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 Post subject: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:25 pm 
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After owning my 72 beetle for about 10 years now and driving it about 50k miles, I have replaced the points only once and I check them about once a year. I check the timing ( static) about once a year. The good ole reliable German engineering has yet to fail me! IMO LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:49 pm 
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To give credit where it's due, the "conventional" points/condenser/coil ignition system was invented by Kettering and introduced on the 1910 Cadillac - Bosch didn't get into that game until 1925.
You'll get no argument from me that the factory ACVW ignition system is adequate (for most applications, anyway). More modern electronic systems offer quicker starting and near-zero maintenance, and can deliver a more intense spark at high RPM which may be needed for some performance applications, but IMO none has yet proven to be as trustworthy.
If you run the stock system, carry an emery board or scrap of sandpaper, a spare set of points and a condenser (they needn't be new, just functional) and odds are you'll never need to walk home.
If you go electronic, better pack whatever active components your chosen system uses, or a complete stock-style distributor, unless you have an AAA card in your wallet.


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:52 pm 
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Right on!


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:39 pm
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Location: Richmond, VA
Amen.

The local VW group calls me "the Stock Nazi," and it's because of things like this. In certain cases, I think newer materials may be more durable than what was available back in 1971 when my bug was manufactured, but when it comes to how the engine functions I think you need to leave it alone. Unless you're drag racing your bug or plan to run it into the ground & never do any maintenance, the conversion is overkill.

If I ever bought a bug that had the electronic ignition, first order of business for me would be to bring it back to stock. I've only had my '71 for a couple of years now and have put less than 10k miles on it, but Mama had her '72 bug for 16 years and probably turned the odometer over a few times ... I never heard of the thing EVER leaving her stranded.

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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:14 pm 
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Location: Just north of Seattle
I very much agree with Marc. I too come from the era of points and condensers and am fairly comfortable with them. The big problem I see with them is the condenser (which doesn't like sand), which is used to sharpen up both ends of the spark the failure of which means the points will have burnt and you are stuck.

Electronic ignitions are easy to put in, you don't have the problem with the "follower" on the points wearing and the points pitting (quite often from the condenser failing) but... if you don't have your mind on what you are doing you can cook the electronics faster than you can say (or think): Aw $#*t, but that is true with any electronics including Points and condensers.


Both camps have their advocates and distractors but don’t be afraid of either of the choices, just be aware of the faults and prepare accordingly as Marc suggested.

Lee


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:17 pm 
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Ol'fogasaurus wrote:
I very much agree with Marc. I too come from the era of points and condensers and am fairly comfortable with them. The big problem I see with them is the condenser (which doesn't like sand), which is used to sharpen up both ends of the spark the failure of which means the points will have burnt and you are stuck.

Electronic ignitions are easy to put in, you don't have the problem with the "follower" on the points wearing and the points pitting (quite often from the condenser failing) but... if you don't have your mind on what you are doing you can cook the electronics faster than you can say (or think): Aw $#*t, but that is true with any electronics including Points and condensers.


Both camps have their advocates and distractors but don’t be afraid of either of the choices, just be aware of the faults and prepare accordingly as Marc suggested.

Lee


I've run both... had good luck with both... The price is much nicer on a set of points and a condenser.... That's where the biggest difference is in my world.

I have plans to pay with the Bob Hoover Toyota ignition system transplant for my next VW engine spark system.... I have a couple of different papers he wrote on "how to" make a Toyota Distributor work on the VW engines.... I just want to do it so I can have tried it.... It's such a cool idea... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2006 2:13 pm
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Location: Way up in northern California!
For me, electronic ignition. I've been stranded twice now with a failed condensor. And NOT on the same car. :(


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:21 pm 
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Location: New Hampshire
I'll stick to simple and reliable. If ever I buy a VW with the electronics, I'll keep a normal dizzy in the toolkit, but I won't tear out the previous one if it works. I respect KarentTheBug's "Doctor Stocker" mentality but I don't share it - these cars respond well to tinkering.


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:30 pm 
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Electronic ignition is not limited to Pertronix. Modern electronic ignitions are more reliable than any points could ever be. 50,000 miles is nothing. The electronic distributor in Mom's '84 Caravan went about 400,000 miles (not an exaggeration) with no maintenance save replacing the vacuum advance ... last month. Distributorless systems are even better than that, as they have no mechanical parts to wear out. Stick with points if you want, but don't pretend it's a better system.

I run distributorless and fuel injection, and I don't carry any spare parts "just in case". I don't believe in that philosophy. If you're so afraid your car will break down that you feel the need to carry around an entire spare ignition system, you shouldn't be driving it.


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:49 am 
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This from the man who drives a Saturn when he needs to actually go somewhere, and responded thusly to the question "how much time and money do you have in your setup?":
MinamiKotaro wrote:
Way too much. Wish I had a stock VW and all that money back.


But seriously, to some extent you've made my point. Since I run a conventional system in my daily driver, the only spare ignition parts onboard are one each used points & condenser...and I'm not at all afraid to rely on my car for everyday commuting or a roadtrip of any distance.


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:08 am 
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Posts: 6515
I used to think the same way as all the points guys. Then on one of my numerous road trips deep into Mexico, on the return, the car was getting harder to start. Eventually it wouldn't let me ignore it. Even though the points were in good shape when I left, the points rubbing block had delaminated so that the points gap closed to near nothing. (yes I greased the cam). The last thing I want to do on a road trip is to mess with stupid stuff like this.
The first thing I observed when I switched camps to the Pertronix is that the car started much faster, even when the points were in perfect condition. I've since made half a dozen road trips into Mex without having to play with the ignition.
Now, there are some guys that get a thrill doing mundane maintenance tasks. Not me, I'd rather be out driving the car.


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2002 2:01 am
Posts: 3389
Location: Seattle, Wa
Despite Dad being against electronic ignition, I bought an MSD 6-AL and billet distributor years ago for my Bus, while having never had an ignition problem...Once equipped it failed inside of 5K miles and it took a week to get a replacement cap/rotor - it's been in a drawer since. I've never had points leave me stranded, so I favor them...


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:44 am 
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 8:01 am
Posts: 30
SCOTTRODS wrote:
Ol'fogasaurus wrote:
I very much agree with Marc. I too come from the era of points and condensers and am fairly comfortable with them. The big problem I see with them is the condenser (which doesn't like sand), which is used to sharpen up both ends of the spark the failure of which means the points will have burnt and you are stuck.

Electronic ignitions are easy to put in, you don't have the problem with the "follower" on the points wearing and the points pitting (quite often from the condenser failing) but... if you don't have your mind on what you are doing you can cook the electronics faster than you can say (or think): Aw $#*t, but that is true with any electronics including Points and condensers.


Both camps have their advocates and distractors but don’t be afraid of either of the choices, just be aware of the faults and prepare accordingly as Marc suggested.

Lee


I've run both... had good luck with both... The price is much nicer on a set of points and a condenser.... That's where the biggest difference is in my world.

I have plans to pay with the Bob Hoover Toyota ignition system transplant for my next VW engine spark system.... I have a couple of different papers he wrote on "how to" make a Toyota Distributor work on the VW engines.... I just want to do it so I can have tried it.... It's such a cool idea... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


done it here in the philippines using the cdi of the toyota 4k...
http://vwcp.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=26667
good blue spark and kinda cheap.... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:15 am
Posts: 379
Location: Garland, TX
Bruce2 wrote:
Even though the points were in good shape when I left, the points rubbing block had delaminated so that the points gap closed to near nothing. (yes I greased the cam).


Ever forget to Grease the block? I did once, I got about a week out of it and this awful SQUEAL ensued.... I had a hard time finding the problem, as it only happened when running, the speed of the distributor when the engine was manually turned wouldn't make it squeal.... Lesson learned (I was a kid when that happened)...

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 Post subject: Re: Electronic Ignition vs Points
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Posts: 1518
I'm looking at my third electronic ignition system. I had a Petronix Compufire that someone gave me. Eventually ruined that by crossing wires. Then a few months ago I bought a brand new vacuum distributor with "Ignitor" brand electronic ignition. Somehow during the engine work I've been doing for the past month the Ignitor no longer works. CIP1 sells the ignitor by itself for $80 or I can buy another new distributor for $180. Instead I took it out and put the 30-yr old vacuum distributor back in. But I don't like setting points and using an engine analyzer I can never get the dwell angle right. I tried putting the points and condenser in the newish distributor but lost my nerve when the round thing wouldn't fit in the square thing. Eventually I'll spend the $80 on an ignitor but probably keep the old distributor close by.

kevin


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