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Folks Of Interest What’s wrong with points and other “upgrades”

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by VANDENPLAS, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,072

    squirrel
    Member

    Yes, they probably would have.

    But the point is, they weren't available. If you want to play this game of living in the past, you have to accept the past as it was.
     
  2. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,365

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Yes, they would...
     
  3. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,365

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Points aren't a mystery to me. I know very well how they operate and how to set them. I've just had to screw with them so many times I don't find them alluring. The arguments that you can limp home with points is not always true, I've been stranded before in the middle of nowhere (El Mirage dry lake bed actually), and had to catch a ride into town to get new parts. But at least the parts store had them in stock. But that was 30 years ago, today I don't know that I would count on that. Pertronix just makes sense to me. If you're that worried about it, get a backup module and carry it in your tool box. It's not much more difficult to swap out a module as it is to swap out a set of points on the side of the road.

    The same guys that argue about being able to fix points on the side of the road don't carry a spare tire. Which is more likely to occur, a failed electronic ignition module or a flat tire?
     
  4. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 738

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I've played with stock points, aftermarket dual points ( both by replacing entire aftermarket distributor, Mallory, and by rebuilding the original distributor and changing internal plates to dual points.

    I've played with aftermarket electronic distributors, pertronix and friends fight msd and accel complete packages.

    But my favorite are oem style electronic systems, as my 440 will use the oem electronic distributor but use a gm hei module to trigger. Again all well proven oem parts that I can pick up at any parts stores.

    The technology is there and well proven so why not take advantage of it ? Silly not too.

    As far as old rodders using this tech if it were around back then I say hell yes! The point was to go fast and as proven by history they used what was ever at their disposal. The modern equivalent would be laptop tuners and 4 and 6 cylinder motors.
     
    3speedoverdrive likes this.
  5. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,072

    squirrel
    Member

    You can rationalize whatever decision you make. There is no right or wrong. Do what you like. I've gotten to where I like points again. You might get there. You might not.

    But it is kind of fun to show folks what you can do with old technology. Some guys are amazed.
     
  6. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 24,593

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I always thought that was the main selling point of Pertronics. Being able to carry a set of points and condenser tucked away in the ride and being able to swap out and go again if you need to. I have Pertronics in the V8 in my boat and a set of points and condenser vacuum sealed and tucked away just in case.
    True the electronic is pretty trouble free and usually go up into the 100K range without an issue but I still remember pulling into what Wyoming called a rest area about 15 miles west of Little America Wyoming in 1988 in my 51 Merc and finding a young couple in a dead Dodge pickup. He had borrowed the truck from his dad to move and a few minutes of testing showed that the points were fried. Using his wife's girl friend's emery board to file the points and a match book cover to set them and jumping the truck off my Merc we got them going again in a few minutes while my kids got some out of the back seat time. I'd have had to go on into Little America and have a tow truck sent out for them if I hadn't been able to fix it or drag them 15 miles on a tow strap.
    I like my factory electronic ignition in my dailies but still have a lot of respect for running points even if they do require maintenance on regular basis.
     
    egads likes this.
  7. Devil's advocate here....
    What are you hard-core points guys going to do when the supply of NOS stuff dries up?... And it will, sooner or later.

    It's been 40+ years since points were last factory installed on Detroit iron, a sizable percentage of the older points cars that are still on the road have been converted to electronic, leaving the remaining market as a miniscule percentage for replacement parts. Points quality went down the tubes years ago (when was the last time you saw phenolic rubbing blocks instead of the cheesy plastic ones? Or the ones that don't even have pivots anymore, just flat springs?) plus the documented-here propensity of new condenser failures. Hardly a recipe for reliability....

    Some are using modern capacitors as substitutes for poor-quality condensers, aren't you diluting the 'purity' of your 'trad' points? Add in the wear factor on vintage distributors (worn points cams and bushings from the constant spring pressure of the points) and this train is going to grind to a halt eventually.

    With that said, I'm also not a fan of 'under the cap' electronics like Pertronics or HEI. Miniaturization can be a great thing, but it comes at a cost; smaller components come with smaller capacities. There's a reason why HEI modules are available everywhere. OEM pickup/box ignitions removes the size constraints and allows more robust components to be used in the box, although these are still 'built to a price' (particularly some aftermarket units) so failures aren't unknown.

    At the risk of sounding like a shill, I'm a confirmed MSD box user. Never had a failure (and it seems most are from offshore counterfeit units) and with a Duraspark distributor fitted with the early cap/rotor and hiding the box, no one will notice unless they're sharp-eyed enough to see that the wire count going to the dizzy/coil isn't 'normal'. No need for a ballast resistor or 'special' coil either, although you can run a different coil if you like. MSD ignitions don't work like everyone else's (which is why they got a patent), using higher voltage and current-limiting circuits to ensure reliability. MSD is the overwhelming choice in racing, that's not by accident...

    And if you just don't want to give up your points, they can be used to trigger the MSD box, eliminating point burning/failed condensers from the list of points issues.
     
    Rolleiflex, Hnstray, danman55 and 5 others like this.
  8. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 5,732

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Two Pertronix kits here. One in my flathead. The Distributor is down there somewhere. I don't know how easy it is to maintain points in a stock Ford with a crab, a royal pita for me.

    gggg.JPG

    Other one is in my '59 Massey Work Bull's Continental 4 banger. It sits outside, and in the moist redwoods the points were constantly corroding, winter starting was hit and miss. Coincidentally I used it today to clean up my road, fired right up.

    Not against points provided they are in something easily serviced.

    0410191245_HDR.jpg
     
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  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 42,072

    squirrel
    Member

    As the supply goes down, so does the demand....and the miles that folks drive old cars, seems to keep going down, as well.

    and the fun thing is that used points seem to work just fine.

    I'm not worried about it. I have yet to buy new points for the Mallory in my Chevy II, and I've put over 20k miles on it.
     
    TimCT, Moriarity and F&J like this.
  10. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,428

    carbking
    Member

    There are upgrades, and there are also downgrades. ;)

    Each to his own choice, mine is points.

    Jon.
     
    egads and F&J like this.
  11. Don't discount the Y Block. ;)
     
  12. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 863

    RmK57
    Member

    Wheres Blue Streak made? they've always had a pretty good product.
     
  13. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 14,491

    tb33anda3rd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    I just had a set of blue streak points fail on the dyno. in less than 5 minutes the contact fell off the arm.
     
  14. ... Been running the same set of Echlin ignition points for the last 40k miles in my 327 with no issues ...
     
    mkebaird likes this.
  15. ^^^^^ That's what Bubba tells everyone to get.
     
  16. danman55
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 748

    danman55
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. 1952-59 Ford Social Group

    Hnstray likes this.
  17. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,992

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Why is it that most of the guys with Pertronix setups carry a spare points distributor, but the guys with points distributors don't carry any spares? I know I don't. As to the availability of parts, I'm really into old Mallory "Flattop" distributors and have all of the spares I will ever need; they're not that hard to find (think eBay). The only scarce parts are the "Big Brass Condensers", but I repop them so that's no problem either. I'm also an "8BA guy", and over the last couple of years, have gotten a lot of old ignition parts from Rock Auto on "closeout" for very low prices. I'm in "Hog Heaven" and will never have to worry about coasting to the side of the road with a dead engine.
     
  18. here is my take on points:

    we fought World War Two on points. the B-29 bomber that dropped the atomic bomb had points. the P-51 Mustangs that kicked the Nazi's ass had points. even the B-17 had points. i think they all did pretty good. if they are good enough to do that they are good enough for me
     
    MercDeuceMan, Chris, egads and 3 others like this.
  19. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 11,570

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I will say my electronic gizmo was installed by a competent mechanic who was a Bracket/Drag Racer by Hobby. I'll be the first to admit I am not fluent in points or their modern counterparts. Know what they are, can install and gap but that weight stuff and all the other eccentricities didn't grow up with it. I will however say that you fellas that swear by the old mechanicals are a inspiration...Nothing wrong with it. Quality...that's unfortunate but also something that has invaded most reproduction of OEM inspired parts these days. There should be a collection of inferior product brought to a board meeting on their quality and inserted up their ass via boot kick to alert them to the junk their making money on...Just That... Junk!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
    6-bangertim and 427 sleeper like this.
  20. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,138

    gene-koning
    Member

    If the motor in my coupe had points, changing them any place, (including at home in the shop) would be a royal pain. I'm too old, fat, and out of shape, to climb up across the motor under that hood to work on them, back in the hole they would be in. Not so sure I could see what I was doing when, or if, I got back in there.

    I am a bit over 50,000 miles, and 6 summers, since the car was built, I suppose I should give it its first tune up since it was built, this year. I don't miss points at all. Gene
     
    Truckdoctor Andy, Montana1 and Stogy like this.
  21. 427 sleeper
    Joined: Mar 8, 2017
    Posts: 398

    427 sleeper
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When things go south, you're going to have to do all that miserable stuff anyway. Plus a $300 tow bill!!! It's all in the eye of the beholder, I guess...
     
  22. That was what, 1945? This is 2019... :rolleyes::D
     
  23. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 6,988

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    It will be tune up time for my 37 Chevy p/u with a 57 235 so can I still get a decent points set,its been about 10 years since they have been replaced. I do take the file to them every couple years but time for new.
     
  24. Partsguy57
    Joined: Apr 19, 2016
    Posts: 5

    Partsguy57

    Lol I like my electronic ignition and would never run points. I also put air in my rubber tires............

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
    Montana1 likes this.
  25. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,138

    gene-koning
    Member

    When it all "goes south" there would be a $300 tow bill, even if there were points in that distributor. I can get the parts for what is in my distributor at the next town with a parts store, and at least I can still get fairly high quality parts. Skipping the concept of quality points and condensers, there may not be anything available at some small auto parts store in the middle of no place, at least there is a chance of modern stuff being on the shelf.

    Climbing in there to replace anything will be a pita, it is what it is. I did my time with points and condensers, electronic ignition stuff has treated me well since the mid 70s. On the road failures of any kind have been pretty minimal for the number of miles I've driven since then. Gene
     
  26. railcarmover
    Joined: Apr 30, 2017
    Posts: 108

    railcarmover

    Saw a petronix timing scatter..never saw that with points.Speaking of war stuff...when the next one comes along and they Electromagnetic pulse bomb every electronic device into oblivion,my points will still work.
     
    egads likes this.
  27. Garpo
    Joined: Jul 16, 2016
    Posts: 139

    Garpo

    I was selling electronic ignition kits back in the '60s when they originally came on the market. I was an immediate convert, and have had either transistor assisted points, or breakerless systems on almost everything I have owned..
    My flat motor has a crab type distributor, with a swap meet find ($2.00) TAC unit of unknown brand or heritage attached. Works well.
    All those years and NO ignition failures, what did I do wrong?
    Garpo
     
  28. Partsguy57
    Joined: Apr 19, 2016
    Posts: 5

    Partsguy57

    Yep.. and I'll walk to the shelf get, drop in and replace my electronic ignition if I ever need to.. until then my electronic ignition stays. Curious do you run air in your rubber tires? Or you still using solid, steel, or wood? Some things actually do improve with time..... we all can think of million things that have improved and would never think of using old even though we could.... heck your complaining about modern upgrades ( points vs electronic) while typing on a electronic device....go figure. Cheers

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
    Montana1 likes this.
  29. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,271

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    I guess I am pretty retro, 'cuz I'm still running points and loving it. I carry a spare set, they are the the ones I changed out back in 2007. You can find them in the trunk in the base of my bumper jack.
     
    egads likes this.
  30. I've got both in a few cars. But the ones with the "kit" I have a stock set of points in the glove box just in case. Crappy points out now, so I found some 90's Standard points for all the cars :).
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019

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