Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

Hi Guys,

I know there are several post on this but I can't quiet find the one that applies to my question so I am posting it here. I'm working on my 68 Camaro and have decided to replace the factor set up with the Pertronix II Distributor & matching coil. My question is around the wiring. If I'm still running my factor harness. What do I need to do to get this thing running? The Pertronix directions that came with the dist and coil are very general. They basically say to just put the wires back the way you took them off of the original setup. However, I know from the other posts that something has to be modified since i'm going from Points to this set up. Any information would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Danny
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 01:37 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

Danny, I'm more familiar with the Pertronics Ignitor I and the Ignitor III modules but hopefully I can still be of help. With both the Ignitor I & III setups, the module must get full electrical system voltage rather than the lower voltage (7-9 volts) provided by the resistor wire to the original points in the distributor. Also without the points it is recommended you run full electrical system voltage to the + side of the coil.

One way to accomplish this is to add a relay that is triggered by the resistor wire which then switches full electrical system voltage via a new #14 or even better #12 wire (Red insulation makes sense for this new ignition power wire) from the horn relay bus bar to the coil + and distributor, you should add a 10 amp fuse or auto resetting circuit breaker in this new power wire to be safe. This same wire can be used to power an electric choke if you have one.

Another way is to insulate the end of the existing resistor wire and tuck it out of the way, then go down to the wiring block at the firewall and find that end of the resistor wire. Add a new #14 or #12 wire (Red insulation again makes sense for this new ignition power wire) which connects at the firewall connector to the existing resistor wire and run it to the coil + and distributor.

Myself, I like the relay method better as I find it an easier procedure and you are supplying the new ignition system with all new power wiring which can draw as much as 7 amps (at least the Ignitor III can, the others probably draw a bit less).

Hope this helps.

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

Good information thank you! So, do I need two separate 12v sources one going to the coil + and another one going to the distributor or is it the same one since the distributor + wire connects at the coil + anyway? Also, you threw me off a little when you said, use the resistor wire to trigger the relay. I'm not very familiar with relays so I was thinking of just tapping into a 12 volt source at the fuse box or wiper motor harness that is switched on when the key is turned to the on position. Will this work the same or bad idea and I need to go study up on relays? Thanks again for all the info

Danny
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 02:21 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

When I ran with the Pertronix I kept the same wires on the coil that were on when I had points. I'm doing the same with the Crane XR-i. http://www.cranecams.com/uploads/ins...000-1700c_.pdf

Mark 1970 Z28 M22 3.73 Z21 Z87 - Lunati 20120121 Retrofit Roller Cam

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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 02:36 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

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Originally Posted by sierra1boy View Post
Good information thank you! So, do I need two separate 12v sources one going to the coil + and another one going to the distributor or is it the same one since the distributor + wire connects at the coil + anyway? Also, you threw me off a little when you said, use the resistor wire to trigger the relay. I'm not very familiar with relays so I was thinking of just tapping into a 12 volt source at the fuse box or wiper motor harness that is switched on when the key is turned to the on position. Will this work the same or bad idea and I need to go study up on relays? Thanks again for all the info

Danny
You can use the same full electrical system voltage power wire to power both the + side of the coil and the module in the distributor. As far as running a separate wire back into the fuse panel, that can be done, but there is a chance you'll starve the module of the proper voltage needed for it to function properly and prevent it from burning out. A relay is nothing more than an electric switch that gets switched on in this case by a low current trigger voltage (the old resistor wire in this case).

The relay will have four terminals on it that you wire up as follows;

1. The trigger power (your existing ignition system resistance wire).
2. A ground wire, connect it to any good ground point nearby.
3. A fused positive wire from your horn relay bus bar (power into the relay).
4. A positive wire that goes to your coil and distributor (power out of the relay).

Items 3 & 4 can be interchanged as they are nothing more than a SPST switch.

Items 1 & 2 need to be wired per instructions with the relay, but all relays are a standard wiring scheme and they even sell a relay connector with a 6" pigtail of wire if you prefer to go that route. Any more questions just ask?

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 02:47 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

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Originally Posted by COPO View Post
When I ran with the Pertronix I kept the same wires on the coil that were on when I had points. I'm doing the same with the Crane XR-i. http://www.cranecams.com/uploads/ins...000-1700c_.pdf
Mark, the Pertronix modules need full electrical system voltage to run properly and live a long and happy life. If you starve them for voltage and current (anything less than 12 volts), they will eventually burn-out/brown-out much earlier than they will when supplied the proper power. Many (perhaps most, who can say for sure) of the Pertronix failures are due to improper installations with the module being starved for voltage and current. The ignition coil however doesn't matter as far as causing an early failure. It will work with the lower resistance wire voltage and current just fine (but it provides less spark voltage when powered that way), however it will work much better with the full electrical system voltage producing a hotter spark.

Remember how an original points ignition distributor is wired, with the key in the run position the coil and points saw resisted voltage and current to preserve points life and minimize arcing of the points. But while the key is held in the crank position, full battery voltage and current was sent to the coil and the points from the starter solenoid supplying a hotter spark for the engine to fire off easier during cold starts.

The Crane system I can't comment on as I've not had any first hand experience with them.

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

Sounds good, I think I will go the relay route. Doesn't sound too hard and Pertronix actually makes one. Dumb question, if I'm installing the relay near the coil area, then why not just put the 12 volts right off the battery instead of the horn block thing? thx again!
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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 16, 04:00 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

In general for ignition systems you want a switched ignition source for power, not a constant battery source.


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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 16th, 16, 08:05 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

The easiest way to install the Pertronix Distributor & Coil is connect the red wire from the distributor to the + terminal of the coil. Connect the black wire from the distributor to the - terminal of the coil. Then look at the middle of your fuse box. In between the two rows of fuses you have a row connectors for Ignition, Acc, and Battery. Run a red 12 gauge wire from the Ignition connector to the + terminal of the coil. Now you have a switched power source for the coil.
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 16th, 16, 08:19 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

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Originally Posted by camarodriver67 View Post
The easiest way to install the Pertronix Distributor & Coil is connect the red wire from the distributor to the + terminal of the coil. Connect the black wire from the distributor to the - terminal of the coil. Then look at the middle of your fuse box. In between the two rows of fuses you have a row connectors for Ignition, Acc, and Battery. Run a red 12 gauge wire from the Ignition connector to the + terminal of the coil. Now you have a switched power source for the coil.
This is exactly what I did with mine. It works flawlessly. But, it did take a bit of creativity getting that ign wire through to the engine compartment. Luckily, my car is an ac car and the ac harness uses a huge rubber grommet to pass the wires through a large hole. I simply poked a hole in it close to the wires and fed my wire through. Using the relay would solve this dilemma by allowing you to use the existing ign wire as the trigger. Hot supply wire from the Horn relay. Good luck with your pertronix setup. Im happy with mine.
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post #11 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 16, 07:01 AM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

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Originally Posted by sierra1boy View Post
Sounds good, I think I will go the relay route. Doesn't sound too hard and Pertronix actually makes one. Dumb question, if I'm installing the relay near the coil area, then why not just put the 12 volts right off the battery instead of the horn block thing? thx again!
Because the alternator senses the electrical loads of the vehicle from the horn relay bus bar, not the battery. If you go to the battery instead, the ignition system will work BUT the alternator won't see that extra load and won't be able to increase it's output to make up for that extra load. End result the battery will not be fully charged by the alternator as it should.

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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post #12 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 16, 07:06 AM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

Quote:
Originally Posted by camarodriver67 View Post
The easiest way to install the Pertronix Distributor & Coil is connect the red wire from the distributor to the + terminal of the coil. Connect the black wire from the distributor to the - terminal of the coil. Then look at the middle of your fuse box. In between the two rows of fuses you have a row connectors for Ignition, Acc, and Battery. Run a red 12 gauge wire from the Ignition connector to the + terminal of the coil. Now you have a switched power source for the coil.
This might seem an easy way, but when GM designed and built these cars the wiring was designed to handle the electrical current demands for the way they built and sold theses cars, and even then the wiring sizes used were marginal at best. Add 50 years of age to the wiring and they cannot properly handle any more electrical loads and you end up starving the ignition module for current and have a lower than optimal voltage supplied to it because the now undersized and aged wiring acts like a resistor electrically speaking. It will work for a while then die an early death and you end up complaining on the internet that the product is bad when in fact it was a bad installation. If you spent the money for the product, do a proper installation and give the product a chance to work as designed.

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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post #13 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 16, 08:44 AM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

Quote:
Originally Posted by NH69Z28RS View Post
This might seem an easy way, but when GM designed and built these cars the wiring was designed to handle the electrical current demands for the way they built and sold theses cars, and even then the wiring sizes used were marginal at best. Add 50 years of age to the wiring and they cannot properly handle any more electrical loads and you end up starving the ignition module for current and have a lower than optimal voltage supplied to it because the now undersized and aged wiring acts like a resistor electrically speaking. It will work for a while then die an early death and you end up complaining on the internet that the product is bad when in fact it was a bad installation. If you spent the money for the product, do a proper installation and give the product a chance to work as designed.
So youre saying that using the ign terminal as a 12v source for the coil and pertronix will starve it for current at some point?
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post #14 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 16, 10:33 AM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

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Originally Posted by carbuff67rs View Post
So youre saying that using the ign terminal as a 12v source for the coil and pertronix will starve it for current at some point?
Only way to tell for sure is to run your wire from the ignition terminal out to the Pertronix coil and distributor module and then while the engine is running (ignition system functional and putting an operational load on the ignition terminal you ran the wire to) measure the voltage at the + side of the coil, both at an idle and at rpm's. If the voltage reading is any less than the 12.5 to 13.5 volts then yes, you are starving it of the power it needs to function properly and live a long and happy life. Pertronix sells an ignition relay kit for this very reason, but you can put your own together for less money withh off the shelf parts from an Auto Supply store.

While the following is a slightly different example, I'll use as a real world illustration. Yesterday a good friend of mine brought his 68 Camaro over so we could re-curve his distributor and dial in his ignition timing. BTW, it's a rebuilt points distributor with brand new Pertronix Ignitor III module and Flamethrower III coil which we wired with a relay as the ignition terminal didn't supply enough voltage/current. With the timing done by lunch time he mentioned his A/C (aftermarket) was not working and never had for the last four years since he took ownership of the car.

Started troubleshooting the A/C system and found the compressor clutch would not reliably kick in and stay engaged for more than 30 to 40 seconds at a time and then it would only kick in if you tapped it into the engaged mode and then the eventually it would kick out again even though the electric clutch was receiving power. Before condemning the electric clutch as being faulty, I measure the voltage at the clutch, only 7.1 volts present which is obviously far less than it needs to function properly. It had been wired into the existing wiring harness (most likely the ignition circuit) and was far too great of a load for it.

We added a separate power feed from the horn relay bus bar with an auto reset circuit breaker and a relay using the electric clutch wire to trigger the relay and for the first time in four years his A/C worked flawlessly and while sitting there idling in 88 degree heat, it cooled the interior to 64 degrees in about ten minutes. He let me know later that evening that his new stereo system which has never worked properly is now working as it should as well. The stereo is most likely drawing it's power from the same circuit the A/C clutch was and was being starved for power as well. Again, these cars were designed for their original wiring to support only what they were built with and not much more. Starve ANY electrical component (except perhaps an incandescent bulb) of the current and voltage it was designed to operate with and the question is not if it will, fail but when it will fail.

Just look at the difference headlamp relays make in these cars, same thing is taking place. The old, undersized wiring begins to act like resistor wire and can't handle the load ending up with voltage drop, but unlike most electronics, headlamps won't fail sooner due to low voltage, they just don't produce as much light, but they will tax the rest of the headlamp wiring and the headlamp switch.

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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post #15 of 59 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 16, 06:52 PM
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Re: Pertronix Distributor & Coil installation - 68 Camaro

I would NOT run a full 12 volts to that unit, I'd leave the resistor were in place.

But, if you must use the full 12 volts, look on the fuse panel for a terminal marked IGN or IGNITION. Check it to ground with ignition key in both start and run, should have volts in BOTH positions. When you get that resolved, run a 12 gauge wire out through a convenient place on the firewall, frm that fuse box terminal, to the positive side of the coil, and take the stock feed wire(s) off the coil, tape them off, and stick them back into the wiring loom. This will give you the full 12 volts you need to blow the PerTronix into next week, without butchering the stock loom, and not having to run a very unreliable relay.

I suggest spark plug gaps of NO MORE than .032, stock plugs work, good wire sets work (Borg-Warner 7 or 8 mm "Select" is good).

Also, IF that coil is one of their epoxy filled coils, I strongly recommend changing it to one of their oil filled round coils, and mount it with the wire end UP, NOT laying on its side.

You are some place near me, I presume, I am in Yerington, if you need hands-on help.
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