Pertronix Ignitor ignition system

Pertronix Ignitor Electronic Ignition Kit Install

Driving a souped up jalopy is cool. The thumbs-up, turning heads, hoots and hollers are what it is all about; expressing yourself, having fun and getting attention. Sitting on the side of the road however stinks. If you own and drive any type of hot rod, classic car or truck, you have been there, it is inevitable. However, some of the causes of such roadside ventures can be easily remedied and still keep your rod in check with traditional technology (well the look at least). That’s where the Pertronix Ignitor comes in.

The Pertronix Ignitor kit comes with all the parts you need. It is suggested that you use the Pertronix Flamethrower coil, but you don’t have to.

The Pertronix Ignitor kit comes with all the parts you need. It is suggested that you use the Pertronix Flamethrower coil, but you don’t have to.

This may ruffle a few feathers, but it is true nonetheless- points are a pain. If you didn’t grow up in the era of hi-test gas and bias-plies, points had gone the way of the Edsel by the time you got your first wheels. Electronic ignitions took over for controlling the spark in the mid-70s, and they work. No adjustments, just simple operation. Even if you love points, you still have to give up the reliability of an electronic ignition. One of the biggest issues with points is that they burn up really fast in certain situations. The quickest way to kill a set of points is to get water in the distributor (like when washing the engine), or to leave the key on without the engine running. If the points happen to be closed and the key is in the run position, they will get hot and burn up. Electronic ignition removes these issues, but most other methods mean removing the distributor and losing the original look of the car. Adding electronic ignition to your traditional hot rod in a way that maintains the original look, but adds reliability and removes an item of maintenance has to be good.

The stock 225 Buick V6 in this 1964 Buick Skylark is what they call an Odd-fire engine. The firing order (1-6-5-4-3-2) makes the engine shake and gives the exhaust a little rumble, like it has a bigger cam in it, but it is only good for about 175 horsepower in stock form. What makes this engine difficult to deal with is the odd-fire ignition system. Sure you could try to modify a GM HEI 6-cylinder distributor to run on the odd-fire, but HEI has its own issues. The Pertronix is just the ticket and it keeps the stock look, which is great.

The stock 225 Buick V6 in this 1964 Buick Skylark is what they call an Odd-fire engine. The firing order (1-6-5-4-3-2) makes the engine shake and gives the exhaust a little rumble, like it has a bigger cam in it, but it is only good for about 175 horsepower in stock form. What makes this engine difficult to deal with is the odd-fire ignition system. Sure you could try to modify a GM HEI 6-cylinder distributor to run on the odd-fire, but HEI has its own issues. The Pertronix is just the ticket and it keeps the stock look, which is great.

 

The Pertronix Ignitor has been around for a long time; so long in fact, that Pertronix now has the Ignitor II, an updated version of the classic inductive ignition system, and the Ignitor III that includes a rev-limiter built in. With a 30-month guarantee, you can’t go wrong. Installing an Ignitor is pretty simple, it is no different than swapping out the points and condenser.  Two wires hang out, they go to the coil. There are a couple more steps in there, but you’ll get the point(s).

The first step is to mark the rotor to the distributor AND the block. This swap can be done with the distributor in the block, but its is not that hard to pull it, just make sure you mark its placement for an easy reinstall.

The first step is to mark the rotor to the distributor AND the block. This swap can be done with the distributor in the block, but its is not that hard to pull it, just make sure you mark its placement for an easy reinstall.

 

We started with a classic Buick, a 1964 Skylark convertible to be exact, with a 225 Odd-Fire V6. The firing order (1-6-5-4-3-2) makes the engine shake and gives the exhaust a little rumble, like it has a bigger cam, but it is only good for about 175 horsepower in stock form. What makes this engine difficult to deal with is the odd-fire ignition system. Sure you could try to modify a GM HEI 6-cylinder distributor to run on the odd-fire, but HEI has its own issues. The Pertronix is just the ticket to drop those pesky points and it keeps the stock look, which is great.

With the distributor out, the condenser\points plate gets removed. Keep the screws.

With the distributor out, the condenser\points plate gets removed. Keep the screws.

 

The condenser and points assembly looks like this. Keep them in the Ignitor box, you never know when they might come in handy (if they are any good).

The condenser and points assembly looks like this. Keep them in the Ignitor box, you never know when they might come in handy (if they are any good).

 

The inductor ring slides over the weights.

The inductor ring slides over the weights.

 

The stud with the notch positions the ring on the odd-fire distributor. This MUST go in the square hole for the rotor.

The stud with the notch positions the ring on the odd-fire distributor. This MUST go in the square hole for the rotor.

 

The Pertronix Ignitor pickup component mounts in place of the points and condenser. The space between the pick up and the ring must be gapped correctly, but this spec is determined by your application.

The Pertronix Ignitor pickup component mounts in place of the points and condenser. The space between the pick up and the ring must be gapped correctly, but this spec is determined by your application.

 

The Buick was running too close, so we had to take a little play out of the distributor. The roll-pin was not easy to get out.

The Buick was running too close, so we had to take a little play out of the distributor. The roll-pin was not easy to get out.

 

The kit comes with these spacers. We used one. The gear was reinstalled.

The kit comes with these spacers. We used one. The gear was reinstalled.

 

The two wires were slipped through the supplied grommet (that was installed in the original hole in the distributor housing) and the slack was pulled through.

The two wires were slipped through the supplied grommet (that was installed in the original hole in the distributor housing) and the slack was pulled through.

 

The distributor was reinstalled with the old rotor. The old rotor had the alignment marks on it. This made it easy, the timing was already set and everything should be good to go.

The distributor was reinstalled with the old rotor. The old rotor had the alignment marks on it. This made it easy, the timing was already set and everything should be good to go.

 

Now we swapped on a new rotor and tightened everything down.

Now we swapped on a new rotor and tightened everything down.

 

The two wires were mounted to the coil. Some vehicles have a ballast resistor and resistor wire. The resistor wire on this car was a problem, it reduces the voltage to just under 9 volts, enough for the car to run, but not start. We had to run a new wire to the ignition switch to power the Ignitor. If we ran the full 12v hot wire to the coil it would burn up the coil.

The two wires were mounted to the coil. Some vehicles have a ballast resistor and resistor wire. The resistor wire on this car was a problem, it reduces the voltage to just under 9 volts, enough for the car to run, but not start. We had to run a new wire to the ignition switch to power the Ignitor. If we ran the full 12v hot wire to the coil it would burn up the coil.

 

We finished off the install with a set of custom-length Pertronix black 8mm plug wires, a Flamethrower coil and NGK platinum spark plugs. Now the little 225 runs like a champ.

We finished off the install with a set of custom-length Pertronix black 8mm plug wires, a Flamethrower coil and NGK platinum spark plugs. Now the little 225 runs like a champ.

 

You can make this swap for your old points engine and get excellent results. Pertronix Ignitor systems are available for just about every points engine on the planet, even tractors, so there is a kit for you. Once you do one engine, you will want to convert them all. Follow the steps as we have laid them out for you, and your days of parking lot points adjustments will be over.

Pertronix Ignitor ignition system

To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com.

about author

Jefferson Bryant

A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.

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