Electronic Ignition? - TCCoA Forums

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Question Electronic Ignition?

Can I update my OEM distributor with a cap & rotor to a pure electronic setup which won't require any more timing adjustments?

I searched, didn't see anything. Rock Auto appears to have an electronic one, but I'm looking for a little more info prior to diving in.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 09:34 AM
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Taking a step back - an electronic ingition setup (in ford speak EDIS) requires three things: the electronic distributor module, the ECU to control timing, a VR crank position sensor and matching trigger wheel (to tell the ECU where you are in the crank).

The good news is that all of that stuff is available from a 99-01 Ford Explorer 5.0. The downside is that you will likely need to do a bit of rewiring to accomodate the explorer ECU in your tbird (compare wiring diagrams before plugging the ECU in).

I'm not sure what your goals are but it's a bunch of work just to get EDIS working on your car. Setting ignition timing with a distributor is a piece of cake compared to converting over to EDIS and for very limited return on investment (of time).

NOTE: it seems like binary editor may allwo for an EDIS conversion using your existing tbird 5.0 ECU. If I understand things correctly though, EDIS is valuable for high RPM applications and Windsor 302s aren't exactly good for that. What's the point?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I was just looking for one of those easy conversion parts. Pull up the rotor and put in the part shown below... But it appears there's nothing for my year.
I agree it's simple to set the timing. But I'm chasing pinging and was wondering if an electronic setup would be better

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Not looking to do any big rewiring jobs.

BTW, what's that black knob on top of the distributor cap? Dwell time adjustment?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 12:10 PM
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Your car already has electronic ignition. The timing and dwell of the ignition coil is controlled by the ECM and the ICM, and the distributor is basically just a cam sensor and a method of sending the spark from the coil to the proper spark plug at the right time. There are no points in there or anything to adjust, and one of those types of modules would still require the distributor to be timed properly.
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-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Cool... learning new stuff every day
What's this black part on the dist cap??
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Where is my ICM located?

I hear behind passenger headlight?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 01:49 PM
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The ICM is mounted to the front of the rad support on the right side, below the passenger headlight. That black cap is just a vent.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90SC 5-speed, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, soon to be transplanted into...
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-70 Torino GT Fastback project car. Needs EFI and a manual trans, but I'm not sure what motor to go with yet.
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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I see what appears to be some box with heat fins on it there. Is that it?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 05:50 PM
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Yes, that is it.

FYI, on the 5.0 MN12s, they pretty much never fail. I can't think of ever having had one fail, or ever hearing of someone who had one fail.
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-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90SC 5-speed, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, soon to be transplanted into...
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-70 Torino GT Fastback project car. Needs EFI and a manual trans, but I'm not sure what motor to go with yet.
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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