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wayno

Electronic Ignition Upgrade for your Datsun 320 Truck

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I know there's a thread about the MG connection somewhere, but please post up what you find when you start on that conversion.

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I know there's a thread about the MG connection somewhere, but please post up what you find when you start on that conversion.

 

I already did on the first page(post 15), the distributor with the blue spark plug wires is a MG Midget dist. with the Crane ignition system, it is wired positive ground, and it starts great.

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MG distributors are a direct fit.  They share the same drive dog and clamp.   The drop-in depth is the same, and Lucas makes a pretty good distributor.  Both rotate CCW, 1-3-4-2 firing order.  MG HS4 carbs bolt right up to the Hitachi manifold, they just need slightly longer linkage rods made.  The jetting is usually very close.  Use the Hitachi spacers.   :thumbup:

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MG HS4 carbs bolt right up to the Hitachi manifold, they just need slightly longer linkage rods made.  The jetting is usually very close.  Use the Hitachi spacers.   :thumbup:

 

I thought I heard somewhere that this setup interferes with the steering column and brake MC?

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I thought I heard somewhere that this setup interferes with the steering column and brake MC?

 

Yea I seen that the column may be an issue, but I believe I can deal with that, the brake master is not an issue and I have a dual master, but the air filter might be an issue.

The Japanese carbs float bowls are adjustable and don't hang down as far, the spacers are half as thick, it will be close but I think it will clear.

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It was brought to my attention by Andy this morning that the equivalent of the Datsun 320 E1 distributor mount/clamping plate is available at Moss Motors to this day(part #153-400), they can be bought brand new.

Here is a link to that part, it is part #21 in the diagram.
This can be used on the Datsun 320 E1 distributor and likely the J block also to mount a 320 distributor or better yet an electronic ignition MG/Triumph distributor in your Datsun 320/520, it will not work on the J block distributor or the Matchbox distributor.
unnamed.jpg
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I can verify 100% that clamp fits the J block. I'm running a 320 distributor with that clamp right now on a J15. 

 

But since the 320 distributor is so hard to find parts for I'd love to switch over to a J series distributor. If anyone has a J series hold down clamp I'll happily purchase. 

 

-Moses

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I have to say that electronic ignition is the way to go on any daily driver, it's a set it up and forget it thing, my work truck has a matchbox distributor, I have not touched that thing for years, and I am talking since I put that LZ23 in the truck, I might have even just transferred the distributor over used as it was running that old engine just fine.

it's been so long that I cannot even remember the last time I put a cap and rotor on it, that would not have happened with a points distributor, I would have to tinker with it every year or so to keep the engine running good, I don't have to do anything to the work truck except to start it and drive it to the job, I put about 8000 miles a year on it, and have not touched it since the new engine was installed.

 

So I just looked up when I installed that engine, it was July of 2011, so that is likely the last tune-up it had, 5/6 years ago as the wires look new in the photo, you cannot do that with a points distributor, that's like 40,000 miles without a tune up and it still starts fine with a good battery which I have had to replace, I cannot believe it has been that long, seemed like only a couple years ago.

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wano, I hear you. My 620 I put a matchbox in it with unknown miles on the cap and rotor. Drove 5-7 years and never looked at it. One day it wouldn't start. The carbon button in the cap wore and fell apart. I cut a piece of fence wire and stuck it in to get home. Set and forget.

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I'm new to this forum and Datsuns for that matter. There is a great deal of info here. A lot of knowledge. I just bought a '64 L320 and it's in pretty nice unrestored condition. It really needs a tune-up, but I have found that those parts are almost non-existent. I saw what was said above about using an MG dizzy and that made me look around. The MG was a Lucas and is available. I think its a 25D. Then I read how the 25D can be upgraded to a 45D4 and it was a simple bolt in. So an E1 dizzy can be upgraded to a Lucas 45D4, I believe anyway. The 45D4 can be bought from Pertronix or AccuSpark, both are self contained electronic dizzys. No outside box needed. I have an AccuSpark on it's way and will update everyone when I install it. They also have the sideways cap. There was a positive ground model with side cap, but that may have been by Pertronix. My 320 is already Neg ground so I didn't need it. Stay tuned.

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Great, let us know how it turns out.  And start a new thread with some pictures of your truck. 

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As far as I know the 45D4 will bolt right in using your 320 distributor mount bracket, some even have the MG bracket which is exactly the same as the 320 bracket.

I could hardly believe that that MG Midget distributor on that engine in my garage was the same as my E1 distributor, and even more incredible was the fact that it had a Crane ignition system in it that could be wired as positive ground, it was a freaking miracle that everything happened the way it did, that is why I started this thread.

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So far I have the dizzy in place. Went right in like it was made to go there. I used the Datsun clamp, but the MG would have worked with a little modification. The #1 cylinder location changed but that isn't a problem. You just start with where ever #1 is and follow the firing order going counter clockwise around the cap. I found a few other issues like the vacuum advance tube was broken, the coil was wired backwards and the trigger wire between the coil and dizzy was almost broken. It's a wonder this old truck even ran at all! I'll finish making the plug wires today and get her started up. Then I'll report the outcome. 

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Well, she started up and ran great! I don't have a base line to start with because there were so many other small issues, but this is much better and I can buy tune-up parts now. This was an easy swap and I'd recommend it to anyone. It even looks stock!

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I'm on the verge of buying a new distributor and would love some advise. 

 

First the problem: I think there might be a short in my stock dizzy because when I accelerate I loose acceleration in kind of choking bursts. I first thought the timing was off but I've been adjusting it for a week with no improvement. I also re-gapped the points and they're fine. I recently replaced the points and there's less than 100 miles on them. 

 

Strange thing is it starts first crank and idles great. The problem just happens when I hit the gas. 

 

Where I need advise: I'm on the fence between a refurbished points Lucas dizzy:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lucas-Distributor-25D-Triumph-TR3-TR4-TR4A-MG-Austin-MORGAN-OXFORD-COMPLETE-FULL/311868761360?fits=Make%3AMG&hash=item489cd3a510:g:HbkAAOSw5cRZE8f5&vxp=mtr

I like the side entry cap 'cause it looks like a stock 320 dizzy and I don't mind adjusting points every now and then.

 

 

And an electronic dizzy: 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/True-Performance-High-Energy-Electronic-distributor-DLB198-Lucas-Coil-MG-MGB/122779754311?epid=2279221909&hash=item1c963e5f47:g:nwMAAOSwYS9ZZ3ZO&vxp=mtr

I don't like the top entry cap and I'm not sure how to handle the two wires. If the black wire goes to the coil, where does the red wire go?

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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.ratsun.net/topic/393-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/itm/MG-Midget-1275-AccuSpark-Electronic-Ignition-Distributor-replaces-Lucas-25d/390397434482?epid=1061604040&hash=item5ae5801a72:m:mnqKFPjABt73yF1iFF_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/itm/New-Electronic-Ignition-Distributor-for-MG-Midget-1962-1979/162537529858?fits=Make%3AMG%7CModel%3AMidget&hash=item25d7fde202:g:t4gAAOSwxH1UA3V4&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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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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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.

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Amen on the Ethanol.

 

Burning up our food !!

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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?

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