search all blog articles

Hot Spark Electronic Ignition

Photos Here
Hot Spark Website

Well, it`s been an adventure. But the Hot Spark is finally working in the Guac!!!

Here`s the story:

In spring 2006 I bought the Guac. At that time I gave away the Great White Bus due to incurable rust. But I saved most of the goodies, including the Pertronix electronic ignition module. This I promptly installed into the Guac. With no other changes it ran great!

Until I screwed up and fried it during a tune-up by shorting some wires. The magic smoke wafted out. I`ve been running points ever since.

I saw some discussion about Hot Spark and decided to give that a shot. Quite a bit cheaper than Pertronix, and I get to support a small business.

Installation is a breeze, as it is for most of these points replacement modules. I used this as an excuse to clean up my spare distributor. I stripped it, cleaned it, lubed everything, checked the bushings, painted the housing and vacuum can, then reassembled with the Hot Spark.

I swapped in the distributor and fired up the bus. It idled fine. Since I was doing this during a break at work, I shut down and went back to work, posting raves about it.

Oops. I shoulda tested more thoroughly I suppose.

As soon as I pulled away from the parking space that evening the bus completely lost power. Even just revving it caused it to die.

I swapped the original distributor back in and drove home.

The guys at Hot Spark have been VERY responsive in helping me sort this out. They`ve sent me a total of 3 different units trying to figure out what`s going on. I`ve tried different coils, different distributors, different cap/rotor, etc.

We decided that the units are getting too much voltage somehow (even with a stock charging system and coil), so I picked up the smallest ballast resistor I could find locally... A 1.6 ohm unit. I also used Arctic Silver II thermal paste to help keep the unit cool.

I got an improvement in the Hot Spark! I was able to drive the bus with it in, though it seemed to still overheat after several minutes of driving. It would work fine at mid-throttle through WOT but below that would cut out.

Hot Spark got some new units with improved thermal tolerance and sent me one. I was out of ASII so I used Arctic Silver`s Ceramique, a ceramic based thermal paste.

I installed it yesterday and the bus runs great now! Hooray! I`m still using the 1.6 ohm ballast resistor, though I`m waiting for my backordered .85 ohm unit to arrive. I think 1.6 is too high.

Regardless, I want to thank the guys at Hot Spark for staying with me and helping me get it working. Being responsive to customers is HUGE!

Now I have to replace the plug wires. Got a zap when holding one yesterday...