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Technical Petronix issues, module just dies?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 52HardTop, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    Hey all, I seem to remember a post a while back about Pertronix ignition modules and of those who liked them and those who didn't. I have a Flame Thrower II on a small block in my 51 convertible. It has been sitting in my garage for most of the summer after using the car late spring. It's the classic "it ran when last parked"!! Well I needed to move the car for some drywall work in the garage and the engine wouldn't start. I have no spark to the plugs. Checked number one while cranking and have nothing. I do have 12 volts at the positive of the coil with ignition switch on. Turning the engine over and checking for voltage between the positive of the coil to the negative of the coil I have nothing. which leads me to believe the module is the only thing left? It should be firing my coil, right? Anyway, I have one coming tomorrow but I just wanted to throw this out there and get any comments. Again, I think I remember a lot of guys didn't like a Pertronix ignition. This thing just died for no apparent reason? Now I'm not liking it either.
     
  2. Call our tech line and they can explain to you how to check the module and the coil - could be a bad coil just as easily. If it is under 3 years old and turns out to be bad, we will warranty it for you. (909) 547-9058
     
    Dave Mc and loudbang like this.
  3. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    Even though I'm getting no 12 volts at the coil posts while engine is cranking? You say it could still be the coil?
     
  4. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,210

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One of the guys from Pertronix is on here and maybe he will pop in and give an answer. My experience with failing electronic modules is that a large portion of the time there is an external cause for the failure such as an issue with the coil or secondary side of the ignition .

    Allright Hotroddin answered before I even got done typing my answer.
     
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  5. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    hey guys, I'm on the phone right now with thec support. thanks for the help so far. i'll let you know how I do.
     
  6. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    hotroddon, I just got off the phone with tech and they gave me some help. I was testing it wrong. I'll get back down there and do it as I was just directed. Thanks a ton for your input! You too Mr48chev! I'll post again when I figure this out.
    Dom
     
  7. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    Okay, I was all wrong! I was testing the coil incorrectly. The Pertronix Ignition Module does test out as good. The coil most likely is the culprit after all. I have one on it's way for tomorrow. I'll change them out and post again with final results. Thanks again to you guys who've added your input and help.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  8. Hope it all works out - if not PM me and we'll get you through it :)
     
    tommyd likes this.
  9. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    Hey Don, I talked to Marvin at tech support earlier. I asked him to give you a thank you for me.
    Dom
     
    hotroddon likes this.
  10. I'd like to give 52HardTop a pat on the back for following up and keeping us in the loop on this. Too often we get chicken little....then nothing.

    Hope it works out for you.
     
    Special Ed likes this.
  11. Road Runner
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 1,244

    Road Runner
    Member

    He gets my pat on the back for calling tech support.

    Thanks Don, for posting the number.

    Pertronix rules!
     
  12. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    Okay, it's time for me to update. It was the module. I followed the directions from the guys at the Pertronix tech number. I originally checked for spark, voltage to the coil with ignition switch in the on position and I looked for voltage between the positive and negative of the coil while the engine was cranking. I had no spark. I did have 12 volts with ignition on. I had nothing between the posts when cranking the engine. That is where I was wrong. After my initial post and getting a reply from hotroddon with advice and the tech number to Pertronix, I gave them a call and found I was checking the negative side of the coil wrong. What I should have been looking for was about 6 volts from the neg of the coil to any good ground while I tested with a digital meter and the engine cranking. Even with a digital meter it is hard to see the fluctuating of the voltage on the neg of the coil, so, the lower volts is right. If I saw a steady 12 volts instead, that would indicate a bad module. Now, here is where I screwed up! I had two things that tricked me. The first thing that caught me is not having a good pair of reading glasses! When reading the meter and expecting to see 6 volts I was happy to see it was there. Or so I thought! Thinking that the module was working, it led me to believe the coil was bad. I called the parts house to cancel the module, that I had ordered earlier and instead asked for a new coil. Once I got the new coil in and tried to start the engine, I got nothing. It still didn't start. Now I'm disturbed! I went back and checked all my steps again. Thinking, can I have a bad ignition switch and was loosing voltage to the coil while turning the engine over? I then checked for voltage to the positive side of the coil while turning over the engine. Here's where I got caught the second time. The battery was draining with all the cranking. It was also weak to begin with as the car sat idle during the summer months. So, when my wife cranked the engine over I was reading 9 volts on the positive side of the coil. The I went to the battery and saw the same thing. I had dropped to 9 volts while cranking. Then I go to the neg side of the coil and, the same thing, I got a steady 9 volts. A steady 9 volts that looked like 6 volts before! Which would have been a steady 12 volts if the battery was correctly charged. Now, that just proved the module to be bad! Well I got a new module, installed it this afternoon and got the engine fired up again. I got to say, I was determined to trouble shoot this problem and do my darnedest to find and fix the problem. With help from the guys at Pertronix tech line and that first post from hotorddon with the phone number for their tech help, I've got to say, I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks a ton guys.
    Dominic
     
    WDobos likes this.
  13. I'm not a fan. I had one go bad on a mild 396 on the 3rd dyno pull. Big PITA going home to get stock pieces. I buy NOS Delco points/condensors on ebay from the 60's-early 70's. My Vette has a pretty cammy, Brodix headed 406 and it's had the same points/cond for 10 yrs. Runs like a mad bitch and I drive it all the time. My 38 Chevy's had the same parts for 8 yrs and I drive that one even more. PLUS with points you'll get some sort of hiccup warning far before an actual failure, giving you ample time to get home where as electronic just fails completely most times and you're stuck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  14. Rattle Trap
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 358

    Rattle Trap
    Member

    I have run them on many different vehicles with good results. I ALWAYS throw the points in the glove box for emergencies. I have never had one fail on me though.
     
  15. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member


    My 52 has an HEI from an S-10. Modified by Tom Langdon. That one has been going and going for about 8 years now. No trouble with it and my 235 loves it! So do I...
     
  16. rottenleonard
    Joined: Nov 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,952

    rottenleonard
    Member

    I personally love the things. I have installed at least 50 of them working for an AC Delco repair shop I have only had one I had repeat failures of the modules I finally figured out it was a cheap ignition switch cutting in and out aparently they don't like that. It was a I I have since started installing II & III's as they have protection for these issues.
     
    need louvers ? likes this.
  17. InstantT
    Joined: Aug 15, 2012
    Posts: 665

    InstantT
    Member
    from SoCal

    If we calculate the number of sold pertronix units by the number of failures, I bet we'd find a better percentage than OEM equipment.

    Can Don confirm this?
     
  18. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member

    I would like to hear from Pertronix myself. Curious what would cause the module to just stop working? It sure is a very expensive little red box! I would really have liked to spent the cash on something else, instead of having to replace their module!
     
  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,573

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    I love them. I have installed close to 150. Two failures, both on original Ignitor I's. Both key-left-on forever, with the engine not running.
     
  20. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?
    Member

    I've go to be in the 50-60 range with one failure that I can think of beyond my own roasting mine in a fit of stupidity!
     
  21. nice to see they have great customer service! i have have a handful and they always worked smooth for me!
     
  22. I can't answer that question but it seems the norm on most, if not all electronic ignitions (MSD, Pertronix, HEI, etc). The last electronic I had about 20 yrs ago went out in the short time I went into 7-11 to get a Coke. The car ran perfect, then would not start just 3 minutes later. I've never had that happen with points. I don't like the "no warning" aspect of electronics
     
  23. A few things can cause the failure - Voltage Spikes and Bad Grounds are the most common, followed by the wrong resistance coils. On the original Ignitor I they can also be fried by leaving the key in the On position without the car running, just like points can - the difference is in the case of the PerTronix the module will usually fail, versus a pints system were it will usually Blow Up the coil. Ignitor II & III have a micro processor that does not allow that to happen. As for voltage, they are designed to run at a full 12 volts, but will run down to around 8-9 and as high as about 16 (usually) But a lot of the current, especially offshore, voltage regulators are not very good and will spike 20 volts or more, which can kill the power transistor in the module.
    The first one I ever used was in a 66 Mustang coupe that I installed in 1983 - it is still in there over 125,000 miles later. This was 24 years before I came to work for the company, and I hear stories like this from customers all the time when I work shows like the Louisville Street Rod Nats. We have sold over 3.5 million of them over the years, so yea we have some failures, and some are just plain bad electronics, but I can say with pretty good certainty, that our failure rate is lower then most HEI modules.
    They also carry a 30 month warranty, and we have found that in most cases if they are going to fail it is well before that time. If there is a bad component that slip s through testing, or a problem with the car, it will usually rear it's head in the first year or so.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  24. smoked1
    Joined: Sep 19, 2010
    Posts: 123

    smoked1

    My pertronix unit is ten years old and performs flawlessly! I've had a delco condenser puke and leave me sitting by the side of the road more than once. With no warning by the way. Pertronix rules in my book. Adjusting points sucks.
     
  25. hotrodderhaag
    Joined: Jan 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,109

    hotrodderhaag
    Member

    i have had 2 units just die on me.. not sure why or what happened. they were about 2-3 years old. one in a street legal drag car, the other in a pulling truck... but they shit out for no known reason. i replaced em with anther pertronix because they really are a great conversion!
     
  26. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 851

    52HardTop
    Member


    Well mine died also for no apparent reason. It was fine for more than 30 months. The car was being built from 2007 to 2010. It came out in 2010. It has under a 1000 miles on it as I use my 52 more. The car ran early this summer and then sat in the garage until last week when I needed to move it. Everything in the car was new when installed. Highway 21 harness with separate grounds run all around the car. I'm an electrician for 42 + years, so, you can understand why I didn't rely on chassis or engine for grounding. Never a problem with bad grounds in this car. A crate 350 engine with the Flamethrower II and coil installed. A new 3 wire alternator with regulator. This car is really a nice clean build and there should be no issues that would attribute to a failure. I'm the kind of guy who will be expecting another failure just because. I know a bunch of you guys love your Pertronix and shy away from an HEI. Well, my HEI in the 52 is still going strong for easily 8 years now. Never a problem. I also know the HEI module cost less then the Pertronix module I just bought.
     
  27. jimcolwell
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 474

    jimcolwell
    Member
    from Amarillo

    Bye pass the ignition resistor and see if you have fire. Go to a junkyard and get a HEI for $50.00. But be sure to delete that ignition resistor.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  28. models916
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 380

    models916
    Member

    Failures? I CHINK more on the way.
     

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