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1956 Pontiac Star Chief 316 v8 Convert to Electronic Ignition

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by betteroffalone, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. betteroffalone
    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Posts:
    291
    Location:
    San Diego, CA

    betteroffalone Member

    Hi all,

    I finally got my '56 back on the road after a year long project of rebuilding the front suspension. Now that she drives nice and is reliable with a new radiator and all, I want to do a few reliability fixes that i have put off for a while. I added an electric fan with the new radiator and I noticed that it is draining the battery when it's running even for a minute or two with the car off. I think it draws way more power than the generator can provide when charging.

    First thing is converting this car to an alternator and switching to electronic ignition. I have been doing a bit of research but can't seem to find exactly what I need to do this.

    I did find this company called Quality Power Auto who makes an alternator for this car and a bracket to mount it in the old generator spot.

    http://www.qualitypowerauto.com/catalog.php?item=8

    Anyone know anything about this? Do you know which Alternator I should use? I was thinking the 100amp max, but I don't know much about electrical systems, so I would like some input on doing this.

    Second - the electronic ignition conversion, what exactly do I need for this? I know a higher output coil, and then replacing the internals of the distributor, but where do I start with finding the proper parts to use for this? Does anyone make a kit with everything I would need? Any help here is appreciated, I know nothing about electrical systems and just want to do this right so that I will have a more reliable charging and running car.

    Thanks!
  2. bryan6902
    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
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    Location:
    Crystal, MN

    bryan6902 Member

    If your fan is draining your battery that quickly, I would bet your battery is no good. If its been sitting for a year this could be the case. You didn't say how old your battery was. 100 amps should be sufficient for what you have.

    I assume you're running the stock 316? I believe a later model HEI ignition is a drop in piece, it was in my '57. Yeah it isn't traditional, but neither are electric fans... Its also about the best ignition for the buck, in my opinion.
  3. odins701
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    odins701 Member

  4. betteroffalone
    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
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    Location:
    San Diego, CA

    betteroffalone Member

    Thanks guys. Bryan, I'm still running the original 316, it's never been touched. The battery very well could be bad, it is 5+ years old. I'm thinking about getting that 100amp alternator and swapping out the generator.

    Odins, if I got that kit from Jegs, do I also need to get a new coil?
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  5. odins701
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    odins701 Member

    i think it comes with one in the pic but yes... 100 amps is alot, you running a big radio and electric windows? you know you dont need high amps to charge well just to run accessories.
  6. d2_willys
    Joined:
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    Kansas

    d2_willys Member

    I would look into a 12si or CS144 GM alternators. You should be able to find one pretty reasonable. The alternator bracket could just be your generator bracket with a long bushing to take up the remaining room. This bushing could be of the threaded variety and make it simple to attach to.
  7. odins701
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    Virginia Beach

    odins701 Member

    i like that idea :)

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