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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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!
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Old 06-07-2018, 02:12 PM   #21
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I've only done 4, but I'm out of cores now. I think rockauto has them for $97 or so, but really a men's mall unit would be fine.

Or, if you don't mind big and ugly, an Olds HEI unit turns the proper direction and is easily reurved. You might check with Bubba's Ignitions, I suspect he is the one who bought up all the cheap ones on fleabay, but I don't know for sure. Might be able to get one from him all ready to drop in.
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:18 PM   #22
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

i found your original post very interesting and bought one of the 25 dollar ones. i got a kick out of all the nay sayer's even thou you claimed it was working good on your car. a 25 dollar distributor just couldn't work no way you have to spend 500 dollars that's the only way because that's what everybody does. i enjoy these old machines as a lowbuck hobby i think it's sad when people turn cheap good ideal's into big buck business. the real fun is improving on the old cheaply and passing it on for other's as you have done. thank you
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:18 PM   #23
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I just bought one off ebay for $30 with free shipping. Gotta try it...

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Old 06-07-2018, 07:31 PM   #24
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I see them on fleebay for around 120$ canadian. Gettin closser
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:46 PM   #25
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

LowdownA. Pretty cool looking flatty in your avatar there, that looks like more fun than polishing nickel parts.

Emf. Go for it, you just might like it.

Beater. You are getting closer, but no cigar yet. They are out there, keep looking. Not really any hurry, so take your time.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:04 PM   #26
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I just looked and found this one on ebay. Is it the correct distributor Corley, or is it an earlier model? I noticed it didn't list as going into the '80s


Edit - Oops, forgot the link. Here it is https://www.ebay.com/itm/A1-Cardone-...kAAMXQUmFSjWb9

Lynn

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Old 06-08-2018, 08:35 AM   #27
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Sorry, that one is the older point type. It could be used, but you would miss out on the electronics part of the deal. The same modifications are required to use it though.
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Old 06-08-2018, 03:15 PM   #28
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Corely:
Did you do anything to lubricate the shaft?
Thanks
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Old 06-08-2018, 03:17 PM   #29
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Just grease on the bushings, like the rebuilders did. They are oil impregnated bushings.
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Old 06-08-2018, 05:15 PM   #30
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Corley:
OK Thanks
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Old 06-08-2018, 05:57 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corley View Post
Sorry, that one is the older point type. It could be used, but you would miss out on the electronics part of the deal. The same modifications are required to use it though.

I wondered about that after seeing it's discrepancy from the years of applications you posted earlier. Back to looking, I suppose. Thanks!


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Old 06-08-2018, 06:04 PM   #32
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Why not just convert a "B" distributor by installing a "lobe-sensor" Pertronix module?
I have done this to a "Helmet Distributor" on my Flathead V8. Works great, about $100.00, does need 12 volts tho
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:18 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Kahuna View Post
Why not just convert a "B" distributor by installing a "lobe-sensor" Pertronix module?
I have done this to a "Helmet Distributor" on my Flathead V8. Works great, about $100.00, does need 12 volts tho


no vacume advance then. actually that's what ive done, but no peronix just a modern breaker plate and points lots like them but in my experience petronix are not reliable enough
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:32 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahuna View Post
Why not just convert a "B" distributor by installing a "lobe-sensor" Pertronix module?
I have done this to a "Helmet Distributor" on my Flathead V8. Works great, about $100.00, does need 12 volts tho

If you were replying to me, I have a "B" distributor that's going to need a good freshening. The Honda conversion just sounded like it has several advantages over the "B", especially the vacuum advance. If I don't have any luck finding someone with a lathe and some talent to machine I Honda distributor to work in my A, I'll probably just use the "B" distributor and leave it points, either old style or modern. The beauty of points is that even on the side of the road I could probably at least get it running again.....not so if the smoke blows out of an electronic distributor.


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Old 06-08-2018, 10:23 PM   #35
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Late model vacuum /mechanical advance distributors were designed with emission control in mind,advancing the spark under no load peak vacuum conditions to lean the burn.This also strips deposits in the combustion chamber by raising combustion temperatures. I'm not so sure the long term effects are beneficial.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:30 AM   #36
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Late model vacuum /mechanical advance distributors were designed with emission control in mind,advancing the spark under no load peak vacuum conditions to lean the burn.This also strips deposits in the combustion chamber by raising combustion temperatures. I'm not so sure the long term effects are beneficial.

Well, let's squash that right now, because it is simply not true. Centrifugal advance and vacuum advance were implemented by almost all auto makers in the 1930s, and had absolutely nothing to do with emmisions. Additionally, these advances do not increase operating temperatures, in point of fact, they have the opposite effect.


Yes, in the late 1960s, and even further into the 1970s, additional controls were added for emmisions, and ported vacuum was used with a meriad of other ideas to control emmissions, which had multiple negative effects. The use of the Honda distributor does not include any of these items/controls.


Really, railcarmover, you simply have not been fully informed/educated on this subject, and have made inaccurate statements. While the benefits of the vacuum advance on the model A engine may be minimal, given the archane nature of the beast with limited power output, they are in no way harmful in any aspect other than not looking "original".



Some people think that because most race cars don't use a vacuum advance, cars don't need them. Just think about the face application for a minute. They run with the throttle wide open, hence almost no vacuum. Of course a vacuum advance has no benefit there. But in your street car, vacuum is an indicator of the load on the engine, and the mixture involved at that instant. Remember, lean mixtures burn slower than richer mixtures, and when you put you foot in it, the engine takes in more A/F. The air compresses, but the fuel part doesn't, hence the mixture is denser, and urns faster. This faster burn requires a bit of spark retard to avoid pre-ignition.


The centrifugal advance takes care of having less time from firing off the mixture, until optimal force, which needs to occur at around 15-18 degrees after TDC, when engine speeds increase. The vacuum advance, takes care of allowing greater advance during periods of leaner mixtures, when the engine is under light loads, thus optimizing engine performance and economy.


This is not my theory, it is well established internal combustion ignition fired engine science, and is fact. The model A came out just as these things were being fully understood, and Henry was slow to accept them, but with the V8, he did include these items. Please educate yourself before making incorrect statements like those.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:29 AM   #37
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Im quoting you here:

"The vacuum advance, takes care of allowing greater advance during periods of leaner mixtures, when the engine is under light loads, thus optimizing engine performance and economy."


It optimizes performance and economy by raising combustion temperature resulting in a hotter burn.Its not conjecture on my part,or misinformation,its fact.The impact of it on a model a engine might not be a benefit.I don't care about looking original,and I understand the driveability improvement vacuum advance allows.In my opinion a cooler 'wetter' combustion chamber provided by mechanical advance is superior to the clean burn hotter chamber of a dual advance distributor.I applaud your refitting and testing a Honda distributor,innovation creates progress.
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:28 AM   #38
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Railcarmover, I think you may be confusing "Lean Burn", with normal cruise conditions. "Lean Burn" only became possible/practical with the introduction of Fuel Injection, when mixtures could be controlled more precisely. "Lean Burn" as implemented in many modern vehicles with EFI, is activated after a cruise situation has been detected and maintained for a few seconds, when mixtures are leaned out to as much as 18:1, which causes a much slower burn, and timing is further advanced to account for that. You might be surprised to find as much as 50 degrees of advance at cruise on some modern EFI controlled cars that have implimented "lean burn".


This is not the same situation at all as normal cruise, (and a model A at cruise), where we have not influenced the mixture at all, just increased the timing advance by a few degrees when not under heavy load. This does NOT increase combustion temperatures, in fact as the engine's optimal pressure vs the time when the pressure is needed (15 - 18 degrees after tdc) is more closely reached, when these times match more perfectly than without this advance, temps go down, and the engine isn't fighting itself, and is better able to expel the hot gasses. This is all win-win.




So, I don't agree with your premise that more advance creates more heat. However, In the case of the model A, the biggest benefit from the vacuum advance is probably at idle speeds and slower car speeds, when the excessive retard of the FSI distributor does in fact cause overheating in situations like parades. Excessive retard causes overheating, excessive advance causes detonation. Either one can be disastrous to your engine.






The biggest advantage I see in the Honda dizzy is it is a cheap way to get both centrifugal advance and vacuum advance. But like I've said, I'm a CAMO.
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Old 06-09-2018, 12:46 PM   #39
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Im not a fan of FSI/pertronix,its basically a chinese copy of an industrial distributor with a pertronix module,the partner in the FSI company that did mapping and used a distributor machine with skill passed away,the remaining partner basically sells parts so the basic research has stopped. I have experience with combination distributors,and the ones used in the 70's-80's were mapped for a cleaner,hotter burn.That is my only question with your experiment,and I hope it doesn't create an issue,I'm a CAMO man myself.

run it hard, check your plugs for soot and measure your engine temp is my advice..or if your ambitious,pull your head after a few hundred miles see if your getting enough upper cylinder lubrication.Accelerated valve wear is a result of cleaner burn,if you have modern valves and pressed seats your golden.
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Old 06-09-2018, 01:46 PM   #40
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"I have experience with combination distributors,and the ones used in the 70's-80's were mapped for a cleaner,hotter burn."


When Detroit went nuts with emmissions in the 70s and 80s. They went with ported vacuum for the distributor. Basically, ported vacuum does as you say, creates a hotter burn, by retarding the spark under various conditions. They also put various controls to further restrict when vacuum was applied to the advance chamber. A big part of their motivation was to get things hot enough so that the cat converter would light off. What a disaster that turned out to be. Greater retard meant higher temps, crappy mileage, and tuning issues, often making more pollution than without all that crap. The distributors sometimes even had a vacuum chamber to retard timing even further. A lot of decent engines went to the dumper because of that fiasco.


I assure you that we are not implementing anything like that with this dizzy. For all practical purposes, it is just like something from the 30s-60s, and very basic in design. You will not see any additional heat generated from this whatever.
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Old 06-09-2018, 03:37 PM   #41
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I'm already a bit worried about burning valves and such, that's why I allways add a cup of MMO or better yet some high grade 2 cycle oil every time I fuel up
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:46 AM   #42
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Great read guys, lots of very interesting things in this thread. Thanks to Corley too for sharing this info as I’ve jumped on the band wagon as well and was able to get one for cheap cheap. I’ll fire up my lathe when I dig myself out from under the mountain of projects I seemed to have buried myself in and see how it goes.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:56 PM   #43
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I bought a rebuilt distributor and modified it as Corley said. Put it in and hooked it up only to find I got NO spark. So, now I am waiting for a new module. And, yes I did wire it up correctly. Depending where you go, the new module can cost more than the rebuilt distributor did in the first place. Got a new out of the box module coming.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:34 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by bettlesr View Post
I bought a rebuilt distributor and modified it as Corley said. Put it in and hooked it up only to find I got NO spark. So, now I am waiting for a new module. And, yes I did wire it up correctly. Depending where you go, the new module can cost more than the rebuilt distributor did in the first place. Got a new out of the box module coming.
It's always possible to get a defective part I suppose, but before you plant the new part in there, a couple of things to check. First, are you running a 6volt car, if so, this is not going to work. You need to have 12v, negative ground. Next, check your coils primary resistance. That is from one of the small terminals to the other. You should have something in the 3 ohm to 4.5 ohm range. If it is less than 3ohms, get a different coil, preferably one that is for 12volts, with internal resistor. Next, triple check your wiring. The farthest terminal (on the modual) from the wires exit hole should be connected to the plus side of the coil. The closer terminal connects to the negative side of the coil. Nothing else connects to the negative side of the coil. Switched 12volts connects to the plus side of the coil, along with that farthest distributor wire. Connect a ground wire to the base of the distributor.

When you assembled the distributor, you need to make sure the rotor piece is installed in the correct side up orientation, it can be put on upside down. Also, the two verticle pole pieces should be aligned so the rotory part intersects these at the same time, and with fairly equal gap. Be sure you didn't forget the rotor. Ha!

Sure sorry to hear go got a dud, but stuff happens I guess. I now these work very well, but with a rebuilt dizzy you are never sure why it got turned in in the first place. I've seen those modules on fleabay for $10, and I've seen them for over $100. If you are not in a hurry, they pop up from time to time. If I can help further, let me know.

By the way, just for fun, I converted an HEI Olds distributor for the model A, and it also works great. It is big and ugly though, and harder to convert as the case is smaller and must be sleeved.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:13 AM   #45
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Corley

i have installed this and after 3-4 try's i was finally able to get the advance part dialed in to where i can say good enough right around the 28 mark at 3000 rpm no load and it will go to about 32 if i spin it a little higher but i figure that, that is something that i will not do to much or maybe not at all

Thank You for all the info that you have offered up
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:47 AM   #46
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Terry,. Good on you!
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:10 PM   #47
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Corley:

OK
I put the new module in and connected it up. Fired right up and ran great. I then shut it off and shortened the plug wires. The honda wires were way too long. Tried to start it again and nothing. Seems like the module went out again. Switched back to my "B" distributor and it ran OK. The coil is a Pertronix with about 5 ohms on the primary.
Where did you connect the ground wire from the distributor body? Would the coil mounting bracket be good?
Hope I can get this to run more than 5 minutes per module :>)
Thanks
Dick
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Old 06-17-2018, 08:32 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by bettlesr View Post
Corley:

OK
I put the new module in and connected it up. Fired right up and ran great. I then shut it off and shortened the plug wires. The honda wires were way too long. Tried to start it again and nothing. Seems like the module went out again. Switched back to my "B" distributor and it ran OK. The coil is a Pertronix with about 5 ohms on the primary.
Where did you connect the ground wire from the distributor body? Would the coil mounting bracket be good?
Hope I can get this to run more than 5 minutes per module :>)
Thanks
Dick
Dick,

Apparently you are living wrong, as the gods seem to hate you. Perhaps you will need to change your religion or something. OR, it could be Kara, getting back at you for something awful you did in the past! Whatever it is, that really stinks. By the way, no one has put any curses on you lately have they?

The ground should not really cause this problem, but there is a screw hole right next to the place the other wires exit the distributor. Two of the rebuilt units I converted had a spade tab terminal attached there. Just run a wire from that to a good ground point on the car.

So far, I've not seen any failures on this module, so I'm baffled as to why you would have two failures in such short order. I'm sure that you could also use a ballast resistor in serries with the coil feed line, as it won't degrade the spark enough to cause any trouble, but would drop the voltage enough to offer some protection for the module. The original ckt in the Honda fed 12volts directly to the coil/module, so I didn't feel you should need that. One more thing, I hope that you used some thermal grease under the module to conduct the heat away.

I wish you good luck,
Corley
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:59 PM   #49
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I am running 12V Neg ground. The coil primary is a little over 5Ω. I am wondering if the fuel shutoff solenoid valve and / or the fuel pump is sending a spike back to the ignition when the key switch is shut off. These will get moved to the accessory relay I use for all my accessories. As far as the heat conducting grease, the module mounts on a little piece of aluminum the is solid around the mounting screws but only has a small rib between the ends. Maybe I should machine up a more solid piece to help remove the heat. The "good" module seemed to die right after I shut the engine down.
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Old 06-18-2018, 05:52 PM   #50
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You might also try a capacitor from the coil 12v side to ground. This would be for noise suppresion. I also have an electric fuel shutoff valve, and no issues with module damage. I suspect you just got a bad one, but who knows???
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:17 PM   #51
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My past experience with pertronix was in a different application. Others who had them in the same vehicle as I that had experienced failures realized straight up that it was a must to have resistor plug wires and resistor spark plugs along with the correct coil. I had considered going with a FSI setup when getting my Model A running but decided to keep it more original in appearance with the distributor and plugs and wires.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:53 AM   #52
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

Quote:
I am wondering if the fuel shutoff solenoid valve and / or the fuel pump is sending a spike back to the ignition when the key switch is shut off.
Putting a diode backwards across each devise would cancel any spikes generated.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:15 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by denniskliesen View Post
My past experience with pertronix was in a different application. Others who had them in the same vehicle as I that had experienced failures realized straight up that it was a must to have resistor plug wires and resistor spark plugs along with the correct coil. I had considered going with a FSI setup when getting my Model A running but decided to keep it more original in appearance with the distributor and plugs and wires.
I run resister wires, don't know if they are required, but I figured they would be used with the original Honda application. Still can pull better than an inch of spark at the plug. This is basically just lifting the entire ignition system from the Honda, so should be super reliable. But, like I said, I'm not the expert, I just did what some other guys in the SF Bay area started doing 25 years ago, and the one who got me on to it has never had a failure using this setup.

The Pertronics, on the other hand, seems to have quite a few failures, so probably needs the high resistance coil, a ballast resister, resistance wires, resistor plugs, or etc. to live.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:53 AM   #54
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

I am going to switch my Pertronix coil for a Standard replacement Honda coil as well.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:44 PM   #55
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OK Corely, time for an update on my efforts. My roadster has some slight modifications on it, such as B engine with two Stromberg 81's and a Stipe Cam. I wanted to try this because I think I can... I bought a points version to avoid the 6/12 volt problems with electronics (I'm still 6 volt). To cut to the chase, I set the advance at idle around 5* and locked the set screw on the side of the head. After a run of about 4 miles, I stopped and while smiling to myself, noticed the idle was high. I checked the timing and it had jumped to 15*. The lock screw seemed to back off a bit, allowing the distributor to turn slightly. I might have to change the lock screw to a hex head to allow me to torque it a bit... How did you succeed in locking the distributor in place???

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Old 06-20-2018, 06:34 PM   #56
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This is no different than an FSI distributor or a model B distributor in this regard. The original lock screw works fine on mine. Do you by any chance have a binding shaft? It would seem to take a lot of force to cause the distributor to turn and loose it's timing setting.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:40 PM   #57
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I may have turned a few thousandths more off the housing than I should have. Maybe a hex head screw in place of the slotted screw will get it tighter...

Frank
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:18 PM   #58
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I used a Cone Point set screw from Fastenal, because the original would turn the Distributor when tightened down.

Might try that if all else fails.

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Old 06-20-2018, 08:31 PM   #59
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You may have not got the two screws inside the distributor that hold the plate solid tight, did you check those?
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:54 AM   #60
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You know... I had the distributor shaft in and out so many times, the screws might be loose. I think I was so pleased with my almost success that I may not have tightened them. Easy enough to check...

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Old 06-21-2018, 07:47 AM   #61
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Frank, when you get it sorted, we'd love to have your opinion on how it works for you. Now you can move on to using the spark lever for turn signals. Not too difficult...
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:13 AM   #62
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Default Re: FSI distributor issue

As the detents are worn off on my spark lever, I am thinking of using it to work my wolf whistle!!
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:10 AM   #63
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Wolf whistle, , , dirty old man...
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:18 AM   #64
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Yupp!
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Old 06-22-2018, 08:49 AM   #65
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I was able to check the points this morning. Amazing what you can accomplish when you get back to basics... One of the screws holding the points in place was loose. Reset the point gap and tightened all down... purrs like a kitten. As soon as I get a little time, I'll take it out for a spin. This morning I'm taking my AA firetruck to the convention in Lake George for a little fun.

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Old 06-23-2018, 08:06 AM   #66
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I have been using Pertronix modules for many years with no issues. Have a couple in severe use on a twin engine boat. Running the 6th season no issues and these units are in a boat in the water year round.

Ok lots of pros and cons mostly just opinions. When properly installed they work. Have one been in service on an old vehicle for over 10000 miles over 18 years and no failures.

I have found I like an Original Model A distributor with the FSI module. Easy to setup...
Set timing with pin. (I added a timing mark and degree indicator so I can use a timing light to fine tune.

I set the timing at idle with full spark retard at about 3 degrees retard for that slow model A idle.

I get approx 26 degrees advance and my A's like the advance about 3/4 on a normal highway. We have another A with the Zipper and it works fine but not as fond of the internal advance I like having the spark control!

Ok what about coils?

I have two setups one on each A

#1 Running a 1.4 Ohm coil with an External Ballast Resistor. on a 12 Volt Neg Gnd No pop out switch on off switch which is fused and connected directly to the battery. (Provides very clean current flow no Alternator or Generator Spikes) Make sure you have a very clean ground for the distributor. I run an extra grnd. wire from Dist jut to be sure.

#2 You can also use a 3.0 Ohm coil which is internal resisted without an external Resistor. I have seen no difference in performance with either one.

Now you can do the same with a 6 volt module you then would use a 1.4 ohm coil without an external resistor.

TIP: the lower the ohms the higher the output voltage. a 1.4 ohm is standard for a 6 volt system but when connected to a 12 Volt it MUST be stepped down with the resistor or damage to the module will result. (I think many are bricked that way by mistake)

FSI does provide support and detailed instructions. The best news is they also supply the module already mounted to the plate. I keep one as a spare for tours and I can change it out in 5 min.!

No condenser, no contact plate spring etc. just... no moving parts to wear and unless you blow a timing gear or the dist. screw gets loose timing will not change as you run up the miles.

Which ever you decide to use both work... Fine point Stay with the OEM Touring something to consider. Do not listen to all the noise... do your own research and make your own decision which works best for you.

Note: Ron Cloat "Rainmaker Ron" installed my FS ignition in all our Model A's so I know it was done correctly. Sure miss that guy !

"A man is incapable of leaving a perfectly running machine alone without tinkering!"
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:51 AM   #67
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Barkleydave,. One comment... The coil that was supplied with my old FSI setup has a 4.1 ohm primary. In addition, the FSI instructions mention that they supply a special resistive wire from switch to coil. That would indicate to me that FSI engineers are apparently concerned about the amount of current that the modual they use can handle.

Given that these provide a really hot spark, and don't have to support high RPMs, and are not on an 8 cylinder engine, (so have a low switch rate), I don't really see a downside to limiting the current to the module even more than you have done. But, that's just what I think, no scientific proofs on that.

If you are happy sliding the spark lever around, then the centrifugal and vacuum advances the Honda offers are obviously not for you. The whole point of this topic was to point out some issues with the FSI setup, (centrifugal advance but no vacuum advance), and offer a solution to those in the form of the modified Honda distributor, which gives you both advances. (And it's also a much cheaper option for the machinist capable guys.)

Everybody has their own favorite setup, they all obviously can work. Different strokes for different folks, and that is how it should be. Thanks for posting your Pretronics data, it all seems reasonable to me.
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:36 PM   #68
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I think I may have found out why my car is frying the modules. I put my ocilloscope across the plus side of the coil to ground. My rotary fuel pump is also across the hot side of the coil, all other accessories are fed from a relay. When I shut off the ignition, the only thing connected to the coil is the pump. I get a fairly good size ac wave on the hot side until the pump stops spinning. This could be higher or lower voltage then the "points" lead to the coil negative. I am going to try connecting the fuel pump to the relay as well. Then when the ignition is shut off only the coil and the relay coil are on the hot side of the coil and module. Running out of spare modules!
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:00 PM   #69
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Sure sounds like a good theory to me. Good deal scoping it, I hope before installing the new one. Some other ideas, an inductor in serries with the coil, a cap accross the coil feed, a relay feeding only the coil direct from the battery, a ballast resister to the coil only, with one of the previous noise filters, a diode to ground to short out the spike, bow to the east before shutting it down, more prayers, etc. Maybe a different brand module would be more counter emf proof. Of course, you will move everything else from that ckt.
Sounds like you are on the right track. Mine is still working a treat, so I'm sure you will conqure the issue.

To the best of my knowledge, no one else has reported any issues like yours. I admire your persistence!
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:46 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettlesr View Post
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
Dick
Hello Bettlesr,
I have a Setup similar to what you describe and have difficulty with the timing advancing so far I get pinging. I have resorted to setting the idle timing at up to 10 degrees btdc and this seems to work but I am very interested in how you limited the advance on your zipper. Could you please advise how you did this?
Cheers,
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:49 PM   #71
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Reference my earlier post I should have said atdc not btdc. Cheers, Gavin
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:09 AM   #72
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Gavin:
I welded up the slot that limited the amount of advance and then milled the slot shorter to get the amount of advance I wanted. I removed the upper plate and slotted the hole for the mounting screw and put the screw in loose and held in place with Locktite. This allowed me to retard the advance for climbing hills, about 5. I set the initial timing to 10 btdc with the lever all the way DOWN. This gave me good performance off the line and limited the total to about 25 for cruising and still drop back to around 20 for heavy loads.
Good luck
Dick
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