Wayne Cook
March 1, 2009

Tech Ignition Upgrade
Every time we buy a Ford car from Total Performance Years, one of the first things we do is address the primitive breaker point ignition system. When the breaker points burn, or otherwise come out of adjustment, the engine will develop a miss and everything is straight downhill from there. In fact, we've been left standing by the side of the road on more than one occasion because the breaker points had either fried or come out of the correct adjustment.

On its vintage distributor, Ford didn't have a "better idea" when it came to setting point gap or dwell. Other brand distributors were often equipped with a "dwell window" where an Allen wrench could be used to set the dwell with the engine running. It was a simple matter to attach the dwell meter and find the correct adjustment quickly and exactly. The dwell for a set of points in a Ford distributor cannot be adjusted while the engine is running. All one can do is set the point gap with a feeler gauge, reassemble the distributor, and fire it up. Once the engine was ready to run, the dwell meter could be attached and the dwell measured. Any disparity between the desired setting and the actual indicated setting required disassembly of the distributor for another go-around.

Fortunately, the folks at Pertronix have a solution to this quandary that is elegant in its simplicity. Their Ignitor electronic ignition kit replaces the points and condenser assemblies with an electronic module that has no moving parts. A magnetic sleeve is fitted over the distributor shaft and the module's distance from the sleeve is set with a feeler gauge. Once this is accomplished, the ignition adjustment is set for life with no adjustment ever needed. Follow along with us in this short procedure and we'll show you how easy it is to put a Pertronix Ignitor into your vintage Ford distributor.