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Boxer Ignition

Discussion in 'Boxers/TR/M' started by DonB, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. DonB

    DonB Karting
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    #1 DonB, Oct 12, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
    Hey guys. My '84 BBi, 51723, like a lot of others has had the Marelli AEC104B-660 ignition box replaced with a MSD unit. In fact I'm on my second as the first failed after quite some time. It was an Off-Road unit and is no longer available and was manufactured prior to Holley buying MSD.

    IMO, MSD products, at least the 6 and 6AL are not what they used to be quality wise (as evidenced by the reviews on Amazon...FWIW). I've done some looking and have found an alternate to the MSD unit. It's the Pertronix Digital HP.

    I talked to Marvin in Tech at Pertronix, sent him wiring diagrams provided by Adrian at Dinoplex.org ( a wealth of information) and he said the conversion is a slam dunk. The factory coil will work too which is important for originality.

    The Digital unit, unlike MSD, provides multi-spark through the entire RPM range, is adjustable in duration (?) and the voltage output is also adjustable as well. The RPM limit is adjustable too.

    I think the adjustable voltage output might be advantageous for the following reason. As some might be aware, the distributor cap on BB's fail often. Especially if they're aftermarket repro's. Tom Meadows at Marelli Service told me that because of heat, and the high concentration of Ionized air in the cap, the cap is subject to considerable stress. When you consider the original Marelli unit only put out one spark per cycle, thus one transfer of spark from the rotor to the cap contact, degradation of the contact surface was "normal". As an aside, Adrian at Dinoplex.org said the Marelli unit put out as much energy as an MSD unit, but obviously only one spark.
    With the above in mind, if there are multi hi power sparks going across the contact points it would seem to make sense that the surfaces would degrade even faster (if I'm all wet on this let me know...I have thick skin). With the Pertronix unit. Even though there would be multi sparks thru the entire RPM range, if the voltage could be adjusted downward, perhaps that might lessen the wear on the contact points. Lesser voltage but over a longer duration?

    The price point is very competitive too at about $220. The unit is much more compact than the MSD as well.

    SO, by chance has anyone out there used one of these units? I think I'm going to make the switch and see how it goes.
     
  2. samsaprunoff

    samsaprunoff F1 Rookie
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    Good day Don,

    I have not used one of the Pertronix units and so I cannot provide any first hand experience. That being said, some of the marketing items they present certainly look interesting, but may have caveats attached to them. I say this, as there are laws of physics and limitations of our engines that may limit what Pertronix's box is doing. That is not to say that Pertronix is not doing it better than MSD, etc, but one must realize that they are simply using known and established circuitry to achieve their goals. In other words there is no "secret sauce" to their box. With that said, it is great to have another alternative to the original Marelli unit and the MSD boxes. I would not hesitate to give the Pertronix unit a try, as I, too, have had issues with MSD's product. In fact it does seem that the newer MSD units are not made to the same level/quality of the earlier units. This is unfortunate and is somewhat common these days where firms diddle with good products in order to manufacture them at a lower... with the results being that the newer version is not as good as the original.

    Cheers,

    Sam
     
  3. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    A pertronix unit was recently put inside a dinoplex for a boxer im restoring. I can see if some pics can be posted.
     
  4. DonB

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    Thanks guys! Appreciate the response. The nice thing about the Pertronix unit is it's size. About 1/2 of the MSD unit so it's easier to "hide".
    FYI, I have found out that the Marelli unit CAN be repaired..this from an excellent reliable source. However, I still have my doubts because of the potted construction of the Marelli unit. The unit would come from Europe, is not cheap, and, what would one do about warranty..if there is any? Seems like too big a gamble.

    After I get the Pertronix unit going I'll be sure and post an update.
     
  5. samsaprunoff

    samsaprunoff F1 Rookie
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    Good day Don,

    Repairing the old Marelli electronics is not something I would do, as the original Marelli electronic design has a number of issues/flaws and is a dated design using dated components. Secondly, as you mentioned, removing all of the original potting material would not be easy and could create its own issues. To me removing the old Marelli guts and replacing them with a modern equivalent makes the most sense from a cost, reliability, and originality perspective.

    Cheers,

    Sam
     
  6. DonB

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    I agree!
     
  7. turbo-joe

    turbo-joe F1 Veteran
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    if you buy it from a shop then this shop has to give you minimum 2 years warranty. if within the first 6 month the unit will fail the dealer has to proof that the unit has been ok when he sold it. but this is nearly never possible. so he has to change it. and if the unit will fail within the other 18 month he then send this unit to the manufacturer and they repair or send a new one. for free only if they see that the unit has not been manipulated and not wrong connected. that is the law here
     
  8. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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  9. DonB

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    Thanks!
     
  10. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    Just to be clear, the pertronix doesn't come with a sound generator.
     
  11. BradRS

    BradRS Rookie

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    This is a really neat install. Is the Digital HP PCB mounted in rails like the original housing, or is it hard mounted? Did you leave a good bit of clearance between the components on the bottom side and the housing? I have a bunch of questions I'd ask in PM, but I just created this account, and it doesn't look like I can send a message, unless I am missing something.
     
  12. dwhite

    dwhite F1 Rookie

    We have now crossed the Rubicon. All for a point. There has to be some sanity left in the world . . . . . Well maybe not in the Ferrari concour world.

    That's nuts a speaker to emit a whine.
     
  13. Newman

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    Next is Italian air in the tires. Working on getting some shipped over.
     
  14. Ludwig

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    Yes! I am all in for Italian air but only from my hometown of Bologna, please.
     
  15. DWR46

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    We now have a method to 3D Print Enzo's fingerprints on the steering wheels. It will be mandatory in future Concours judging.
     
  16. fletch62

    fletch62 Formula Junior

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    Permatune put their electronics in my dinoplex housing works great, looks original, and had it on hand for exchange.

    Larry Fletcher
    CIS Flow Tech
     
  17. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    Permatune on the 911's scarred me emotionally. Ill never forget the 89 turbo cabriolet I fought with one summer.
     
  18. Stefan Elshout

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    You can get an MSD 6AL2 in the dinoplex case. Even a programmable one like shown in the picture. This way you can even eliminate the mechanical advance.

    An MSD streetfire unit will fit even without removing the the MSD aluminium case. You will just have to machine the outside of the MSD case to get it inside the dinoplex case. Image Unavailable, Please Login

    Sent from my SM-A320FL using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
  19. Newman

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    Ive used the streetfire too, I like it and prefer it over the 6AL if running MSD because they seem to be hit and miss (no pun intended) with reliability.
     
  20. Stefan Elshout

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    I can not comment on the reliability of the 6AL because i have only used the 6AL2 (programmable) and the streetfire units. I never had any problems with any of these products but i'm also not biased towards them compared to other manufacturers.
    As a replacement for the AEC104-660 the streetfire unit is an interesting option in my opinion. It's relatively cheap, it accepts magnetic pickups and points, it has a rev-limiter that can be adjusted to 6600RPM for a 12 cilinder configuration, it fits inside the case with some basic machining and the wires come out of the bottom which makes it much easier to fit inside the AEC104 case compared to a 6AL2 unit.

    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  21. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    The last one I installed (streetfire) was a on a 69 Ghibli and I was very happy with it. Ive never had the programable 6AL2 Ive just run 6A's because the limiter means a recalibration by MSD to make it work on a 12 and the carb'd cars never had a limiter anyway.

    Looks like the streetfire doesn't sit low enough to put the flat cover plate back on, am I right?
     
  22. Stefan Elshout

    Stefan Elshout Karting

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    You are right, it is slightly to high.
    You'll just need to machine the top of the aluminum streetfire case and remove the aluminum plate on the bottom and it will fit easily.
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
    Newman and mikael82 like this.

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