Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

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zKars
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Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby zKars » 12 Jun 2017 13:41

Over the weekend I took my 510 on a jaunt to Revelstoke and back. Other the crappy rainy weather, +3C temps in Golden, and the closed highway 1 west of Revelstoke, the trip was mechanically uneventful except for one timy little item. Spark. Spark was there 99.9% of the time, but the other 0.1% of the time it was absent. And annoyingly so. Had to more to do with the frequency of occurance than the total time without spark. We are talking on average about once every 10 minutes.

I have a typical post 1979 Nissan EI dizzy with the E12-80 module on the side. I used these extensively over the years on Z's and now the 510. They are great until they decide to fail. Twice now, I have noticed that the problem begins with the ignition turning off for about a micro second then back on. You get a very small mechanical jerk. Just enough for your co-pilot to give you that 'look"....

This progresses to more and more frequent occurences and increasing durations. This may take months to finally get to the stage of "Ok I'm done. Replace me".

Well this months long chain of events was condensed to about 24 hours over the weekend. When it got to turning off for periods exceeding 4 minutes (with us stuck on side of road waiting for it get happy again), we decided to do something about it. Yes were quite stubborn.

Yes yes, I have a spare module in the trunk and tools, but I'm inherintly lazy. So I tried something new, which was to pore a bit of cold water on the module. Bingo! Car fired right up and off we went for a good 20 minutes. Then it started konking out again. Stop, open hood, pore water, get back in, drive for another 15 min. Repeat.

So about now we say, let's just change the damn thing. Then common sense kicked backed in when a better idea appeared in our fragile, I mean Agile, minds.

See if you can finger out what we did here.

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This got us home over the next 600 km and 8 hours using only two additional stops to add water to the reservoir. Just the occasional tap of the old squirter button to keep the module cool. No dirty hands, no unloading the trunk and digging in the spare well for parts.

Good thing it didn't rain at all on Sunday.....

So in conclusion, should YOUR EI module crap out in the middle of nowhere (Saskatchewan, or worse, nothern Ontario), try cooling it off with water, or whatever, before calling that tow truck. Might just save your bacon.

Oh crap, now I want breakfast again.....

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Re: Electromic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby 510rob » 12 Jun 2017 16:09

I love genius human solutions like this.

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Byron510
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Re: Electromic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby Byron510 » 12 Jun 2017 21:26

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

But it brings up a good point. Thee units are getting harder to find. My neighbor has gone through three before he found a good one. One had a igniter box fail (I will share with him this water trick), one had the breaker/advance plate fail where the advance mechanism had enough play in it for the ball bearing locator to come out of it's slot and physically wedge the advance plate at an angle. This in turn caused the reluctor pick ups to come in contact with the rotor pick ups and break the the tips off the magnetic pick ups. Yes, he could make one of the two in this case, but he didn't. hes now on his third unit.

So, are the aftermarket ignitor boxes anywhere as reliable as these originals have been? I mean I'm not faulting the factory Nissan ones - the newest I4 - 4 plug distributor was delivered in 1980, making them all at least 38 years old, or better! That is certainly past full life for most electrical components.

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because the opposite never works.

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zKars
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Re: Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby zKars » 13 Jun 2017 07:13

Looks like I missed anothe wonderful Canby Opportunity again. I commited to another even on this weekend months ago without checking what weekend Canby was.... Next year! Really sorry I missed the Morton man. Haven't seen him since 2013 at the SCCA run offs.

Byron, I totally agree with the "old and getting hard to find" parts problem with these. I have enough modules squirreled to keep me ok for a while, but there is a logical end to that too.

The usual GM ignitor mod is reliable as long as get a good one, but the problem of the dizzy's themselves remains. Those breaker plates are fragile as hell.

The "best" solution is the 12ignitionUSA's Bosch based unit. It is brand new, allows you to program your timing from a laptop or IOS device. Only downside is of course, the price ($600 ish USD), but what is the price of piece of mind?

http://123ignitionusa.com/datsun/

I have one in my Z. I like it, but the spark output is not crazy hot. You could use it's output to trigger an MSD box. I think Chickenman discussed this before as a solution.

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zKars
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Re: Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby zKars » 13 Jun 2017 14:53

Another note about these EI modules

After running around today doing errands, with the 'new' EI module, I've noticed significantly better overall performance and start up, both hot and cold.

So this means that these modules not only start mis-firing when they are about to die, there may also be significant and gradual loss of performance that you might not notice WELL BEFORE it's final days.

Time for a better ignitor solution.

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bertvorgon
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Re: Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby bertvorgon » 18 Jun 2017 11:09

Are the factory modules still available?

I carry a spare but, it is always in my mind that this is another key component, that it might be time to stock up on.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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zKars
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Re: Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby zKars » 18 Jun 2017 15:38

Rock Auto has listings for them between $140-180 CDN. They are still available, but pricey.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/nis ... odule+(icm),7172

A good GM ignitor (pertronix or Accel) is more like a $100 shipped.

Since I'm getting away from using them, let me dig up the ones I have and let you-all have them for $40 a pop. How's that sound?
Last edited by zKars on 18 Jun 2017 16:47, edited 2 times in total.

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zKars
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Re: Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby zKars » 18 Jun 2017 15:42

I walked into the local aut parts emporium I deal with (Auto Value) and asked for a GM ignitor for an 87 caprice 5L. There are about 150 GM products that had that module. LX301 is the Ac Delco part number I think.

They said they had two kinds, standard and premium. $98 for the standard and $160 for the premium. I thanked the guy for his time and walked out.

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zKars
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Re: Electronic (EI) Ignition module failure. Recovery mode and trouble shooting

Postby zKars » 18 Jun 2017 16:56

Here is a cool ICM with rev limiter!

Fkame Thrower D72000

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/PerTronix-D72000 ... jy&vxp=mtr

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