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Distributor swap to electronic


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#1 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 12:42 PM

My '68 Jeep has been one long drawn out process to get running right. Everything I do to it makes it a little better. I had it running pretty well and took it on some longer trips and it did just fine. The issues I was still having were hard starting when cold, it lacked the power I know is in that engine, the points constantly needing adjustment, and some other starting issues when warm.

 

I decided to upgrade to an electronic ignition system. The easiest way to do it and keep the stock distributor is with a Pertronics conversion kit. I set out yesterday to install the kit and tried to get it in without pulling the distributor out of the engine. All went well except the end play was too much. So, I pulled it out and removed the drive gear and shimmed the shaft to take up the end play. You have to have .010 clearance on the bottom and no more than .060 on the unit with the shaft held up. I swapped shims to get it all correct and while I had it apart I checked all the bushings and main shaft for wear. 

 

My distributor cap was cracked in two places and the rotor was chipped so I replaced those this morning. Man oh man what a difference! I picked up 30% more horsepower and it starts and idles so much better than before. I can chirp the tires leaving a stop sign now. The power gain was all in the swap over as I did not replace the cap and rotor until after I test drove it. 

 

I highly recommend this swap if your still running the stock parts in your old Jeep. Just mark everything and pull the distributor out right from the start to save time and make it easier. 




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#2 ONLINE   newbe

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 12:56 PM

That's cool you were able to get that much of a gain from doing that. My thought is, you'll get better gas mileage too!


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#3 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 01:01 PM

That's cool you were able to get that much of a gain from doing that. My thought is, you'll get better gas mileage too!

Yes, and I will probably start breaking drive train parts now too   :lol:


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#4 ONLINE   newbe

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 01:03 PM

Yes, and I will probably start breaking drive train parts now too   :lol:

If you're chirping the tires at take-off, that's a definite possibility! :lol:
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#5 OFFLINE   devil duck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 01:17 PM

About time for a 5.7 Hemi swap. New cooling system, axles, brakes, transmission, frame reinforcements, upgrade in steering, all new suspension setup, wheels and tires, better cage and fuel system.
25 or 30 thousand dollars and your life in a jeep will have a completely different out look. Add some custom bumpers, lighting, seating, top and another 10k and your almost done.
Now to save money and keep the "look" I would leave the paint alone.
O I forgot an out the gauges. You can have a custom built Apple for 40-45k, assuming you provide the labor.


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#6 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 01:19 PM

About time for a 5.7 Hemi swap. New cooling system, axles, brakes, transmission, frame reinforcements, upgrade in steering, all new suspension setup, wheels and tires, better cage and fuel system.
25 or 30 thousand dollars and your life in a jeep will have a completely different out look. Add some custom bumpers, lighting, seating, top and another 10k and your almost done.
Now to save money and keep the "look" I would leave the paint alone.
O I forgot an out the gauges. You can have a custom built Apple for 40-45k, assuming you provide the labor.

:don29:

 

Man, around here the mall crawlers are everywhere. Saw two this morning at the parts house. They were buying more lights. One of them saw my jeep out front and did not realize it was mine.....I heard him say to his buddy "nah, it's too old and used but a lift would look cool on it"  When I walked out of the store I looked at that guy and said "have fun dressing up your Barbie!" and then climbed in my Jeep and left laughing the whole time.




#7 OFFLINE   BushXM15

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 01:45 PM

Yes, and I will probably start breaking drive train parts now too   :lol:

 

Exactly !. That's why I swapped  stock housings and axles for  Dana 44's  and a Muncie 4 speed Rock crusher  for the stock T90 box . McLeod racing disc and hays pressure plate . Also had to rework the bell crank  for a mechanical advantage on that STIFF Pressure plate . As I DIDN'T want too go hydraulic . Rancho suspension 4" lift . An after the shop is completed next Spring , I'll start installing 11" backing plates and  brakes .  Fired My CJ5 up yesterday drained more old coolant and replaced with fresh and higher ratio for Winterizing . NO choke  turn it over and after 10-15 seconds hit throttle once and it fires EVERY-TIME  !. OH also had to rework the transfer case  and setup Chevy style ,for lining up Dana 44's . PITA  but it ALL works now and is RELIABLE and in MY book that's the NAME OF THE GAME .

 

Even if it's been setting for Two months , like MINE has been :bignono:.  Well back too the New loading bench  it's CLOSER  :segrin: ...


Edited by BushXM15, Oct. 08 2017 - 01:47 PM.



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#8 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 02:40 PM

 

Exactly !. That's why I swapped  stock housings and axles for  Dana 44's  and a Muncie 4 speed Rock crusher  for the stock T90 box . McLeod racing disc and hays pressure plate . Also had to rework the bell crank  for a mechanical advantage on that STIFF Pressure plate . As I DIDN'T want too go hydraulic . Rancho suspension 4" lift . An after the shop is completed next Spring , I'll start installing 11" backing plates and  brakes .  Fired My CJ5 up yesterday drained more old coolant and replaced with fresh and higher ratio for Winterizing . NO choke  turn it over and after 10-15 seconds hit throttle once and it fires EVERY-TIME  !. OH also had to rework the transfer case  and setup Chevy style ,for lining up Dana 44's . PITA  but it ALL works now and is RELIABLE and in MY book that's the NAME OF THE GAME .

 

Even if it's been setting for Two months , like MINE has been :bignono:.  Well back too the New loading bench  it's CLOSER  :segrin: ...

My buddy did all that to his 68 a few years ago. I will be getting all his old parts that he took off. I will never swap out the original drive train. I, like you, just want it dead reliable. If I don't get stupid with it that is what I have now. Stock, reliable, and not a drain on my wallet. I am not against upgrading a few things to make it better but swapping out major parts is not in the cards for this little work horse.




#9 OFFLINE   devil duck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 03:08 PM

My buddy did all that to his 68 a few years ago. I will be getting all his old parts that he took off. I will never swap out the original drive train. I, like you, just want it dead reliable. If I don't get stupid with it that is what I have now. Stock, reliable, and not a drain on my wallet. I am not against upgrading a few things to make it better but swapping out major parts is not in the cards for this little work horse.

It's funny, your little stock jeep will do more than 98% of what any of the high dollar 4x4s being sold today. Look at what the military did to those jeeps during the war, how they were treated. They were rode hard and put away wet day in and day out. They served our men well. If you use Apple as she was designed to be used, she will take you anywhere you want to go. With a little love and maintenance they will continue to excel at the job at hand.
I joke about building her but personally I would not do anything other than keeping everything as Jeep intended.


#10 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 03:16 PM

It's funny, your little stock jeep will do more than 98% of what any of the high dollar 4x4s being sold today. Look at what the military did to those jeeps during the war, how they were treated. They were rode hard and put away wet day in and day out. They served our men well. If you use Apple as she was designed to be used, she will take you anywhere you want to go. With a little love and maintenance they will continue to excel at the job at hand.
I joke about building her but personally I would not do anything other than keeping everything as Jeep intended.

If Apple could talk the stories it could tell. The ranch it was on for most of it's life was not easy on it. When I got it the tires were chunked out from crawling in rocks over a long period of time. They used it for what it was made for. I intend to keep it a work horse as well. I have yet to clean anything on it since I bought it....except for sweeping up the big piles of dirt on the floor boards...that crap blows in your eyes when at speed.

 

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#11 OFFLINE   NONEYA

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 08:54 PM

Sounds like it was well worth it to change the distributor to electronic.




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#12 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 09:20 PM

Sounds like it was well worth it to change the distributor to electronic.

I knew the engine had more power hiding in it. I had a '63 Buick Special that would haul butt and it had the first model of this engine, the 198 Fireball, That car had some get up and go. I had no idea just the electronic ignition swap would bring so much more of the power out. 




#13 OFFLINE   NONEYA

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 09:45 PM

I knew the engine had more power hiding in it. I had a '63 Buick Special that would haul butt and it had the first model of this engine, the 198 Fireball, That car had some get up and go. I had no idea just the electronic ignition swap would bring so much more of the power out. 

 

I think it was because your distributor was so worn out where the cam was for the points. Could be also the vacuum advance was worn out.




#14 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 08 2017 - 09:56 PM

 

I think it was because your distributor was so worn out where the cam was for the points. Could be also the vacuum advance was worn out.

The advance works well......I was adjusting the dwell every 500 miles to keep it running right....I have not looked at the points I took out but my guess is the lobes were wearing out the lifter arm. New points always have a break in period and these just never would settle in. My old 63 Buick never needed them adjusted that I remember.




#15 ONLINE   Pepper

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Posted Oct. 09 2017 - 12:20 AM

I had a somewhat similar revelation with mine, though mine was with installing a new set of points, and just playing with the adjustment until it ran right. And by right, I mean, RIGHT. I have never had a standard ignition system that revs so freely. I went out yesterday and twisted the key, and it was purring within seconds, after having sat for more than a month, neglected. I drug the winch line out and pulled some junk out to go to the scrap yard next week, and fell back in love with it. I've gotten to the point where it's just a familiar old friend that I fall back in with every time I want to play. 

 

I'm not sure what the deal is with those distributors. I'm not 100% sure that they don't have a bunch of play from the factory. Mine has more than Pertronix likes, and I really don't want to pull the gear off and try to shim it up, but I guess I will if I have to. I hate pulling the dizzy on that motor. Mine has a little quirk. You can get it back to where the gear engages the cam to drive the dizzy, but it isn't in far enough to engage and drive the oil pump. Try THAT on for size. Thought the bolt was tight, and wound up with no oil pressure one day. Freaked out, towed it home, rebuilt the oil pump after checking the bearings, everything looked good. Put the distributor back, still no oil pressure. Rigged up an oil pump drive, chucked it in the drill, lo and behold, great oil pressure. Finally was able to get it in there, and that last little 1/4", and had good oil pressure with the engine actually running. 




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#16 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 09 2017 - 09:26 AM

Pulling the gear is as easy as tapping out one roll pin. Mark the gear and mark shaft and it goes back together just as easy. As far as getting everything back in the hole....well if you don't spin the motor and set the distributor in the exact way it came out.... mark everything and watch it come out so you can duplicate it going back in....everything should slap right back in place. 

 

I had to tweak the plate that the fly weights sit on and the rotor wanted to wobble and the Pertronixs wanted to touch in one spot. A little work with a Cresent  wrench to bend the plate solved that issue. I ended up taking the stock shim out and installing the two shims supplied and the gear was shimmed right. 

 

Even though you have those points set right there are other things in there working against you. I have all the Dwell meters and other goodies to set it all correctly and I still could not make mine run like it does now. The hardest part of that distributor is getting that hold down bracket and bolt in place....it takes tiny hands. 

 

If you are having good luck with the points keep running them.....if you want it to run even better take the time to swap them out,,,,,hell, mail everything to me and I will set it up for you and send it back....just mark it all first so you can put it back the same way.




#17 ONLINE   Pepper

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Posted Oct. 09 2017 - 11:16 AM

I may put the Pertronix kit in next spring. I put one in my Jeep pickup before the boy got it, and it did run a lot better. There was more play in the shaft than the system wanted, and I didn't want to swap distributors because that dizzy had a spot of weld over the end of the pin. I'm guessing that it was a broken pin at one point, and someone replaced it. I can't see a rebuilder doing that. I was in a hurry, and decided I just wanted to get on with the job, and if it didn't work, I'd just be out the time of putting it in a "bad" distributor. It didn't touch, so I gave it a shot. Went together right, and ran like a top when I put it back together. Of course, the rest of the engine needs serious help, but that ignition isn't to blame. 




#18 OFFLINE   BushXM15

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Posted Oct. 09 2017 - 01:24 PM

My buddy did all that to his 68 a few years ago. I will be getting all his old parts that he took off. I will never swap out the original drive train. I, like you, just want it dead reliable. If I don't get stupid with it that is what I have now. Stock, reliable, and not a drain on my wallet. I am not against upgrading a few things to make it better but swapping out major parts is not in the cards for this little work horse.

 

I hear You loud and clear  and that's EXACTLY WHY I DIDN'T put a small block in it ,been there done that and TORE nearly everything out of MY old 67 !!.

So when I got the 69  I just said NO engine swap the Dauntless 225 with proper rebuilding and a few accessories WORKS JUST FINE . I simply wanted DRIVE TRAIN BULLET PROOF !.

 

FYI : I WALKED A LOOOONG WAY ONCE AND  IT WASN'T FUN !. An Neither was RETRIEVING IT , MY Friends were on the brink of becoming  " Who are You and You want to do WHAT " ?  casual acquaintances if You follow what that was like  :segrin: .

In MY Youth I had an uncanny ability too GET INTO PLACES ,I SHOULDN'T HAVE and Retrieving MY Sorry AZZ   WASN'T the HIGHLIGHT of our outings  I ASSURE YOU :segrin: .

 

One outing in particular  will LIVE with ME FOREVER !.  MUD RAIN and A Dodge Power Wagon WIDE TIRES  :segrin: .  The ground was SO BAD , I STOPPED  GOT OUT and Jacked MY Truck up and placed # 4 pieces of PLYWOOD under EACH WHEEL , Before I left it and Walked out  !. A SWOLLEN RIVER Prevented MY Returning and  # 4 days later  when I DID go back ; MY TRUCK WAS UP TOO THE BED IN MUD . So # 4  4x4's couldn't get it out even with digging . I called another friend who had a Deuce with a 45K lb which and THANKFULLY we had some INTELLIGENT Wits about us and hooked up Break a ways . If You've never seen a Logging chain or cable on a winch SNAP , TRUST ME YOU DON'T WANT TOO and neither do you want too be in the line of pull when it does !. WE GOT IT OUT and after WE DID  Everyone of MY Friends Apologized ,for Doubting MY word about setting it on PLYWOOD . One of the 2x3' pieces came up with the differential !.  I had NEVER stuck anything that bad in MY Life and hope NEVER too repeat any of that !!!... 

 

An Towtruck the saddest part of all , I WASN'T out 4 wheeling or doing anything stupid , I simply was attempting too GET OUT OF WHERE I LIVED ,because the WATER WAS RISING at an alarming rate . It was one of the wettest years Southern Calif. had on record ALL the reservoirs filled beyond spill capacity as it rained for nearly a month !...           




#19 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Oct. 09 2017 - 02:45 PM

I lived near a lake that when it dried up a bit there was a great place to play 4x4. There were steep hills, rough areas and the flat bottom of the lake to mess around on. One day playing out there on dry land I wanted to get to another section of dry land and all that was between me and that dry land was a 100 foot stretch of black mud that was dry enough to walk across. I did just that, walk across first to check it out. Thinking I could make it across I got a run at it with my old Diesel pickup and went for it. 3/4 the way across I started to go down. I crawled out the other side just before the engine died on the pickup....five more feet and I would have been stuck. So I learned my lesson about the black mud and played on the dry ground before leaving for the day. The next day I brought my wife's K5 diesel Blazer out to play and we were just driving around not really wheeling. I looked over at the spot I almost got stuck and there was a vehicle there...I think it was a vehicle...so we drove over to see what was up.

 

Right where I started to go down the previous day was a 70's lifted Blazer on 44's buried to the hood. On dry ground this rig sat 5' tall at the hood and it was at ground level. They had been digging all night and half the day and had it all dug out except for the bottom half of the tires. You could just see the axles. These two guys had dug a mountain of mud out from this thing. We stopped and they wanted me to try and pull them out. They had broke two winches on their buddies trucks, broke three chains, and got one other vehicle stuck trying to pull this thing out. I declined to even hook up to it. 

 

The Army Engineers that oversaw the area came by to fine them for being on the lake bottom and told them if they did not get it out today they would and keep the rig. They ended up calling a big rig tow and they brought out a ten wheeler with a mile of cable. They were able to park the wrecker about 200 yards away and the operator handed the cable to the owner and told him to start walking. He also told him to hook it to something strong as whatever comes out comes out and what stays stays. He did not care if it came out in pieces. 

 

The blazers owner was somewhat smart and he hooked chain to both axles on both sides and hooked the tow cable to those pulling equal on all four corners. It came out and only cost him $1500 for the wrecker and whatever the fine was for playing on the lake bottom. 

 

And to think that could have been me.

 

I don't mess with mud if I don't have to.....I even refused to go through this in the Jeep earlier this year. I could have made it but each side of that mud puddle has no bottom and I was not about to have to pull winch cable if something went wrong. I have played in enough mud to get my jollies and only run in it if I have to   I did not have to this day..up the road a few hundred yards were ruts 2 foot deep where someone got stupid...I learned to read for the signs of trouble and stay away.

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#20 ONLINE   Srgt. Hulka

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Posted Oct. 09 2017 - 03:19 PM

My '68 Jeep has been one long drawn out process to get running right. Everything I do to it makes it a little better. I had it running pretty well and took it on some longer trips and it did just fine. The issues I was still having were hard starting when cold, it lacked the power I know is in that engine, the points constantly needing adjustment, and some other starting issues when warm.

 

I decided to upgrade to an electronic ignition system. The easiest way to do it and keep the stock distributor is with a Pertronics conversion kit. I set out yesterday to install the kit and tried to get it in without pulling the distributor out of the engine. All went well except the end play was too much. So, I pulled it out and removed the drive gear and shimmed the shaft to take up the end play. You have to have .010 clearance on the bottom and no more than .060 on the unit with the shaft held up. I swapped shims to get it all correct and while I had it apart I checked all the bushings and main shaft for wear. 

 

My distributor cap was cracked in two places and the rotor was chipped so I replaced those this morning. Man oh man what a difference! I picked up 30% more horsepower and it starts and idles so much better than before. I can chirp the tires leaving a stop sign now. The power gain was all in the swap over as I did not replace the cap and rotor until after I test drove it. 

 

I highly recommend this swap if your still running the stock parts in your old Jeep. Just mark everything and pull the distributor out right from the start to save time and make it easier. 

 

I can't believe it ran at all with two cracks in the distributor cap.  

Sounds like you have it running rally good Towtruck.  Bet it's a lot of fun to drive.  




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