Ultimate Electronic Distributors – The 123 Ignition
Bigger Spark – Easier Starting – Totally Reliable – Low Maintenance
The introduction of the 123 Ignition distributor to the classic car market was truly revolutionary. Electronic ignition systems have been about for donkeys years, but not as complete replacement units. Traditional electronic ignition units tend to be modules which replace the points and condenser. They often don’t fit well and are not terribly reliable. 123 Ignition distributors are engineered to be electronic from the start with all the components in a waterproof casing. The other major bonus is that because you are replacing the whole distributor the process is 100% reversible. Should you wish to return your car back to its original specification.
Why is electronic ignition better?
Simply put they are more precise, make a bigger spark and have less moving parts, so require less maintenance for them to work correctly.
Distributors are as old as engine design itself. From 1900 up to the mid 1980’s they hadn’t really varied in design. They are essentially a clock-work mechanism that creates an electric pulse and sends it to the right cylinder at the right time.
To do this distributors have a mechanism which varies the point the pulse is created (known as advance and retard). They also have a condenser and set of points which make the pulse. Then a rotor arm which sends that pulse to the spark plug via your HT lead. As the engine pick up speed so this process gets quicker.
123 Ignition distributors get rid of the advance and retard mechanism, points and condenser. All of those parts are replaced with a single programable electronic unit. These units, once set up never need servicing or adjusting. They improve combustion because these units are so much more precise and powerful. This leads to the improvement in performance and economy.
Choosing the right unit
Pre-programmed 123 Ignition
Theses direct replacement distributors are perfect if you have an engine that is close to the original specification. Once fitted and set up you can pretty much forget about future ignition issues. They simply work and are maintenance free.
123 Ignition TUNE
We absolutely love a 123 TUNE! They have been fitted to every project car we have built over the last four years. They plug into any laptop via a USB cable allowing us to adjust the ignition curve to suit the engine and type of fuel you are using. There is a switch which allows for 2 ignition curves, so we usually set one up for 98 Octane and another for 95.
The 123 TUNE is infinitely programmable. If you have improved the performance of your engine by modifying the cylinder head, fitting performance cams, or improving the breathing the ignition timing can be adjusted via a laptop to help free up every last horsepower.
123 Ignition TUNE+
The + adds Bluetooth connectivity. The idea is that you can adjust the ignition curve wirelessly. It is particularly useful if access to the distributor is poor or you want to bore the tits off your passenger with ignition advance curve information whilst you go for a Sunday drive.
Getting one fitted.
Which ever system you chose a 123 Ignition needs to be fitted with a non-ballast Bosch Blue Ignition Coil and a set of Silicon HT Leads. This is because they require a resistance of 3.6 Ohms. Most classic cars with standard distributors run coils with a resistance of less than 3 Ohms and copper HT leads which are simply not suitable. We keep genuine new Bosch coils on the shelf and can make custom HT leads in a matter of minutes to suit any classic car.
Swapping the distributor over is a pretty straightforward exercise, taking approximately an hour. Setting the engine up to run at its optimum level will take a little longer. Generally further adjustments are needed to the carburettors to compensate for the improved ignition curve and better burn of the fuel.
Cost of fitting a 123 Ignition and setting up your carburettors: £219.00 + VAT
Custom Ignition Maps and Full Engine Tune Up’s
If you decide to go for a 123 TUNE or TUNE+ then set up takes longer. There are just more options to get the maximum performance and fine tuning of the fuel and air are paramount. Generally there is little that can’t be completed in a day (£439.60 + VAT) but it is best to call the workshop and we can discuss the installation. That way you can be assured of the maximum benefit.