View Full Version : TR6 TR6 Electronic Ignition Conversion

11-30-2003, 06:41 PM
Okay, I'm not looking to rehash the whole pro-con thing on this topic. I've done searches and read several threads relating to this, what I'd like is a comprehensive list of all available options. I'm aware of the Crane, Pertronix, and Ignitor systems, but what else has been tried and worked well? My brother (it's his car) is leaning toward an MSD 6A spark box, blaster II coil, Magnacore wires, etc, but what type of trigger can be used to replace the points in the original distributor? Would it just be better to replace the original distributor with a new one that has a magnetic pick-up or photo-optic trigger unit or will the original distibutor work okay with a trigger replacement? What brand? Can this system be assembled?


Mike coolgleam.gif

Btw, the engine has a good amount of miles on it, but it runs well as is. The thought is that it could benefit from a hotter spark and no points.

[ 11-30-2003: Message edited by: BlackSnake ]

[ 11-30-2003: Message edited by: BlackSnake ]</p>

11-30-2003, 07:01 PM
I can understand not wanting to rehash the pros/cons of stock vs electronic ignition but I thought I would share my experiences on the subject. My TR6 has a new engine, for starters. I tried the electronic route (Crane 750 and Crane 3000) and could never keep a module from failing. The distributor is new/rebuilt even. Sent the modules back to Crane (4) and they would send them back saying nothing was wrong with them, except that they would shut down in my car. Voodoo? Anyhow, went back to points with a Lucas sport coil and bigger wires, hot NGK plugs gapped at 35 and everything runs great. I must be the only person on the planet that had bad luck with electronic ignition. Plus, changing your distributor to aftermarket may leave you without a mechanical tach drive.


Dave Russell
11-30-2003, 07:26 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by BlackSnake:
My brother (it's his car) is leaning toward an MSD 6A spark box, blaster II coil, Magnacore wires, etc, but what type of trigger can be used to replace the points in the original distributor?
Hi Mike,
The MSD6 will work very well, kind of expensive though.

A Pertronix module can be used to trigger the MSD. Most folks just use the Pertronix to get a little better ignition. Combining the Pertronix with the MSD will give a really hot spark. It depends on how much you want to spend.

Be aware that the older small diameter distributor caps are limited on how much voltage they can stand without crossfiring in the cap. This is the reason that late model cars & aftermarket distributors have larger diameter caps to cope with the higher voltage ignitions. It might be best to go with a new larger diameter distributor.

Super ignitions are really only needed for very high output engines which are run at high rpm. The benefits to a stocker will be very limited.

12-01-2003, 09:59 AM
Hello Dr. Bill,
I'm sorry but you are wrong, I went the electronic route many years ago, two failures later I reverted to points and remain with them.
There have been many discussions on this forum about going to electronic sysytems, and usually because the car is running poorly. The more I hear the less I feel that is the correct route. As a standard set up can run well (also that is what was used even when the cars were highly modified for racing etc when they were current models) there has to be a fault which may not even be an ignition system malfunction.
Granted they will run better than points in the case of a badly worn system as timing scatter is less (so I'm assured) but I doubt whether it will be noticeable from the driving seat.
The real downfall is, even if rare, that a failure of electronic systems stops the car, unlike points which tend to fail gradually and are usually a road side fix.

Alec graemlins/cheers.gif

12-01-2003, 12:37 PM
I agree with Alec, regarding standard, non-modified cars that have a tight, good-running engine….the standard contact set should do fine.
The problem arises when parts are updated, “improved” or a bit worn.
For example, a set of high compression pistons or a planed head may require more “juice” to jump a plug gap (even with platinum of gold-tip plugs).
Also, bigger carbs or a sporting cam may need a hotter spark. Finally, some of these cars may just be a bit tired all-round and a hot spark keep things going without a major rebuild.
And, in many parts of the world, an emission inspection might be improved with a hotter spark.
In my case, the lightly-modified 1500 engine in my Spridget idled much better and suffered less plug fouling when I “went electronic”. Note: there was no measurable improvement in top speed, starting or even general performance.
I had one failure with a Piranha electronic ignition a few years ago, but I believe it was at least partly due to voltage fluctuation from my Lucas alternator (batteries were frying too). I switched to a smaller, lighter Mitsubishi alternator and Pertronix ignition. Simple to do, reversible if desired and excellent results so far.
We always bring a spare distributor with contact set to the races, just in case….but we haven’t needed it.

12-01-2003, 02:16 PM
Guys, I'd like to thank you all very much for your informed responses. You all bring up very valid points and I will certainly carefully consider all of the valuable info that you have offered. Quite honestly, I hadn't considered some of the things that were mentioned. It's my brother's car and his money (I'm just the family mechanic images/icons/wink.gif ), so I'll let him mull this over and decide how he wants to procede!

I'm not a Brit, but if I were, I guess the thing to say would be, "good show." images/icons/wink.gif

Mike coolgleam.gif

12-01-2003, 03:24 PM
Alec, and others,
Wrong about what? Read my post carefully and you will see that all I said was I have had nothing but trouble with the electronic ignition conversion in my TR6. First, the Crane 750 has a major fault that no vendor will tell you about: if you leave the ignition on for more than a few minutes without the engine running, guanteed you will burn out the module. (Learned that after a long discussion with the tech at Crane). Second, the Crane 3000 series can handle the ignition-on situation, but would just SHUT DOWN in my car at the most inopportune times, like cruising down the highway. I, as you, went back to standard points, condensor setup and have had no problems since. Setting them with a dwell at 35 and they perform flawlessly. Spares can be change enroute in ten minutes. I think we are on the same page or something got lost in the translation....

My entire car is essentially a 2002 TR6, so it is not tired in the least. Compression is 155 across the row; except for roller rockers and triple ZS carbs, it is stock.


12-01-2003, 03:47 PM
My 2 cents. I installed a Crane XR700 system years ago with new spark plug cables and an upgraded hot coil in my '69 TR6. The stock distributor with the optical modification has worked flawlessly. The chief advantage is easier starting in cold conditions.

12-01-2003, 05:29 PM
I think Alec was inferring that you are wrong about being the only person on the planet to have had multiple problems with EI. It seems to me that he is in full agreement with you. Thanks again for bringing some of your experience with these units to my attention.

Thanks also for your input to this thread.

So far, all comments have been helpful. Thx
Mike coolgleam.gif

12-01-2003, 08:07 PM
Dear All,
My bad! Testy me must've pulled the wrong tooth today.


Gary Lloyd
12-01-2003, 08:59 PM
I put a Petronix in my MGB in the summer, it has about 10,000 flawless miles on it and I love it!!! I can't imagine it not being the way to go. Oh, I'm like whoever else it was, I have basically a 2003 MGB!! images/icons/smile.gif Read that totally restored '66 'B Oh, I used a Lucas Sport Coil and the Petronix and it hasn't missed a beat!! That being said, there is nothing wrong with points either!! I do not pack a spare distributer and I have been for some pretty loooooong trips!! I may look into that over the winter!!! graemlins/iagree.gif graemlins/canpatriot.gif