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Subject: Electronic ignition?

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Matt G    Posted 12-01-2020 at 19:39:30 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Electronic ignition?
  • I was recently given an 8n.

    I mentioned my desire to upgrade from points to an electronic ignition, and 6v to 12v. Some of the more experienced voices here disagreed with my plan.

    I've never worked with points before, and my research makes them sound like a common point of failure. Is an electronic ignition more reliable, with less tinkering?

    Also, the 12 volt upgrade. I had assumed that it was an obvious upgrade, for lighting if nothing else. Six volt parts are just not as ubiquitous as 12 v. Would I get more reliability and/or cheaper parts if I went from six to twelve?

    Thank you.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 12-04-2020 at 10:52:39 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • The only downside of a 12V conversion is the loss of originality/nostalgia. I grew up in an 8N/NAA world and I have a lot of very good memories associated with them. When I decided to convert my 8N to 12V I was repelled by the looks of an "ugly" alternator hanging off the side of my old tractor. So I had the original generator rebuilt and converted to 12V. I call it my stealth 12V conversion ;-) I am still saddled with an under-powered electrical system but it is now 12V and if nothing else cranks a lot better and lets me use 12V lighting.

    EI is a more contentious issue mainly because the commonly used Pertronix Ignitor modules have a reputation for failures. I have an EI conversion on my to do list and when I get to it I will be using Pertronix more expensive Ignitor II module because it has some survivability enhancements (reverse polarity and over current protection) that will hopefully help keep it healthy.


    Matt G    Posted 12-04-2020 at 17:55:39 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • If Pertronics is flaky, are there other brands that would work?

    HCooke    Posted 12-04-2020 at 18:32:07 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • Matt, I have the Pertronics in two of my 7 remaining Ford tractors. One is 12 volts with a front mount distributor. Been there for two years with no problems. The other is in my 601 with 6 volts. As TOH says, 6 volts is iffy, Battery must be in tip top shape. My other five Fords are still six volt with points. Over the last 20 years I have gotten very good at changing points!

    TheOldHokie    Posted 12-04-2020 at 18:21:11 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • It's not at all clear that Pertronix is the issue. Lots of people use the 6V module which is a push, don't follow the instructions, and they forget and leave the key on.

    That said there are certainly other brands. Not sure if they make anything that would work in this application. Side ot front distributor?


    Matt G    Posted 12-04-2020 at 19:27:20 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • Front distributor. Just to add a little joy to the changeover, my Super Six loader has a frame about an inch from the generator; I'm looking at smaller-diameter alternators. Steiner has one that should work.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 12-04-2020 at 19:40:28 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • A very quick search turned up Brillman and Hot Spark. Doesn't look like they have anything for the front distributors but you could always ask. I am sure there are others if you spend a little more effort looking.


    HCooke    Posted 12-03-2020 at 19:12:33 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • Matt, I have more than a couple of 9, 2, 8Ns. All but one are very close to original and 6 volt. My remaining 9N (I recently sold four of them) I bought as a parts tractor. There was no restorative value in it as it had an industrial engine, but there were a number of early 9N parts that I could sell. I got the tractor running and so I kept it in running condition, although I sold some of the collectable parts and replaced them with newer ones. The tractor was twelve volts when I got it. Kept it that way. I replace the points with EI a couple of years ago and it has worked well since. It's your tractor. Do what you want with it. John Smith was a Ford tractor enthusiast who restored many old Fords, but he converted his working tractors to 12 volts.

    Peter    Posted 12-02-2020 at 15:55:43 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • I only recently got my 9N tractor and I still have the old points in it. The wiring doesn't follow any of the diagrams online but is a mixture.

    My answer has been to use a multimeter and trace the wires to see what goes where and to which connection. The tractor wouldn't start, not even turn over, so I cleaned the connections one at a time while tracing the wires.

    It's starting fine now. I am told that unless the wire has an obvious break in it, that the dirty connectors are the problem

    Fixing these things is in one way fun but at times frustrating. The folks on this site have been a big help and are good at answering questions and giving advice from experience.

    Have fun with your tractor.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 12-03-2020 at 07:16:38 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • HiYa Peter-
    Welcome aboard. We need to know several things to proceed. First, do you have the OEM 6V/POS GRN electrical setup or has a 12V switch out job been attempted? 6V used a generator and a round cutout; 12V would use an alternator, no round cutout. However, do not assume because your battery is 6V or 12V that the wiring is correct for that system. Unless a wire has an obvious loose or broken connection, chances are high dirt isnít the problem. Itís a fact that 99.98% of all non-starting issues are due to incorrect wiring, regardless if 6V or 12V. I donít know where ďon-lineĒ you got your wiring diagrams from but the OEM Ford Owner & Service Manual and the I&T FO-4 Manual has the correct wiring diagrams. If you get copies of all the ESSENTIAL MANUALS you will be investing in the most valuable tools for your tractor. We have some in our MANUALS forum; all can be purchased at JUST8Ns.com. We also have a ton of valuable information and documents in our HOW-TOís forum. All 9N & 2N tractors used the same electrical setup from s/n 12500 up thru 1947. The system uses: 6V AG type battery; Ballast Resistor; Front Mount Distributor; 1-Wire Square Can Coil; 1-wire/3-Brush *Generator; Roundcan Cutout Circuit; 1-Wire Starter Motor with NO SOLENOID; 30/30 Ammeter; Ignition Key Switch; with a neutral safety starter pushbutton. Lights were never factory installed items. Lighting kits were sold at Ford Tractor dealers as optional accessories. Some wired their lights incorrectly if done by the owner. While troubleshooting electrical, best to disconnect lights from the circuit til root cause problem is determined. On a 12V switch over job the roundcan cutout and gen are removed from the circuit. The OEM Ballast Resistor is still used and if the coil is 6V, will require an external 1-OHM resistor. Changing to a 12V coil will eliminate the need for the extra resistor. Itís good you used a VOM to test continuity. The 6V/POS GRN system is the #1 most misunderstood item with Fords. #2 is the front mount distributor. The unit must be tuned up on your bench, points set and timed per manual, and tested before mounting back on engine. There is only one correct way to mount the distributor so tangs align on cam shaft. If itís forced on the wrong way, it will destroy the base the second power is applied. Lastly, whether you use a generator or an alternator, you must use a fan belt tensioning device to maintain proper belt tension otherwise the unit wonít charge the battery correctly if at all. The Ford 2N-10000 generator introduced a belt tensioning device mounted on the barrel. Alternately they offered a belt kit for the prior 9N-10000-C unit. Firing Order is: 1,2,4,3 CCW. Itís easy to get #3 and #4 plug wires crossed up so always check. You can get some more free downloads in the HOW-TOís forum ĖĎWIRING PICTOGRAMS by JMORí; and í75 Tips for N Ownersí by Bruce(VA)


    FORD 9N-10505-B CUTOUT ĖUSED AFTER S/N 12,500 TO S/N 258504 ON 9N & 2N MODELS ONLY:


    HELP: The LH resistor Terminal Post connects to the COIL Stud Terminal Post as you face the back off dash. OEM Wiring is RED.







    Tim Daley(MI)

    Matt G    Posted 12-03-2020 at 16:22:57 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Thank you!
  • This post is solid gold. Thank you.

    Peter    Posted 12-03-2020 at 08:01:50 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • My tractor is running fine now that I worked through the wiring and cleaned things up. It's a front distributor with conventional points. Serial # on the engine block puts it at a 1942 9N .A prior owner did a 12 volt conversion to a single wire alternator. It has a solenoid to control the starter and it is switched by the ignition key. I didn't see any resistors in the circuit.
    I have the manuals, which are a big help, and consulted the articles on this site as well. Then once I realised that the wiring didn't match the diagrams I set to and traced what went where so I could draw my own circuit diagram. (Ham Radio electronic skills - ve3cnp)The problem was crud and corrosion build up so I cleaned the terminals until they were shiny. Hey presto , everything works again. For now, I applied dielectric grease to the connections.A re-wire is probably needed. The wire from the alternator to the battery looks a bit thin for my liking and I prefer the separate ignition key and starter button (just like my 1960's Mini I had in England).My tractor is being used to "bush hog" and snow clear. It's not a show piece but I want it to look decent and be as reliable as I can make it. Most of what I have done is long overdue maintenance but having fun doing it I will be back to consult when I run into problems.

    Jack-Iowa    Posted 12-03-2020 at 09:33:54 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • Sounds like you've done it right and know what you are doing. As long as the wiring is in good shape and you know where they run, I see no reason for a re-wire. Assume you have the wire tables. Problem with the solenoid on the starting circuit they likely also defeated the safety. These creatures normally start pretty easily and will run over you! That said, I own a 2N on which the safety has also been defeated.

    Jack - Iowa

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 12-02-2020 at 09:00:01 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • Matt-
    It is your tractor and you can do whatever you want with it. Contrary to some, we are trying to help, not beating you up, or trying to convince you to go one way or the other, and not arguing over 6V and 12V systems. Each has its own pros and cons. What many of us are saying is donít fall into that false belief that if it ainít running on 6V, ya gotta go to 12V. As a newbie, you, at least I, would want to know why it isnít running in the first place. Like Bruce says, you can go out and buy all new parts and replace them and you may or may not run into the fix. So, does the tractor run now? No? Then why not troubleshoot as to the true root cause first? It could be simply a bad/dead battery. FACT: 99.98% of all non-starting issues are due to incorrect wiring. If it won't start/run on 6V what makes you think it will on 12V? See Bruce(VA)'s 75 Tips. Swapping out engines can involve not getting the new wiring right and I suspect that is what has happened with yours. The 9N/2N models were basically all the same after s/n 12500. They used the front mount distributor; square can coil; a 1-Wire Starter Motor with NO SOLENOID; a 1-Wire 3/Brush Generator with the roundcan cutout; the Ballast Resistor; Ammeter; Ignition Switch and no lights. Lights were never a factory item on Nís. The 8N used a 3-Wire Starter Motor WITH A SOLENOID; a 3-Wire/3-Brush (later 2-Brush) Generator WITH a rectangular Voltage Regulator that had 3 wires ĖARM FLD BAT - plus a ground; Ballast Resistor (until side mount dist); Ammeter; Ignition switch; and no lights. I suggest you do some more research first before making a decision and see what electrical system you have now. It could be PO cobbled together something that worked, at least for a while. There was a conversion one could do to add the 8N 3-Wire GEN and a VR to a 9N setup but we can discuss later once we see what is going on. As far as your front mount distributor, I rebuild them so if you want to send yours to me I will do so set to OEM specs, guaranteed to fire up. Email is open. Just saying leave options open now and get to the root cause then make the choice whether to go to 12V. As far as EI goes, I never had a desire nor need to go to it. When I had my shop, Iíd get customers calling to say their N wouldnít start now and Iíd find out they put EI in them. I wouldnít even muck with it, just switched back to points and it fired up everytime. To each his own.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    Matt G    Posted 12-02-2020 at 10:05:36 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • The tractor doesnít start due to extended neglect, I think.

    Iím going to photograph it and post the story later today.

    Jim    Posted 12-01-2020 at 20:25:55 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Electronic ignition?
  • I bought a 8n with a front mount distributor and found after several months it had a electronic ignition to my surprise, it worked fine till the day I sold it (12v). I bought a electronic ignition for my a 8n with a side mount distributor also 12 v worked for about 20 minutes, tractor died. Checked it out no spark ,replaced it again ran for about 20 minutes or so died again, Derick from just 8ns he gave me the name of the supplier in Ok,he said it must be surge in one of the electrical components, went back to points runs great again. I have a 8n and two 2nís that are 12v and a 8n , jubilee, and a 641 that are 6v. 12 volts are good in a lot of ways but if you want nostalgic stay 6v. By the way here in illinois it was 29 degrees and my 641 fired right up. Do whatís best suits your need.

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