Mustang MSD Distributor Upgrade

Category: Auto Tuning

mustang engine

Upgrading an old points type distributor to a hei which stands for high energy ignition can be a rewarding upgrade. This distributor is on a 1966 ford mustang with a 289 v-8 engine. The upgrade distributor is a msd unit made specifically for this engine, some people may use a distributor off of a newer model ford engine. Unlike points you will never need to adjust a high energy ignition because it will never degrade. The engine will run smoother due to the higher energy spark sent to the spark plug. The cylinder combustion will be much more complete due to the increased ignition spark energy of the new distributor.

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Small Engine Ignition Problem

Category: Small Engine Repair

briggs and stratton

  After this engine sat for awhile it wouldn’t restart. This is a 2 horsepower briggs and stratton engine. This engine is on a rototiller, but the problem would be the same with any other engine. The first thing to do is to decide if the problem is fuel or spark related. These are the first problems to check for. First check the obvious thing like adding fresh gas to the tank. Generally if the problem is fuel related the engine will at least sputter. Another way to test this is to remove the spark plug and squirt a small amount of gas in the cylinder, replace plug. If the engine starts but doesn’t stay running you have a carb or fuel issue. If it still does nothing you should remove the spark plug and lay it on the cylinder head. Then you probably have no spark and have an ignition problem.

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Ignition Switch

Category: Auto Tuning

ignition switch location
Ignition switches are a common problem with cars. When an ignition switch dies, the engine will still spin over but will not start. The 12 volt power will never go to the ignition module to power the ignition coils. Ignition switches are similar on all cars and this procedure should work on most. This car is a sunfire and shares the same parts with a cavalier. First you will need to remove the three screws on the underside of the steering column cover.

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How to replace an Ignition Lock

Category: Auto Tuning


The ignition switch lock is not hard to replace. The switch first needs to be exposed by removing the colomn area covering it. Older cars use a clip or a pin that can be pressed, that will allow the switch module to slide out. Many newer cars use a clip and a pin to slide the switch out. Many times you will need to rotate the key to a certain position for the switch to slide out. The older switches use mechanical connections to transfer the voltage from the battery to the starter and the ignition coil. Newer ignition switches use a electronic switch called a proximity sensor. The prox. sensor sees an internal metal tab and will switch the 12 volts on. The switch allows the car engine to spin over, start, then stay running.

How to test an ignition coil

Category: Auto Tuning


A standard car’s distributor ignition coil can be tested by checking the ohms reading. Ohms can be read on a volt/ohms meter. Ohms is a unit of measure for the resistance that a wire or coil has. Ignition coils should be measured on the primary coil between batt and tach terminals. The batt is the coil ground. To check the secondary coil, check the ohms between the batt terminal and where the coil output wire plugs into. If the ohms read zero the coil connection is broken and the coil is no good. An open coil reading zero is the usual culprit of coils. Don’t test through the output wire though. The primary coil should read between .7 ohms and 1.7 ohms, if outside this range replace it. The secondary coil should generally read between 7.5K ohms and 10.5K ohms. If the ohms are not within the specified range for that paticular car, replace the coil. Coil resistance will also change and vary if the coil is hot or cold. This a generalized ohms range that fits most distributor coils. Another thing to remember is that sometimes a coil will only read bad after it gets hot. It may work intermittently after it gets hot also. Coil packs will generally read around .3 to 1.5 ohms on the primary side and 12.5K to 13.5K ohms on the secondary side. These figures will get you reasonably close to where the coil’s ohms need to be to work properly.

Ignition timing

Category: Auto Tuning


Setting the timing on a vehicle is a simple task. First you must know what the manufacturer’s spec is for the stock timing. This information is usually under the vehicle’s hood. Many vehicles have their ignition timing set somewhere between 6 and 12 degrees advanced. Advanced ignition means that the spark that occurs in the cylinder happens earlier before the piston reaches top dead center. After you know what the timing spec needs to be you will need a timing light. Connect the timing light up to the battery or power source that it uses first. Next connect the clamp over the number one spark plug wire, which obviously runs to the #1 cylinder. This should also be marked on your distributor. If your distributor has a vacuum line running to it, remove the vacuum line and plug it so that it doesn’t suck in air. If this line is not plugged, the timing reading can be incorrect as the timing may be advanced slightly. The next thing you will need to do will be to locate the timing mark usually high-lighted yellow on the end of the engine or dampener.

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