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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

So its finally time to redo the ignition system and wanted to get some advice. It's a 78 spider with a Pertronix module in a Marelli Distributor, Bosch Blue Coil.... Should I just replace the wires, cap and rotor, or go with a new setup? What wire sets do you recommend (Brand and size) if I stay with the current setup? I see so many Electronic units out there its difficult to make sense of it all. Centerline has a "house" brand, I hear RML is really good, 123, etc....then, what coil would be appropriate and what size leads? I'm not racing it, but would like it to perform well.....

Thanks,
 

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If the routing is the same I will sell these 8MM Taylor wires for $50.00 with Looms and extra wire and ends to locate the coil where want. I ran them for about an hour. I pulled the 1300 when finished and went a different direction.
IMG_0690.jpeg
 

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The original Marelli distributor with points and OE coil always worked pretty good for me. However, in this time and age:
  • new, 2020 points often are low quality and have left many stranded
  • an electronic conversion rids you of replacing and adjusting points
  • and a 40 years old coil might not be reliable anymore.
You already have a Pertronix conversion and Bosch blue coil, which are two products known to be reliable. Hopefully the ballast resistor originally supplied with the Marelli coil is no longer used, the Bosch blue coil at 3 ohms does not need it.

I believe the current RML and the Centerline are both equivalent to your current setup, with perhaps a different advance curve. If your Marelli distributor is not worn out, there is no reason to replace it with a similar product.

Some of the other newer electronic systems would be able to trigger a more powerful spark, which you don't need unless you want to make other mods to extract more power and rpm from your engine.

I saved the 123 for the end. It is different in that it contains a microprocessor that controls advance digitally instead of depending on a rather crude mechanical device (centrifugal weights and springs). It allows you the possibility to select one of various pre programmed curves by flicking a (hard to reach) switch, and there is an optional programmable version allowing you to custom design a curve for those so inclined. Most people who have bought a 123 gave positive comments, but it isn't cheap.

I had a 123 and Bosch coil, it worked fine, but I never felt anything spectacular. I decided to go back to the OE Marelli with points, with the addition of a vintage Delta capacitive discharge system. As a matter of fact I was installing it minutes ago.

It is a very personal decision based on a goal of reliability. Most readers will think I'm crazy, and the guy who bought my 123 (with bonus Bosch blue coil) got a bargain. An electronic system that fails leaves you stranded. A classical ignition with points and a small toolbox in the trunk will never leave me stranded. The Delta CD gives me additional spark and reduces the load on the NOS Marelli points tremendously. It has a nice switch... to turn it out of the circuit if needed. And it is of the proper vintage.

I use a set of Magnecor ignition wires, their 8.5 mm are arguably the best available. Probably overkill for a mild street car, and the proper red color for a 2000. RML used to supply them with their systems. The wire set sold by Centerline for 105 Alfas looks pretty decent for $30. Most 2000 Alfas need an abnormally long coil wire, which excludes most "universal" sets from the auto parts store at the corner.
 

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I will sell these 8MM Taylor wires for $50.00
Taylor are very good quality wires and OEM for a number of car manufacturers.

Regarding electronic reliability, My 123 has been on my car since 2007 and it has done 45k miles. I had one problem as a result of ignoring the manufactures instructions and running it with a CD ignition. Otherwise it has been perfect.. But using it with a Blue coil is a waste. The Stock Marelli coil plus ballast resistor makes better sparks than a blue coil connected to a modern distributor. If you buy a 123 then buy a coil of a little over 1 ohm primary resistance, such as a Bosch Red coil.
 

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I can recommend Kingsborne ignition wires. They're a major supplier, a distributor for BERU German wires and have a pretty comprehensive listing for Alfas. They're a good company and know our cars. They list 4 cyl wire sets for $28. Here's a link:

Spark Plug Wires for Alfa Romeos|Alpha Romeo Spark Plug Wires

As far as distributors go, I've been using a Marelli Plex distributor for a number of years now. It's currently installed in my 72 Super with a just built fast 2 liter. It has a modified advance (all in by appx 3k), has an Accel GM style trigger recommended by RJ several years ago. One thing I especially like about this distributor is how robust its components are---the internal distributor mounted sensor (replacements are still sold btw) especially. I ran an MSD with this distributor with no problems for years and years. At the moment I'm running the inductive Accel trigger with a MSD Blaster coil without ballast resistor with excellent results, although I'm giving some thought to installing the new quite small Pertronix CD box.

The 'Plex ignitions haven't been produced for a couple of decades or more but still show up for sale form time to time. These have been around for so long that many being now sold are pretty worn. Fortunately, the distributor shafts have bearings instead of bushings and can be rebuilt. There's an old IAP video talking about this in a thread I put up years ago.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Everyone,
I got tired of constantly adjusting the points which is why I converted the the stock Marinelli to electronic. Am leaning toward the Magnacor 8mm wires, new cap, rotor, and plugs. From what I've read on the BB, the gap on the NGK BPR7ES (5534) with electronic ignition should be .025. Does that correct? Any other suggestions for "while your in there"?
 
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