Author Topic: Distributor options  (Read 268 times)

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Offline still_fishin

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Distributor options
« on: November 30, 2020, 02:38:19 PM »
A little back story on why I'm asking. The cv23 had issues the first year we bought it.  Really hard starting and at times would die and be impossible to restart.  It put us in a few situations that included a few barges and could have been disastrous. That fall while winterizing the boat it wouldn't start at all, even cold. I got pissed and yanked the thunderbolt setup and dropped in a Mallory unilite setup I had from the original engine in the Intimidator.  It fired right up and after the timing was set it ran great.  Fast forward two or so years to this year.  I noticed the ignition coil would get so hot you couldn't touch it.  I understand they can get hot but this was a while different level of hot. I reread the instructions and saw the ballast resistor section again.  I didn't want the resistor so I bought the coil that Mallory recommended that has the required resistance built in.  The next time out I checked the coil after a run down to long point.  It was very hot again, too hot.  I decided to put the ballast resistor inline to help keep that coil in an acceptable temp range.  At this year's meet I was talking to another owner and he mentioned the unilite distributors are unreliable and hate voltage spikes so keep a spare module in the boat.   I haven't had any issues yet but breaking down anywhere near a barge or damn because of ignition problems is not something I want to do again. I still have the thunderbolt setup that came out of the boat and I think the ignition module was failing and causing the issues we had really on. I tried a new coil and the pickup so I'm ruling them out. Now I'm open to buying a NEW replacement module but they seem to all be around that $300-350 range on Ebay and a new msd marine ready to run distributor is around the $450-500 range.  I know there are other options out there and i welcome any recommendations you have on setups you have actually used.  Thanks for your help.

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'80 Intimidator
'85 CV23

Offline Plugcheck

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Re: Distributor options
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2020, 02:55:39 PM »
Ignition coils and drivers need to be matched, some cases a bit of mix and match will work, but in many cases the results are problematic.    Ignition systems are current based, so if the coil is too low of an impedance, it causes issues with the driver.   Your coil being too hot is an indication that's it's impedance is too low and drawing significant current.  Ballast or dropping resistors may appear to drop voltage, but they are is essence limiting current.  Mallory makes good stuff, and if you're happy with the advance curve on that dizzy, I'd research the correct coil and/or ballast to run with it.   When we encounter older engines with ballast resistors, we would wire a PB to apply full 12 volts to coil to allow for hotter spark at start up, just a thought.    Mallory, MSD, Pertronix, and DUI are some of my faves.  My Z runs a Petronix III with proper coil sans resistor.  Timi will be A DUI recurved HEI.  Hope this helps
1979 CVZ-18 388 CI Vortec Mouse
1980 CVX-16SS 140 Mercruiser
1979 CVX-16 Johnson 175
2002 Bennington 2275CC 90 Mercury
1985 Intimidator project
1989 Lowe 200 Redneck fishin Toon
2001 Godfrey Sweetwater pontoon 115 Rude

Offline thedeuceman

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Re: Distributor options
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2020, 03:02:27 PM »
I have put electronic ignitionís on a lot of old cars and I always happy with that, I even crafted a pertronics module on the Onan Motor on my skid steer, worked way better than the points did.
All that said, so far I have stuck with points on all of the old boats. The system is so simple, and itís really easy to carry an extra set of points and condenser, and thereís just not much to go wrong.
Add to that the fact that I donít want to spend $400 on a distributor.

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