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 Electronic Ignition Conversion Kits
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  09:25:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, last year my mechanic at the time replaced my points and condenser with an electronic ignition kit from Sierra. The hope was to fix an ongoing issue losing rpm's etc. while under way.

Skip to this season, we are still having the same issues as before and we have done so many things to try and resolve this, it will make your head spin. In fact I switched to a different mechanic this season who can't figure this out either. So, I decided to call another shop that I got some good reviews from other boaters in the area and just pick his brain to see if he can come up with an idea before I bring a new guy into the mix.

After running through things with this guy, he thought immediately something with the ignition/spark and wanted to know if the coils were replaced (yes), were they the right ones (can't say, I didn't put them on). Then he asked if we switched to the electronic ignition and if it was hooked up correctly. I responded I think so, but I didn't do it, so what am I looking for?

He said that with these kits, the resistor is not needed and he usually removes them. I know mine are still there as that was one thing we tried replacing. he said these kits want the full 12 volts un-resisted. He said that at a minimum I should look to see where the positive wire from the kit is hooked up to. It should be on the 12 volt side and not on the resisted side of the resistor. he also said to check out the coil itself and make sure it says "externally resisted" and not something else or blank. Otherwise I have the wrong coil. So, I plan to take a look at this when I get to the boat tonight.

My question here, anyone install one of these and does this make sense? I can't find install instructions anywhere on the web, anyone have a copy of these you could email me?

If this turns out to be my issue, I will be extremely happy but really disappointed in two mechanics not able to spot this... Can't really write the level of disappointment I will experience without offending people with loads of choice words... although my gut is telling me this won't pan out. The guy said it didn't sound like a fuel issue and that we should be focusing on the ignition/spark part of the engine.

imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  09:27:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh, for those that will ask, this is on 1986 Carver Mariner 3297. Crusader engines model 270's (350's), Rocheter q-jet carbs.
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HOGAN

USA
25734 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  10:27:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I switched over many years ago, the first kits they sent me were not for the right engines. Make sure you have the correct kit.

_________________________


1999 Trojan 440 Express
2005 Scout 175 Sportfish
Achilles LEX 96
MMSI# 338049724


[:-tophat]

Surly to bed, surly to rise...
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  10:40:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, I decided to give a call to the technical support at Sierra, which is Teleflex. Very helpful on the phone and they confirmed that the wiring should be setup like I said above. They were also kind enough to email me a copy of the installation instructions which I will have in hand when I get to the boat tonight. If anyone needs these, I have them...

Hogan, I hope I have the right ones... When I run the boat, it runs fine but "falls down" after a length of time under load. Been fighting this issues for a long time now... So I assume they are the right ones, but very well could be not hooked up right, or damaged now due to not being hooked up right. Guess I will find out when I get there...

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Billylll

USA
17666 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  10:52:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The resistors must be removed.
Bill

WirelessOne,
40 Mainship
Sedan Bridge
Little Egg, N.J.
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  12:54:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Even with a "stock" coil? I didn't get the Sierra coils they recommend, but thinking about it.
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tugboat kevin

1214 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  13:39:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
sell them on ebay and install delco est,s and be happy!
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JimPend

3058 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  14:23:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's a 12 volt coil instead of 6 volt any autoparts store will have them. If you go to the store to get it make sure the guy understands that it's 12 volt not a coil with a built in resistor.

Jim P.
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  14:59:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK on the coil part, but what about the resistor?
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JimPend

3058 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  16:15:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The resistor is used to reduce the voltage from the 12 supply to 6 volts which the old coil was. With a 12 volt coil you use the supply voltage. The resistor is not used with electronic.
The old coil was 6 volts because points can handle any more than that.

Jim P.
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stmbtwle

10968 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  21:39:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Also when the starter kicks in the voltage drops to maybe 9 volts, and an actual 12v coil often wouldn't fire.
So the older systems used a low-voltage coil with a resistor to keep from burning up the coil (and the points). When the starter engaged, the resistor was bypassed so the coil got full voltage.

Willie: Look Ma no paddle!
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Sandy

USA
7938 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2012 :  22:59:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"The resistor is not used with electronic."

Actually, I believe that is a little too broad a generalization.

I have no idea who makes the conversion kits for Sierra, but as far as these module kits go, it depends on the kit as to whether any original resistor is retained or not.

For instance, I believe the Mallory elctronic conversion kit installation retains any original resistor , as does the Pertronix Ignitor 1 kit.

The better Ignitor 2 kit requires elimination of any previous resistor. And unlike the Ignitor 1, the "2" version can apparently withstand having the ignition switch left in the On position for a long while without the module being killed.

I think even the replacement Mallory electronic whole distributor retains any original resistor though it just might depend on model. The fully-electronic Delco Voyager EST distributor kit( w/ all electronic advance, & including a matching/appropriate coil and quality plug & coil cable set) eliminates any resistor and IMO is likely far and away the best choice of any of the above on older installations.

Modules on old distributors still retain the old, possibly worn or corroded mechanical advance mechanism as well as possibly wobbly rotor shafts due to worn bushing bearings. But they are cheaper. Just today I replaced a bad distributor with worn bushing bearing that had painful screeching as 1st stage of seizing. Sounded like a broken ring against a cylinder wall, ...only intermittant. Quiet again now.

But if the distributor is in otherwise very good shape, the better conversion kits can be great to get rid of those cave man points and condensor ( & resistor.)

Sandy

Edited by - Sandy on Aug 31 2012 23:03:17
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 04 2012 :  14:47:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, the ignition from Sierra is actually the Pertronix Ignitor (not the 2 or 3). They must re-sell as a Sierra part, but it is still called the Ignitor. I also found out that the mechanic that installed it, wired it wrong according to the online instructions. The positive lead should have been connected before the resistor and it was connected after when I checked it out. Not sure if this could cause the ignition to fail or "break".

I have since ordered new "Flame Thrower" coils from Pertronix to match up with the Ignitor. My new mechanic says to do away with the resistor once I put these on. Looks like on the website that they are internally resisted, but can't say for sure whether I should take the external resistor out or not.

Side note, these are in Mallory YL series distributors. The current installed coil says its a 12 volt coil that should be externally resisted. The new Flame Thrower coil says 12 volt and 1.5 ohms so that it is at 8 amps. Which, from what I can find, a 8 cyl. engine should be no more than 8 amps, although not sure if that is right.

So, back to not sure if I need the resistor or not, but new mechanic says to get rid of it.

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Sandy

USA
7938 Posts

Posted - Sep 04 2012 :  17:05:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From the 2nd tip down that appears to confirm what you found, that does seen to indicate you should be able to remove the ballast with the Flamethrower:
http://www.pertronix.com/support/tips/default.aspx#a2

You might check the resistance of the Flamethrower with an ohmmeter to confirm. Reminder-, as that tip says, don't leave the ign key on, engine off , for more than 30 seconds or you can burn out that Ignitor(1).

Personally ,if sticking with conversions instead of electronic replacement of an old distributor , I think I would bite the bullet and switch to the more robust "Ignitor II" plus Flamethrower ...and no resistor. But since you have that "I", hopefully the correct wiring and new coil & no resistor will return the happy "cool running."

Sandy
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JimPend

3058 Posts

Posted - Sep 04 2012 :  17:30:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm glad most the time I droped in new Prestolite distributors and a 12 volt coil and got rid of the ballast resistor. If you still have a resistor, carry a spar.

Jim P.
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pocket change

USA
661 Posts

Posted - Sep 04 2012 :  20:01:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

When I installed a Petronics kit in my 3.7 Merc in 1997 I kept the stock coil. The flamethrower coil caused the tach to go crazy. In 2008 on the way back to my slip from the fuel dock the engine quit. No spark. The module went bad. A new Petronics kit fixed it. I guess they don't last forever. I am going to replace this one after 9 years. Don't want to get stuck again.
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JimPend

3058 Posts

Posted - Sep 04 2012 :  20:07:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I didn't say kits I said distributors. With kits next things is bearing and on and on.

Jim P.
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C team

USA
882 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  11:20:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Instead of converting my old distributors to electronic, it was much simpler to drop in new distributors from Mallory Marine. The old distributors wear over time and you start to get a wobble out of the shaft. This in turns affects your spark advance and other things. So for my 454 Crusader, it was a simple choice. jmtc.

Craig

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
Mark Twain
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Sandy

USA
7938 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  13:30:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Mallory electronic replacement distributors still have mechanical advance which is not a bad thing but can have it's reliability issues if not maintained, and may retain an original ballast resistor. The Delco Voyager EST electronic distributor kits have electronic advance, and include the matching coil and quality plug & coil cables. No resistor. And everything is matched to play well with each other. Certainly not the only choice but a darn good one from my experience on my last engines. Though I checked a couple times a season, even the caps and rotors lasted forever on those replacement distributors, very unlike the ones on my newer blue MPI engines.

One indicator of worn distributor shaft is unsteady tach reading/"nervous needle" or digits.(Other things can influence that as well.)

Sandy
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  14:01:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sandy - I don't have any issues on the tach readings so good there. What engines do you have that you put the Delco's on? If removing the resistor doesn't fix my issue, I may consider going to Ignitor II or a complete swap like you have done. May have to wait till next season. What did the Delco's cost you?

Pocket - I will keep the parts I have just in case, did you have the Ignitor I or II?

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Sandy

USA
7938 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  15:35:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Craig- The kits were put on the boat's original '88 Crusader 350ci/270 hp engines I'd guess about 16-17 yrs ago. The big winter-storage yard installed them as they were the ones that highly recommended them after years of my having to replace tune -up and mechanical advance parts on the original Mallorys(?) too frequently, often at sea, and noticing the nervous needle. As a welcome change, the Delco Voyager ESTs were 100% reliable after that until I repowered with 330 hp injected engines in 2003.

From checking the installation instructions I don't think they were particularly difficult to install and wire, though just reinstalling any distributor csn take a little care and patience to line it up just right. They have a Run and Timing mode that is switched by just turning over 1 side of a wiring connector & reconnecting. I can't recall just what I paid, installed, as it was quite a while ago but I think the Voyager kits are still about the same price.

Boatfix sold them for a while under the Barr Marine name but I don't believe they have them any longer.

A quick internet search of " 5.7L Delco Voyager EST kit " returns a present vender price of $349 for the whole kit for a 5.7 L GM engine of standard LH rotation , and then plus $300 for one for a RH rotation engine . I had one of each and boy was that money well spent. I have no connection whatsoever to the product other than feeling from my own just-a-boater experience and many other's reports and comparative descriptions of the features of replacement electronic distributors, these are top replacement choice for older GM marine engines.

And it's saying a lot that "Tugboat Kevin", who has apparently installed hundreds or more of the Voyager kits , is still emphatically impressed with them .
That's not at all to say there aren't plenty of boaters who are perfectly satisfied with other brands of electronic replacement distributors or conversion modules installed on old distributors in very good shape.

Sandy
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tugboat kevin

1214 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  16:39:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i have tried almost every ignition nothing beats the bang for your buck delco est's till you get into high end msd or the like and that cost way more .its easy to install remove all the old ignition install new dist, bolt the coil down and connect 2 wires fire it up and set the timing then lean up the carb and lower the idle thats it!
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  19:33:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys, that may be my next move if these current kits don't work out. Is Delco the actual company that makes these. Can't seem to find their actual website, just distributors, no pun intended.
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  19:33:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys, that may be my next move if these current kits don't work out. Is Delco the actual company that makes these. Can't seem to find their actual website, just distributors, no pun intended.
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Sandy

USA
7938 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2012 :  23:13:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Delco Electronics went through a lot of iterations but apparently finally went defunct about 2004 even though GM retains the ACDelco name brand. I doubt ACDelco makes the distributors now and my guess is perhaps the plant that made the distributors for Delco went private and still produces the kits for 1 or 2 exclusive vendors you've easily found. Just a guess about the latter though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delco_Electronics

Any insight about that, Kevin?

Sandy
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tugboat kevin

1214 Posts

Posted - Sep 06 2012 :  11:14:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i opened a new kit the dist does not say where it was made just some numbers and the j1171 marine stamp i did try a billet est kit from jegs it was beautiful in machining and craftsmanship but would not work, it would not advance the timing
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 06 2012 :  14:07:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How about the ones from Pertronix? I see they make the entire replacement electronic distributor. Anyone use one of these?
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 06 2012 :  14:27:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
New Flame Thrower coils came today. Says right in the instructions to get rid of the resistor for my application. Here's hoping this resolves my issues...
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Sandy

USA
7938 Posts

Posted - Sep 06 2012 :  15:19:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I believe you will find the Pertonix distributors still have mechanical centrifugal advance mechanisms. Note, their catalog doesn't list a marine electronic distributor for RH /opposite-rotation engines but there are reverse-bevel drive gears listed to change over the standard dist. .

Unfortunately , the Delco's better all-electronic advance apparently will not allow that simple changeover just at the gear , and the RH engine dist. presumably has different programming as well as the reverse -cut gear. That doesn't really explain the add'l $300 charge for the Delco RH engine dist. And it's hard to understand even need for different programming as both LH & RH distributor rotor shafts turn clockwise and the same caps are used , just cables are plugged into the cap for reverse firing order. Maybe it's due to the expensive RH spark plug cables .

Sandy

Edited by - Sandy on Sep 10 2012 00:57:19
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Thudpucker

14981 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2012 :  00:20:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What if the Jets in the Carb were too small and the plugs were heating up and quit firing till they cooled down?

Conservative in every sense of the word.
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2012 :  11:38:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Thud - the carbs have had twice, even "thrice", overs and we are thinking past fuel now.

What I found out last weekend is that the Ignitor was wired incorrectly and the positive lead was behind the resistor instead of before it. It has been wrong for almost two seasons now and I think maybe the stock coils were breaking down. So, the hope is that these new coils, removal of the resistors, and the correct wiring of the Ignitor will fix my issue. Fingers crossed, but if it doesn't, another thing to cross of the list...

Sandy - The good thing about my setup is that I don't need the reverse rotation for mine. Both are normal rotation, which I believe means the reverse rotation takes place in the tranny or v-drive, can't remember.
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Sandy

USA
7938 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2012 :  12:44:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Craig- That's great both of yours are standard rotation . That makes spares inventory and swapping parts to test much easier, and firing order is normal( and as often molded onto the cap). And standard distributors and starters are cheaper, & RW pump hoses the same length. Even replacement std. engines are a lot less spendy.
Too bad you can't just turn a RH prop around for the port side though! ( Unfortunately my gears are straight VD 72C's which won't allow full power in reverse and required opposing engines.

Sandy
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tugboat kevin

1214 Posts

Posted - Sep 09 2012 :  17:34:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
its cheaper to use a zf tranny often less than 2 grand instead of reversing the engine it makes it easier to upgrade old non vortec engines to vortec
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 11 2012 :  14:34:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Coils didn't fix the issue... freaking maddening... About ready to call it a season. New, third mechanic going to stop out and take a look, but guessing he won't have time to find anything this year anymore. URGH!!
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John Gijsen

317 Posts

Posted - Sep 11 2012 :  19:47:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Craig,
You have been fighting this for awhile. I would still be up for driving over and taking a peak before she goes on the hard for the year. Although I am not a certfied mechanic, I certainly have been able to help quite a few people around our lakes!
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 12 2012 :  08:47:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey John, yes we have been fighting this issue for about 3 years now.

I have Mark from Drake's Marine in Omro stopping out this week (first time for him to look at things). Got some good references from people about him. Let me see what he comes up with first and I may take you up on your offer.

Are you at Party Doll by chance? I got a phone number for some guy at Party Doll who has a house boat there and is a car mechanic in Appleton but works on boats.
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John Gijsen

317 Posts

Posted - Sep 12 2012 :  12:58:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was at Party Doll, not currently. I am not a car mechanic by day, but I have a small business building/restoring cars, I am a Jack Roush dealer Squires Turbo etc. Just saved a guy 5K on a repair from a local marina. Good luck, you desereve to be done with this!
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imspacemancraig

USA
514 Posts

Posted - Sep 13 2012 :  10:45:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks John! I will post back with what he says.
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