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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 24th, 01, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Question

Just installed a Pertronix Ignitor, flame thrower coil, new cap and 8mm wires to a stock '68 Impala 327/250 horse with powerglide.

Prior to the change I replaced a worn quadrajet with a Carter AFB. The car ran pretty good but was only getting 12-15 mpg.

I expected some great impovements in milage and performance per Pertronix claims and feedback from others. My results are very disappoining.

Performance did not improve much at all. Local trips that used to take an 8th of a tank now take nearly 1/4 a tank of gas. I also get popping through the exhaust at high rpms. I considered valves as a problem, but it starts up easy, idles and runs smoothly under normal acceleration and is not using oil.

Ignitor is gapped as specified, .010 on the low side and no more than .060 on the high. I was told to gap the plugs at .045, but when I did this it really run badly. I closed the gap on the Bosch platinums to .040 and it runs much better, but no better than when I had points and AFB only.

I set the timing at 8 degress BTDC with the vaccume advance disconnected to account for wear on the original timing chain which is to be replaced next.

I added a set of headdman headers and H-pipe with stock muffs, but other than sounding good, I can't say much has changed considering all the things that have been done.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know this is a Camaro forum, but could not find an Imapla forum.

This is my sons' car and he put a lot of time and $$$ into this. I hate to see the boy disappointed.

Thanks,
Al Genard
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 24th, 01, 08:35 PM
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Man, I'm sorry to hear that things are not going well....that's always discouraging especially when what you installed is supposed to make the car run better. I don't really know what to tell you except to ditch the Bosch Platinum spark plugs. I tried a set in my 67 350 once and the car went from running good to running like crap. The car had no power, sputtered at high rpms, and had worse gas mileage....just like you describe. I removed the bosch plugs and replaced them with good old AC Delco R44T plugs, and the car immediately was back to its old, welcome self. I tried to return the plugs, but of course they wouldn't return them, and the guy at the store told me that they should have never sold me bosch platinums for an older small block, since they don't work well for these engines. Don't know if that's your problem, but changing out the platinums in my car solved a similar problem. Good luck!!

------------------
Justin
-1967 Camaro SS350

www-student.furman.edu/users/j/jtrauner
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 01, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Justin,

We're gonna switch the plugs right away and see what happens.

Wonder if that is the case for my '87 Firebird as well?

Dropped a 350 in it about 6 years ago. Nothing radical, .030 over pistons, double row timing gears and chain, high volume oil pump, 3 angle cut on valves and a 179 cam.

Didn't expect great milage, but only been getting about 11 mpg. I attributed it to the cam and the quadrajet being old. (I got one of the few '87 birds that was not fuel injected).

I was getting surging at low rpms in town, but it screams on the open road. A new chip didn't help at all. I discovered some bad vacucme lines and that ended the surging, but milage is not much better.

Gonna try dumping the Bosch Platinums in it too!!!

Thanks again, will let you know what happens.

AL
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 01, 10:51 AM
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I use the Pertronix on my 69 Z/28 and my daily driven 71 El Camino. Works well on both. Can't say that I've had any horsepower or mileage increases, but it sure is nice not having to mess with points anymore. Especially on my daily driver.

------------------
69 Z/28
www.camarogenerations.com
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 26th, 01, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question

We switched the plugs and saw no improvement at all.

We next pulled the pertronix, reinstalled the points and re-gapped the new plugs to .035 and everything remains the same.

Regardless of what we try, nothing helps. My son says the AFB is either 525 or 600, so my thoughts on the carb starving the engine probably aren't valad.

The carb was recently set along with timing, by a good mechanic, not long before we installed the pertronix. In desperation last night, I tried playing with the settings a little, but nothing helps. Does anyone know how I should set the AFB? I don't have any technical equipment for this, but if I close them completely and new about how far to turn them to get close to where I need to be, I could possibly then at least know if my settings are close. I don't expect this will really change anything though.

My son read through a lot of magazines last night and found an article that says we should re-curve the distributor when making any changes.

Anyone have an opinion on the re-curving approach?

The article says that it should not be done until all changes are complete. Since we plan to replace the timing gears and chain soon, we will have to wait until all new components are in place...right?

Also thought about sending the pertronix back to have it checked out. We would then at least know for sure that it is not faulty before reinstalling it.

Thanks to all,

Al & Shawn

P.S. It should be noted that this car has about 70,000 original miles. It ran really well when we got it, but the quadrajet, (which was only a few years old), started leaking so when put the AFB on.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 08:55 AM
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hmmmmm....this is a tough one. Thought for sure that switching the plugs would clear it up for you. You say you just installed the Ignitor, coil, a new cap, and wires. Did the car run good before you replaced these ignition components? If it did, then check the new cap and wires out....one of them is probably bad. I doubt that the Ignitor is bad if it still runs poorly when you put the points back in.

You say that you set the gap to .045 and the car ran like crap, but when you closed it to .040, then it ran okay. This says to me that something in the ignition system is bad, causing a weak spark that is just barely ionizing the air between the gap. Anyone else agree with me?

Popping through the exhaust could be caused by a worn timing chain, but could also be caused by a weak ignition system. I doubt it's the carb. I have an Edelbrock performer squarebore on my car (same thing as the Carter AFB). Basically all you have to do to tune it for street driving is turn one of the idle mixture screws inwards until the engine starts running rough, then back it out until the engine runs at max rpm. Then back it out about another 1/4 turn to be safe. Then adjust the other screw the same way and you are done. Like I said though, I suspect it is your ignition system, so I'd concentrate on that after you tune the carb as above. Double check your timing as well.

PS: I just fully realized what kind of car this is: very cool car!! Have any pictures you can post?

------------------
Justin
-1967 Camaro SS350

www-student.furman.edu/users/j/jtrauner
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 05:54 PM
 
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I would reinstall the vacuum advance - it has an effect on the gas mileage.

I've never heard of removing the vacuum advance to offset a bad timming chain??

Dave
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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When we closed the gap to .040 with the Bosch plats and pertronix still in, it ran a little better, but still badly.

Today, Shawn replaced the new cap with his old one, set the carb as you said and we got quite an improvement. More power, but a little white smoke at the exhaust. This told me we were a bit lean. I opened the carb settings about 3/4 a turn more and it got better, but still a little missing.

We did all this without the air cleaner on it, (he is getting it prepped to paint). Next step is to install the air cleaner and make some more carb adjustments to see what we can do.

Shawn also checked the timing, (his first time with a timing light). He said he set it at about the second or third line to the advance side. That tells me 4-6 degrees when it should be 8...right? When he tried to go further it was running rough. I attribute this to the lean mixture. He also set the carb after the timing, so we'll play with both tomorrow.

One thing for sure, the new Summit brand cap is faulty. He said one of the contacts had red plastic dripping over it from manufacturing.

I also heard from another individual who said the pertronix was never designed to improve milage or power, but to simply replace points. If that is all the better it gets, we can live with points, they aren't as big a hassle for us as others find them to be. I also know that when an electronic ignition fails, guys carry points to recover on the side of the road. This doesn't sound like the best of all situations.

This fellow I mentioned also said the pertronix is not really a car performance company, they deal more in farm equipment and forklifts. Hmmmmm. Makes one wonder.

The whole purpose we wanted the electronic set up was to increase milage and performance. I installed an electronic ignition on my '77 Harley shovelhead a few years back and gained tremendous performance improvements and easier starting with no kick backs, (it's a kick start only).
If you want a look at my chopper I put in on the homepage of my "VANISHING POINT" website...
http://www.geocities.com/algenard

I think we are on the right track now and will know better tomorrow.

We'll scan some pics and figure out how to post the here, if that is possible, or I'll stick them in my website, or e-mail them to you. It's a white 4 door in pretty good shape.

Thanks to everyone and we'll let you know what happens tomorrow evening.

Al & Shawn

P.S. I think we are going to send this whole mess back to Summit. Even if the system was not faulty, (other that the cap), it isn't worth the price just to "not have to mess with points". I've had a lot of cars and motorcycles over the years with points that really screamed.

Anyone had experience in returning items to Summit? I realize the stuff is used, but in a conversation with a Summit rep, my son got the impression that they would take everything back, although the rep was a bit indignant, claiming their return rate on pertronix is less than 2%
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Dave,

When I said I disconnected the vaccume advance, I meant only while setting the timing. I read in a post somewhere here that the vaccume advance should be disconnected while setting the timing.

Sorry I didn't clarify that better. I am in total agreement with you the timing advance is important for milage, which is one of our main objectives.

Thanks for the input.

Al & Shawm

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 07:25 PM
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Glad to see you guys are making progress....I completely understand Shawn's frustration with this. I am 19, have had my 1967 Camaro since I was 14, and my dad and I have done a full restoration on it. Believe you me, it has not been without major headaches and setbacks, (a few wrecks, engine fire, many parts not fitting or working, ISSUES with the paint shop, someone keying the car AT THE SUPER CHEVY SHOW of all places, etc, etc.). My mom says my car is a jinx!!

Anyways, back to your problem. Sounds like the problem is definitely nestled in your ignition system since replacing the cap with the original helped things out a bit. I'd replace the cap, rotor, and points with genuine AC Delco parts just so that you can be sure what you have in the ignition system and so that you know that all these parts are good parts. That's what I did on my car right after I got it just so that I knew that the ignition system parts are quality. The AC Delco parts cost a bit more, but they ARE high quality parts that are worth the money. I got these parts overnight from Advance Auto Parts...quite a bit cheaper than from the dealer.

Like you said, I'd suggest you adjust the timing again after having dialed the carb in. You are correct in suggesting that the timing should be set at at least 8 deg. BTDC with the automatic at IDLE speed, that is around 650 rpm. If your engine idles higher than this in park, temporarily readjust your idle speed back down to 650 rpm in park while setting the timing. The timing mark on the balancer will provide you with a good REFERENCE point. I wouldn't use the timing marks on the balancer as gospel, though, as the outer ring of the balancer may have shifted slightly over the years. I adjust my timing by ear and by the "seat-o-the-pants meter." It's kind of weird that the timing would not advance any further without the engine running rough....It should run smoother the more advanced it is set. Make sure that Shawn is advancing the timing and not retarding it when he turns the distributor. I think advancing it is acheived by rotating the distributor clockwise, but don't quote me on that.

Like you say, I have never had problems with the AC Delco points in my car, and really have seen no reason to spend the money to put in a Pertronix unit, although I have been considering it lately. I'm not so sure now. Just had an idea: did you have to remove the distributor to install the Pertronix????? If you did, the distributor shaft could be off a gear or two.

About the mileage: how much mileage were you planning on getting? I get worse mileage than you guys are in my car. I get about 10 mpg in town in my 67 and about 18 mpg on the highway. I've got a 350 with a TH-350 (stock stall speed), 2.73 gears, pretty mild comp cams extreme energy cam, 8.5:1 compression, performer intake with edelbrock carb. Nothing exotic and I get pretty crappy mileage. And your car is quite a bit heavier. However, my car runs like a dream. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is I would simply concentrate on getting her running good.....mileage will probably not be great anyways.

Very cool bike!!! I'd love to see pics of the Impala. Feel free to email them to me if you want. Check out my website in the signature to see my car. The main pic is a few years old, and I have since had the car repainted (same color) and it now has a cowl induction hood and BFG Radial T/As. The interior has also been redone since the pics....redid the seats, new Autometer guages and a new steering wheel. I am going to completely redo the website with new pics I took last weekend hopefully soon (I had a picture of the redone engine on there, but I don't know what happened to it!!).

------------------
Justin Traunero
[email protected]

-1967 Camaro SS350
http://156.143.134.136/default.htm

[This message has been edited by jrt67ss350 (edited 03-27-2001).]
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 01, 02:53 AM
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Advance the ignition timing by rotating the dist CCW, that is counter clock wise, or to help you remember, just turn it in the direction the vaccum cannister is pointing in, in the case of v8 chevy, that is ccw.

------------------
69 rallye green X77 Z/28,1967 SS 396 Conv. 1974 c-10 454 swb
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 01, 05:44 AM
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You are bypassing the resistor when you run the pertronix, right???
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 01, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jrt67ss350:
Glad to see you guys are making progress....I completely understand Shawn's frustration with this. I am 19, have had my 1967 Camaro since I was 14, and my dad and I have done a full restoration on it. Believe you me, it has not been without major headaches and setbacks, (a few wrecks, engine fire, many parts not fitting or working, ISSUES with the paint shop, someone keying the car AT THE SUPER CHEVY SHOW of all places, etc, etc.). My mom says my car is a jinx!!

Anyways, back to your problem. Sounds like the problem is definitely nestled in your ignition system since replacing the cap with the original helped things out a bit. I'd replace the cap, rotor, and points with genuine AC Delco parts just so that you can be sure what you have in the ignition system and so that you know that all these parts are good parts. That's what I did on my car right after I got it just so that I knew that the ignition system parts are quality. The AC Delco parts cost a bit more, but they ARE high quality parts that are worth the money. I got these parts overnight from Advance Auto Parts...quite a bit cheaper than from the dealer.

Like you said, I'd suggest you adjust the timing again after having dialed the carb in. You are correct in suggesting that the timing should be set at at least 8 deg. BTDC with the automatic at IDLE speed, that is around 650 rpm. If your engine idles higher than this in park, temporarily readjust your idle speed back down to 650 rpm in park while setting the timing. The timing mark on the balancer will provide you with a good REFERENCE point. I wouldn't use the timing marks on the balancer as gospel, though, as the outer ring of the balancer may have shifted slightly over the years. I adjust my timing by ear and by the "seat-o-the-pants meter." It's kind of weird that the timing would not advance any further without the engine running rough....It should run smoother the more advanced it is set. Make sure that Shawn is advancing the timing and not retarding it when he turns the distributor. I think advancing it is acheived by rotating the distributor clockwise, but don't quote me on that.

Like you say, I have never had problems with the AC Delco points in my car, and really have seen no reason to spend the money to put in a Pertronix unit, although I have been considering it lately. I'm not so sure now. Just had an idea: did you have to remove the distributor to install the Pertronix????? If you did, the distributor shaft could be off a gear or two.

About the mileage: how much mileage were you planning on getting? I get worse mileage than you guys are in my car. I get about 10 mpg in town in my 67 and about 18 mpg on the highway. I've got a 350 with a TH-350 (stock stall speed), 2.73 gears, pretty mild comp cams extreme energy cam, 8.5:1 compression, performer intake with edelbrock carb. Nothing exotic and I get pretty crappy mileage. And your car is quite a bit heavier. However, my car runs like a dream. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is I would simply concentrate on getting her running good.....mileage will probably not be great anyways.

Very cool bike!!! I'd love to see pics of the Impala. Feel free to email them to me if you want. Check out my website in the signature to see my car. The main pic is a few years old, and I have since had the car repainted (same color) and it now has a cowl induction hood and BFG Radial T/As. The interior has also been redone since the pics....redid the seats, new Autometer guages and a new steering wheel. I am going to completely redo the website with new pics I took last weekend hopefully soon (I had a picture of the redone engine on there, but I don't know what happened to it!!).

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Justin,

You're pretty sharp for 19, Shawn is 19 also.

We did pull the distributor, but I always thought a chevy distributor could only go in two ways due to the slot in the bottom, either correctly, or 180 dgrees out. I know Fords are gear meshed and I have had to reinstall a distributor half a dozen times or more to get it right on a Bronco.

As far as milage, with a stock 327, Shawn was getting about 15 mpg on the average prior to installing the AFB. I've had a lot of 283 and 327s over the years and found it common to average about 18, but that was with a 2 bbl carb.

I've never gotten much milage out of a 350, however, they seem to drink gas, maybe 12-15 on the best average. The only 350 I did really well with was in a '75 vette. Stock everything including the quadrajet. It was delivering about 18 on the average and really moved. I run it hard always.

I rechecked the timing today after Shawn played with the light again. He had it dead on 8 degrees advanced.

I haven't driven it again yet, He is heading out to St. Louis tonight with a full tank, and I see what he says in the morning.

Although he would like a bit better performance, he is milage concious and everything before the pertronix was smooth and giving about 12-15 mpg I think.

Thanks again for the input, you sound like a nice kid, tell you mom and pop they are doing good!!!

AL

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 01, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by 68ragtop:
You are bypassing the resistor when you run the pertronix, right??? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

According to #21 in the pertronix instructions, we should not have to bypss the resistor. In fact I'm not even sure this car has a resistor??? (Okay, I'm not the ZEN master of automobiles).

According to an article in HOT ROD from March 2K1, photo 9 for reference, they say that pertronix says the ignitor 2 will "...function just fine with the original power source, but prefers a straight 12 volt feed for optimum performance".
Bypassing the resistor or not, according to the data we have the pertronix should have performed "just fine".

Thanks for the input, all suggestions are welcomed. It should be noted that everything ran fine prior to the pertronix. We are now playing with adjustments that we changed after the poertronix to try and get back to base 1.

AL & SHAWN

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 01, 01:56 PM
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If the wiring in the car is original, the resistor is built into the wiring to the positive side of the coil, so that about 6 volts (I think) is provided to the coil to prevent coil overheating and burnout. It would take some significant wiring modification to bypass this resistor wire, so I doubt you have to.

I'd venture to say, that if you can't get her running like she was before the pertronix was installed, that your distributor is off a tooth or two. A chevy distributor will not just go in in 180 degree increments. The slot you are referring to simply drives the oil pump, which will turn freely when trying to put the distributor back in. Unless you make painstaking marks to ensure the exact realignment of the rotor after reinstallation, it is very easy to get the distributor off a tooth or two. Check it out if you can't get her running good....this would easily explain the popping, as the spark is not being delivered at the appropriate time (spark delivered witht the exhaust valve slightly open).

Good luck!!

------------------
Justin Traunero
[email protected]

-1967 Camaro SS350

http://156.143.134.126/default.htm
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