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Discussion Starter #1
Dear All
I would like some learned opinions on Hot Spark brand electronic ignition systems.
I saw them on ebay.
I'm an enthusiest not a purest so if thats a problem, so be it.
I'm thinking of purchasing a Hot Spark brand electronic ignition system for my 75' Spider.
I know the benefits of electronic ignition on my other cars and would like to think that I'm getting the best out of my 2 liter engine in the Alfa.
As stated I'm not a purist but seeing that this system just sits inside the distributor and doesn't have any bright coloured boxes to add to the engine bay, It would suit my "stock look" with the added advantage of hopefully perfect spark.
I run a Bosch GT40 coil with a primary resistance of 3.6 ohms, the voltage to the coils possitive terminal is roughly 9.3V at 4000 rpm so the voltage over the ohms gives me a 2.58 amps which is well within spec to run a Hot Spark brand system without having to implement a ballast resister.
The fit should be reletively easy.
Can anybody tell me if these systems work ok?
Any help most appreciated
Jack
 

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Hi Jack,

I've bought a Hot Spark BOS4C1 kit and it works perfectly. I also run a GT40 coil.

See this post for some more info on fitting and some pics.

I may have a different Bosch dizzy to you though. My dizzy model # is 0231 129 036. My car is a '67 GTV, but the dizzy I am using came out of a 2000 Berlina. The same model dizzy was fitted to these cars as OE;
ALFA ROMEO with dist 0-231-129-036; various models from 1971-1973 and 1974 Berlina & Spider Veloce.

I only mention this because I found a slight problem with fitting the Hot Spark BOS4C1 kit to this model dizzy, and had to modify the base plate on the kit slightly to make it fit. See the other post for the specific info.
Apparently others have had the same problem with the Pertronix Ignitor 1847A/V and Ignitor II 91847A kits as well (see here and here). Not surprising given that these and the Hot Spark kit are almost identical I guess.

The good news is that I discussed this problem with Hot Spark and they had no problem assuring me that my warranty would not be affected by these minor modifications to the base plate, so I went ahead and fitted it.
Pertronix are not so understanding. Modifying the base plate on their kits will void your warranty.
Obviously though, if you don't have this particular model dizzy, this won't be a problem for you :)

I did my shopping around and research, and if you want my recommendations I'd say the Hot Spark kit is the best bang for your buck.
It works perfectly, so I would recommend it over the Pertronix Ignitor if only for the fact that the Hot Spark kit is half the price and almost identical to the Ignitor 1847A.

If you're really after the best performing kit, I'd say that the Pertronix Ignitor II 91847A promises the most (here). Although, I don't know if you'd notice the difference in everyday driving. It is only slightly more expensive than the Ignitor I, but still more than twice the price of the Hot Spark.

For the benefit of others reading this;
Hot Spark is a direct seller, so you buy these from www.hot-spark.com. The best places I found to buy the Pertronix kits are Retro Rockets and Carshopinc. Retro Rockets really know their stuff, but Carshopinc are slightly cheaper overall - but as Carshopinc charge USD30.00 shipping in the end they are really only a couple of dollars cheaper than Retro Rockets - who charge USD18.00 for shipping to Oz.
The Retro Rockets staff are unbelievably helpful and professional as well, but they are sticklers for the book and if your distributor model isn't listed in the Pertronix catalogue, they unfortunately won't provide a warranty for fitting outside the manufacturers recomendations. Obviously, mine wasn't mentioned in the catalogue - which is why I opted for Hot Spark even though I really wanted the Ignitor II :(

You can buy from the Australian distributor for Pertronix - ProQuip - but as they charge a ridiculous AUD$305.00 for the Ignitor II :eek: they're not my recommendation. It is for this price gouging that I refuse to provide them with the benefit of linking to their website.

Cheers,
-Col-
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The wrong kit

Hey Col
I took the path of least resistance and got a Hot Spark kit.
I took pics of my Cenfrif dizzy and sent them and they agreed that a C1 kit was the go.
When it turned up however they'd sent me a V1 kit for vacume dizzies not the one I needed.
I sent an email back explaining with a pic of the kit and they replied that if I could fit it then it would work exactly the same as the C1.
So off I went, I soaked the dizzy without the breaker plate upside down in kerro to draw out the crap, I cleaned off the plate. I had to modify sensors top plate re shaving off a bit on the edges to make it fit. Had to modify the rubber grommet to make a square plug fit a round hole, so now it's in, but I'm concerned that the magnet sleve sits a bit lower than the sensor being on two plates rather than one.
Also, what do I do with the existing wires on the coil?
I've got a green wire coming out of a loom going to one terminal, and a red wire that went from the other terminal to the condenser on the side of the dizzy. Obviously the red wire is replaced by the red wire to the Hot Spark unit, but do I leave the green wire from the loom on the other terminal and just join the Hot Spark green wire to it? This is the only option as I see it otherwise the coil is just floating yes?
I'm a bit dense when it comes to electrical stuff.:confused:
Any help would be most appreciated.
Cheers
Jack.
 

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Hi Jack,

I'm no expert on ignition electrics by any means, but I'll do my best.

My first questions are just in case we need someone more familiar with Spider electrics to chime in. What model number distributor do you have on your '75 Spider?

Now remember my car is a 1967 GTV, so things will be a bit different, and these cars are getting old so there possibly has been some rewiring done over the years. (more on this below)

After installation I have only two wires running from the dizzy - those are the red and the black from the Hot Spark unit - no others.
Red connects to the positive terminal on my coil, and black to the negative.
There is a third yellow wire coming from the loom which also connects to the positive terminal on my coil (in tandem with the red wire from the Hot Spark unit).
That's all.

According to my wiring diagram, my yellow wire should be red. It provides the positive feed to my coil. Negative is provided by earth to the body.

There were only two other wires on my dizzy before in installed the kit, and both are no longer required.
These were the black wire that ran from the coil to the connect in tandem with the points and condensor at the grommet. And the green wire from the condensor to join with the points and this same black wire. Both of these are gone now as the condensor has been removed altogether, and the black wire is made redundant by the hot spark wires.

I don't have a wiring diagram for a '75 Spider, but on all of the wiring diagrams I do have, the setup for the coil is exactly the same as min (with the exception of the yellow wire or course:))

I suspect your green wire from the loom is the same as my yellow one - positive feed.
If you have a test light, connect it to this wire, and ground the other end - if it lights up, the wire is positive.

The wire that runs from the coil to the condensor should be discarded as it is no longer required, and if left connected would bypass the ignition unit.

When finished I would expect your setup should be as follows;
1. Red from Hot Spark to positive terminal on coil.
2. Black from Hot Spark to negative terminal on coil.
3. Red (or whatever:confused:) from loom, to positive terminal on coil. (may require a double connector, I swapped mine around on the coil)
There shouldn't be any other wires as you only need the positive and negative (earth) to run your coil and your ignition unit.

Hope this makes sense.

-Col-
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Totally Duuude

This all makes total sense considering as on inspection this morning the green wire I mentioned coming from the loom is connected to the +pos on the coil.
I was falling for the predisposed knowledge that a green wire is -neg.
Not always so in the world of Alfa.
Let this be a lesson to all the electrical nuffies like me out there like me.
Never take anything for granted!
So I'm about to hook it all up and turn the key.
Roy from Hot Spark got back to me straight away and re affirmed that grinding the base plate wont hurt my warranty and that my pics of the install looked good. I'll attach them for all to see.
They're a good mob there at Hot Spark.
You cant beat their price for these kits when it comes to a road car.
I'll chime in with an update on how and if it runs once I've got it timed and (fingers crossed) purring.
Be embarrasing if it does not run which would prove that my electrical work is as bad as my spelling when writing these posts.
Well I can get away with bad spelling, but I cant get away with my Spider not running!
Now that would hurt.
Thanks for you insightful posts Col.
Happy motoring.
 

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I'm glad to have been of some help Jack.
I'm happy all of that made sense in the end. Let me know how you go.

Just be sure the magnetic collar is all the way down on the shaft, and that the alloy plate doesn't rub against the collar - otherwise a little more filing will be needed.

Tell Roy I'll invoice him for my customer support ;)

That dizzy top plate looks suspiciously familiar. The problematic mount is even in the same place. I suspect it's the same 036 model as mine, which would make sense as the 036 model was OE on some late spiders and Berlina's.

Cheers,
-Col-
 

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why don't you assuie guys just find a freind here in the states.. that ignition part here is reddaly av. at most v.w places for $45.00, and you can use a bosch dizzy of any 4 cly bmw's from 75-81// maybe later , and just change the dog gear at the bottom.. that how i did mine on my old 78 spider( long past, have 84 now, but keep the that dizzy in the trunk on long drives as a back up)
 

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* * *After reading my previous reply, I decided it was a bit heavy on the sarcasm so I've edited it to be more polite :)

Thanks for the suggestion, but the kits can be purchased directly for USD39.95 and the postage is quite reasonable. Even including postage, the cost is less than half of the competitors product, and less than a quarter of the local price for the competitors product.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hot Spark

The Hot Spark system is in and it works.

It seems to me after researching that it's a road system, not a race system, but it's a hell of a different situation when I have not started the car for a week.
Screw in the battery isolator, check the oil and water, get in and at the tingling moment when i first turn the key, - will she, wont she - The thing just goes BANG after virtually what seems less than a couple of piston fires!
The idle is way more stable cold and what I'd call very smooth for an engine of this vintage when hot.
The power is generally increased across the board, not heaps of course, but the impression is of a much more willing and smoother engine.
Some of this is obviously spark but the old "while your there" scenario got me going.
I removed the dizzy, then it's breaker plate, didn't pull all the weights out as the springs were snapping them back ok when I turned the shaft against the cam drive at the base. Soaked it upside down in kerro for a few days which leeched all the crap out of it, put in some gear oil on the weights (I remember heavy engine oil being recommended) and a bit if bearing grease as well.
They sent me the vacume dizzy kit which was wrong as my dizzy is a Bosch centrifugal but they got straight back to me and assured me it was ok to grind a bit off the base plate to fit and it would work the same.
So after fitting the kit in the dizzy I drooled a bit of gear oil on the drive end, drooled a bit of light oil on the felt pad under the rotor put it back in , guessed the dizzy position and it started.
Timed it with a light and thats that.
A smoother more powerful (cleaner running?) engine for $55.45 off ebay.
Even cheaper for you guys in the US as postage to the other side of the planet is a pain. i just hope now they're confident of their three year warranty
but I'm carrying the points in the glovebox just in case.
Well done Hot Spark!
 

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Fitting a HotSpot into an Alfa

Jackho:

Can you clarify what you meant when you typed: "They sent me the vacume dizzy kit which was wrong as my dizzy is a Bosch centrifugal but they got straight back to me and assured me it was ok to grind a bit off the base plate to fit and it would work the same."

Here's what I'm guessing you meant:

1) HotSpark sells two models, one for vacuum (VW) distributors, and one for centrifugal (VW) distributors. But for Alfas, they suggest that the vacuum model will fit better, even though the Alfa uses a centrifugal advance. (Yea, I know - vehicles with vacuum advance also have centrifugal, so better terminology might be "vaccum + centrifugal" and "centrifugal only").

2) In order to get the vacuum HotSpark to fit the Alfa distributor something needs to be ground off. Can you clarify what this was?

3) Do you, or anyone else know why HotSpark doesn't just advocate using their centrifugal model for the centrifugal Alfa distributor?

Of course, all of this pertains to Bosch distributors in Alfas - if you have a Marelli/Lucas/Delco, then HS doesn't have a product that will help you.
 

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Hi guys,

Excellent news Jack! Glad you're happy.
My '67 GTV is back in the hangar for some finishing touches, so even though my Hot Spark kit is installed and running I haven't had a chance to take it for a decent drive since installing it. Frustrating!
Much to the annoyance of my neighbours there were several sweet sounding blats around the block on the day that I fitted it though:D. I agree with you about the smoother running, and it sounds great! Did you notice a change in your exhaust note?

Trying to time it in on a fresh engine was a pain though. My forearms were bulging like Popeye's trying to turn an extremely tight engine to line up TDC.
--------------------------------------------------------

Hi again Jay,

How's that mirror image of my car progressing?

There's actually no difference between the "C" and the "V" Hot Spark kits other than the design of the base plates. The magnet sleeve and the sensor are common to both.
Both kits fit the Alfa centrifugal advance distributors. I know from other discussions with you that you have an identical dizzy model to mine, so you can be assured that at least one kit will fit.

From my emails to Roy at Hot Spark, I get the feeling that I may have been his first Alfa customer. I was definitely the first with the '036 model distributor. Apparently it's very similar to some Volvo dizzies :eek:

Before ordering I sent him pics and measurements to decide which kit would fit better. In the end we decided that either kit would fit fine, but the "C" kit would have a slightly easier installation as you don't have to adjust the gap between the magnet sleeve and the sensor - as you would with the "V" kit.
The "V" kit also sits a bit higher from the dizzy points plate simply because there are two alloy plates under it instead of the one, but it's still within the tolerances for the kit to work properly. Jack's kit works, so evidently this makes no difference.

Jack and I have discussed in earlier posts in this thread about the fact that both the Hot Spark kits and Pertronix kits need 1 or 2mm filed from the base plate to fit some Alfa dizzies.
I advised Roy about the mods I needed to make to the "C" kit and he replied that as the "V" kit has a slightly smaller base plate footprint it probably wouldn't need the same modification. I would assume this is the reason he is recommending the "V" kit for Alfa's, but perhaps you should ask Roy directly for his reasoning on this.
Jack has obviously proven this assumption to be incorrect as he has had to modify the "V" kit as well, but in the end his mods have been approved and his warranty is still valid - so no biggy. Most importantly Jack's kit runs.
The way I read Jack's earlier posts is that he ordered the "C" kit and Hot Spark just sent him the "V" kit by mistake. In any case, both seem to require the same modification to the base plate so I guess you just pick whichever kit you prefer.

The pic I've included below is of the modifications required to fit the "C" kit to my '036 dizzy, which I've described in detail in another thread on the same subject which you are also participating in Jay. The links to other threads on the BB and other resources are in my earlier (above) reply to Jack.

Bear in mind that the Hot Spark kits were designed for Bosch distributors only. They require only minor adjustments to fit Alfa '036 dizzies and it's my guess that they probably fit other model Bosch distributors fitted to Alfa's without modification at all.
I searched high and low for a kit to fit my Marelli without success. The Pertronix kit that is supposed to fit my Marelli, doesn't even come close so I returned it for a refund. In the end it was easier and cheaper to swap for a Bosch distributor and fit a kit to that. Including my purchase price for the distibutor, I spent less than the Pertronix kit would have cost me for either Bosch or Marelli.

How much longer until your '67 GTV is up and running Jay?

Cheers,
-Col-
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah! Like he said!

Good on you Col!
You save me all that typing and I'm so bad at it!
That’s the mod I’m talking about Jay. You've just got to take a bit off the Hot Spark base plate to get it inside the contact plate mounts. Its pure Aluminum or alloy so you could do it with your girls nail file it's so soft.
And yes, there is a different note to the engine. I noticed it more at the air intake firstly but when I'd got the thing timed up at 4600 rpm it's after 3000 that I notice a much more pronounce snarl to it.

Jeez Col, a fresh engine! That would be nice. I did a compression test the other day and the front three cylinders showed about 80 whatevers on my old tester, it's not designated what they are, Kg cm??
I'm not switched on enough or too busy making the kids vegemite toast to know!
The rear most cylinder showed about 120 whatevers.
Bit of an imbalance there!
I've got an issue with my rear Del Orto as well.
I'm going to attempt a rebuild on both. I think the parts kit costs about 95 GB pounds including some new mains, idles and airs from Eurocarb.
But at least the ignition is sorted for the foreseeable future.
How about some pics of your 67' Col.
I was working in Brisbane recently. I'll annoy you by coming round for a beer and a drool next time.
Cheers.
Jack
 

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No worries Jack,

I'm a touch typist - but it's not always a good thing. Sometimes I don't realise just how much I have typed.

I'll post a set of pics when my car is finished to a standard that I'm happy with. It's actually really close to being complete, with just a few odds and ends left to attach, polish, or de-bug - but I just can't find the time. It's getting quite frustrating actually.

For the meantime there are a couple of pics of my car on these threads:
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showthread.php?t=8142&page=2
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showthread.php?t=41076&page=7
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showthread.php?t=41076&page=9

Next time you're up here let me know.

Cheers,
-Col-
 
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