Mustang MonthlyHow To Engine
1965-'73 Ford Electronic Ignition Conversion Choices
Want To Permanently Throw Away Those Points? We Thought So
OK it's 2000. Unless you're trailering some concours beauty queen to an MCA National event (not that there's anything wrong with that), the last thing you should have to worry about is "When was the last time I changed my points?" Ford began installing electronic ignitions as standard equipment in all '74 passenger cars. Thus, the complete vintage years of Mustangs are equipped with standard single or dual breaker point ignition systems.
During their heyday, breaker point ignition systems worked fine, but their high maintenance and high wear make them obsolete today. The spring tension of the points, the point gap, the alignment, the pitting, the burning, and rider wear are common problems. Add moisture damage or improper adjustment to the equation and see just how bad points can become, especially for a daily-driven vintage Mustang.
Electronic ignitions, on the other hand, have little or no moving parts. Depending upon the type of system, the old-school points assembly is replaced with an armature. An armature resembles a wheel or disk with slots or tabs equivalent to the number of cylinders on it. The armature is read by a pickup assembly that is also mounted inside the distributor bowl. This armature sees the slots or tabs as they pass by the pickup and reads them as the opening and closing of the points (if they are still there). Following along so far?
With electronic ignition systems, the dwell, the base timing, the advance, and other adjustments can be accurately made, and they won't change over time since no mechanical wear is involved. Today there are several options that will help you ditch the points under your Autolite distributor cap. These options range from undercap conversion kits to complete and ready-to-run drop-in distributors. What we have amassed here is part buyer's guide and part installation guide to help you decide which system is suitable for your vintage Mustang. So read on.