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521 points to electronic ignition conversion

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Aftermarket are questionable quality. I would go with a good used distributor.


There were 2 EI types.... matchbox and the earlier remote igniter. The remote had the electronics in a large box under the dash. The matchbox was just a miniaturized version. Basically the same thing power wise. If you find a remote, it's probably missing the box so cheaper and you can replace it with and HEI module from a GM car. You will need a '78 or newer car or truck coil that will handle the module's ability to power it. A points coil will burn up without the ballast resistor.


There are two wires from the ignition. The one to the ballast resistor is only ON when the ignition is in the start position, the other goes to the coil positive and is ON in the on and start position. Remove the ballast and move the START wire to the positive side of the coil with the ON wire from the ignition.




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13 minutes ago, Jef-fro said:

Would a d4k work?


There were many D4K distributors, it's like saying would a 'car' do if looking for a Camaro? There were 15 various D4Ks matchbox distributors used on the '79 truck, 200sx and A10 alone depending on it's use and where sold. The part number is stamped on the side of the case and begins 22100-????? with 5 other number/letters. Find one and give me the numbers and I can tell you what it's from.

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John I think the dual points has a thicker distributor shaft the Pertronix won't fit on.


Hainz might know better but the Pertronix needs and uses a points coil so no higher output without damage to the unit? A real matchbox can handle the higher current drawn through a lower resistance (impedance) EI coil. It also shuts off current flow through the coil if the ignition is turned on and then the engine not started. There is also built in current flow limiting so if the coil is too low an impedance the module shouldn't 'burn out'. In addition there is a duty cycle switching circuit that keeps the 'dwell time' the same at low speed to high speed. I doubt the Pertronix has any of this. If you have a good set up there isn't much difference in running. If higher compression, different cam, turbo etc then it may run stronger with more voltage available. 


6 minutes ago, Jef-fro said:

Is it a noticeable difference going from points to electronic ignition.Is it worth the time a money to swap 


The biggest advantage of a matchbox (or Pertronix) is you set it and forget it. You never have to adjust, set, file or replace points and condenser again. Points have a shelf life, as soon as they are replaced they begin to wear and erode from arcing.

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I guess the L20b type Matchbox distributor is getting harder to find as most want electronic ignition anymore, I do not know the quality of the aftermarket products for Datsun/Nissan, I found a Hot Spark brand on ebay when I searched "Datsun L20B distributor", that part is located on Austin Texas, all the rest the part location is in other countries.

Original parts are getting harder to find as the years go by, but you will likely pay more for a Matchbox now than you will pay for anything else, the aftermarket stuff is likely made to work with your existing coil, so it is likely the cheapest route for you to go, but I would hold out for a Matchbox/coil.




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14 minutes ago, Jef-fro said:

Is it a noticeable difference going from points to electronic ignition.Is it worth the time a money to swap 

It's worth the time and money.The one thing i did notice was faster startup when the engine was cold.As far as horsepower increase i noticed nothing.Also never buying or adjusting points again is the greatest benefit.Your motor will feel like it runs better with electronic ignition.

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When having a duel point distributor I just used the main one.thata the one that has the bigger condenser.the 2nd set one can pull the wire.

The chimes Hot Spark set up is out there and hears one good report and they are cheap. But if not familiar on how the set up the timmimg it may be confusing as over time they had different mounts and timmimg plates that have to match and one can manipulate the oil pump to get the TDC location correct 

also with HotSpark or Pertronix best to keep the ballast resistor and stock point coil.

on you tube look under Hain L series part5 or 6 it shows varoius dist installations.

if what you got know works don’t fuck with it. But point ignition is a weakness where I see a lot of people can’t figure out when hard to start run ect 

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As for the part number on the side (22100-?????) of the 4 cylinder distributor. It should be a remote igniter and it looks like the igniter box is missing, BUT you can use an HEI from a GM to replace it. California cars and trucks got the EI system before anyone else.

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It will IF not a California S110. All California were 8 plug heads, federal were 4 plug through '80 but also changed to 8 in '81.


This is an EI (electronic ignition) requiring a matching 200sx coil and some minor rewiring of your 521 to remove the ballast resistor and wire the coil in. Nice, if you can get one. I've had two from the S110 and sold them off.

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