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Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

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  • Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

    I can't really verify what kind of ignition system came factory on this Mercruiser 5.7, but I think it was points. What I found on the boat when I inherited it was an automotive HEI unit. And it ran great, but I wanted a marine set up for safety reasons and the Delco EST was recommended on here (so far I regret that decision).

    #1 - Is there any reason you can't use a dial back timing light on this ignition?
    #2 - My shift interrupt switch has 12V when in neutrel. When switch is activited it kills the 12V. I was told the Delco EST works just the opposite...should be 0V at idle and 12V when activated as the 12V is what momentarily kills the ignition. Is this correct? If so, how do I wire the switch to correct this?

    Now to the major issue I'm having. I have everything wired up correctly to set timing. I crank engine without the harness that includes the shunt. Set timing by ear and let it idle (timing light showed about 12*. Instructions say to install shunt harness and connect black wire to 12V and set timing to 1* BTDC. Done. Then I remove the 12V from the black wire and cut the white wire loop. Nothing changes. Advance stays at 1* BTDC. Then I rev up to about 1800 (runs like crap) and check timing and it is MORE THAN 60* ADVANCED.

    So I call the vendor that sold me the Delco EST and he says you can't use a dial timing light. So I go get a check timing light and same thing.

    When you disconnect the 12V from the black wire and cut the loop, the timing should jump up a few degrees at idle, correct?

    This has to be a bad module right? What else could be going wrong here?
    1987 Chris Craft 230 Limited w/ 260HP 5.7 Merc / Alpha 1 - Bar hoppin' boat
    1974 16' Louisiana Traveler w/1994 50HP Merc 2 stroke 3 cyl - Fishin' boat

  • #2
    Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

    Originally posted by mguidry629 View Post
    I can't really verify what kind of ignition system came factory on this Mercruiser 5.7, but I think it was points. What I found on the boat when I inherited it was an automotive HEI unit. And it ran great, but I wanted a marine set up for safety reasons and the Delco EST was recommended on here (so far I regret that decision).
    Good choice... Post the engine serial number and we can check for you. If the engine was the original in the boat, by 1987 all the Mercruisers were running Thunderbolt IV, a VERY good system. Unfortunately the rip-off Merc want for the parts (mainly the module) is forcing people to the Voyager/Delco EST...

    Originally posted by mguidry629
    #1 - Is there any reason you can't use a dial back timing light on this ignition?
    If you're referring to an advance timing light, no reason in the world.

    Originally posted by mguidry629
    #2 - My shift interrupt switch has 12V when in neutral. When switch is activated it kills the 12V. I was told the Delco EST works just the opposite...should be 0V at idle and 12V when activated as the 12V is what momentarily kills the ignition. Is this correct? If so, how do I wire the switch to correct this?
    Don't know how you're measuring this... But... On the system was per original one lead of the shift cutout switch (let's just call it the 'SCS' and save me a pile of typing ) has one lead going to ground, the other to one of the terminals on the dissy (the wht/grn).

    I have never measured the voltage on the wht/grn with the engine running, but it may well be 12v as you say. The important thing is the SCS grounds out that terminal and the system can no longer make sparks. If the Delco system works as this guy says, you are going to need to re-work the entire SCS system. , and as they say in the advertising that it's a direct replacement for TB-IV, I can't see that being the case. I'll downloaded the installation instruction and will have a read through and see if anything jumps out.

    Originally posted by mguidry629
    Now to the major issue I'm having. I have everything wired up correctly to set timing. I crank engine without the harness that includes the shunt. Set timing by ear and let it idle (timing light showed about 12*. Instructions say to install shunt harness and connect black wire to 12V and set timing to 1* BTDC. Done. Then I remove the 12V from the black wire and cut the white wire loop. Nothing changes. Advance stays at 1* BTDC. Then I rev up to about 1800 (runs like crap) and check timing and it is MORE THAN 60* ADVANCED.

    So I call the vendor that sold me the Delco EST and he says you can't use a dial timing light. So I go get a check timing light and same thing.

    When you disconnect the 12V from the black wire and cut the loop, the timing should jump up a few degrees at idle, correct?

    This has to be a bad module right? What else could be going wrong here?
    I suspect you need to shut the engine off to get the module to come out of base timing mode. Try that and see how it goes.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100’ below.
    1972 Bertram ‘Bahia Mar’ 20
    2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha One Gen II (0W829301)
    (Original - 1972 '165' In-line 6. Previous - 1994 4.3LX)


    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

      Originally posted by achris View Post
      .... If the Delco system works as this guy says, you are going to need to re-work the entire SCS system. , and as they say in the advertising that it's a direct replacement for TB-IV, I can't see that being the case.
      Well, I've read through the installation guide and yep, that is the case ... So much for it being a direct replacement!!!

      I don't know if all of the original engine harness is there, and I also still don't know if it really was a TB-IV system being replaced, but if those things are true then here's the way I'd do it..

      The original set up had a purple wire coming into the coil. That's the RUN power lead. It then goes off to the old module.
      You are going to need to isolate both terminals of the SCS. One of them may be grounded (the black) through the screw holding the terminal block to the shift plate.
      The gray wire is the tacho signal.

      Run the original purple lead (that went to the old coil) to one side of the SCS, then run a new (preferable purple) wire from the same terminal on the SCS to the power terminal on the new coil. Connect the tach signal wire from the new coil to the old gray wire. Connect the harness between the new coil and the new distributor. Run a wire (I'd also make it purple) from the other side of the SCS to the 'R' connector of the distributor (I think they provide that connector, yes?)

      I've done a TB-IV wiring diagram re-work... See what you think of it... Hope it helps.

      That should now work.

      Chris........

      Here's the original Merc TB-IV wiring.



      Here's the modified drawing for the Delco EST..
      The parts list numbers, on the right, refer to items in the installation instructions in Figure 1. The installation instruction, btw, are quite thorough and complete.
      If you don't have the instructions... They're here -> http://www.centerstateengine.com/Del...ide.pdf‎

      Attached Files
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100’ below.
      1972 Bertram ‘Bahia Mar’ 20
      2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha One Gen II (0W829301)
      (Original - 1972 '165' In-line 6. Previous - 1994 4.3LX)


      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

        It's definitely not a direct replacement.

        I tried setting the timing every way imaginable. Set it, cut engine off, cut looped wires. Set it, leave engine running, cut looped wires. Nothing I did made any difference. At idle, the timing would not change. It's supposed to jump 8-12* when you cut the looped wires. It's not.

        The way you suggest to wire it, with the purple wiring going "through" the SCS, then to the coil is exactly how this HEI unit was hooked up. The EST has a separate wire just for the SCS, it's a black wire coming off the "timing shunt" harness.

        Don re-worked a wiring diagram similar to what you've done for the EST and I've wired it up exactly like that. I'll see if I can find it and post it.....Found it.

        I don't have a wiring issue.....yet, but I will if I can get the timing right. This is because of the way the SCS is wired as a closed circuit when disengaged, open when engaged. I need it to do the opposite. My issue is the timing going from 0* at idle to 60* at 1800rpm.

        I have plans to run the boat Saturday so I put the HEI back in and it's back to running great.

        1987 Chris Craft 230 Limited w/ 260HP 5.7 Merc / Alpha 1 - Bar hoppin' boat
        1974 16' Louisiana Traveler w/1994 50HP Merc 2 stroke 3 cyl - Fishin' boat

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

          Here is the procedure for setting the timing on the EST.
          Did you start and stop the engine at the right times?

          1. Start engine.
          2. Install both jumpers shown in blue in picture below.
          3. Set timing
          4. STOP engine.
          5. Remove jumper wires and hook SCS back up.
          6. Restart engine and check timing and advance timing

          Click image for larger version

Name:	2012-03-14_132518_est_wiring.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	141.3 KB
ID:	7081095
          Don S.


          Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
          That is what the forums are for.
          Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

            Don - Yes that's exactly the procedure I followed. I tried it a couple other ways as well and the timing was all over the place. 0-60. It made no difference whether it was in 'timing mode' or run mode.

            I bought the kit from Aftermarket Marine. I've been on the phone with them throughout the process. They told me I used the wrong timing light and it probably fried the module. They said some timing lights (specifically dial back timing lights) will put off a signal that shorts out something in the module. This makes no sense to me. Anyone else ever heard of this?

            Aftermarket Marine is about an hour drive from me and they offered to install it for free, but if "I fried the module" they would charge me for a new one. The fact that they would charge me for a module upsets me since I'm convinced it was bad before I ever touched it, but I do like the offer to install it and time it for me.

            Edit for another question: Don, My Shift interrupt is the roller kind....if you hook 12V to one stud of the SCS and hook a test wire to the other stud, should the test wire show 12V when the roller is in the valley (I call this disengaged or neutrel)? Basically, is the switch open or closed when roller is in the valley?
            1987 Chris Craft 230 Limited w/ 260HP 5.7 Merc / Alpha 1 - Bar hoppin' boat
            1974 16' Louisiana Traveler w/1994 50HP Merc 2 stroke 3 cyl - Fishin' boat

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

              They told me I used the wrong timing light and it probably fried the module. They said some timing lights (specifically dial back timing lights) will put off a signal that shorts out something in the module. This makes no sense to me. Anyone else ever heard of this?
              That's pure BS. You have a bad module and they don't want to send you a new one.
              Don S.


              Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
              That is what the forums are for.
              Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                Originally posted by mguidry629 View Post
                They told me I used the wrong timing light and it probably fried the module. They said some timing lights (specifically dial back timing lights) will put off a signal that shorts out something in the module. This makes no sense to me. Anyone else ever heard of this?
                If you're using an inductive timing light, there is no direct connection between the spark plug wire, and primary ignition (module) unless this "signal" happens to be able to travel backwards though the plug wire, jump the air gap in the distributor to the rotor, up the coil wire into the coil, and find it's way into the primary windings.

                Complete butt-covering BS...
                1976 Rogers Custom Boats 18' "Bonneville" W/ Chevy 454/ Berkeley 12JC

                Care Taker of 1976 Glastron V-184 Crestflight W/ Volvo 170B/280 I.O.
                & 1969 Starcraft W/ 1956 Evinrude 7.5hp Fleetwin.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                  They're sending me a new module but he said if we use the same timing light it will burn this one up too. My uncle (machinist/engine builder who's built thousands of motors dating back to the 80's) got on the phone with this guy last night and they got in an arguement about all this. Today, this guy tells me that my uncle doesn't have a clue what he's doing. He also said I shouldn't be concerned with total timing. Just set your base timing and your done.... and at 60* advanced the engine wouldn't run. I agree it wouldn't run under a load or it would burn a hole in the piston with a load on it, but hooked up on the muffs with no load it will run with 60* advance. I witnessed it last night. Didn't run smooth, but it was running. Hell, cars now days are running in the 50s at low rpm low load cruising speeds.

                  This is what I get for trying to save a little money.

                  I just want the new module to work so I can get on with my life.
                  1987 Chris Craft 230 Limited w/ 260HP 5.7 Merc / Alpha 1 - Bar hoppin' boat
                  1974 16' Louisiana Traveler w/1994 50HP Merc 2 stroke 3 cyl - Fishin' boat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                    Just had a quick thought. The wire between the SCS and the distributor. While the SCS is open (not engaged) that line will 'float', that is, will won't be connected to anything. That could cause problems. The module might be unstable. I would, as an experiment, put a 2,000 ohm resistor between the terminal that wire goes to (at the SCS end) and ground. That way when the SCS is open the wire is tied definitively to ground. In electronics terms it's called a 'pull down resistor'. When the SCS engages it's of a high enough value to not draw too much current....

                    As I said, just a thought.

                    Chris.......
                    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                    The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100’ below.
                    1972 Bertram ‘Bahia Mar’ 20
                    2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha One Gen II (0W829301)
                    (Original - 1972 '165' In-line 6. Previous - 1994 4.3LX)


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                      Don't give them a chance with their BS. Don't use an advance timing light. Just get a regular ole flashing light, and make your own marks.
                      See if this thread explains how to do it.

                      Don S.


                      Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
                      That is what the forums are for.
                      Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                        I just put the delco in my 4.3. The terminal block that the switch goes through...get rid of it. Its grounding u out

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                          Originally posted by Glastron cutty View Post
                          I just put the delco in my 4.3. The terminal block that the switch goes through...get rid of it. Its grounding u out
                          Yup cut both wires on that switch and verify its not grounded anymore and make new connections. This still does not fix your timing issue though
                          Current:
                          2004 Sea Ray 240 Select
                          8.1L v8 496 Mercruiser - Bravo 1

                          Previous:
                          1989 Regal Medallion 185 18ft
                          4.3L V6 Mercruiser - Alpha 1

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                          • #14
                            Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                            [QUOTE=mguidry629;4250656]. Instructions say to install shunt harness and connect black wire to 12V and set timing to 1* BTDC.
                            1 degree BTDC for a 5.7?? should be 10 degrees BTDC!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              Re: Trying to install Delco EST Ignition - not going so well

                              Guys,

                              This poster hasn't been back for 2 months... I guess he has his problem sorted out....
                              xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                              The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100’ below.
                              1972 Bertram ‘Bahia Mar’ 20
                              2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha One Gen II (0W829301)
                              (Original - 1972 '165' In-line 6. Previous - 1994 4.3LX)


                              Comment

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