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Matchbox Conversion from Remote Ignitor EL Distributor – Help Needed!!

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I've got a '71 wagon with an L20B. When I got the car it had the 4-prong EL distributor and large remote ignitor box system wired up to fire it. I'm currently swapping out that setup and attempting to install a matchbox unit in its place. I figured that since they are both EL distributors that it would be a fairly easy switch...


I clocked the new distributor to the same position and swapped it with the old one. The rotor and cap popped right back on, so I figured I'd be good to go if I got the wiring right. Was that a wrong assumption?


This is how I currently have the coil connected:


The red and blue wires are going to the correct points on the distributor. The brown wire was there before and was unrelated to the old ignition system, so I've left it in place. The black with white stripe wire is coming up from the loom that crosses the lower core support, and that wire was connected to the positive side before, so I left it as is.


There are two other wires that were utilized by the prior ignition system which are not connected in the above picture. They emerge from under the dash and consist of a second black with white stripe wire and a black with green stripe wire – they are bundled together and look to have always been that way. I haven't connected them because they seemed to produce nothing measurable on my multimeter with the key in 'on' or 'start'. But, again, they were both utilized in the prior ignition system with the black with green stripe going directly to the negative side of the coil and the black with white stripe connecting to the remote ignitor box.


Any ideas? I figured this would be a fairly easy switchover since I'm going from one EL ignition system to another...


Thanks in advance,





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Currently when I crank the car to start, it just cranks with a very slight stumble and makes quiet misfire and backfire pops. I've tried moving the distributor through the range of timing positions with no noticeable difference.


The car started up and ran fine with the old system in place, so I think I'm just missing a wire?

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You will need the ignition ON wire and the START signal wire from the ignition joined together and this supplies the +12 in the above picture.


If it's trying to start then it likely wired ok. Dizzy is out of position.




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Sound like timing is way off. Being to tdc and post pic of oil/dizzy tang(dizzy removed) we can confirm this. That way u arent chasing ur tail.

Could you explain more on this part? I've gone over my wiring and timing methods for a month now and the most I got was a put put.

I know I'm at TDC and the wiring is simple. So what is the oil pump timing ?

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What marks? As per instructions, all I need to do is get the motor to TDC, instal matchbox D4k. what ever terminal the rotor is pointing to ON THE CAP, Is #1 and counter clockwise 1342. I've checked everything and no spark. New cap, plugs rotor, coil . I'm going balled trying to get this little wagon back on the road again. Lol

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NICE wagon man.

But yeah we need more photos of under the hood.


From where you are with the wires, With the rotor pointing at the number 1 spark plug wire I would just try moving All wires one direction on the cap and then if that doesn't work the other way.


Happened to me.

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Would a weak ignitor module cause this ??


No such thing, it works... or it doesn't.


Distributor MUST be well grounded. This is the path to ground on the engine block for the coil. Most matchbox have a terminal on the module for a ground wire or you can run one from a module screw to a front timing cover bolt. 

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Awwwww ok it has puttered and then it stopped. So I had spark. However it was grounded to the body not the block. I just figured out how to do pictures again so I'll send bunches.

Banzai 510, thNk you and I will.

Ok so pics tomorrow , thanx dudes.

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The body should be grounded also but the block is the most solid and direct path back to the negative post. There should be a good solid ground strap from the negative terminal, OR from the block, to the body.

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