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Electronic Ignition Upgrade for your Datsun 320 Truck


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#41 wayno

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 07:22 PM

I hate 320 distributors, they do all sorts of weird shit, that is why I wrote this article.

I have a MG Midget distributor with a Crane ignition system on my positive ground truck, I went this route because I could keep it positive ground.

I also made up a Matchbox distributor for the same truck, I used a very slightly modified J13 distributor mount to mount the matchbox, the only thing I didn't like about that setup was that the distributor drive key didn't drop into the drive shaft as far as I would have liked but it started and the engine ran fine, my NL320 has that setup to this day without any issues, Mike showed how to do the mount plate in his NL320 thread, look at the first page, the 320 mount will not work on this distributor.

http://community.rat...mklotz70-nl320/

I bought this distributor for my RHD U320 as it has to have a side entry cap as the steering column is in the way, I have yet to use it/mount it.

https://www.ebay.com...FF_hQ7w&vxp=mtr

This one will likely work and has the mount plate on it, but I don't know the brand.

https://www.ebay.com...H1UA3V4&vxp=mtr

That Lucus one you picked I know nothing about, it has points so it doesn't interest me.

The high energy power spark will also likely work and it comes with everything including the mount bracket, that is likely an install it, start it, time it and go.

Keep in mind that the Matchbox and that used MG Midget distributor with the Crane ignition I have mounted on my engine and I ran were both in my garage, I never drove it father than a couple blocks, the Matchbox Mike mounted in my truck when he owned it has been driven daily when he had it and I drove it a lot at first and it runs great.

320 distributors are hard to find parts for, and the parts that can be found are expensive, these MG distributors have aftermarket support, the distributors made to fit MGs that are not made by MG have aftermarket caps/rotors, and I don't know where one gets them parts.

 

It's all about doing your homework, I figured this stuff out by accident, I pulled a distributor out of a MG 1500 block and blinked several times, I then got my measuring tape out and started measuring stuff and when it looked the same I tried it and it worked to my surprise.


 

 


#42 datzenmike

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 08:11 PM

Replace your fuel filter. Problem of jerking will go away. It's not the distributor.


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#43 difrangia

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 06:53 AM

Check the little wire that connects the terminal on the points to the terminal in the side of the distributor housing. It's probably an inch or shorter in length. The housing terminal has stepped insulator bushings as it must not contact the body which is a ground. My guess is that the short wire connecting these two items has a break that opens when accelerating which rotates the point plate via the vacumn advance. Disconnect your vacumn line from the carb, plug the line and accelerate the engine. If it's the little wire causing an open circuit it won't cough or stumble but won't accelerate like it does when the vacumn is hooked up and working properly.

 

I had this problem on mine when I first started driving it before the rebuild. The short wire was broken and would contact when idling but when the point plate rotated, the circuit would make-break.  I had to come up with the insulators for the housing terminal as a previous owner had jurry-rigged some garbage in for the insulators and make up a new wire. Drove it for a year with no ignition problems till I pulled the engine.


Better to have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy !!


#44 emceefarlane

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 04:35 PM

could also be the leads breaking down under load. i had a similar issue in an old Subaru of mine, new leads solved it



#45 Roys320

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 04:58 PM

Regarding the distributer, I really like the AccuSpark 45D4 I installed. I would absolutely do it again. But, it shows that any 45D4 (or earlier version) can be used. So you can get points or electronic. The side wire caps are available. The 45D4 actually looks exactly like the stock dizzy except it's aluminum.

 

I also agree with the suggestion about your fuel filter. It sounds like you aren't getting enough flow for one reason or another. Fuel pump? Mine bucks some when it's cold, but it always likes the choke on a little. I'm thinking it might be that I need to open the main jet or adjust the air mixture screw because of the ethanol (alcohol) in gas now. The more alcohol you burn the more rich you have to be. If the original set up was on the lean side, adding alcohol might lean it out too much. Just something I'm working on so don't run out and re-jet your carb!



#46 datzenmike

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:22 PM

I don't know what the filter costs but for the L series it's a few bucks.... which is a lot less than the cost of an un-needed distributor that won't fix the problem if it is. For $3 or $4 there's no harm in changing it anyway. Should be done every two years. If you don't know or remember when it was last changed... IT'S TIME


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#47 wayno

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:23 PM

I would never run that crap gas(ethanol in any percentage) in anything except a daily driver, that stuff is nasty, it eats your metal tanks when it sits undisturbed, in my opinion one should also have a return line if your running that crap to keep it mixed up.

Find a station around you and buy non-ethanol fuel for your classics with metal tanks and your lawn mower, pressure washer, blower, weed eater, snow blower, anything with a small engine.

I have heard several customers of mine complain that their year old equipment with a gas engine won't start anymore, I tell them to dump the fuel out of it, take the bowl drain screw out and pour gas into the tank and let a little bit run out of the bowl before putting the screw back in, I have been given an almost $2000.00 pressure washer because of this, I took the gas cap off and turned it upside down and poured out that crap gas, I then did what I said above, and around the 4th/5th pull it started.


 

 


#48 difrangia

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:42 PM

Amen on the Ethanol.

 

Burning up our food !!


Better to have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy !!


#49 wayno

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 06:24 PM

Is that corn really edible?


 

 


#50 320 Newb

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 07:54 PM

I took my dizzy apart and I think there was a short--I think it was maybe grounding out. I fixed it, put it back together, and its running way better. No more chugging through acceleration. 

 

It looks like there's a red wire and a black wire that comes from the electronic distributors. If the black wire goes to the coil, where does the red wire go?



#51 wayno

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 08:05 PM

I am fairly sure the red wire goes to the positive side of the coil and the black wire goes to the negative side of the coil, just like the Matchbox distributor.


 

 


#52 datzenmike

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 08:06 PM

If it's an actual Nissan EI distributor...

 

ZOkbBht.jpg

 

Here are the C and B terminals...

GpClKzm.jpg

 

 

Canadian gas is up to 10% ethanol. My weed eater jug of mix lasts at least two years. I leave rte weed eater outside leaning against the shed wall. Every spring three pulls and it starts. My 710 sits from August to may and takes quite a few cranks to get the gas up to the carb but starts/runs normally other wise. Maybe the gas is different here.

 

On trips to Canby I don't notice anything different with the gas, but I don't drive the shit out of it to notice either.


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#53 difrangia

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 05:16 AM

Is that corn really edible?

 

'Old McDonald's' farm animals eat the corn.

 

I eat the animals.

 

Fritos, hominy, Corn Flakes, etc. ain't half bad at times either.


Better to have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy !!


#54 datzenmike

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 05:34 AM

MMmmm GM corn


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#55 320 Newb

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:02 AM

The rig is running WAY better but when I shut it off it rumbles a little then puffs a little smoke out the air cleaner snorkel. Is that symptom of timing that needs adjusted or perhaps my carb needs adjusted? I'm running a new carb and I'm not confident I have the richness or idle speed dialed in.



#56 datzenmike

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:26 AM

It's called 'run on' or 'dieseling' and is caused by the engine firing the cylinder without any spark from the ignition. Like a diesel it uses engine heat and heat from compression to do this. So, there are many ways to calm this down but if your idle mixture is too rich I would start there.

 

Turn the mixture screw in slowly and idle speed my increase or decrease. If it should decrease turn the other way, but set it where the idle speed is fastest. There is about 1/2 turn of range where it's this good. Just do your best to set in the middle. Now turn the idle speed down and repeat. Assuming the idle speed is improved, turn it down. Repeat until idle quality is the best you can make it and the idle speed remains unchanged. Could take 8-10 tries or only 2. It's best if the engine is in good tune with valve clearance and timing set first. If the idle mix is right and the idle speed proper it should shut off with the key.

 

Things that can cause or contribute to 'run on'.

 

TOO high an idle speed

Engine running too hot.

Too hot a spark plug range

Carb flooding causing carbon to form in the combustion chamber. Could be choke left on or not set right

Compression too high for the gas octane used

Poor low octane gas used

Improper timing

 

If all else fails to fix do what I did with my '70 Dart with 10.5 compression. Hold brake on, place in 4th, lift clutch to lug the idle down slightly and then turn off ignition. Engine will stall quickly, wair for it to stop and let clutch up all the way.


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#57 wayno

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 09:07 AM

People are so used to automatics these days, take it out of gear and turn it off which don't work with these vehicles/engines.

 

I shut mine down by coming to a stop(foot is on the brake to stop anyway), while leaving it in gear and keeping my foot on the brake I turn the key off and let out the clutch at the same time, there is no run on, and it is in gear like it should be when I park it.

If you leave your vehicle in neutral when parked one day you will regret it, others have done this and paid the price, the truck rolls down hill and hits something, a tree, another vehicle, the house, and if your unlucky it could end up in the road or worse when your not home.


 

 


#58 datzenmike

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 10:08 AM

I always park in gear and emergency brake on. Always use the e brake. Constant use, if for no other reason, keeps the cables and linkages shiny and rust free. So when you do use it, it doesn't stick or jam on that one time a year you do. It also reminds you that it needs adjusting. Face It, your brakes are the most important device on your vehicle. The e brake backs this up.   


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#59 distributorguy

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 12:54 PM

Richen it up.  Fuel cools hot spots.  Hot spots cause run-on.  Of course so do vacuum leaks, so if the carb isn't sealed to the manifold or the manifold to the block, a vacuum leak will usually make your idle higher not lower.  

 

The hatred for 320 distributors is because they get gummed up internally.  They need oil - never grease on the advance weights.  They also need the proper amount of spring tension, and a little less advance than the factory put into the distributors.  Then they work great - FAR better than a shitty knock-off of a 45D distributor online.  I can buy those "Accuspark" distributors for $18 delivered to my doorstep.  I don't sell them because they are pure Crap.  Yes, crap with a capital C.  



#60 datzenmike

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 01:02 PM

How is a leaner mixture going to make the idle go up? When the idle screw is turned in (less fuel) the idle drops.

 

When my vacuum hose from the intake falls off the snorkel, the engine will barely idle and stalls.

 

I've never see the idle go up unless the choke is on and it's running rich.


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