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IS there an electronic ignition option for the 1438CC OHV engine

Discussion in 'Front-Engine Rear Drive Fiats' started by JimD, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    I have a 124 Special sedan, is there an electronic ignition set up from any Spider that would work for the 1438 push rod engine in my sedan? Just wondering at this point.
     
  2. kmead

    kmead True Classic

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I would look at an Igniter MR-LS3, I have one but haven't installed it yet on my 1438, the same thing works on my 850 as both of the distributors have the advance mechanisms on top so the typical units cannot be used.

    There is also a Lancia block mounted distributor which can also be used which came as an electronic unit from the factory, I don't recall if they use a vacuum advance but it may. Check with Gregg, he may know as some folks have used them on Scorpions.
     
  3. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
  4. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
  5. kmead

    kmead True Classic

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    :thumbsup:
     
  6. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Pertronix product list

    I checked the product list for which module to use for my 124. It is listed as using a MR-LS1 unit. I will need to investigate what distributor I have before getting serious. I notice that the specs don't mention which engine is in the car, OHV or DOHC.

    Year : 1971-77
    Cyl : 4
    Model : 124, 125 Special, 127 Berlina
    Distributor Notes : Marelli S134, S144, S145, S146, S147
    Ignitor Model : MR-LS1
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  7. 128kid

    128kid Courtney Waters

    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I have the Lancia block-mount unit on my 124 wagon (1197cc pushrod). It is mechanical advance only and works awesome.
     
  8. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Found my distributor model #

    I looked at the 124 Sedan/Wagon distributors shown on MWB today and thanks to their pictures I was able to see where Marelli puts the model # on the unit.

    I cleaned the grime off my 124s distributor housing and found that my car has a Marelli S147 distributor, which means I should get the MR-LS1. That's what the Pertronix product listing recommended based on the year and model of my car, so I guess their website is fairly accurate. I think I will definitely get one of these Ignitors in the near future.

    Should I get the Pertronix Flamethrower coil too? I am sure the coil in my car is as original as everything else. The coil says Magneti Marelli on top and has a little box strapped to it. A red wire from the coil goes to a post on the box, then a green wire comes off the box's other post. This green wire connects to a black wire coming out of the base of the distributor.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Is the little white box a resistor? Will I need it is I get a new coil? I will start searching to see if I can find the answers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  9. kmead

    kmead True Classic

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    The 3 manages dwell better than the 1 for high rpm engines (thus maybe overkill for your pushrods motor).

    The coil you have uses a resister which you won't need if you change to a more modern coil such as their Flamethrower.
     
  10. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Thanks Karl

    Thanks for the answers Karl. I will add this project to the list. :)
     
  11. Fiataccompli

    Fiataccompli Chris Granju

    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I had in the back of my mind the Lancia Beta electronic ign distributor was the ideal go-to. I think I gifted to a friend 20 years ago the only spare one I've owned.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. bradartigue

    bradartigue True Classic

  13. myredracer

    myredracer New Member

    There is a Marelli electronic setup for a 124 OHV engine. I bought one off ebay in Italy for my 1300/124. If I am looking at the right box I have, it says it's for a Spider 2000 and is also marked "SM 800 CX". If you do decide to order one (if you can find one) be aware that there are two different shaft lengths. The wrong part number got sent to me and I had to return it for an exchange with the correct one (was not easy either as the seller did not know english).
     
  14. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    I plan to use the Pertronix MR-LS1 ignition when I get around to this project. That way I can keep the exiting distributor which I know fits without any guessing on my part.
     
  15. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Just to wrap this up. I installed the Pertronix MR-LS1 ignition today along with a Pertronix coil called a Flamethrower... oh... I hope not. Anyway, after the usual futzing around I finally got it installed. The car fired right up and the timing was pretty much right where I had it set. I say pretty much, because I can't really remember how it was set. I had it advanced a bit, but how much is a bit? :) I took a short test drive because it was rush hour and I wasn't in the mood to tangle with the locals. It felt really good that it came to life without any major issues... so far.

    To elaborate on the futzing: The kit has a pre-drilled mounting plate that has various holes so the kit can work with small diameter cams or larger diameter, as well as 4cyl or 6cyl set ups. When I figured out which way everything should go for the 124, I found that one of the screws that secures the little controller to the mounting plate was too close to the screw that holds the mounting plate to the distributor. There was no way the two could be tightened as is, since they very slightly overlapped. I tightened the controller screw and marked the edge with a Sharpie where the mounting plate screw touched it when inserted. I removed and re-tightened it a few times to make sure the marked area landed in the same orientation each time. Then I took it apart and ground the marked edge of the controller screw until the two screws cleared each other when tightened. It took a few frustrating iterations, but I got it done.

    UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot the part where I had to grind down my deep well 7mm socket to get the rotor off. I must have been blocking the memory. This task cost me an hour.. The manual shows two screws holding the cap on, my car had two 7mm bolts with very little clearance around them. I had to grind material off the circumference of the socket little by little till I got it to fit over the bolts. :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    Dr.Jeff likes this.
  16. kmead

    kmead True Classic

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Glad to hear it worked out. Keep us informed about how it goes. I have heard great things about Igniters and hope that they are right. Especially since I have one too and intend to put another one on my 1438 twin cam.

    So far my experience is limited on my 850.

    Nice one on your socket. What a pain.
     
  17. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    Regarding coils, this is a topic better answered by one of our electrical experts (Bob Brown or whomever else is watching?). But different types of ignition systems seem to be designed for particular types of coils. For example some may need a resistor on the coil while others not (and some coils have an internal resistor) so it may not be obvious if you have the right coil. And there are other electrical values to consider with coils (again, this is not my expertise). The ignition manufacturer will likely recommend their own coil however if you know the requirements of the system then you can match any coil with the correct specifications. Frankly I don't what happens when you have a different spec coil attached to the ignition but I imagine it will shorten the life of one or the other. Have I sounded dumb enough for one of the experts to chime in yet? :confused:
     
  18. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    If you go to the Pertronix website's Ignitor lookup page and put in your distributor model it will tell you what you need for the ignition module and coil. My 124 Special has a Marelli S147 in it. So I bought the Pertronix coil (#40511) that the lookup said goes with the MR-LS1 ignition module. It seems to run a little smoother, especially on the highway.
     
    Dr.Jeff likes this.
  19. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Just a quick follow up. I have driven the car a fair amount over the last 2 weeks. The Pertronix is working fine. The car seems to be starting easier and running smoother, especially on the highway.
     
    Dr.Jeff likes this.
  20. kmead

    kmead True Classic

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Good news. Glad to hear it.
     

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