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Triumph TR6 - Electric Distributor

To the hot rodders out there. Any suggestions on an electric distributor?
Don K.
Don Kelly

What exactly do you mean by "electric distributor?" If you are refering to eliminating the points in the stock distributor, then we have had more than a few spirited Pertronix vs. Crane discussions on the board. But even at that, it is still a mechanical distributor, it just has either a Hall effect (Pertronix) or an optical (Crane) pick up unit in place of the points and condensor that was originally fitted to these cars. If you are wanting to control your advance curve electronically, then a stroll through the MSD catalog will provide you with all the part numbers you need to provide big fat sparks and the advance curve of your desire. But again, it is still a mechanical distributor. My own personal ignition preference is:

Stage 1, Pertronix and a high out put coil
Stage 2, Pertronix, high out put coil and an MSD6AL spark box
Stage 3, Pertronix, high out put coil, an MSD6AL spark box and the 8981 programable timing box

Good wires and plugs should be included in any ignition set up.

On the other hand, if you want a truly electronic ignition system with no distributor, you are talking about a distributor less ignition system like that seen on the vast majority of new cars. It can be done, but in my mind is not worth the effort on these cars. You would have to fabricate the brackets and a trigger off the crank, come up with the pick up components and controller configurations, etc. In fact, we had originally set of one of our GT4 Nissans that way and wound up yanking that system out of there and replacing it with a plain old Nissan distributor that had been fitted with a Hall effect pick up unit and had the advance mechanisms blocked out.

Sorry Steve I should have been less cryptic. I really meant a dist. that was not direct drive to the tach and used an electric tach.

I have the Petronix but not the high output coil. Does that coil really make that much of a difference?

A high output coil will let you open up the spark plug gap and potentially get you better performance. With the Petronix alone and a hotter coil you ought to be able to get a gap of 0.035-0.036". I say that because the Petronix is roughly equivalent to the Crane XR-700, which I ran for years, and was prone to misfires at a gap above 0.036".

To get a still larger gap you will need to have the Petronix "trigger" a high energy ignition box such as Steve has. I switched to a XR-3000, which allowed the plug gap to be opened to 0.045", and the difference is noticable, regardless of opinions to the contrary.

Brent B

The distributor part is easy. The next question is regarding the tach. Mallory makes a six cylinder dual point distributor, APT ( sells new Aldon/Lucas recurved distributors in both vacuum and non-vacuum versions. There is no tach drive provision on the Aldon units. Essentially Aldon takes a new Lucas distributor and recurves it. I have not seen any information on the curve other than their catalog statement than "changes the advance curve to suit performance engines." Note that some service components are different in these newer distributors than the standard TR6 distributor, so keep that Lucas number handy when it comes time for parts.

Now for the fun part, if you will be running a different tach that is electronic from the start, no problem. If you want it to look stock, it gets more complicated. Revington TR out of the UK sells TR6 tachs on an exchange basis that have been converted from mechanical to electronic. There are logistic problems with that (not to mention the exchange rate being a bit of a killer as of late) in that you either need to send them a core up front or send a core back to them once you get the unit from them. I dare say there is someone over here that does similar things, but I have never researched it. You may want to contact Nissonger and ask.

Nissonger Instrument Sales & Svc.
570 Mamaroneck Ave.
Mamoroneck, NY 10543
(914) 381-1952 - Phone
(914) 381-1953 - Fax

I used to deal them indirectly through a friends shop and never had a problem on stuff, but it has been several years. I have heard a recent complaint that they haven't kept up with the times (look Mom, no website for example) and their work has slipped. But keep in mind that these guys are the ones that served as the NA distributors of Jaeger/Smiths spares back when these cars are new and have working on this stuff as long or longer than anyone else and that what I heard came from one shop and nothing like this from anyone else.

One that I did run across in a quick and dirty search was D and M Restoration. Other than looking at their page, I don't know anything about them, but they at least said the right words.

Good luck and if you do anything with D and M (or anyone else for that matter), let us know how things worked out. I just might want to do the same thing to a tach sometime.......

My next thread post was going to be "Looking for a used tach". I have found a couple of places in the country that will change the tach over to electric. Is it possible to take a MSD or the like dist.with an el. ign. built in and retrofit it to the 6? I don't care for the dual point.

My goodness. Two years ago I sent my tach to
Revingtion because I thought they were the only ones to do conversions. I was satisfied with the rapid turnaround and it works well but I would consider now sending it to somewhere in the US.
Dick Porter

Dick- What dist. were you using?

Not ignoring you Don I just do not know the answer, been busy at work and car is in a cold snowed in gagage. My car is 76 and I have not reason to believe anyone has changed the original distributor.
Dick Porter

Dick -You just decided to change over to electric?


If you want to use an electronic tach, you can use the distributor you have. I'm using an Autometer tach in my TR6 with the original distributor. All I did was disconnect and discard the tach drive cable. I'm using a Crane unit in place of points, and I connected the tach input to the minus post of the coil, same as if I still had points.

If you convert your original tach to electronic, you can use your original distributor also to drive it.

I'm very, very happy with my autometer gauges.
Dan Masters

I am interested in getting a good quality dist. with el. ign. built in as in a MSD or a Crane unit. I need to call you tomorrow

I wanted to get rid of the erratic movement of the tach needle plus I am a sucker for anything that is "new and improved". Probably greaseing or replacing the cable would have worked just as well but not as much fun.
Dick Porter

This thread was discussed between 21/01/2005 and 29/01/2005

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