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Re: [T3] Alfa Romeo's distributor

On 23 Jan 2004 at 17:03, emilio tiraboschi wrote:

> Thanks Jim. So, in your opinion is better to keep the stock bosch one? I 
> thought to change because some "vw addicted" i asked about, said me that 
> with the alfa's unit the sparks are stronger, providing better performance 
> and less fuel consumption. My stock distributor is good, no play at shaft, 
> no worn cam. What should I do?

There's a lot of confusion about what you can get from a "better" spark. The 
answer is very little. It's sort of the same as asking whether the explosion 
will be bigger if you use 2 matches to light the fuse on a stick of Dynamite.

If your engine is miss-firing occasionally, then there are things which you may 
need to fix that a new distributor may not fix (like plugs, wires, SP connector 
resistors....) If your advance mechanism is not working then you should fix 
that, but you would need to make sure that the advance mechanism in a new 
distributor is also working.

You should also consider that any extra energy that comes out in the spark gets 
taken from the engine output power by the generator, so conservation of energy 
prevails here, too.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you can't get anything that will simply 
give you more output power that a stock ignition system IF that system is in 
good working condition. And it is almost always cheaper/easier to fix whatever 
problems it has rather than replace it with something else.

There's really no free lunch here.

The big advantage of electronic ignitions is the fact that they tend to never 
need adjustment or regular replacement of parts. OTOH, you can buy many sets of 
ignition points for the cost of the cheapest electronic ignition.

That said, I'm a fan of the add-on CDI ignitions. Two reasons: low maintenance, 
and they have a switch so that I can go back to the standard Kettering ignition 
at a simple flick of a switch if something fails in the CDI.

BTW, one of the advantages of the CDI systems is that they actually put out a 
little more energy into the spark, but do it over a shorter time period. This 
prolongs spark plug lifetime. Although the CDI systems I like still use the 
stock points, I find that point wear is negligable with the CDI unit running.

Jim Adney
Madison, WI 53711-3054

List info at http://www.vwtype3.org/list | mailto:gregm@vwtype3.org

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