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ignition swap

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  • ignition swap

    Hi. I have two boats, A 1986 Century Volante with a 305(200hp) mercuiser IO and a thunderbolt IV ignition, My other boat is a 1979 century Arabian with a 454(330hp) mercruiser V-drive, It has points type Dist. I was thinking of swapping the ignition systems, I will be keeping the arabian and would like to get rid of the points. would this be a worthwhile swap? Would I get better perfomance or gas mileage? With the thunderbolt ignition? or any other benifit other than just not haveing to deal with points?Thanks Lou


  • #2
    Re: ignition swap

    Points can be adjusted and easily replaced while on the water.An electronic ignition system is 1) more expensive, 2) difficult to diagnose 3) difficult to repair in the field.

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    • #3
      Re: ignition swap

      electronic ignition can also be a +you dont have to worrie about the points gap.when its working its working good,when it fails its a tow back to the dock.

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      • #4
        Re: ignition swap

        I'm not sure the distibutor from a big block will fit a small block & vice versa. I'm sure someone will confirm this.

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        • #5
          Re: ignition swap

          Ayuh,........That's an Easy Swap,..........That's Another of the Beauties of Chevy Power,..... Interchangability........The Only Advantage is the Lack or Points,+ the Reliability of the T-bolt IV system.......I Doubt you'll see Better Fuel Mileage, or Performance.........
          Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

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          • #6
            Re: ignition swap

            I am mostly with Bondo, there were some early big blocks that the oil groove was not machined full circle but the distributors will physically fit. why bother? if I were to change I would get the Delco EST kit and be done with it.
            no tech questions by PM, they wont get answered.
            you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to .

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            • #7
              Re: ignition swap

              I prefer points on a boat, like KRS said they can be replaced on the water. For just a few dollars replace the points and condenser every spring. Keep the old points and condenser as spares because you know they work That way your ignition system is new every year, not so with electronic ignitions. Most run until the electronic fails and leaves them adrift. Don't buy the BS about easier starting and better mileage. That might be the case if you let the points go too long with out replacing them but if you do it once a year there is no measurable difference.

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              • #8
                Re: ignition swap

                first, there was ford vs chevy then, there was holley vs rochester now, it's points vs electronic ignition you will all convert to electronic ignition

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                • #9
                  Re: ignition swap

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: ignition swap

                    You may want to check the module advance (stamped on module). The TBolt IV systems for big block and small block used different modules with different advance curves. A conversion of the existing distributor to electronic or replacement of the distributor with a better system such as the Delco EST would be a better way to go.As far as the Points vs Electronic thing, it surprises me that some still insist that points are better. Anyway, I am one of those that need to see for myself, so I built an ignition system test bench and will do some testing of my own. I'm not sure anyone will care, but I will post results soon.Dave

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                    • #11
                      Re: ignition swap

                      Holy Dyno Batman! Sometimes ya just have to know Dave.My personal un-scientific observation... my engine starts up a few revolutions quicker and idles smoother with Pertronix versus points.If points systems were best... why do cars not use them anymore?
                      sigpicIf it were easy, any Caveman could do it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: ignition swap

                        OK guys, it's not a one is better than the other.When the feds decided on cutting emissions they put a 50,000 mile no service goal on emission related components so those of us who didn't follow the old 12,000 mile tune up schedual wouldn't be running around poluting the air with untuned engines. The only way they could do it was with electronics. I have no problem with electronic ingnitions but when I am 30 miles from the dock and the ignition system quits I want as simple a system to fix as possible. Performance is not an issue, there isn't a RCH of difference in them in a slow turning boat engine. Now if your engine has 12 to 1 compression and you turn 6000 to 7000 RPM go with the electronic but if you have 9 to 1 compression and 4200 RPM either is more than enough. I am just not a fan of fancy electrical systems in a closed constantly damp enviroment like a boat.

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                        • #13
                          Re: ignition swap

                          Thanks for all of your advice. I am going to leave it alone for now. Someone might be buying the volante. So I don't want to mess with it. But I am still interested in changing to electric. Delco est? where do I find one, how much? Also was looking at MSD dist/ignition (marine). THANKS again for your adviceLou

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                          • #14
                            Re: ignition swap

                            I have been putting in electronic ignition kits in things from around 1974 Just because a set of points could not even Last a good 8000 to 9000 mile motorcycle vaction without being toast towards the end of the 3 week trip I can understand people being gun shy about EFI BUT gime a break with the electronic ignition tommmays
                            If a dirty bottom slows you down what do think it does to your BOAT

                            1970 Cal 29 Sea Fever
                            http://cal29seafever.blogspot.com/
                            1981 J24 Tangent 2930
                            http://s565.photobucket.com/albums/s...%20for%20sale/
                            Tommays
                            Northport Ny

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