Converted to distributorless ignition!

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Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on July 25th 2016, 11:32 am

A while back I decided it was time to upgrade from the GM style HEI distributor I have been using for 5-6 years.  Over that time, it has worked ok with occasional spats of weirdness.  I always kept it locked out, but it was certainly not the most accurate set-up by a long shot.

I used to own a Megasquirt V2.2 back when I had the Ranger and remembered that it had the capability to control spark.  I called up the local guy that I sold it to and sure enough, he still had it.  I asked what he wanted for it and he said I could just have it because he has moved on to MS3 for all his stuff.

Excellent.

Not long after, CDMBill mentioned he had a set of coils, a bracket, an EFI Source Coil Igniter and some wiring he used in his '71 for several years.  I bought those parts from him and the only part of the puzzle that remained was a way to trigger it.


Bought a billet hatchet weight and a Dorman 36-1 trigger wheel for a Ford mod motor.


"Machined" the center out to fit the spacer.


Fit like a glove. Decided to wait to attach it until after the pickup mount to designed.


Pickup bracket I made with a Cherry hall sensor.


Bill's coil bracket. It did not fit my engine quite right since Bill has a belt drive and tunnel ram.


I gutted an old distributor leaving only the shaft and capped it with the top half of and old wheel center cap.  The bracket was bent with my hydraulic press to the desired shape and the coils were mounted.


The trigger wheel/spacer/sensor were mocked up and then I welded the trigger wheel to the stock hatchet weight.  I opted to use the stock weight because the billet one fit the crank too tight to get on and off easily for mockup.



I mounted the Igniter inside a box on the firewall to provide a bit of weather protection.


The Megasquirt was mounted in the radio slot using an old license plate as the face.


I discovered my SFI balancer was coming apart so i had a small delay waiting for a new one to arrive.

All back together, wired up and ready to fire.


Moment of truth.


I have not attached the MAP sensor yet, so my timing right now is just a 2d curve moving left and right with rpm.  Once the MAP is connected, I will be able to take full advantage of the entire 3d table. (table has not been edited at all in these pics)



With the change, I get far more accurate timing, 2 step, start retard, rev limiter, dual timing tables for N2O, datalogging and the ability to go to EFI if i should choose.

Fun project and I'm super happy with how easy it starts now.  I have not driven it yet as I am still finishing up some other chassis stuff, but just running it in the garage, it seems to feel and sound better.


Last edited by BigBlockRanger on July 25th 2016, 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on July 25th 2016, 12:15 pm

This post is so full of win for me today!!! Can't say thank you enough.

I have a few questions for you.

What is the part number on the trigger wheel? I know I am being lazy and want spoon fed.

What angle did you set it up with? It was recommended to me by one of the MS gurus it not set it at 50 but to set it at 70 degrees as it would help out more on the top end.

How did you attach the trigger wheel to the counter weight?

I have in my hands a blank DIYAutoTune 8-1/4" 36-1 trigger wheel. I also have a crank trigger mount from Innovators West and a handful of different Cherry hall effect sensors so I can decide which one I want to use. The I.W. sensor mount doesn't fit any hall effect sensor. Easy enough to make a new aluminum bracket as it is just a machined piece of angle. Going to try to use a sensor with a simple hold down bolt rather than threaded. This way I don't have to check clearance when I replace the sensor.

I am hoping to mount my trigger wheel on the backside of the harmonic balancer. My Romac balancer has 8 blank holes that I can tap to secure the wheel. This pushes everything farther out and hope away from water pump.

Now for the bad news. I have an assortment of LS coils (Oh no it will never be right LOL). I know I will not need an ignitor but what assembled MS unit would I want for ignition only with LS coils? I want to run coil per plug not wasted spark. I don't want to have to step up to an MS3 cause eventually I will be running EFI with a Haltech Elite 2500.




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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  whatbumper on July 25th 2016, 12:25 pm

Very cool build. It's great to see how different people do things. Congrats on your build.


SandHillsHillbilly wrote:This post is so full of win for me today!!! Can't say thank you enough.

I have a few questions for you.

What is the part number on the trigger wheel? I know I am being lazy and want spoon fed.

What angle did you set it up with? It was recommended to me by one of the MS gurus it not set it at 50 but to set it at 70 degrees as it would help out more on the top end.

How did you attach the trigger wheel to the counter weight?

I have in my hands a blank DIYAutoTune 8-1/4" 36-1 trigger wheel. I also have a crank trigger mount from Innovators West and a handful of different Cherry hall effect sensors so I can decide which one I want to use. The I.W. sensor mount doesn't fit any hall effect sensor. Easy enough to make a new aluminum bracket as it is just a machined piece of angle. Going to try to use a sensor with a simple hold down bolt rather than threaded. This way I don't have to check clearance when I replace the sensor.

I am hoping to mount my trigger wheel on the backside of the harmonic balancer. My Romac balancer has 8 blank holes that I can tap to secure the wheel. This pushes everything farther out and hope away from water pump.

Now for the bad news. I have an assortment of LS coils (Oh no it will never be right LOL). I know I will not need an ignitor but what assembled MS unit would I want for ignition only with LS coils? I want to run coil per plug not wasted spark. I don't want to have to step up to an MS3 cause eventually I will be running EFI with a Haltech Elite 2500.





You can just run it with a regular crank trigger like the I.W. unit and run one a cam sync that you can make from one of the sensors you have.  That way you don't have to screw with adapting anything.  Everyone gets caught up in thinking the timing will be so much better with more teeth BUT when you think about how fast everything is turning that gets to the point that the better timing you get is so slight that it may not be worth messing with.  My car runs exactly the same with a 58x wheel and an MSD crank trigger just as reference.  And that is with an 1800+ horsepower forced induction build.

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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on July 25th 2016, 12:39 pm

I just followed the Ms1-extra suggestions and set the sensor at tooth #9 which puts it 90 degrees from the missing tooth.

Trigger wheel for a Ford 4.6L Dorman - 917060

My trigger angle is 60.  Again, I just set it up like was recommended to avoid and issues.

The trigger wheel is welded to the spacer in 3 places.

The V3 (blue) board is better than the older green board I have, but it will work.  EDIT: Don't think the old board will do an 8cyl engine with LS coils.

I documented this swap a little better here: http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum/bangshift/tech-section/all-about-efi/1054279-planning-on-using-the-old-ms1-2-2-board-extra-loaded-to-control-ignition
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  fastbarry on July 25th 2016, 7:16 pm

i have megasquirt in several projects. with the ford stuff i have used edis a few times. one motor was a carb 460 ported dooe-r big cam 1250 domminator hand grenade that i let ms2 control the timing with an edis module and coils.

that thing never started so nice and ran so consistantly then with that nice HOT stable spark.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  The Pope on July 26th 2016, 9:38 am

Thanks for the write up BBR!!!!!
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on July 26th 2016, 11:10 am

I checked over at DIY and I would have to have an MS3X to get 8 coil drivers. Can't justify the cost vs getting the actual EFI ECU that I will be using eventually. I was hoping to get a jump on it running just ignition control till I was ready for EFI.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  fastbarry on July 26th 2016, 11:45 am

SandHillsHillbilly wrote:I checked over at DIY and I would have to have an MS3X to get 8 coil drivers. Can't justify the cost vs getting the actual EFI ECU that I will be using eventually. I was hoping to get a jump on it running just ignition control till I was ready for EFI.

You can run an edis module and edis coils. Any megasquirt model will run a ford edis system regardless of the number of coil drivers or number of coils.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on July 26th 2016, 12:47 pm

fastbarry wrote:
SandHillsHillbilly wrote:I checked over at DIY and I would have to have an MS3X to get 8 coil drivers. Can't justify the cost vs getting the actual EFI ECU that I will be using eventually. I was hoping to get a jump on it running just ignition control till I was ready for EFI.

You can run an edis module and edis coils.    Any megasquirt model will run a ford edis system regardless of the number of coil drivers or number of coils.

I would but I already have the LS coils.I don't need to run it that bad to go buy another setup.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on July 26th 2016, 12:58 pm

I considered using the Ford edis stuff, but then some of the programmable features (like the 2 step) I wanted would not have been available.

Still the Edis stuff makes for a very nice ignition option.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  whatbumper on July 26th 2016, 3:07 pm

SandHillsHillbilly wrote:I checked over at DIY and I would have to have an MS3X to get 8 coil drivers. Can't justify the cost vs getting the actual EFI ECU that I will be using eventually. I was hoping to get a jump on it running just ignition control till I was ready for EFI.

I have the Haltech price sheet but with all the options I haven't really got used to pricing everything.

With the Fueltech stuff I could get you running for under $3000. ECU, plug and play fully terminated harness for engine and coils, and all sensors. Gives you ignition control, nitrous control, etc... For $500 more, I can put you in a box with a screen so you don't need gauges either.


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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on July 26th 2016, 3:45 pm

whatbumper wrote:
SandHillsHillbilly wrote:I checked over at DIY and I would have to have an MS3X to get 8 coil drivers. Can't justify the cost vs getting the actual EFI ECU that I will be using eventually. I was hoping to get a jump on it running just ignition control till I was ready for EFI.

I have the Haltech price sheet but with all the options I haven't really got used to pricing everything.

With the Fueltech stuff I could get you running for under $3000.  ECU, plug and play harness for engine and coils, sensors.  Gives you ignition control, nitrous control, etc...  For $500 more, I can put you in a box with a screen so you don't need gauges either.

Just buying straight from Haltech Elite 2500 with Premium 8' flying lead harness and Can Bus dual channel WBO2 is $2700. I already have a RacePack UDX dash so all I need is the Rackpack module to interface to the Haltech.

Oh and I have a flex fuel sensor too. Holley, Edelbrock, and Fast can't do that.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  whatbumper on July 26th 2016, 7:02 pm

SandHillsHillbilly wrote:
whatbumper wrote:
SandHillsHillbilly wrote:I checked over at DIY and I would have to have an MS3X to get 8 coil drivers. Can't justify the cost vs getting the actual EFI ECU that I will be using eventually. I was hoping to get a jump on it running just ignition control till I was ready for EFI.

I have the Haltech price sheet but with all the options I haven't really got used to pricing everything.

With the Fueltech stuff I could get you running for under $3000.  ECU, plug and play fully terminated harness for engine and coils, and all sensors.  Gives you ignition control, nitrous control, etc...  For $500 more, I can put you in a box with a screen so you don't need gauges either.

Just buying straight from Haltech Elite 2500 with Premium 8' flying lead harness and Can Bus dual channel WBO2 is $2700. I already have a RacePack UDX dash so all I need is the Rackpack module to interface to the Haltech.

Oh and I have a flex fuel sensor too. Holley, Edelbrock, and Fast can't do that.

Just as an fyi of the systems you mentioned Holley and Fast XFI does flex fuel.  I've never messed with the Edelbrock so I don't know about that one.  

I do sell Haltech as it's a really nice system. We've been working with them since they started helping out some of our customers in Oklahoma on their "street race" car projects. Wink  If all you want is the items listed plus the interface I will sell it all shipped for a little cheaper than their website price since you're a member here.  When you're interested just let me know.  You can call or text 903-870-8109 or email 2jmfab@gmail.com.

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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on July 26th 2016, 7:37 pm

Holley and Fast do not do true flex fuel capability. Haltech and MS handle the signal from the ethanol sensor to create a blended fuel map. This way the fuel map is correct over a range of 0-100% Ethanol. Holley and Fast can only be correct at the two extremes well four if you program all four selectable fuel maps. Then they tell you to widen the correction range to compensate for those in between ethanol % points. It's like having a variable faucet that you can set the correct amount of water over the whole range vs a faucet that has only 4 settings.

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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  whatbumper on July 27th 2016, 12:07 am

SandHillsHillbilly wrote:Holley and Fast do not do true flex fuel capability. Haltech and MS handle the signal from the ethanol sensor to create a blended fuel map. This way the fuel map is correct over a range of 0-100% Ethanol. Holley and Fast can only be correct at the two extremes well four if you program all four selectable fuel maps.  Then they tell you to widen the correction range to compensate for those in between ethanol % points. It's like having a variable faucet that you can set the correct amount of water over the whole range vs a faucet that has only 4 settings.




Like this? There are a lot more maps than 4 in the Holley box.

I do this for a living and have a pretty good grasp on the capabilities of all the systems mentioned except the Edelbrock unit.

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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on July 27th 2016, 10:43 am

whatbumper wrote:
SandHillsHillbilly wrote:Holley and Fast do not do true flex fuel capability. Haltech and MS handle the signal from the ethanol sensor to create a blended fuel map. This way the fuel map is correct over a range of 0-100% Ethanol. Holley and Fast can only be correct at the two extremes well four if you program all four selectable fuel maps.  Then they tell you to widen the correction range to compensate for those in between ethanol % points. It's like having a variable faucet that you can set the correct amount of water over the whole range vs a faucet that has only 4 settings.




Like this?  There are a lot more maps than 4 in the Holley box.

I do this for a living and have a pretty good grasp on the capabilities of all the systems mentioned except the Edelbrock unit.

Justin,

I don't mean to be antagonistic. As with any no verbal communication the tone of the message is lost. I may have stated it wrong when I said " 4 selectable fuel maps" maybe the correct term would be 4 selectable tunes" as per the Holley description. I do like what you posted and understand it. It appears to be implemented like a trim or correction to the base fuel map, much like engine temp would adjust fuel. When was this implemented? It has been over a year since I last check and as of then Flex Fuel was not an option. Do they read the actual fuel sensor input as a frequency or as an analog signal? Which Holley systems is this implemented on and is there any documentation or forum thread about this?

BBR I am sorry for derailing your post so far off the map. Maybe if Justin would like to we could start a new thread about Holley and Flex fuel.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on August 1st 2016, 9:29 am

No worries.

Well. That was a short trip. Haha.



I decided to drive it back to work after lunch and I made it about 2 block before it started missing and died. I almost got it turned around before it conked out. Luckily, a buddy and his son was driving by and we towed it back to my house.

After work, I messed with it for a while checking this and that and got it to run 2 more times, but again it would run fine, then spark would start dropping out and it would die.

Because it would run fine for a bit, I felt it might be a setting wrong in the MS. I checked the settings in the MS with a fine toothed comb and discovered I had the Minimum Discharge Period in the dwell settings set to 1.0ms instead of 0.1ms. 10x too long!

Made that one change and bam, it is fixed. It was literally running out of spark. Coils were not having enough time to charge.

If all goes well this week I hope to drag it out to the track Friday night and see how it works.

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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on August 3rd 2016, 6:44 pm

Tried to drive it again today. Got further, but it died again. Towed home, fired right up in the driveway.

This time though, I was datalogging so I have something to look at and sort through to figure out what is happening. I'm leaning towards processor resets being the culprit and these can be caused by a variety of problems from bad grounds to sketchy USB-serial adapters. It resets several times about 20 seconds before it dies and when it dies, it is preceded by a reset.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on August 10th 2016, 9:40 am

Well I think I figured out what the problem was. I had the hall sensor too far from the trigger wheel and was loosing sync. I tightened up the gap and the tooth log and datalog are both clean now. It ran for 20-25 minutes last night in the driveway with no loss of sync. Winning!
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on August 10th 2016, 10:21 am

I would take a feeler gage and measure the gap. Probably cold gap. Then screw it all the way in till it touches the wheel. Count the turns and stamp it on the mount. This way if you ever have to replace the sensor all you need to do is screw it all the way in then how ever many turns back. Glad to manged to get it sorted out. Have you checked the runout on your trigger wheel?
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on August 10th 2016, 3:33 pm

No I have not checked the runout other than just eyeballing it. The pic above shows how wide I had the gap set. The gap should be around 1.5mm and I had it way bigger than that.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  whatbumper on August 10th 2016, 9:48 pm

BigBlockRanger wrote:No I have not checked the runout other than just eyeballing it.  The pic above shows how wide I had the gap set.  The gap should be around 1.5mm and I had it way bigger than that.

We try to run everything at .050" or about 1.27mm.

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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  SandHillsHillbilly on August 11th 2016, 8:43 am

I was concerned about runout because with gaps that small it does take much once the RPM rises to wipe out a sensor or lose signal. I just wonder how lucky or accurate of a calibrated eyeball is with using the fixture and hole saw to bore the trigger wheel. Overall it does look great and glad to see you got it worked out. We are fortunate in that we have the spacer or hatchet to be able to mount the wheel. I haven't checked yet if this would work with the hatchet or not not. I need to as I am running with the hatchet. That is the reason I was thinking of mounting on the back of the balancer or in front. Mounting it in front means I would have to make some spacers for my serp belt system mounts.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on August 11th 2016, 11:18 am

I have not checked it with any measuring tools. Before I welded it, you could spin the wheel on the spacer and it spun true with no indication of non-concentricy. I paid close attention to that because I expected to screw up at least one 36-1 wheel trying to get it right. Not too worried about it now. I intentionally made the mount small and rigid with a lot of sensor overlap to minimize the effects of vibration.
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Re: Converted to distributorless ignition!

Post  BigBlockRanger on August 16th 2016, 9:44 am

Just a quick update. Took Jake for a ride yesterday to drop him off to meet some friends and it ended up being about 10 miles longer than I anticipated. A little further than I really wanted to go at this time, but it ran like a top. Seems to be running on the rich side, so it looks like I need to do some tweaking. Hammered on the throttle a few times and it really feels spunky.

Had to make a stop at the gas station because I wasn't 100% sure how much fuel I had.

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