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Electronic Ignition Upgrade for your Datsun 320 Truck


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#61 wayno

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 02:31 PM

Well I gave up on my 320 distributors, I could get it to run one day and the next day it would not even start, I ruined a battery running it down so many times trying to get that damned engine to start, it sometimes would hit maybe once but it would not start.

I did alright with a Pertronix unit modified to fit in the 320 distributor, but after I double clicked and smoked the second unit I gave up on that also(kind of expensive lesson), but it sure started way better. 

Then I modified a Matchbox to fit and it started and ran way better, that was just before I pulled the distributor out of that MG Midget engine, but the matchbox will not work positive ground, as the housing is a dedicated ground and cannot be changed, now if my/this 320 had been converted over to negative ground a Matchbox is a great distributor to use as that is what is in my NL320, but my L320 is still positive ground and that is where the Crane ignition system works for me, it has an optical trigger and can be wired for positive ground, and it runs the best it has ever run since I have owned the truck.

I did buy one of them "Accuspark" side entry cap distributors for the other 320 I have as it is RHD and has to have a side entry cap, but I have not installed it yet as that one has started every time so far, well after I put a shitload of time working on that distributor, it's the only one I have left with a stock distributor.

The fact is we cannot get parts for these 320 OEM distributors, we cannot buy new ones either, when ebay has a dist. cap for sale it is over $40.00 plus shipping, I have not seen points or ROTORS for sale publicly since I bought what Tana had(I bought 3 complete tune up kits and I believe I got the last of the rotors) which is the only reason that RHD 320 still has a 320 distributor in it.

These MG/Triumph type distributors are basically the only thing that will keep these 320s on the road unless someone starts making ignition parts for them again.


 

 


#62 Roys320

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:25 PM

I would have probably kept the original dizzy, but without parts, and it isn't parked in a Datsun Museum, it only makes sense to make the change. The AccuSpark as well as the other 45D4's look like the original. It almost looks like they shared the casting. I really like driving this truck and now I can. I hate to say it, but I'm selling it and having it run well probably will help.



#63 320 Newb

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 07:40 PM

I left my key turned on for a few hours while doing body work and the points must have been in the closed position. Dizzy and coil fried. Including the rotor. Looks like my stock dizzy is permanently retired. I think I'm going to replace it with a refurbished Lucas points distributor. 



#64 wayno

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 08:29 PM

I didn't know that could happen, I have left my key on all the time in the past and didn't have anything like that happen.

All my daily drivers are diesel or have electronic ignition, I only have two points distributors left, a 320 and my 67 Roadster which hasn't been out of the garage in a couple years now.


 

 


#65 datzenmike

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:05 PM

Well that could happen to a Lucas (Prince of Darkness) distributor too. Try to find or make an electronic ignition and up grade. Wayno will an A series matchbox fit or be close enough to make it fit??

 

The EI system has a circuit that shuts it off if you leave the key on and the engine is not running. You can't harm it or the coil.


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#66 wayno

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:19 PM

I never really sat the two distributors side by side, I will go get an A series and compare them.


 

 


#67 wayno

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:06 PM

Well it turns out I have 2 different A series matchbox distributors, one is gear driven and it doesn't have the drive slot that all  my other distributors have.

DSCN7372.jpg

 

DSCN7376.jpg

I have no idea what the gear driven one is for, I bought it as an A series Matchbox, as you can see there is no slot in the end of the shaft, I can still likely use it as the slot does't drive anything in the E1/J13.

The other matchbox with a slot appears to be the same as the L series matchbox without the pedestals on either of them, but I would have to install one in a E1/J15 block to know for sure, the weird one with the gear also has a mount plate like the J13 distributor which likely can be modified like the J13 series plate to mount to the E1 block which makes things easier.

Like I said, to know for sure I would have to take the drive piece off the A series dist. and replace it with the E/J series drive parts and install it to know for sure if it will work in the E1/J13 blocks, but it looks good so far.

There is also another difference between the A series and L series matchbox distributors, the L series(on left) has a smooth shaft from top to bottom, while the A series has lower spots in the middle of the high spots on the top and bottom, I have no idea if this will effect anything.

DSCN7377.jpg


 

 


#68 distributorguy

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 06:12 AM

The A-series needs a slot cut into the shaft to mate to the drive.  

The J will interchange with Lucas, and even some Dodge.  Also a few 60's Volvos if you swap the drive dog.  



#69 Charlie69

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 06:14 AM

Here is a link to Mike Klotz's L motor match box distributor Upgrade.

 

http://www.bluehands...es-engines.html



#70 Roys320

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 03:14 PM

I'll have to check, but the E1 drive with the offset slot looks a lot like an air-cooled VW. Bosch made good dizzys.



#71 distributorguy

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 05:53 AM

I'll have to check, but the E1 drive with the offset slot looks a lot like an air-cooled VW. Bosch made good dizzys.

 

But it spins the opposite direction and the "teeth" are a different offset and width.  



#72 320 Newb

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 06:16 PM

^^^^Shoutout to Distributorguy he knows his stuff. He coached me on the casting markings for the old Lucas 25d distributors and I picked up a rebuilt one from the early 60s on eBay for $100. Gapped the points and my truck runs like new. Starts first crank, idles beautifully. Feels peppy when I accelerate. 

 

I thought I was having problems getting the timing dialed in and carb adjusted but I think most of my issues were the shitty stock 320 distributor. 



#73 wayno

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:26 PM

This thread may have been about an electronic ignition upgrade(Matchbox), but what it is really about now is that MG/Triumph distributors will fit our 320 E1 engines and you can still get parts for them which is not easy to do with our Datsun 320 distributors(E1 engine).

I suspect whatever MG distributor you bought you would have had the same results if it was new or rebuilt.


 

 


#74 320 Newb

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:35 PM

^^^ For sure. Also I used my 320 hold down clamp on the Lucas 25d and it fit like it was made for it. 



#75 wayno

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:44 PM

^^^ For sure. Also I used my 320 hold down clamp on the Lucas 25d and it fit like it was made for it. 

I also used the stock 320 distributor clamp on the MG distributor(360 degree adjustable), but I used a J13 mount on the matchbox as the 320 clamp don't fit them.

By the way, Thankyou as you just reminded me I have another Matchbox in a box in my parts set up for a 320, I was thinking I needed to buy another one to modify for the work truck.