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Another Pretronix left me sitting

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by RDAH, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. RDAH
    Joined: Mar 23, 2007
    Posts: 465

    from NL, WI

    The first one failed when I was out in Clear Lake Iowa after running great for 4 years in my 302 in my 54 Merc. Now 900 miles on my 26-T & it died at the end of my street. These were both the first Ignighter unit. Now I see they have an Ignighter 11 & 111. Are they anymore reliable then the first units ?
  2. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Since you are running a 302 why not just put a good aftermarket distributor in there ? As much as you hear about Unilites, that is all we have run and have never had one fail. I ran one in the 5.0 in my Jeep daily for over 5 years and it never missed a beat.

    But there are a lot of other good brands of distributors out there if you are leary of the Pertronix.

  3. The original Ignitor can be damaged if the ignition is left on without the car running. Sometimes it will cause an immediate failure, other times it will manifest itself later.
    Over the years we have sold over 3.5 million of these units and the failure rate is under .01%, pretty amazing for an electronic component. Failures can many times be traced to bad or faulty grounds or power surges in the electrical system, but sometimes electrical stuff just fails.
    The Ignitor II had a microprocessor built in that will shut itself off it the ignition is turned on and it doesn't see distributor rotation, as soon as the distributor turns it comes back on. This unit also has a Patented Adaptive Dwell that is always changing the dwell angle based on the load and rpm of the motor. This makes both the unit and coil run cooler for longer life and more spark energy when you do need it.
    The Ignitor III takes the Ignitor features and adds multi spark and a digital rev limiter all inside the module.
    If the one in you T is less than 30 months old, it is under warranty and will be replaced free of charge. PM me for more details.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  4. GregCon
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 689

    from Houston

    I work with EE's in electronics who tell me the guts of a Pertronix are too small and confined to be truly durable. Then, they put together industrial electronics which operate continuously for 25 years, so their ideas might be a little different. In our industry a 1% failure rate would put you out of business.

    And, I've been left sitting more than once by MSD boxes that were plenty big.

  5. rowdyauto
    Joined: Jun 1, 2005
    Posts: 321


    I've been in the automotive repair buisness many years had my own shop for 31 years and have seen the best and the worst fail.If it's electrical or electronic it's going to fail.We have used Pertronix in many applications without failure but hell that could happen tomorrow.Let them warranty it step up to the better unit and move on.Pertronix is one of the better company's to work with give them a chance to make it right.You could put anything, any brand in place of it and still end up on the side of the road.That's why you always run a back up system in race cars.If it wasn't for failures I wouldn't have a job. :D
  6. von zipper
    Joined: Nov 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,014

    von zipper

    Same unit in my Galaxie since 96! No problem!
  7. hotrodtom
    Joined: Apr 14, 2005
    Posts: 231


    We went thru holy h___ with the Unilite in my Red Ram. We learned, the hard way, that it is very sensitive to voltage fluctuations and the module can be blown by charging the battery with the ignition in the system. We blew three modules before we found that both the ballast resistor and the alternator were malfunctioning and allowing more voltage than the module liked. We seem to have those problems licked -- for now. But my Model A 'banger has had a Pertronix (Remund, now First Street Ignitions) Ignitor for several trouble-free years and I love it.
    Joined: Aug 22, 2011
    Posts: 1,247

    from mass

    I have a Pertronics II unit that went in to replace the dual points in my 57' Vette almost 10 yrs. ago with 0 problems !!!???
  9. wallyringo
    Joined: May 19, 2010
    Posts: 709


    I put mine on a few years back never had a problem but I still carry the points in my tool box in the trunck just in case.
  10. Love petronics, never let me down. Gottem in 3 of my cars. One unit is 13 yrs old.
  11. pertronix are VERY sensitive to coil voltage alittle too much and pop goes the pertronix i currently have 2 of them love em
  12. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford

    Please note that 1% and the previously stated 0.1% are not the same, 0.1% is 1/10 of 1%.
  13. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford

    My mistake he actually said .01% which is 1/100 of 1%.
  14. go-twichy
    Joined: Jul 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,650


    can't there be something in front of it to keep voltage spikes out? in the audio word we call it a compressor. you can yell in the mic all you want but it wont get any louder.
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,385


    Would really like to know what coil was on the car and what resistance units were in place . The coil should be approx 1.5 ohms and use a ballast resistor of 1.5 ohms as well. I use the pertronixs modules in many distributors every year and discuss problems with hambers every week.
    99 % of the time the coil is simply flowing too many amps for the module to take........
  16. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,687

    from Colorado

    I handled the marketing and advertising for the original Per-Lux Ignitor. This unit was designed for stationary engines running 24/7. It was OE in Ryder rentals and intown UPS trucks in the 1970's. The first automotive application was in Baja Bugs running in SCORE races.

    Most failures could be traced to improper installations and crappy grounds. I've had at least two dozen Ignitors in classic cars and boats well as hot rod bangers. The only failure I eperienced was due to a crappy ground that was my fault!
  17. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 543


    We had one in our 350 SBC that popped a couple of magnets out of the stator plate. Called Pretronix and had a new plate within two days. Running fine now
  18. GregCon
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 689

    from Houston

    "My mistake he actually said .01% which is 1/100 of 1%."

    Well, I began to think I was going crazy because I was willing to swear I read 1%. Then, I noticed he edited his post about 50 minutes after mine - it did say 1% and he changed it to .01%. Sneaky? You decide.

    I'll also note that with 3.5 Million units out there, Pertronix has absolutely no way of knowing the failure rate. For every unit they hear about that failed, there could well be 20 that guys pitch in the trash and never tell them about. There's no way they can have an accurate read on their failure rate. In contrast, in my business, we sell relatively few and they are all pedigreed so we know exactly when one fails.
  19. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,515


    I've had a Pertronix I in my 3W for over 18 years. Very carefully installed it following the instructions. No problems ever. Using a Pertronix coil and no ballast resistor.
  20. Yutan Flash
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 719

    Yutan Flash
    from Gretna, NE

    What would explain a car with 6-year old Pertronix I Ignitor with about 10,000 miles and Flamethrower coil crapping out with no warning after running for around half an hour in 90-degree F ambient temperature, letting it sit 45 minutes to cool down and it would start/run again? Problem happend to me last August and I've been gunshy about driving the car more than a few blocks from home.
  21. S.F.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,894


    cant go wrong with points, you know when they go out, and can be replaced in 5 minutes using a match book to set them. cheep, and can have 5 extra sets in the glove box if you feel like it.
  22. Classic Car Guy
    Joined: Jun 29, 2012
    Posts: 9

    Classic Car Guy

    Not a huge Fan of Protronix. It burns out like Point's! Best to get a real good Electronic Distributor complete. Thats my opinion.

    Joe C NY
  23. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,707

    from No. Cal

    I converted my first Ford "Helmet Distributor" (1939) over 23 years ago using a Perlux unit, just before the Pertronix name change. It's still running flawlessly today.
  24. while i have installed several Petronix in others cars , all three of my hot rods have points. i've seen units fail. points have never let me down
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,385


    Coil shorts out , resistance drops and allow higher than normal current to run thru the system. The module has a current limit thermal cut off in it to prevent failure and shuts down due to the high heat in the module and coil.
    Module then cools off and runs good again. Add some resistance with a external ballast and check the coil, should be fine......:)
  26. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,899

    from Quincy, IL

    This thread contains the typical posts from people who don't read, or ignore, the instructions. They think they know more than the people who designed and make the devices in question, and then accuse, complain and moan when something goes wrong.

    Also, they claim the device of their preference is perfect!!?? :rolleyes: Which is kind of surprising........since we live in an imperfect world to begin with. Don't they know?

    Fortunately, they are in the minority.

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  27. SIX_94Y
    Joined: Apr 14, 2008
    Posts: 96

    from Australia

    Dad has one on his 289 been fantastic for at least the last 13 years. Till I touched it anyway. Ran without a resistor and used a hei coil oops, smoked it pretty quick. Ran good for an hour or so though. Replaced with another and good times yet again! I know now how to treat them, the instructions are there for a reason it seems.....
  28. I like a good old GM HEI distributor myself. There's only a couple of things ion them that can go, and available at any parts house.

  29. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,982


    I don't have anything like Bubba's experience...but...This is also of somewhat recent problem on GM HEI's with the coil in the cap,especially on modified engines.This issue was talked about in many Camaro type forums. Inferior quality high performance coil runs hot in the cap, shorts internally,toasts the module,mechanic blames cheap module but it's the coil.MSD Blaster round coils were also shorting out.....the ones not made in USA.Supposedly the best fix for coil in cap HEI is to use a kit to mount coil remotely.
    I know a guy running a .6 primary resistance coil with a Pertronix.But this is a 6 volt system.Been ok for 15,000 miles.
    I had a Pertronix fail but was able to limp home.They replaced it and said the dwell had gone to shit.I use points in my old stuff.In 30 years of driving used Chevy trucks with HEI's and 15 years of later model well used Jeeps,I never had a ignition failure,yet :D
  30. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    I havent had a problem with one yet..knock on wood

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