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Defective Pertronix Ignitor III

23839 Views 44 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  ffmikej

I just determined that my ignitor III is defective.

It worked great for a day, then the car started to stall at lights. Then wouldn't start at all. Checked all ignition components and tracked the problem to the Ignitor.

Re-installed my points and all is well.

I'm posting this because it seems at least one other forum member has had issues with the Ignitor III as well.

I'm going to follow up with Pertronix and will keep you posted...
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Just curious, how recent was your installation? I've had a Pertronix I in my car for almost 3 years and no problems. I hope I didn't just jinx myself!:gringreen
very recent. a week ago. And it's a III, which is the new one recently released....
I don't have any experience with the new Ignitor III but I do with the other 2 versions. I've run them in my other cars and occasionally, they go bad. The most annoying part is that they can go bad with virtually no notice. The engine will stop like you've just turned the key off. After a short time, the engine will re-fire after the petronix cools off and resets. UPS used to run Petronix units in all their older trucks. They changed them every 12 months even if there was no problem.

The good part is that you can contact Petronix and they will try to help you. Their techs will take you through a few things that will pinpoint if your problem is the new unit or not. It sounds like you already know. Since you just installed it, I would expect them to make good on it. They did exchange one of mine a while ago. Good Luck :winks
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Thanks for posting, cuddyk. My car still starts, as of last night, but the stalling is definitely an issue. I just contacted PerTronix about the issue. I'm thinking if possible I may exchange the Ignitor III for an Ignitor II.
Oh boy this is not looking so good. I'm wondering if there's an issue with the III units overheating or something. Macgeek can you tell us what Pertronix tells you?
Last year I installed the Ignotor II and Flamethrower II, it was before the III came out. I couldn't get the car to run right at all. Took it to a shop and the first thing they found troubleshooting was that the Flamethrower II coil was bad, and it was brand new. I contacted them and they sent a replacement, but I ended up putting in a MSD distributor and MSD coil. So it doesn't surprise me that people are having issues.
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Seems that quality control could use some improvement!
something told me to not trust that thing. I was close to getting it so many times but it didn't seem right to me at all.
The issue I had with mine was that it came lose and the gap went out so it was not firing on all cylinders. It took a long time to determine but it was fine after that.

However I do think ill be going with a mallory or msd unit once i get it running again. I have an MSD in my truck and its been running great for nearly 2 years without a single issue
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I've had the ignitor 2 and blaster coil in my 65 for several years without any problems.
I've had the II in for a year....No problems at all, (knock on wood)......
Hmm i just bought mine, im going to give it a shot, the place i bought it from has my business for sheetmetal and the guy, who is very nice, said if it don't work i can bring it back. so hopefully i won't have to bring it back lol. just a question but what did you do about that pin that sticks up and holds the old breaker plate in with a c clip, i haven't tried pecking or hammering at it yet but i may have to lol, does it have something holding it in at the bottom?
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Hi Shag,

With the III installation, the entire point setup- including the plate with the pin- is removed. So it doesn't get in the way. The III screws right in. The good thing about that is that you can just drop your points back in if you've got a problem. Of course, I wish I didn't have that problem :)
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Well I heard back from PerTronix. They want me to run some tests to determine the problem. They said "Right now you have a very common issue that normally comes down to fixing some voltage or ground issues," which makes me hopeful.

The questions they asked:
  1. First question would be did you by pass your resister wire?
    Yes, I bypassed mine and was getting 11.x volts at the coil
  2. Also have you taken a loaded voltage test? (if not please see attached sheet for proper steps)
    I have not, I'll do so as soon as I get the chance
  3. Is the distributor housing painted? Or the block directly below the distributor?
    The housing is not painted, the engine block is
I've attached the PDF they sent me as well.

I'm actually gone until Friday, but as soon as I get back I'll be running the tests and letting you guys know what the results are.

cuddyk, how did you determine yours was defective exactly? Did you find out what was wrong with it?


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Nice work macgeek, well done! So it sounds like you're in the clear on questions 1 & 3 which is good. Hopefully once you run the voltage test it will help isolate the problem so you can get it resolved quickly.

With all this bad talk about the III coming out I was starting to get cold feet. I noticed that the III I ordered almost two weeks ago now is still on backorder but the II is ready to ship today from Jegs. Keep in mind I'm getting the whole distributor as well. So I decided to call into Jegs this morning and spoke with one of their "Technicians" who was actually very helpful. I asked him if the III is on backorder because of some wierd problem that Pertronix is trying to iron out & why is the II so readily available?

He says Pertronix is usually solid the whole way around and he rarely sees them come back. He thinks the III is taking so long to get right now because distributor gears are hard to come by right now and one of Pertronix vendors may be backed up or something. But he assured me that it's a solid product and the II's are easier to get simply because they've been out longer.
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cuddyk, how did you determine yours was defective exactly? Did you find out what was wrong with it?
Hi Macgeek. Looks like you got further than I did. I called pertronix several times, but never got to speak to a live person.

I determined my unit was defective using deduction...

1) It worked perfectly when first installed
2) It slowly started to perform erratically (stalling)
3) It eventually stopped working altogether
4) I checked all connections, changed the ignition coil and took out one plug to test. No spark at all.
5) Replaced the original points and all was well.

Perhaps I'm making a leap of logic, but both the points and the ignitor use the same grounding I doubt that's the issue. For me, the "smoking gun" is the fact that the unit worked for a while, then failed.

I read the doc they sent (which, interestingly isn't in the troubleshooting section of their website) and the only thing I didn't try is directly attaching the plate to the - post on the battery. If I find some time maybe I'll try re-installing it (I haven't sent it back yet).

Lemme be clear...I'm not at all "down" on Pertronix. I actually LOVED the way the car ran when it worked. I'm looking forward to it running that way all the time. Maybe with the "II"....?
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i just got my III installed and so far no problems...ill be doing test runs each day to check it, i do love the performance tho tires burn better than ever.
Well as I said on my other thread, the results from the voltage tests all came back within spec, but I'm still having the issue. I've emailed PerTronix again to see if there's anything else I can try. Thankfully it hasn't gotten any worse yet, though. At this point I'm just waiting to hear back.

cuddyk, I too love the performance gain from the Ignitor. I just hope I can get this solved and still be able to use it!
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hi mac...

I sent my III back to cj pony last week. hopefully getting another one in a few days. running points in the meantime and all is well.

Will post asap and let you know if the replacement III works better.
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