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Old 01-29-2020, 01:28 PM   #1
BlouDon
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59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

My 59 has a distributor where the vacuum advance is bolted to the block and the entire dissy is rotated by it for vacuum advance.

I would like to upgrade to electronic ignition using standard chev parts.

Can I plug-and-play fit an electronic dissy from a 4.1 (250 - mounted towards front of engine) to my 59?
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Chev: '70 C10 350 V8 / 700R4 & '59 Apache
Jensen Interceptor '74: Mopar 440 / 4L60e & '73 std
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:56 PM   #2
mr48chev
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Somewhere on the net there is a how to on that.

Here is one tech tip on it Photobucket blurred the photos because he didn't pay the premium to be able to share them but his instructions are pretty clear. Primarily you need to remove the flange from the HEI that holds it down in the later engine so you can use the clamp from the 235 to hold it in place but use the advance on the Hei.

Pretty simple to do and even there parts should be available for the HEI https://www.chevytalk.org/fusionbb/s.../fromsearch/1/

Guys this is where your Pertronix (sp) won't work because he has no ready sources for parts where he is so don't suggest it. He can source HEI parts in South Africa.
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Old 01-30-2020, 12:50 AM   #3
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Amazon sells a HEI that fits Early Chevrolet Straight 6 41-62 194 216 235 for $89.99 and the wire set is $36.99
I have one that I need to install on the 235 coming out of my 55 and going into my friends 52. My have to get it done this weekend.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:33 AM   #4
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Thumbs up Breakerless Electronic ignition upgrade

Any system that eliminates the contact points will instantly improve starting, idling, power and fuel economy .

The linked HEI set up is nice and for $135 complete is a good deal however those who prefer simplicity and original looks can use the Pertronix "Ignitor" in the original distributor as long as the shaft isn't wobbly to very good effect .

The basic thing most fail to grasp is : any breakerless system instantly drives the coil to it's maximum output so you should open the spark plug gaps to at least .040" .

Then you'll get the most benefit and be sold for life on breakerless ignitions .

Be sure to read the instructions closely, each system is designed to run on a specific resistance coil, and supply voltage (coil 1.6 ~ 3 OHMS resistance, power supply 8VDC or 12VDC) ~ don't just buy one for your old rig as you never know until you test it first .

Some of my jalopies use the Chinese copy 'Ignitor' and never a failure yet .

If you have a 6 volt rig try this first, remembering that your old 6 volt GMC is positive ground so order the right one for your needs .

I have a 250CID Chevy that used to oil foul the spsrk plugs in 250 miles, I dropped in an old junkyard 1977 Chevy Nova HEI distributor and wires ($50) and experimented with the spark plug gaps, at .070" (!) it runs prefect and not a trace of smoke .
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:44 AM   #5
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

don't forget the power supply to an HEI is a 10ga wire so it needs a new fused circuit from the ign switch and the ign switch needs a good sized supply wire ran up to it as well. the system is only as good as it's weakest link. you could also run a relay close to the HEI supplied by larger ga wire and switched on/off by using the original small ga ign wire. use a good quality water resistant relay and fuse the power supply somewhere close to it's origin.
you will love an HEI dizzy compared to the points set up. do the whole swap though, dizzy, wire set, plugs etc.that would be the time to consider a high output coil, good wire set etc
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:05 AM   #6
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Post HEI Power Supply

I'm using a relay operated by the original unfused key power .

Typically OEM's don't fuse ignitions .
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:16 PM   #7
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Gents remember, he is is SOUTH AFRICA That means that Pertronix is not a viable choice. I have one on my 25 ft boat and make dang sure that my boat towing insurance is paid before taking it out.

he most likely has stock late 70's hei units available locally. an hours worth of work an he can put one in. Replacement parts for oem units aren't that hard to get there.
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My ongoing truck projects:
48 Chev 3100 that will run a 292 Six.
71 GMC 2500 that is getting a Cad 500 transplant.
77 C 30 dualie, 454, 4 speed with a 10 foot flatbed and hoist. It does the heavy work and hauls the projects around.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:19 PM   #8
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

if you have a whole load of money there is an adapter plate for the 235 to bolt an automatic up to it.
https://transmissionadapters.com/pro...hev-auto-trans

and install instructions

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/00...000301.pdf?262

not easy for South Africa to get a hold of I don't suppose. just info. possibly a local machine shop can also fab one up.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:49 AM   #9
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsraven View Post
if you have a whole load of money there is an adapter plate for the 235 to bolt an automatic up to it.
At this stage it seems I am more likely to fit a rear axle with a lower ratio. This would allow me to keep the engine/transmission standard.

Doing so would have the added benefit of having front and rear brakes from the same Toyota vehicle.
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Chev: '70 C10 350 V8 / 700R4 & '59 Apache
Jensen Interceptor '74: Mopar 440 / 4L60e & '73 std
Jaguar: '72 E-type Coupe V12 & '80 XJS
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:14 AM   #10
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

sounds like a plan. is the toyota track width close to what you need? park brake be an easy hook up? drum rear and disc front brakes? are you closing the door on the jag undercarriage swap or just weighing options?
grab the master cylinder, booster, even if it is too big diameter, prop valve and brake rubber hoses from the same vehicle as well. might have to custom fab a brake line or two to go from old chevy to newer toyota. thats pretty easy though. the rubber lines may not fit for your application but would have the proper connections for the calipers etc so you have the correct fittings in hand when you go for parts. if you can fab a new frame mount for the toyota hoses and adapt from chevy to toyota on the frame it would be simpler if you ever need a repair. when grabbing parts also grab the driveshaft so you have the correct end for the machine shop guy who adapts your driveshaft to go from chevy to toyota. if the length is close, like the original shaft ends up being too long, the shaft could be cut off at the welded on yoke for the original joint, then shortened accordingly to fit, and the end welded back on. then an adapter u joint could be used that fits the chevy shaft and the toyota pinion yoke. not sure of parts access where you are though so it could be better to simply rig the shaft with the correct u joint for the toyota axle. I also recommend starting a "parts log" where you write down part numbers and application for any non original '59 parts. just to make it easier if you need to buy another one some day.
different gear ratio would be an option for sure, instead of a whole driveline swap. keeps the truck more stock. I would keep the old stuff around for a bit until you figure out if you like the new system. there are online calculators that will help you figure out engine rpm at different speeds if you wanted to compare what the difference would be. different sized tires will also make a difference.

http://www.csgnetwork.com/multirpmcalc.html

https://www.crawlpedia.com/rpm_gear_calculator.htm

https://spicerparts.com/calculators/...rpm-calculator


https://tiresize.com/comparison/
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:35 AM   #11
BlouDon
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsraven View Post
is the toyota track width close to what you need? park brake be an easy hook up? drum rear and disc front brakes? are you closing the door on the jag undercarriage swap or just weighing options?
OK, Toyota axles are off the table. Ratios too high. Found a Ford Ranger truck with a 3.15 diff. I am leaning strongly in this direction. Attached pic shows what will happen with revs if I should mount it. This is with 30" tyres.

This diff will eliminate motivation to change engine and transmission as these RPMs will be quite acceptable. Rear axle has no influence on front axle decisions.

That still leaves the front axle decisions. Disc brakes is not negotiable but power steering, boosted brakes, leaf spring elimination is still up for decision.

I think I'll try out JUST doing the Toyota disc brake thing first. This should be relatively quick/cheap. If it works out well, along with the 3.15 rear axle, I might have found an acceptable compromise.
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Chev: '70 C10 350 V8 / 700R4 & '59 Apache
Jensen Interceptor '74: Mopar 440 / 4L60e & '73 std
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Old 01-31-2020, 02:18 PM   #12
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

BlouDon,

I hope you enjoy your new truck. It is yours and you do with it as you wish. It is certainly a very nice example of an original truck. I am somewhat saddened to see all of the changes you are proposing. I realize I am in the minority here, because I really appreciate the original trucks and the majority of the members heavily modify them. Those that do so are okay too. The character of the truck will be completely transformed with all of the modernization.... It will become a like a modern "new" truck.
Best of luck on your project. I am not intending to flame with this post. I will sadly step away...... Good Luck.
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Old 01-31-2020, 02:19 PM   #13
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

I think we are getting his threads confused here but the toyota Tundra link I posted on the REAR AXLE thread showed that there are several ratios available in those trucks from 3.0 to 4.-----. A 3.3 to 3.5 is probably what you want though.
95/04 had drum brakes on the rear.
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My ongoing truck projects:
48 Chev 3100 that will run a 292 Six.
71 GMC 2500 that is getting a Cad 500 transplant.
77 C 30 dualie, 454, 4 speed with a 10 foot flatbed and hoist. It does the heavy work and hauls the projects around.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:24 PM   #14
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Divine 59 View Post
BlouDon,

I hope you enjoy your new truck. It is yours and you do with it as you wish. It is certainly a very nice example of an original truck. I am somewhat saddened to see all of the changes you are proposing.
Don't worry. I respect that notion and I intend to do NOTHING that is not reversible EXCEPT fitting of seat belts.

All original parts that are removed will be stored in case I or the next owner wants to pursue 100% originality.
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Chev: '70 C10 350 V8 / 700R4 & '59 Apache
Jensen Interceptor '74: Mopar 440 / 4L60e & '73 std
Jaguar: '72 E-type Coupe V12 & '80 XJS
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:37 PM   #15
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Be careful with that axle gearing. Although your cruise RPM is nice your first gear has some seriously long legs. I am not sure that you will be to happy with it if you have any hills from a stop or if you ever use the truck to haul anything. Don't forget this also has alot to do with driveability in parking lots. Your graph shows ideling in first gear at around 7mph. Not to mention your motor does not make a ton of torque to start with. You may be better served with a 5spd from a holden that has OD and keeping your rear gear.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:18 PM   #16
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

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Originally Posted by burnin oil View Post
Be careful with that axle gearing. Although your cruise RPM is nice your first gear has some seriously long legs. I am not sure that you will be to happy with it if you have any hills from a stop or if you ever use the truck to haul anything. Don't forget this also has alot to do with driveability in parking lots. Your graph shows ideling in first gear at around 7mph. Not to mention your motor does not make a ton of torque to start with. You may be better served with a 5spd from a holden that has OD and keeping your rear gear.
Your points noted and valid. However, cruising is my main consideration. I will report truthfully on 1st gear experience. I've decided to commit to this conversion because I am not really keen to change engine/transmission combo's although a 350 / 700R4 combo would have been very nice. I have exactly that in my C10 so that itch is scratched.

This truck will never again haul / tow anything and parking lots will be the exception.

Quote:
your motor does not make a ton of torque to start with
I don't understand this statement. I my view, torque is THE ONLY THING it does do!! ???
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Chev: '70 C10 350 V8 / 700R4 & '59 Apache
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:22 PM   #17
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

It probably produces around 200ftlbs which is not alot of torque compared to larger or newer engine design. Gearing, torque multiplication, is what made them so good at what they did in their day. Remember this was long before more torquey v8s with 2.73 and 3.07s.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:18 AM   #18
BlouDon
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by burnin oil View Post
It probably produces around 200ftlbs
I have an original 1959 Chevrolet Owners Manual* that specifies the 235 as having 135 HP. Sadly they do not specify at which RPM this is.

Using this calculator (https://spicerparts.com/calculators/...que-calculator), if we assume the 135HP is generated at 3000rpm, then torque is aroun 235ftlbs. Your guess was close!

The 261 has 150HP.

* Is this manual worth anything?
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Chev: '70 C10 350 V8 / 700R4 & '59 Apache
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Jaguar: '72 E-type Coupe V12 & '80 XJS
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:29 AM   #19
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Re: 59: Electronic ignition upgrade?

A little googling on my part found a site called enginefacts.com. they list alot of 235 engines and said 204 or 207ftlbs for a 55. Sorry I would link it but my phone doesn't copy and paste well. Spicer is very good for information. Two pdf manuals that come to mind we should all bookmark are the driveline angle setup guide and the ujoint manual. They also have a really good one on driveline flanges and yokes. It makes it alot easier to find the parts and using the spicer number instead of manufacturer generally saves about 50%. Tge driveline covers ever setup from basic truck to dual transmissions with dual axles with multiple driveshaft.

Another unrelated site is eaton fuller. They have rebuild manuals for about any trans they built. Although most are semis they also have some tremecs.
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