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    distributor question, gas engine-gctid822067

    Friends......please enlighten me. With an HEI distributor in a boat (and it has vacuum advance from distributor to carb) what specifically makes that unit a potential spark (explosion) hazard since it does not have points, but rather uses electronic module? I know it is not marine rated, but I'm trying to understand exactly why. This came to my attention when a mechanic was admiring my boat in the haulout yard, and he immediately informed me that the distributors were not marine and that my fuel economy would be in the toilet. When I asked him about hazard of operation, he said it is not an explosive hazard but that the boat won't run efficiently with those distributors. Everywhere else on the web all I see is that these are explosive hazards but no one has explained what about them is the danger. I'm just looking for a thorough understanding. Thanks in advance

    #2
    Marine distributors don't have vacuum advances they use mechanical for full advance..... they are sealed to contain sparks, anything electrical can create a spark.

    And they usually have a screened hole on the bottom to contain any spark and to let any accumulated fumes to dissipate.

    Oh and auto distributors in a marine environment will equal boom one day
    Boatless at this time

    A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including their life."

    Comment


      #3
      Other reason regardless of safe or not it's not a marine distributor.. any inspection you get will be a minimum a big butt chewing but probably a citation.

      Also the advance curve will be wrong you could cause engine damage.
      1989 Avanti 3450 Sunbridge
      twin 454's
      MV Mar-Y-Sol
      1979 Bayliner Conquest 3150 hardtop ocean express.
      Twin chevy 350's inboard
      Ben- Jamin
      spokane Washington

      Comment


        #4
        thanks guys. I'm just trying to understand why its a potential spark hazard if there are no sparks generated within the electronic distributor. I didnt put these distributors in. They were there when I bought the boat a few months ago, and honestly it never occurred to me to check them. I do intend to replace them with marine distributors, which will bring up more questions...like how I wire them, and do I also need to buy an external coil and find a place to strap it into place in the vicinity.

        as for these hei's, I am still really wanting an explanation of how they present an explosive threat ,...if there are no open sparks generated within the cap. or am I wrong in that understanding? I am aware that the vacuum advance is a no-no as well. I'm also going to be taking a hard look at the starters and alternators to see if I can somehow determine if they are marine. It is old boat so all labels and tags are either illegible or missing.

        Comment


          #5
          [color]blue wrote:
          Ok Ron, here's my way of answering your questions and concerns.[/color]

          "fulltiltron" post=822067 wrote:
          Friends......please enlighten me. With an HEI distributor in a boat (and it has vacuum advance from distributor to carb) what specifically makes that unit a potential spark (explosion) hazard since it does not have points, but rather uses electronic module? I know it is not marine rated, but I'm trying to understand exactly why.

          [color]blue wrote:
          Fair question.

          The triggering wheel and sensor produce both the the ignition coil saturation and the collapse of the electrical field.

          When the triggering event allows the coil field to collapsed, we get high voltage output from the secondary winding.

          This high voltage is directed towards each cylinder's spark plug.

          We call this a "triggering event".

          With the electronic ignition, there is no spark being produced as a result of the initial triggering.

          However, the ignition distributor "rotor" directs the now discharged high voltage towards each cylinder's high tension cable contact tower. [/color]

          [size]6 wrote:
          [color]red wrote:
          The spark that occurs at this very location (within the distributor cap from the high tension lead tower, to the rotor, and then to each plug wire tower contact) could potentially ignite gasoline fuel vapors if the ignition distributor was not "Ignition Source Protected".[/color][/size]

          This came to my attention when a mechanic was admiring my boat in the haul out yard, and he immediately informed me that the distributors were not marine and that my fuel economy would be in the toilet.

          [color]blue wrote:
          Well, he missed an important aspect of it.

          As Dave mentioned, the advance curve is incorrect for your Marine Engine!

          Excessive ignition advance can lead to Detonation.... of which is extremely harmful to the Marine Gasser.

          [/color]

          When I asked him about hazard of operation, he said it is not an explosive hazard but that the boat won't run efficiently with those distributors.

          [color]blue wrote:
          He is incorrect and for the reasons that I've mentioned above.[/color]

          Everywhere else on the web all I see is that these are explosive hazards but no one has explained what about them is the danger. I'm just looking for a thorough understanding. Thanks in advance

          [color]blue wrote:
          As for the vacuum advance, this is an automotive feature whereby the Auto Engine undergoes "coast time".

          "Coast Time" allows for and creates manifold pressure (I.E., vacuum).

          As manifold pressure increases, the vacuum diaphragm pulls the triggering plate towards the rotation of the triggering wheel.

          This ads ignition advance over that of the "mechanical" advance.

          The Marine Engine has no coast time, therefor does not benefit from any form of vacuum advance.

          Not to mention that the vacuum advance ignition distributor is not ignition source protected...... it does not need to be!

          Bottom line....... I would suggest that you get that out of there ASAP and install a good Marine Ignition system....... and preferably one that is [size]5 wrote:
          NOT using the Pertronix Style "Hall Effect" Triggering.[/size]
          [/color]

          .
          Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
          2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
          Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
          Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
          Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

          Comment


            #6
            Gotta love a great explanation!
            Dave
            Edmonds, WA
            "THE FIX"
            '93 2556
            Carbureted 383 Vortec-Bravo II 2.0:1 18 1/4x19 P

            The rebuild of my 2556 https://www.baylinerownersclub.org/f...76?view=thread
            Misc. projects thread
            https://www.baylinerownersclub.org/f...56-gctid789773

            Comment


              #7
              "builderdude" post=822116 wrote:
              Gotta love a great explanation!
              I was too lazy to type all that hahaha. That is why we keep Rick around lol
              1989 Avanti 3450 Sunbridge
              twin 454's
              MV Mar-Y-Sol
              1979 Bayliner Conquest 3150 hardtop ocean express.
              Twin chevy 350's inboard
              Ben- Jamin
              spokane Washington

              Comment


                #8
                That's it? That's the only reason?
                Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
                2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
                Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
                Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
                Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

                Comment


                  #9
                  "builderdude" post=822116 wrote:
                  Gotta love a great explanation!
                  I was too lazy to type all that hahaha. That is why we keep Rick around lol
                  1989 Avanti 3450 Sunbridge
                  twin 454's
                  MV Mar-Y-Sol
                  1979 Bayliner Conquest 3150 hardtop ocean express.
                  Twin chevy 350's inboard
                  Ben- Jamin
                  spokane Washington

                  Comment


                    #10
                    thank you very much for this detailed response, Rick. I get it. I do intend to install 2 new distributors asap and not use the boat til I do. If you get a minute, please advise which distributors and what else I need to replace the hei's. Thanks

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Ask nice Rick may choose to post a recommendation.
                      Be good, be happy, for tomorrow is promised to no man !

                      1994 2452, 5.0l, Alpha gen. 2 drive. Sold ! Sold ! Sold !

                      '86 / 19' Citation cuddy, Merc. 3.0L / 140 hp 86' , stringer drive. Sold ! Sold ! Sold !

                      Manalapan N.J

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Rick, Is the Pertronix you frown on the same as Sierra? I have seen Sierra conversion kits that include external coil and plug wires which bear the same "Flame Thrower" labeling as others show on Billett or Pertronix? Whats the deal?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hi Rick

                          Why do you say don't use Pertronix?

                          Have twin 5.7's. One engine has pertronix and the other had points. On average the points engine is costing me $100+ more per trip.

                          I don't have my fuel records with me to give exact numbers. I'm usually putting in 375 to 450 litres per fill to top up both tanks.

                          Both engines idle and run smooth. Both engines now have pertronix. I'll see how the fuel consumption is on my next trip.
                          1988 3218
                          Triple “O"
                          Hino diesels

                          Seadoo Wake 170

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Ron wrote:

                            thank you very much for this detailed response, Rick. I get it. I do intend to install 2 new distributors asap and not use the boat til I do. If you get a minute, please advise which distributors and what else I need to replace the hei's. Thanks

                            My preferred ignition triggering system would be VR. VR = Variable Reluctor.... also known as "Magnetic Triggering".

                            Chrysler Corp pioneered the VR technology back in the early 70s, and it has stood the test of time in both the Auto and Marine worlds.

                            Mallory refers to their GM VR unit as a YLM........ M = Magnetic.

                            The Reluctor wheel is a precision-ally machined star-like wheel.

                            Each star like point (tooth) is magnetically charged.

                            As each star point (tooth) passes the sensor, it creates a flux impulse.

                            This impulse (upon completion) triggers one spark event.

                            Photo-Eye triggering is similar in that a light beam is interrupted by a precision-ally manufactured photo-eye wheel.

                            This wheel incorporates "windows" that allow and interrupt the light beam.

                            As each window passes by the sensor (making and breaking the light beam) one spark event is triggered.

                            Hall Effect also creates an impulse that the sensor uses for triggering.

                            Hall Effect is widely used today, and in many applications.

                            However, the way in which Pertronix incorporates the Hall Effect principle for their ignition systems lacks accuracy..... I would not be willing to accept this.



                            Ron wrote:

                            Rick, Is the Pertronix you frown on the same as Sierra?

                            I would need to see the Sierra system. I believe that Sierra is involved with Mallory, Pertronix and several others.

                            I have seen Sierra conversion kits that include external coil and plug wires which bear the same "Flame Thrower" labeling as others show on Billett or Pertronix? Whats the deal?

                            OK..... if this is a conversion "Kit" , then it is likely the Pertronix kit that uses Hall Effect triggering.

                            This would be the same basic style of Hall Effect triggering as used with the complete new Pertonix distributor.

                            What is not commonly discussed regarding the "Conversion KIT", is that a Pertonix conversion kit does ZERO to correct any shaft wobble or inaccuracy with the advancing mechanism within an older ignition distributor.

                            This is one reason why I cringe when I read that someone has gone to a Conversion Kit.


                            Joe wrote:

                            Hi Rick

                            Why do you say don't use Pertronix?

                            In a nut shell, they create their version of Hall Effect triggering by embedding the sensor magnets into a die cast plastic triggering wheel.

                            The diameter is small, causing any error to become exaggerated.

                            Pertronix themselves have admitted to seeing errors from 1 to 1-1/2 degrees.

                            In my opinion..... the Hall Effect principle works very well in other applications whereby the diameter is larger, and whereby the magnet portion incorporates much more precision.

                            The way in which Pertronix uses Hall Effect lacks accuracy! It is cheesy at best! They should be embarrassed! :blush:


                            Have twin 5.7's. One engine has pertronix and the other had points. On average the points engine is costing me $100+ more per trip.

                            Check the ignition curve on both engines before you make any further changes.

                            Start with BASE advance and take Ignition Advance Degree readings at each increment of 250 rpm up to 3,500 rpm.

                            Use these numbers and plot out a curve graph.

                            Compare both engine's curve graphs.

                            ****************************************

                            To the left is a Pertronix kit. Note the black plastic ring (or wheel).

                            This small diameter plastic ring contains the small embedded magnets of which create the triggering.

                            To the right is a VR reluctor wheel.

                            Although also small in diameter, it is made from carbon steel with extreme precision.




                            Attached files

                            Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
                            2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
                            Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
                            Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
                            Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I found Delco marine distributor conversion kits that I would like to proceed with, but I have counter rotating engines. Port turning left hand, starboard turning right hand. How can I determine if both distributors are common rotation? Is it as simple as pulling cap and bumping motors.? BTW, this is an old classic boat, 1976 Jeffries 32' with Crusader 454's. I found Thermo Electron tags with serial numbers but have yet to find block id's other than the manifold numbers. The Thermo Electron tag gives model number CH350 and serial number 20298 (on starboard). I have a hard time believing these are the original factory installed motors but maybe they have undergone rebuilds over the years without replacement. Still running strong.

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