How to Change Breaker Points to an Electronic Ignition

Written by thomas west
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Early automobiles used mechanical distributor breaker points for ignition timing. Breaker points worked well enough but were a weak point in the engine, since they wore out quickly and poor performance and fuel mileage resulted. Nowadays electronic ignition modules are available to replace breaker point systems in virtually all older vehicles. These modules are quite easy to install and the result is no decline of performance over time.

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Things you need

  • Flat blade screw driver
  • Small adjustable wrench
  • Small flat blade screw driver
  • Electronic ignition module

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  1. 1

    Open the bonnet of the vehicle. Remove the distributor cap at the top front of the engine by prying the holding straps off with a flat blade screw driver. Lay the distributor cap aside, but do not remove any of the spark plug or coil wires from the top of the cap. Pull the rotor arm off of the distributor shaft by hand and set it aside to be reinstalled.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the breaker point wire on the negative side of the ignition coil (located on top of the engine block) with a small adjustable wrench in the counterclockwise direction. Remove the points and condenser from the distributor housing by backing out the holding screws with a small flat blade screwdriver and a small adjustable wrench in a counter clockwise direction. Remove the old rubber grommet from the distributor housing by prying it off with a flat blade screw driver.

  3. 3

    Install the new grommet that came with the electronic ignition kit into the hole in the distributor housing by pressing it into position by hand. Mount the module in the distributor housing using the original breaker point mounting holes. Use the screws that came with the kit to secure the module by running them in with a flat blade screw driver in a clockwise direction. Feed the red and black wires from the new electronic module through the grommet in the distributor housing so that they are hanging outside the distributor.

  4. 4

    Push the magnet sleeve that came with the kit onto the distributor shaft where the rotor arm was removed. Rotate the sleeve until the tab in the sleeve lines up with the notch in the shaft and press it down firmly.

  5. 5

    Replace the rotor arm onto the distributor shaft. Replace the distributor cap and reattach the two holding straps by pressing your thumb in the centre of the strap until it snaps into place. Repeat for the other strap.

  6. 6

    Connect the red wire from the ignition module to the positive side of the ignition coil and the black wire from the module to the negative side of the coil with the attaching nuts that came with the kit. Use a small adjustable wrench and tighten the nuts in a clockwise direction. Close the bonnet.

Tips and warnings

  • Read the instructions that came with your kit to see if an air gap adjustment is needed after installing the new electronic components into your distributor. If your electronic ignition module requires an air gap adjustment, this is done is the same manner as adjusting breaker points. Loosen the holding nut on the electronic model and insert the feeler gauge that comes with the kit inbetween the magnet sleeve and the module. Move the module until it is against the feeler gauge and tighten the module holding screw. Remove the feeler gauge and keep it for future adjustments and tune ups.

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