in degrees to set it up. Find and Mark your crank pulley at zero degrees, being as accurate as possible. With the vacuum line not connected, I set mine at about 5 degrees BTDC, because I don't intend to crank it by hand. If you think you might hand crank it, I'd recommend you stick with zero to avoid an arm owee. Run the engine and speed it to around 2k rpm, and with a timing light, you should see about 21 degrees of centrifugal advance. If it's not all in by 2k rpm, you should adjust the springs in the diz. (Lighter springs give sooner advance.). When you connect the vacuum line to manifold vacuum, you will see about 10 degrees of advance. On mine as it is set, this yields 15 degrees at idle, no load, 36 degrees at light cruise, and 26 degrees at cruise under heavier load.

Model A vacuum runs around 20 inches, but drops off pretty quickly after 45 mph, due to the power required to push a flat box through the wind. By 50, you won't have much manifold vacuum left, as your number 12 foot gets near the floor. This is a good thing, as at about 6 inches the vacuum advance drops out, preventing pre ignition. Your engine might be more powerful, and your vacuum results may vary.

You can find these dizzies on fleabay, rebuilt, for $24.99, or at the men's mall, for a similar price. Be sure to look inside, and get the electronic version, as there is also an earlier point version that looks the same from the outside. Grab the wiring connector as well, because we have found no other source for that. I just used some small plug on terminals, but those are fiddly.

It's a bit of work, but very CAMO. (Cheap Ass Model A Owner). (Stolen from the CASO Studebaker guys, and modified to fit.). You won't be disappointed with the results.

Just for fun, I also tried doing the same on an late '70s Olds HEI diz. (Chevy turns the wrong direction.) It's big and ugly, but works a treat, is totally self contained, including coil so is a one wire hookup. On it, the centrifugal advance it way up top, and vacuum cans are available in about any curve you can imagine. Super neat for adjusting, but like I said, big and ugly. (You need to grind off every other pickup point on this, since it was for a v-8. Then, use every other plug wire outlet.)

Note: Pay close attention when machining the Tang, it is not in the center of the shaft!
Note2: The lower bushing can be pushed up when shortening the housing, so don't cut it off.
Note3: Use full manifold vacuum, not ported vacuum, (not that emmisions "ported" one).
Note4: If you think it is wrong to install a non-stock part on your model A, ignore all this and don't do it.

Last edited by Corley; 06-05-2018 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 06-05-2018, 06:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Can I assume you went with electronic because you have a 12 volt source? I see on ebay that earlier versions with point sets are also cheap....

Frank

Sorry, I see you also mention the point version above...

Last edited by emf; 06-05-2018 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 06-05-2018, 07:27 PM   #16
Corley
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by emf View Post
Can I assume you went with electronic because you have a 12 volt source? I see on ebay that earlier versions with point sets are also cheap....

Frank

Sorry, I see you also mention the point version above...
Frank, you could use the points version if you are still 6volts. You would then still get the cetrifugal and vacuum advances, just not electronic. It "may" be possible to use a 6volt coil with the electronic one and run on 6volts, but no one has tried that that I am aware of.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

thanksfor this info. think ill give it a try on the next one
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:14 AM   #18
katy
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

What size engine is this distributor from? Looking on-line I see different distributors for different size engines.
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:04 AM   #19
Corley
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

It is used on both the 1300 and 1500 civic and some other models. GUESS WHAT? The $24.99 ones have now disappeared from FleaBay, I suspect from all the recent purchases that have happened since this modification for model As has caught on. For now, I recommend the men's mall as the source. Here is a link to a picture of one.




http://www.cardone.com/Products/Prod...p=rock&jsn=400


By the way, I've torn down 4 of these now, all rebuilt by Cardone, same PN. All were different springs, and one came with cap and rotor, the others not. Two different looking modules, some with lots of grease/oil in them, one totally dry, all with varying shims. I'm not sure what the deal is, but Cardone's rebuild process seems to vary a lot from unit to unit. Men's mall units are probably just as good.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:29 AM   #20
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I cant find one locally here, in Alberta tried NAPA 375.00$ for a rebuilt. gotta keep looking how many have you built Corley?
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