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Technical Pertronix Failure

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ajochum, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. ajochum
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 4

    from WNY

    I'm pretty frustrated and wondered if any of you have had a Pertronix failure.
    About 3 years ago I converted my stock 1954 Ford 239 OHV 6v positive ground to Pertronix electronic ignition. I did so based upon the idea that I wanted to have maximum ideal ignition along with eliminating everything I could do to make my car reliable, easy to start, etc.
    The compression on my car was low and this weekend I decided to do a compression test - dry and wet. I hooked up a remote starter button and checked it out. Afterwards, I put everything back in place and tried to start it, only to realize that I had flooded it. After on and off cranking, it no longer coughed and I checked the spark - of which there was none.
    The cranking apparently fried the Pertronix!
    I called Pertronix and their answer was that I have a 30 month warranty - of which I may or may not be in that timetable. Plus, I need to find the receipt, where I purchased it (there are 200 resellers) to get a replacement.
    The entire purpose of electronic ignition is dependability. There goes that theory.
    Any of you had this problem? Does Acell make a 6v system that any of your are aware of? I'm thinking of just going back to old school points and condensor.
  2. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,418

    from Ioway

    Just from what you described I'd wonder if - maybe - the battery is smoked. The six volt system is close to the cut off I bet. Try a fresh fully charged battery and see if the 'no spark' fault clears.
  3. fergusonic
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 221

    from Kokomo, In

    Using the Remote Starter.... while leaving the Ignition ON ?
    Bearcat_V8 likes this.
  4. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,804


    IIRC in the instructions it says something about leaving the ignition on without the engine running can smoke the unit. I think it overheats if the key is left on without the engine running.
    loudbang likes this.

  5. millions of cars have driven billions of miles with many miles a year do you drive where a set of points would fail? 500? 1000?, then change your points once a year.....
    RMR&C, loudbang and TTR like this.
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,984


    Electronic ignition is susceptible to failure from high voltage surges. When you disconnect the plug wires, and then crank the engine with the ignition on (whether it's switched on at they key, or powered by a ballast resistor bypass circuit that is switched on by the starter solenoid or relay), the high voltage that is produced by the coil has to go somewhere. If the plug wires are not connected, it will get fed back into the ignition amplifier (the Pertronix unit), and can destroy it.

    I did the same thing to an HEI many years ago, and learned that lesson. I make sure the power wires to the coil and ignition amplifier are disconnected, if I plan to crank the engine, and it has electronic ignition.

    Point ignition does not have that susceptibility.
    G-son, trollst, RMR&C and 4 others like this.
  7. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope

    Just having a plug wire come off the plug while its running can fry a Petronics. Been there, done that, went back to points.
    loudbang likes this.
  8. I ran points for years, even in stock cars that saw 7000 RPMs all night. The trick was to get something like Standard Blue Streak or Accel points. Crappy points and I was shooting ducks at 4000.
    loudbang, bchctybob and Elcohaulic like this.
  9. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,536

    jimmy six

    It's not the points today that are the problem it's the Chinese condensers. ....
  10. you have been a member here for 8 years?? what have you beem reading? ,,,hundreds of comments about Petronix here,AND YOU STILL BOUGHT ONE?
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  11. I'm betting there are just as many comments praising them. To each his own.
  12. Been running Pertronix module and coil in my 21 stud flathead roadster for six years with no problems. Also started running one in my 24 stud flathead coupe last year, also trouble free. Knock on wood!:rolleyes:
    loudbang and hidez57 like this.
  13. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,538


    Yup, the crappy condensers are the downfall to the points system!
  14. ajochum
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 4

    from WNY

    No - While I was doing the compression test the ignition was off. I was in the car cranking it while it was flooded. I think it overheated the Pertronix. The point I make is that Pertronix should perform better than points and hopefully maximize engine performance. I was even going to put a set in my Donzi this year. Not going to happen. I love the concept but I don't want to get stranded out in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of the lake and have it quit.
    So I'm seeing some recommendations on the best points out there? Condenser? Also - If I go back to points, do I toss the Flamethrower and go back to a standard coil?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,984


    I got a Cornell Dubilier .22 uF 600v capacitor from the electronics place, and used that...seems to work well.
    Hnstray and Truck64 like this.
  16. A Pertronix module just takes the place of points; it does nothing more.
  17. I've read more bad about the conversion kits, but the complete distributors seem to be better. If they make one for your application.
  18. kevinwalshe
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 428


    Ask them what the max voltage their are able to handle. I had one in my 51 (switched to 12v) and for some reason it was getting over 13.6 volts to the pertronix unit. Put a resistor in there to bring it down to 12.6 and never had a problem with it. Perhaps you are getting over 7.5v on your 6v system...
  19. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    from Central Ca

    Love mine!!
    XXL__ and wraymen like this.
  20. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,422


    I have PeRtronix modules in two of my vehicles, one HAMB friendly and one that's not but most of you would drive it a lot if you had it. One of the modules is at least 10 years old, the other about 7. Both of them have performed flawlessly for many miles. When a product performs as advertised people don't tend to talk about it much, but when one goes bad either due to the product failing on its own, or the user inadvertently ruining it , they are inclined to spread the word and bad-mouth the product any chance they get. Even if there is a 1% PeRtronix failure rate (which I expect would be high) it means that there are 99 out of 100 users that are happy.
    By the way, it's PERTRONIX. Let's try to remember that first "R".
    firstinsteele, XXL__, Cosmo50 and 3 others like this.
  21. putz
    Joined: Jan 22, 2007
    Posts: 551

    from wisc.

    i have issues twice with pertronix , both while out of state , try finding replacements not as easily as points !
  22. You will need to put the resister back also.
  23. ajochum
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 4

    from WNY

    I love it all - However, in the AACA it's all about originality and that's the route I took - except for the Pertronix. IMG_2582.JPG IMG_2574 (1).JPG IMG_2545 (1).JPG
    BigDogSS likes this.
  24. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,984


    Just say "NO!" to transistors


    LAROKE and Moriarity like this.
  25. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,341

    from Nicasio Ca

    If you said that one night at the street races back when we'd have all gone out the next day looking for one.:)
    Fordors likes this.
  26. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,418

    from Ioway

    I expect it would provide slightly more dwell than mechanical points can provide. In theory this should mean a bit better spark. Never had any problems with points, but everyone told me I needed to replace them with the Ignitor, so I did. That was 20 years ago. I did roast a coil along the way.

    If the contact points happen to be closed, leaving the ignition switch ON without the engine running will roast the points.
  27. When I bought my Ignitor II pertronix set for my coupe SBC points type distributor....I simply purchased another module at the same time as a spare....if it craps out on the road, I'll just reach under the seat and get it out and put it in...just like changing points.
    firstinsteele, Blues4U, pat59 and 3 others like this.
  28. Carry an old set of points and condenser in your glove box, some basic tools and a flashlight... you won't be stranded for long.
  29. I would modern Accel electronic like the plague. This is just from personal experience. They did make a slick unit in the '70s that used an external box (resembled an MSD box) that is a good unit. Long before they went off shore. Good luck finding one.

    I have heard good things and bad things about petronix. I cannot bad mouth them personally as I have not experienced a problem.

    Just for information I do have a young friend that has a 6 cylinder chevy that would run on his petronix unit but would not rev past 3K. He went on line and found many people with the same problem. Now this is second hand information not my own personal experience.

    Two things come to mind, number one is if you flood one the old school cure was to jam a screw driver down the air horn to hold the choke open or just not choke it depending on your choke setup and spin the motor with the gas peddle floored, No on and off bullshit.

    Anything can fail, doesn't matter what brand it is. If I had a 6V car I would just keep it tuned and use the points ignition. They work fine and will start in about any weather conditions. If I felt the need for electronic a year ago I would have suggested Mallory, but from what I understand MSD bought the competition so today I would suggest MSD. I doubt if they make a 6V application.
  30. Cosmo50
    Joined: Sep 8, 2011
    Posts: 223

    from California

    I would never use the Pertronix Ignitor I. They are too sensitive to voltage.
    I get the Pertronix Ignitor II. That is what I have been using on all my cars, including my 41. And it works great. I think when people talk about using the Pertronix unit, they are talking about the Ignitor I. The cost difference is pretty big too. I believe the Ignitor I, depending on what car you are putting it into, go for around $40. The Ignitor II for the same car would be around $90 or so. A lot of people will just go for the cheaper one. If you put out the extra cash, the Ignitor II is a much superior unit. I have never tried the Ignitor III.
    blowby likes this.

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