Upgrading a classic distributor engine to modern electronic ignition? This article is a first hand install guide of our system, carried out on a 1970’s Vauxhall Viva – this is the typical process you would follow if your engine doesn’t feature an OEM crank sensor – and the end results are excellent!
From an excellent post by Simon (B8D) on the RetroRides Forums (Original here.)
Simon carried out this upgrade after this wife’s daily, a 1971 Viva, developed a misfire when the engine got to temperature, first lets take a look at the original engine, with its coil and distributor system. Chances are the points were getting weak – but with the oppotunity for more reliablity overall, and better performance (including increasing MPG), the upgrade seemed the better option than just a ‘fix’, that would likely need to be repeated again in the future.
Firstly, the NODIZ Requires an accurate engine positioning signal – the advantage of this, beyond no “mechanical” interaction for triggering the ignition, is the improved accuracy means optimised timing, with no ‘slop’ – yielding better power, but we will come to that!
The front pulley is removed, and a universal 36-1 trigger wheel (available from our web-store), is then fitted to the pulley – in this case welded, and finally lathed to reduce run-out.
The NODIZ trigger-offset (the angle of the missing tooth in relation to the crank sensor when the engine is at TDC) should be around 90* BTDC – of course its easy to adjust using the buttons on the NODIZ Pro and a timing light, but as a guide (and what Simon did here) he was planning on mounting his crank sensor at at 3pm position – so he put the engine at TDC, and placed the missing tooth at 6pm – 90* “after” the sensor – then it was welded in place.
Next up is the crank sensor – the missing tooth was already set such that the sensor would be on the right, so a custom bracket was made which mounted the sensor on the right. Its important there is no run-out in the trigger wheel, as the sensor should be VERY close to the wheel, a sheet of paper gap is a good rule of thumb.
The sensor used is a 2-wire VR type – also, available from the webstore.
Finally its a case of installing the Wasted Spark coil on a suitable bracket, and running the leads to the spark plugs. Simon opted for an unterminated loom, so had to wire everything up – everything being just 6 connections, which he described as being VERY easy to do – however our new range of PnP Looms now make this even easier – the typical lengths supplied are suitable for pretty much all installs, and everything is labelled – nice and simple!
After that, its a case of turning the key – and it lives! Using a timing light to zero it off we found the trigger wheel was mounted VERY well – only needed 1 degree of adjustment to get it bang on!
Simon gave it a tweak on the way home with the laptop, and in his words:
“well we very briefly tweeked the mapp on the way home via bluetooth on the laptop and yes its works very well.. feels a lot smoother and more responsive but will update with a dyno printout before and after when I get it back on the dyno..
there is loads of little extras this little box will do including coolant temp and air temp corrections to allow for easier starting and no pinking under very hot engine conditions.
programmable soft cut and hard cut rev limiters.
tps or map load adjustment for 3d mapping.
tach output for either 5v (modern) of 12v tachos..”
Simon indeed made it back on the dyno:
Red was the baseline carried out before fitting the Nodiz, Purple was simply running on the base-map provided, but the real results after a tuning session are shown in the green line – going from 34.5bhp to 51bhp is nothing to turn your nose up to, and the torque remains much higher, for longer in the rev range – due to the ability to optimise the timing in accordance with RPM & Load – the benefit of reliability was the original purpose – and now reliable cold weather starting, better MPG, and yes more power too, means an excellent result all over – Get your NODIZ here!