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Old 26 Apr 2018, 10:55 am
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Default Ancient Technology

Not PT specific, but relevant.
Our beloved little trucks are nothing special when it comes to technology (and some of it, like the CAN bus system, can actually complicate things). It's easy to forget how far we've come in terms of engine efficiency and reliability and performance, though, thanks to digital technology.

I've been reviving an old-ish Honda motorcycle. Its engine was built in 1977- just before electronic ignitions came into common use. Dual-point ignition systems were the state of the art at the time, providing long dwell time for a stronger spark, at the expense of being twice as fussy to set and adjust.

Here's a short video of the ignition system in action. Everything is adjusted exactly to factory specs, and other than the engine being a bit cold, it's running perfectly. That state-of-the-art ignition system is based in 19th century telegraph key technology; it works, but it's far from perfect. Upgrading one of these engines to an aftermarket electronic ignition does marvelous things in terms of starting more easily, running smoother, and making better power with better fuel economy.

Easy to forget that 40 or 50 years ago, you'd have to be filing oxidized crud off the contact points, setting the gap with a feeler gauge, then adjusting the timing with a strobe light and a screwdriver. Every few thousand miles.

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Old 26 Apr 2018, 11:02 am
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

Hey, I'm there with you.

The Wisconsin engine on my drilling machine uses a "Colt Arms" distributor. Here's some of the ignition stuff.









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Old 26 Apr 2018, 01:02 pm
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

The survival Bike (XT500) I still use the points. The "point" being is that new ignition electronic's can fail for many reasons while points will fire even if they get wet and as "pointed" out can be easily in the field repaired. .

As a "point" of OLD SCHOOL I use to set up complete distributors changing springs ,tension bands,weights, set dwell angles, timing etc., on a Sun Distributor Tester and my Oscilloscope (which I still use for even new electronics )
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Old 26 Apr 2018, 08:14 pm
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

My 69 Ranchero still has a point distributor. Lost my dwell meter in the fire in 2011. They are getting hard to find now. I guess I will need to go back to using a feeler gauge.
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Old 27 Apr 2018, 03:52 am
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

The 60's hi-performance Mopars had dual point 'Prestolite' distributors in them. Tough to work on, but were good for 6,000 plus rpm.
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Old 27 Apr 2018, 08:18 am
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

Yup, my Dad's 62 Imperial LeBaron Crown had a 413 with the dual point distributor. He used to cuss like a sailor when he had to set the points in that sucker. As I got older, he let that duty fall to me. And then I cussed like a sailor!!
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Old 27 Apr 2018, 10:49 am
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

Hey let's not forget fuel when it come to "ancient technology". Like some very old cars, my Wisconsin engine has an updraft carburetor.




What's cool is that you can change out the venturi to properly size the carb.




Getting the float height right is a little bit of trial and error. But it's pretty fun to work on. It's only got one gasket and it broke about 20 years ago. But it can just be glued back together whenever you open it up. I love's me some durable WWII tech.

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Old 27 Apr 2018, 12:19 pm
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

^^ Not if you know what your are doing and have the right measuring tool.
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Old 27 Apr 2018, 12:48 pm
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPT View Post
^^ Not if you know what your are doing and have the right measuring tool.
You are right. After 23 years of being successful at it, I guess that means I know what I'm doing. Thanks for the compliment.
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Old 27 Apr 2018, 02:23 pm
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Default Re: Ancient Technology

When I was of High School age I "needed" to set my points at least once a month- Just because I could.

Still have 2 cars with ignition point distributors.
Somehow, they seem to operate as designed with very little attention at this "point" in my life.
They even have manual chokes !

I did have a condenser failure a few years ago though....

Point ignition never caused me to need a tow truck to get home.

-----------
In the electronic age I have not been as fortunate.
There have been two "rides of shame" related to CPS failure and a Hall Effect Sensor calling it quits.

But in the spirit of the original post - Cars run with much greater efficiency with the electronic engine management.

The older stuff was more "hands on" - sort of having a soul.
The newer stuff is more graceful. Now the 130lb gals can pilot the Crew Cab pickups as well as vote!

May you live in interesting times.
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