How to Replace Points With Electronic Ignition

by Thomas West

Most vehicles built since the 1970s have an electronic ignition system, which replaced the old breaker point ignition system. This change-over made engines run smoother and more efficiently and eliminated the need for owners to replace points and condenser every few thousand miles. However, if you own a vintage vehicle that has a breaker point ignition system, you can convert your vehicle to run on an electronic ignition module. This will simplify the maintenance on your old car, as well as make it run better. If you own a vintage vehicle and are concerned with keeping it as original as possible, the electronic module might be just the ticket for you. The module mounts inside your distributor, so from the exterior your engine compartment will appear as stock.

Open the hood and disconnect the cable from the negative battery terminal by loosening the holding clamp with an adjustable wrench in a counterclockwise direction. Lift the cable from the terminal and push it to one side.

Use a flat-blade screwdriver and pry the two clips loose that hold the distributor cap to the distributor. Lift the cap from the distributor and push it aside, being careful not to disconnect this wiring from the top side of the cap. Lift the rotor from the distributor shaft and set it aside. (The distributor is usually mounted at the top of the engine near the front or rear of the engine block, depending on your vehicle.)

Remove the old points and condenser from the distributor by removing the holding nuts and their wiring connector nuts in a counterclockwise direction with an adjustable wrench. Discard the old points and condenser, but keep the mounting nuts. Wipe out the inside of the distributor with a clean cloth.

Run the wires for the new electronic ignition module through the hole in the side of the distributor from the inside out. Mount the module to the original breaker point mounting location with the original nuts tightened with an adjustable wrench in a clockwise direction.

Attach the red wire from the electronic module to the positive terminal on your vehicle's ignition coil (usually located near the distributor) and tighten the holding nut in a clockwise direction with an adjustable wrench. Connect the black wire from the module to the negative terminal on the coil in the same fashion.

Push the rotor back onto the distributor shaft, lining up the slot in the rotor with the notch on the shaft. Set the distributor cap back onto the distributor and push in on the side of the holding clips with your thumbs until they snap into place.

Push the negative battery cable back onto the negative battery terminal and tighten the holding clamp in a clockwise direction with an adjustable wrench. Close the hood.

Warning

  • close Do not cross the red and black module wires when connecting the electronic ignition, or the module could be damaged.

Items you will need

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera verchromter motorblock image by Matthias Nordmeyer from Fotolia.com