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View Full Version : PerTronix vs Points


ew1usnr
09-08-2016, 05:19 PM
Hello, Roger. I wanted to comment further on this but did not want to hijack Steve's thread any further than I already had. So, I moved it here. :)

There is an article this month in the Falcon newsletter about this subject. I've been long advocate of the PerTronix, almost from the time they came on the market. Yes I've had failures, but I feel - contrary to the article I just read - the pros outweigh the cons.

I read that article in The Falcon News last night. The writer. referring to an electronic ignition module, commented that "... a reasonable life expectancy for any electronic module might be 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first."

Dang! That essentially means for the life of the car!

But then the same writer says that "... electronic ignition will always be more expensive than maintaining the original points set up ..."

I checked some prices last night and that statement is not necessarily true.
You can buy a new "Pertronix 1281 1957-74 8 Cylinder Ford Electronic Ignition Conversion Kit" off e-bay for $66.99 with free postage.

I looked at O'Reilly's auto parts and their points range from $5.99 for the cheapest to $32.99 for their most expensive. A cheap condenser costs $5.69.
See: http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/search.oap?keyword=points+%26+condensers&year=1963&make=Ford&model=Falcon&vi=1334786

If you buy the good points and a condenser together together they are ... $44.99! Yowsa!

5854

See: http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/ACC0/8203ACC/03402.oap?year=1963&make=Ford&model=Falcon&vi=1334786&ck=Search_points+%26+condensers_1334786_4738&keyword=points+%26+condensers

So, doing a 25,000 mile tune-up with the cheap points and condenser, costs $11.68. To get to 100,000 miles would cost $46.72. $20.27 less than a PerTronix module. But, cheap points can stick and be more aggravation than they are worth.

You'll get the "not needed" and the "it's gooder" reports everywhere you go, but I'm of the mind that most of the parts we are getting to maintain the old points/condenser system are not anywhere near the quality of what you used to get. I've had points and condenser failures too and it's nearing a $30 bill to get good quality parts there too.

At 25,000 mile tune-up intervals, the good points would cost ... $179.96 to get to 100,000 miles. $112.97 more than a PerTronix unit.

What I also think is interesting is that it is now increasingly difficult to find a conventional points tune-up kit. They used to be everywhere. I bought my present Falcon four years ago. At that time (before realizing that the car had a PerTronix unit) I bought a tune-up kit from FalconParts.com for $12. It had points, condenser, and a rotor. I checked last night and FalconParts does not seem to sell a conventional tune-up kit or points anymore. They do sell PerTronix units.

The writer of the Falcon News article suggested that if you drive with a PerTronix unit to keep a new one in the trunk as a spare in case the unit in use fails. That sounds reasonable.

Roger also said:
It's a tough debate. A lot comes down to cost to miles driven. Our cars don't usually see a lot of miles, so if you think of a set of points lasting 10 years when a car sees 500 miles a year, if you're luck, a $80 Pertronix kit may seem a waste of money if you are of the mind that it offers nothing more than zero maintenance. I think it probably offers that and some level of performance improvement and with that some potential fuel savings. But I have no empirical evidence - only anecdotal. The good news is that of the 3 units in the past 20 years (or whatever it is) I've had, all of them were sent back to Pertronix and replaced at no charge. No complaint there.

I will say one other thing. On the black F100 I sold to Steve, I could not get the Pertronix to run, at all. It perplexed even the tech's at Pertronix. I ended up converting it to Duraspark II setup with a GM ignitor. Which is also what I run on the Ranchero, the wagon, and my 66 F100. Pretty easy swap. I debated using Pertronix on these, but because I needed new distributors I opted for DSII units, which happened to be cheaper and new, rather than more costly and rebuilt. The GM ignitor is only about $15 and is available everywhere.

SmithKid
09-08-2016, 06:26 PM
I've had Pertronix in my last three Rancheros. A 302 and a 390 in the '69, a 351C in the '73, and another 302 in the present machine. The '69 and the '73 were daily drivers for approximately 2 - 3 years each. How many failures? ZIP! Good 'nuf for me to be convinced!

ew1usnr
09-08-2016, 06:58 PM
I've had Pertronix in my last three Rancheros. A 302 and a 390 in the '69, a 351C in the '73, and another 302 in the present machine. The '69 and the '73 were daily drivers for approximately 2 - 3 years each. How many failures? ZIP! Good 'nuf for me to be convinced!

Hello, Gene.

Out of the 302, 351C, and 390, which did you like the most?

Thanks, Dennis.

Nathan289
09-08-2016, 09:09 PM
I've had 1 pertronix unit fail and that was my fault. I hooked the wires up backwards .

I called the tech line and told them what happened and they warrantied it for me even though it was my fault.

This was back in the 90s.. ive installed many units and have never worried about it.

I did keep a set of points and a ballast resistor in the glove box just incase.

As for todays points and condensers.. the cheap is cheap for a reason.

I went through many brands and many prices to finally get a set that would last and run decent.
Nothing is more pleasant than doing a 10 minute job 5 or 6 times because the parts sold today are made over seas

SmithKid
09-09-2016, 10:59 AM
Dennis, That question actually requires a multi-faceted answer to be totally true, because I've very much enjoyed all three (I've actually had 4, the 1st being a '60 w/144 and Dagenham). All but the current one were used to haul dirt bikes around and were great for that purpose. But to summarize, I would have to say the '69 because I changed it lot's. It started life as 302 and C-4, I changed it to a 4-speed almost as son as I acquired it. I acquired a travel trailer not too long after that and wanted more grunt, so changed it to a 390GT w/C-6. I REALLY enjoyed that combination for the purpose, so I guess it was my fave. It's the one I'd like to have back. But I got rid of it because it grew cancer in the front sub-frame and my expertise wasn't enough to repair it. I was afraid the extra strain of the trailer and associated weight distribution setup would fold the frame into a very unwanted "V" shape.

ew1usnr
09-09-2016, 06:49 PM
Dennis, That question actually requires a multi-faceted answer to be totally true, because I've very much enjoyed all three ... I acquired a travel trailer not too long after that and wanted more grunt, so changed it to a 390GT w/C-6. I REALLY enjoyed that combination for the purpose, so I guess it was my fave. It's the one I'd like to have back.

Hello, Gene.

Interesting.
I looked and found that the 390 was introduced in 1961.
The 302 was introduced in 1968, and the 351C was introduced in 1970.

You liked the oldest engine the best!

SmithKid
09-09-2016, 08:31 PM
It was the "torque-iest". Great for RV pulling. The '73 was probably the most fun to drive, it was the 351C Cobra Jet engine; pretty quick!