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Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#1
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5540Packards
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I was looking to upgrade my car to a Petronix ignition, has anyone else done so? If so I would like to hear from you.

Posted on: 12/6 5:11
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Re: Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#2
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Ross
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If you would like to make certain you car will not start whenever the battery is just a little low then Pertronix is just the ticket. Would you like to have the one I took out of my car? Otherwise I have covered 40K miles on two sets of points with no end in sight.

Posted on: 12/6 7:26
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Re: Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#3
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John Iaccino
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I used a Pertronix in mine and was completely satisfied. I had a large voltage drop through my ignition switch which caused hard starting problems. I ran a dedicated wire from my battery to a toggle switch hidden under the dash and then to the coil. This allowed 6 volts to the pertronix. I never had a problem starting after that. I might suggest buying an additional module just in case yours burns out while on the road.

John

Posted on: 12/6 7:48
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Re: Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#4
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5540Packards
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I was driving to a classic car event on Saturday in Hershey and never made it-all of a sudden the car started sputtering and backfiring then it died luckily I was right by an emergency pull-off and pulled the car over there. I belong to keystone AAA so they flat beaded the car back to my home. checking the car the next day I discovered that no power was going to the spark plugs. about 6 month ago the car did something similar and a local mechanic said there was a broken wire in the distributor. I am going to take the car to a long time family friend who is a mechanic. and whatever he recommends I will do. I have plans to attend the meet in Alexandria Va next year and certainly want the car to be able to make it there and back.

Posted on: 12/6 8:24
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Re: Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#5
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R H
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If you go. That route . go thru a relay. And use diodes. Before the relay and after. Going to + of coil.

You want to clip any voltage spikes. And they might help with voltage drop.

Posted on: 12/6 10:47
Riki
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Re: Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#6
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HH56
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Quote:

5540Packards wrote:
I was driving to a classic car event on Saturday in Hershey and never made it-all of a sudden the car started sputtering and backfiring then it died luckily I was right by an emergency pull-off and pulled the car over there. I belong to keystone AAA so they flat beaded the car back to my home. checking the car the next day I discovered that no power was going to the spark plugs. about 6 month ago the car did something similar and a local mechanic said there was a broken wire in the distributor. I am going to take the car to a long time family friend who is a mechanic. and whatever he recommends I will do. I have plans to attend the meet in Alexandria Va next year and certainly want the car to be able to make it there and back.

Not sure if you are speaking of a Pertronix unit or not but if not and if your distributor is stock and the type (most that Packard used are) that has a cloth covered very fine stranded flexible wire between the points and the outside terminal be aware that the old fabric covering on that flexible wire is known to rot and have chunks fall off which can result in a short and the exact symptom you described. Many have discovered this issue after disturbing the wire when changing points or condenser and having the insulation fall off in a hidden place not to be found out until either the car won't start after the work or starts acting up a few miles down the road. If that happens the wire needs to be replaced with the same type wire which can usually be found at Napa or on ebay. Search or ask for distributor lead wire.

If the last mechanic did find a broken wire and tried to replace it with ordinary hook-up wire -- even the type advertised as extremely flexible -- or even tape up or repair the old wire, in most cases that wire is now too stiff and with the constant flexing of the wire caused by the advances moving the breaker plate it will soon fatigue at some area where it takes most of the flexing and break again. The same can happen even if the correct wire is used if a mechanic cannot get the exact length of the old wire and tries to shorten or lengthen a replacement piece. The length changes may result in a stiffer area than the rest of the wire and that spot would change how or where the wire flexes.

Posted on: 12/6 10:53
Howard
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Re: Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#7
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Owen_Dyneto
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A good local friend had 2 356-equipped 1941 senior Packards, a LeBaron Sport Brougham and a DeLuxe convertible couple. Both suffered from unreliable starting problems until the Pertronix units were removed and replaced with conventional points and condenser. No problems thereafter.

Posted on: 12/6 15:09
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Re: Has anyone used a Petronix in their 356 engine?
#8
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su8overdrive
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Owen, HH56 and t'others give solid advice.
Can only add that in the late '90s succumbed to all the Pertronix hype, bought one, dropped it and a spare distributor off with my retired mechanic, who after running motor pools in War II Pacific, worked in Packard dealership service department before my '47 Super Clipper was built, then Hudson (set up winning cars for the Capitol and Sacramento speedways) and GM shops before starting his own shop.
Wayne Ballerstein took one look at the Pertronix unit, pronounced it "Okie," his dismissal of anything cheap or bush league.

When Pertronix fails, you're stuck. With points, you can always limp home.
Make sure those wee "pigtail" wires atop the distributor plate aren't abraded, as suggested.

If working on your car, never leave your ignition key on without blipping the starter to make sure your amneter needle centered so you don't saute your points.

800 cold cranking amp Optima Red Top battery, solid double aught copper cables, ends crimped and soldered, maybe an extra ground from engine, and even with timing 9, even 10 degrees BTDC as many of us with 356 engines run, you'll start and run like a fool.

All these characters with Pertronix, front disc brake conversions; just retro rod lite. Packard knew what they were doing, tho' i prefer my 55-amp, 6-volt, positive ground alternator, a bolt-in, no butcher proposition. Had Packard survived, that's what service depts. would've installed. Some tow trucks, emergency vehicles had 6-volt alternators since War II.

Make sure your battery disconnect switch--every old car should have on--rated for more amps than your starter draws. I used and use a brass, marine grade Cole Hersee switch available at any NAPA store in my Packards.

Pardon missive's length, but all this aftermarket dumbed down crapola tell us too many just want a shiny old car but don't really care about the engineering, the charm of or capacity to appreciate the real thing.

Keep it simple, or buy a "retro rod"
imposter.

Posted on: 12/6 18:06
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