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Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by Eleven, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Eleven

    Eleven Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have been reading old posts on this and still have some questions. I had to replace my points dizzy because it was worn and the rotor shaft was wobbling too much. I got a Pertronics and a Pert. coil. Never been happy. Car is tough to start, especially when cold but fine after that if not a bit lumpy. 32/36 carb: plugs are tannish gray so probably a bit lean. Mainly it is the starting issue when it is not a warm day. Even 50 degrees will make it tough to go. I read sometime ago, but couldn't find the post, that the Pert coil (Flame thrower?) was not all that great on start up. Should I look to change that with something else?
    Again, the car runs fine once started but boy, it is like my 15 year old was, not getting out of bed before noon...
    If I could go back to points I would in a New York minute.
    Thank you for any thoughts!
  2. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor


  3. Eleven

    Eleven Platinum Level Sponsor

    Nah. Choke is fine although the car does not like to be choked. 32/36. I am not grinding away except when it is cold outside. It will crank maybe 10 to 20 times then reluctantly go. It just should be better. I am not sure the coil is the culprit but I do remember some discussion on that. I know RootesRacer does not like Pert, at least that is what an old post seemed to say. I can't do anything about that as my budget is dedicated to getting wheels on the car.
    I've been through timing, carbs, etc. I am thinking of regapping the plugs to about .028 to see if a fatter spark will do the job. Probably melt the engine. sheesh. I guess Alpine life is not too bad when you are complaining about stuff like this!
    Am going out to the garage and putting my points coil on just for fun.
    Thanks Bill! Always enjoy your stuff here,
  4. Eleven

    Eleven Platinum Level Sponsor

    Well crumb. Changed the coil to a points type, car fired right up. Doesn't mean much, weather is nice and it could have done that with the Pert. Will go with this for a while. Meanwhile, found that #4 is oiling its plug a bit. Probably has a lot to do with the starting. Put new plugs in but that won't change a great deal, it will oil the new one.
    Can't do much about the oiling issue, not about to rebuild the mill at this point.
    Anyway, any thoughts on the Pert coil is still appreciated.
  5. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Tracy, do you have the stock SV ballast resistor in place? Do you have the bypass wire from the solenoid in place? Was the Pertronix coil designed to work with a Ballast resistor? I suspect you have a defective Pert coil. Maybe has a built in Ballast resistor.

  6. venice532

    venice532 Silver Level Sponsor

    I'll bet Tom nailed it.
    With the resister you need a 1.5 ohm coil and without it you need a 3.0 coil.
    They look the same so it's confusing.

    When I first put a pertronix module in a stock distributor the car ran but badly. Once I realized realized the coil was a 3 ohm I removed the resistor and it ran great.
  7. Eleven

    Eleven Platinum Level Sponsor

    I don't think I have a ballast resistor in line. If it is the ceramic piece, I removed that when I put in the Pert. The Pertronix is 3.0 Ohms. I just put the Pertronix back in and it started fine but it is very warm here today. If it was in the 50's, would be very reluctant. Oiled plug or not, it should kick over even if it doesn't start in the cold but it does not.
    I think the Pertronix has a built in resistor if I remember right.
    Thank you Tom and Bob for your ideas. Put new plugs in, a little better but you would expect that. Would valve adjustment cause some lumpy running? The valves are noisy right now and I might have to get back in there and adjust.

    Attached Files:

  8. hartmandm

    hartmandm Moderator Platinum Level Sponsor

    You don't have the cold weather starting circuit anymore. Seems like a possible reason for harder starts in colder weather.

  9. Eleven

    Eleven Platinum Level Sponsor

    The wiring between the old coil and the Pertronix is not the same.
    The factory SV wiring diagram shows the coil having two wires. WB (white/black) going to the Distributor on the + side. On the minus side it shows W for white going to the Tach. The diagram shows no ballast resistor.
    On mine, I have a Red wire (Pertronix supplied) going to the distributor from the + side and a black wire from the - side going to the distributor. The white wire to the tach is also on the + side.
    Since everything seems to work, I guess this is correct. My guess is the Red wire is the primary and the black a ground. Curious that the diagram shows no wire to ground unless the factory coil case is the ground. Also that the tach is now moved to the + side.
    Since I installed it I am sure that I followed the Pertronix wiring scheme but with me you never actually know...
    It's scary to think that in the service I was a Pershing Missile (Nuclear) Fire Control Specialist isn't it.
  10. hartmandm

    hartmandm Moderator Platinum Level Sponsor

    The factory wiring diagram is missing the cold weather starting circuit that has the 1.5 ohm ballast resistor, 1.5 ohm coil, and wire from the starting solenoid to the coil. It only shows the setup when the coil is 3 ohms, which is the warmer weather markets.

  11. 65beam

    65beam Platinum Level Sponsor

    Pertronix unit in distributor with stock coil and ballast resistor. It's been this way for years and does not have the cold start circuit. Starts fine, runs great. The series 5 has the same set up. 107_1010.JPG

    Attached Files:

  12. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    If you install the stock coil but without the ballast resistor, then you are probably running a higher spark voltage when that coil is in place. Maybe this is overcoming some bad plugs, or too large a spark gap on some or all plugs. I am not surprised that 65Beam's Alpine runs and starts well without the cold start ballast bypass circuit. I think the cold start circuit is really only needed at below freezing temperatures. It probably always helps a bit, but if all is in tune and up to snuff it's likely not needed.

  13. 65beam

    65beam Platinum Level Sponsor

    I use a hotter plug and have always kept the plugs properly gapped. The use of the Pertronics unit eliminated me having to use the dwell meter. Another thing to remember about my cars is that if the outside temp is cold , the cars stay in the garage.
  14. Eleven

    Eleven Platinum Level Sponsor

    What does a ballast resistor do. Pertonix says mine is internally resisted so I assume that is the same thing
  15. Hodee

    Hodee Gold Level Sponsor

    Bob, what is the hotter plug and gap you are using? Curious...
  16. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Tracy, the ballast resistor reduces the voltage that the coil gets. But the coil, for a ballast system, is designed to produce full spark with that reduced input voltage. So the spark is the same as any system while running. BUT the advantage of using the ballast system is for better starting when very cold. When cold cranking, the extra load on the starter and battery almost always reduces the battery voltage while cranking, meaning less voltage to the coil and less spark voltage. This typically results in poor spark and poor starting. BUT there is an extra contact on our SV starter solenoid. This extra contact is connected via a wire across the top of the firewall directly to the coil, bypassing the ballast resistor. Thus the full available battery voltage is applied to the coil. So now, even though the battery voltage is lower due to the cold cranking, the coil is getting a compensating boost by the fact that the ballast resistor is bypassed.

    I noticed the improved cold weather starting decades ago. My old SIV, which for years my my daily driver car, was a real bear to start in the dead of Cleveland winters. But I had much less problem when I got an SV a few years later- still my daily driver car.

    As 65Beam notes, the ballast and boost is probably not needed if you have taken good care with your plugs and are not starting in really cold temps. But your experience with the Pertronix and then stock (without ballast) coil, would seem to indicate less than great plugs (or possibly old , leaky wires).

  17. gary1725

    gary1725 Donation Time

    Hi Tom - Same question - what plug are you using and why did you change?
  18. 65beam

    65beam Platinum Level Sponsor

    I've had three or maybe four series 5 over the years and none had the extra wiring to the coil. We bought Jean's blue car from a customer of SS that lived about 20 minutes from Rick. I wonder if the cold start was installed on cars sold there. The series 4 cold start wire suffered many years ago from a malfunction of the solenoid which fried the wire and the sleeve covering it but because the cars are only used from April thru early October depending on temps I don't have the wiring on any of the cars. It's been 10 years since I restored the 69 and I don't remember if it has the extra wire. It does have a different starter and the solenoid is mounted on the starter. I remember a tech session at a TE/AE United years ago where the person was a Brit that had worked for Lucas many years. He said the original coils on Beams were 6 volt coils and had date codes on the bottom showing the year of production. The coil on the blue car is date coded 1967 so it is old.
  19. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Gary, I'm not sure I understand your question. I was describing my experience when I got an SV after my SIV died back in the 70's. My statement about "less than great plugs" was a reference to Tracy's situation, suggesting that what he experienced in his coil swap he did recently may indicate he has faulty plugs ( fouled, or misgapped)leaky wires. I don't remember what plugs I used back in the 70's nor what plugs I installed in my current SV when I rebuilt the engine 11 years ago.
  20. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Bob, I am surprised to hear that none of your Series 5's had the ballast resistor circuit. Both Series 5's I have had including my present one which came from New Orleans, and I suspect was originally sold there, had the circuit. Of course it's not just the extra wire, but most easily identified as having a ballast resistor in place. I guess it's possible that Alpines shipped to Southern locations might have not had the circuit, but I would be surprised if the factory varied their product with more variation than simply by country. While researching this I came across this explanation of the ballast resistor from page B40 of WSM 145. I did not find any similar description in WSM 124.:

    Ballast resistance unit This unit is fitted to cars exported to territories where extremely cold starting conditions occur. It is used with a 7 volt coil and under all running conditions. other than starting. reduces the battery voltage to 7 volts. While the starter motor is operating. and the battery voltage reduced to approximately 9 volts due to the heavy current discharge through the starter. a pair of contacts inside the starter solenoid shorts out the ballast resistance. This allows a 9 volt feed to the 7 volt coil which causes the coil to give a very high output needed for starting under adverse conditions while the starter is operating. Directly the engine starts and the solenoid switch is opened. the ballast resistance comes back into the primary circuit and the voltage fed to the coil is reduced to 7 volts.

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