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Pertronix Ignitor - Toasty  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 09-23-2007 09:57 pm
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Steve Jarvis
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Here's an odd question that I was wondering if anyone has encountered. On the way back from British Car Day, the engine lost power. The obvious item appeared to be the fuel pump as it was original, there was no ticking noise and the clear fuel filter was empty. At the same time there was a smell of hot wires. Could not track down a source no matter how much we sniffed around. I assumed they were related and the pump had shorted.

After replacing the fuel pump with a Facet I thought I was good to go but the car wouldn't start. Further investigation indicated there was no spark. Checked the timing and there was none, i.e. no indication the pertronix was working. My first thought was the wire to the unit had been broken. I pulled the distributor cap and was greeted by the burning smell. I've attached a picture of the unit, quite the melted mess.

I've checked the wiring diagram and the two circuits are related but the pump is on a fuse so should have blown if shorted. The voltage at the coil seems the same as when I installed the unit.

Anyone have an idea or something to check? Has anyone had a similar experience? Appreciate any feedback.

Steve

Update: after some searching on the internet I found out why the unit failed so "intensely". Apparently during the time I was coasting to a safe stop I should have turned the ignition switch off. Apparently the unit will self-destruct if the power is left on too long - anything past 30 seconds.

Attachment: Pertronix Ignition - toasted.JPG (Downloaded 71 times)

Last edited on 09-23-2007 11:17 pm by Steve Jarvis

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 Posted: 09-24-2007 08:24 am
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Harkes
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Hi Steve,

I have read the same thing about the Pertronix unit, it can burn/melt and self destruct when ignition is left on for a long period of time.

My question is: did you have the Pertronix Ignitor I or II?

I'm not sure, but I thought the Ignitor I suffers from this problem. Would be good for all Ignitor JH drivers to know if this can happen to only Ignitor I and/or II. (I don't want to test my Ignitor II to find out ..  :)   )

Hope you are back on the road soon

Erik

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 Posted: 09-24-2007 11:03 pm
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Greg Fletcher
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Interesting Steve, thanks for posting that. I had my JH cut out once for the same reason and also did not turn the ignition off. The Pertronix unit was fine in my case. My car was running a Lucas Super Sport coil. I'm guessing you had a Blaster coil installed?

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 Posted: 09-25-2007 01:08 am
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Steve Jarvis
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Update from today. I talked with Marvin in Pertronix Support (1-800-827-3758) and he indicated the unit should be safe up to 10 minutes. This doesn't match other info I found and certainly not my experience. Unit is on its way to Pertronix for warranty review.

To answer some of the questions, the unit is an LU-142A so I'm guessing it is not an Ignitor II. Nothing on the box to indicate anything other than Pertronix Ignitor. I don't think they make a Lucas based Ignitor II based on the application chart. The coil is the standard coil that came from the factory with the external ballast. I've also gone back and reconfirmed the wiring installation was correct. Total time running is under 8 hours and 250 miles.

Lesson learned is turn the ignition off if the motor is not running.

Since I'm now working on getting it running again, has anyone used the Crane Cam XR700 replacement unit? I'm leaning towards this optical unit as the Ignitor meltdown messed up the distributor cap and rotor.

 

Last edited on 09-25-2007 12:40 pm by Steve Jarvis

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 Posted: 09-25-2007 04:06 am
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Greg Fletcher
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Just MHO, but I think the Crane is overly complicated and just adds extra stuff you don't need. The Pertronix is an elegant solution has been in use for decades. Problems are typically few and far between.

Steve- please let us know what the folks at Pertronix tell you.

The Ignitor II is for another application, my understanding is that those do not work in the Lucas 23D or 25D distributors.

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 Posted: 09-25-2007 05:22 am
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Joel
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How about going with the drop in Pertronix distributor unit?  I want someone to use one so I know how well it works!  It seems like the easiest and most logical way to go now.  I wish they were available when I needed a new dizzy!  And i plan to use one on the motor i'm collecting parts for.


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 Posted: 09-25-2007 01:52 pm
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Brett Gibson JH5 20497
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Steve, I have the XR700 on my car, came with it, hasn't given any trouble in the years I've been driving with it, (now with that said), not all that difficult to install but you do have a external box, I was thinking of switching to the Petronix if and when it fails so please keep us posted on your outcome.

Thanks.     Brett.

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 Posted: 09-25-2007 02:11 pm
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Jensen Healey
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The xr700 optical unit hits the bumps inside of aftermarket caps. You also get that big gold box to mount somewhere.

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 Posted: 09-28-2007 01:00 pm
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Harkes
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I think Greg is right, i have a 45D Lucas dizzy and that has the Pertronix Ignitor II in it. Not sure whether or not the II suffers from the same problems.

 

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 Posted: 09-28-2007 07:20 pm
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Dan (Florida)
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I've run the xr 700 since I've owned the car and it has'nt given any problems to date .

Dan

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 Posted: 10-15-2007 05:47 pm
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Steve Jarvis
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Pertronix did ship a replacement part. If anyone wants a good deal on an Ignitor, drop me an email.

I wasn't thrilled by the melting unit, especially that close to the carbs. I went with a Crane Cams XR700 unit that has an optical pickup inside the distributor. A little more difficult to install, probably because of the carbs. I ended up removing the distributor to install the shutter and pickup unit - much easier. Static timing is easy with the LED light that indicates when the "virtual points" break. Final adjustment with a timing light and it's good to go. The unit is actually quite small & black and I mounted it just beside the coil.

Last edited on 10-28-2007 11:50 pm by Steve Jarvis

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