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Old 11-27-2016, 07:30 PM   #1
vegiguy
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Default Need Megasquirt ignition advice (or opinions)

I've decided to continue on with a Megasquirt project I started last year then got sidetracked trying to get a carbureted system to work on my 242. I set my MS 2 board up for driving one canister style coil directly using an LH 2.2 distributor because I was trying to keep things as simple as possible. Now I'm having second thoughts about using a distributor after reading up on coil-on-plug ignition systems and the benefits they have.

My questions are 1) is it really worth the trouble to convert to coil-on-plug for a street driven car that MIGHT eventually see track time some day, 2) is there a cheap salvage yard way to convert to COP and if so which cars have crank position sensors and trigger wheels that fit the old redblock engine, and 3) I assume I'll have to add 3 more coil drivers to my board for COP (right?); what other things would I have to do to the board go from how I have it set up now to COP?

I've read the "K-Jet to Megasquirt" write-up which was educational but the author suggests using some Yoshifab parts which are pretty expensive which I'm not really interested in. Also the author suggests using GM coils with specific parts numbers, but won't any coil pack work with the MS, such as a GM 2.2 engine coil pack? If I do go COP I want to use parts that I can adapt to the car and NOT make it look like a cobbled together hastily put together system when I'm done. Sometimes I think it's a fools errand to try to take an antiquated engine and make it into a modern one: IMO if a person if going to have to go to a bunch of expense and trouble to do this it would be wiser just to switch to a more modern Volvo engine (such as a whiteblock engine). At the very least I want to have a fuel/spark system that is better than the crappy Bosch Jetronic/Chrysler systems that Volvos used on redblock engines (which have left me stranded); any benefits beyond that would be icing on the cake.

I greatly appreciate any thoughts and information on this subject.
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:58 PM   #2
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Would a Ford EDIS wasted spark be worth looking into (and workable on a volvo) and an improvement over having a single coil and distributor? Looks like the EDIS coil packs are pretty cheap used. Then all I would have to do to the board is undo all the direct coil mods I did to it and follow the instructions on the megamanual for EDIS.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:15 PM   #3
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Yeah, you could do a wasted spark edis... really it's all covered in the manuals and DIY can get a parts list and price for either setup.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:58 AM   #4
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I would only go COP if you go fully sequential. Wasted spark is an option and I would use the coil that is commonly used for the Wasted Spark LH conversion (Bosch from a Land Rover), but from the sounds of it you will not have any benefit from it other than eliminating the service items like the rotor and cap for the distributor system.
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Old 11-28-2016, 04:37 AM   #5
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I would only go COP if you go fully sequential. Wasted spark is an option and I would use the coil that is commonly used for the Wasted Spark LH conversion (Bosch from a Land Rover), but from the sounds of it you will not have any benefit from it other than eliminating the service items like the rotor and cap for the distributor system.
Do wasted spark systems suffer from the same problems that distributor/single coil ones do such as lack of accuracy and high RPM performance loss? Are the GM LS V-8 coils the best ones to use to go COP?
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:43 AM   #6
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Do wasted spark systems suffer from the same problems that distributor/single coil ones do such as lack of accuracy and high RPM performance loss? Are the GM LS V-8 coils the best ones to use to go COP?
The WS spark conversions use the CRANK and the 60-2 crank positioning system for ignition timing..... an improvement over camshaft or aux. shaft driven distributors. Read the Buchka spark thread, lots of good DIY info therein. It works.... been running in my DD for almost 2 years now. 4 coils, better than one!
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:17 AM   #7
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Can't you run wasted spark off of a lh2.2 distributor? I realize it's not as accurate but it should get less noise at higher rpm i would think with only the 4 trigger windows.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:13 PM   #8
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I'm running a single coil and distributor on my vems setup. Stock lh2.4 60-2 flywheel, jacobs/accel ultracoil, some accel spiral core plugwires and BPR8ES sparkplugs. It runs flawlessly and has plenty spark-energy even when the plugs are gapped at 1mm (0.0393700787 inches) running with 29psi boost and afr's around 11.

Don't really understand why cop or ws-setups is presented as a "must have" when going aftermarket ems.
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:17 PM   #9
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I'm running a single coil and distributor on my vems setup. Stock lh2.4 60-2 flywheel, jacobs/accel ultracoil, some accel spiral core plugwires and BPR8ES sparkplugs. It runs flawlessly and has plenty spark-energy even when the plugs are gapped at 1mm (0.0393700787 inches) running with 29psi boost and afr's around 11.

Don't really understand why cop or ws-setups is presented as a "must have" when going aftermarket ems.
That's the route I'm going for the short term.... LH 2.2 dizzies with Hall sensors.

I'll no doubt end up going wasted spark on one of the cars eventually.
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:30 PM   #10
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If you want to go COP or Wasted spark for increased spark energy and accuracy you will need to switch from the distributor to a crank wheel (dual wheel to run sequential at that); otherwise it all a waste of money IMHO. From what you said in your first post, it seems to be overkill unless you track or race your car, the single coil systems will be plenty for the street and a sub 7k revving engine (most people here seem to stay below that). Is there something better, yes. Is it worth it in your application, probably not.
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by vegiguy View Post
My questions are 1) is it really worth the trouble to convert to coil-on-plug for a street driven car that MIGHT eventually see track time some day, 2) is there a cheap salvage yard way to convert to COP and if so which cars have crank position sensors and trigger wheels that fit the old redblock engine, and 3) I assume I'll have to add 3 more coil drivers to my board for COP (right?); what other things would I have to do to the board go from how I have it set up now to COP?

I greatly appreciate any thoughts and information on this subject.
1) Not really. Unless you want a (possibly) cleaner engine bay or need more spark energy and are tired of replacing rotors and caps every few years.
2) Easiest is a 60-2 flywheel (lh2.4 or machined "flat" style) and a stock crank sensor. Another option is to buy a trigger wheel and pulley from KL Racing. They have both 36-1 and 60-2. They also have brackets and sensors for the front of the engine. Not exactly JY cheap. It will allow you to run an EDIS setup.
3)You can run wasted spark. I just setup and a NA 16V that's using LS coils running in a wasted spark configuration. Super simple and clean, revs to 8k without any noticeable issues. There's also a 4-tower VW coil with a coil driver built in. Might be able to use it with stock plug wires as well.
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Old 11-28-2016, 05:02 PM   #12
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1) Not really. Unless you want a (possibly) cleaner engine bay or need more spark energy and are tired of replacing rotors and caps every few years.
2) Easiest is a 60-2 flywheel (lh2.4 or machined "flat" style) and a stock crank sensor. Another option is to buy a trigger wheel and pulley from KL Racing. They have both 36-1 and 60-2. They also have brackets and sensors for the front of the engine. Not exactly JY cheap. It will allow you to run an EDIS setup.
3)You can run wasted spark. I just setup and a NA 16V that's using LS coils running in a wasted spark configuration. Super simple and clean, revs to 8k without any noticeable issues. There's also a 4-tower VW coil with a coil driver built in. Might be able to use it with stock plug wires as well.
Aren't LH2.4 flywheels getting pretty scarce in the US? I've never seen a late 80's, early 90's stickshift Volvo in a salvage yard, or anywhere else for that matter.

Thanks for all the information. Sounds like the single coil/dist. set-up is adequate for what I want to do with the car in the immediate future (drive it), but I was thinking now might be a good time to upgrade the ignition to something better in case I ever decide to race this car since I haven't installed the MS ECU in the car or made up my wiring harness yet. I suppose one thing to look at is how much more work would be to change over to a better ignition set-up down the road (if need be) vs. the work to install it now.

The Megasquirt II can drive the EDIS or above mentioned Bosch land Rover wasted spark coils directly without needing a separate ignition module can't it?
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Old 11-28-2016, 05:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vegiguy View Post
Aren't LH2.4 flywheels getting pretty scarce in the US? I've never seen a late 80's, early 90's stickshift Volvo in a salvage yard, or anywhere else for that matter.

Thanks for all the information. Sounds like the single coil/dist. set-up is adequate for what I want to do with the car in the immediate future (drive it), but I was thinking now might be a good time to upgrade the ignition to something better in case I ever decide to race this car since I haven't installed the MS ECU in the car or made up my wiring harness yet. I suppose one thing to look at is how much more work would be to change over to a better ignition set-up down the road (if need be) vs. the work to install it now.

The Megasquirt II can drive the EDIS or above mentioned Bosch land Rover wasted spark coils directly without needing a separate ignition module can't it?
Why do you think you'll need a better ignition system when you start racing? Plenty of people have raced Volvos with the stock ignition (road racing, rally, drag, whatever...).

The lh2.4 flywheels are not that hard to come by. I just sold one with a clutch for ~$75 plus shipping. STS Machining (and others) can machine a stock "flat" flywheel to have the 60-2 pattern (~$200), and JVAB and Yoshifab make billet steel flywheels if that's your thing.

If the coils have a driver on them, MS can handle them. Otherwise you'll need a powerstage/coil driver.
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Old 11-28-2016, 05:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by justlie View Post
If you want to go COP or Wasted spark for increased spark energy and accuracy you will need to switch from the distributor to a crank wheel (dual wheel to run sequential at that); otherwise it all a waste of money IMHO. From what you said in your first post, it seems to be overkill unless you track or race your car, the single coil systems will be plenty for the street and a sub 7k revving engine (most people here seem to stay below that). Is there something better, yes. Is it worth it in your application, probably not.
How much of an improvement in spark energy and accuracy are we talking here? If a new rotor/cap and good quality and powerful coil is used, compared to a popular ws or cop-setup?

I understand that on paper you could argue that a distributorless system is better, but will it actually matter at the track in a sub 500hp redblock?
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Old 11-28-2016, 06:00 PM   #15
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OP? What engine do you have in the car right now?

If you have the b21/b23 series, get the crank pulley adapter (from someone here) to allow you to run the edis 36-1 trigger wheel. You'll have to fab a bracket for the sensor, but it's an elegant solution.

That will get you to the point where you can do wasted spark.

You can also retrofit the b230 lh2.4 flexplate/flywheel with the 60-2 pattern. You will also have to drill the holes for the factory crank sensor, but that will also get you wasted spark.

If you also want sequential ignition, You need one of either the above as well as a distributor with all but one tooth cut off the distributor...

Single distributor alone will not get you wasted spark.

Also consider the DSM CAS with adapter sold by yoshifab which will let you get sequential all in one shot.

If you also wan
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:31 PM   #16
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Why do you think you'll need a better ignition system when you start racing? Plenty of people have raced Volvos with the stock ignition (road racing, rally, drag, whatever...).

The lh2.4 flywheels are not that hard to come by. I just sold one with a clutch for ~$75 plus shipping. STS Machining (and others) can machine a stock "flat" flywheel to have the 60-2 pattern (~$200), and JVAB and Yoshifab make billet steel flywheels if that's your thing.

If the coils have a driver on them, MS can handle them. Otherwise you'll need a powerstage/coil driver.
I guess it would depend on who I was racing against: if I was racing against a bunch of people with cars similar to mine that had engines with modern ignitions (which I imagine a lot do by now) then I think I would want the same in order to be competitive. I've always thought this car would make a good SCCA ITB race car: I actually have done a lot of the suspension mods to it outlined on Turbobricks to get it headed in the right direction toward building an ITB car. With the stock car springs I have on it right now it FEELS like a race car when I drive it .

I built the "high current coil driver circuit" (http://www.megamanual.com/ms2/vb921.htm) when I built my MS II v. 3 board with the understanding that this was to directly control just about any ignition coil without needing a separate ignition module. Isn't that right?

The Yoshifab adapter looks like a nice piece but it's awfully pricey. I'm surprised one of the creative people on this board haven't figured out a way to make up something similar by modifying an LH 2.2 distributor.

I'm still a little torn: I probably don't NEED a distributorless ignition right now but for a little bit of extra work and money I could at least get a wasted spark system up and running which I might want to do eventually anyway.
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Old 11-28-2016, 10:07 PM   #17
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The coil driver is for one coil, you need 2 for wasted spark, you also need to be able to tell the ecu which 2cylinders to fire. A 36-1 on the crank will give enough information to the ecu. 4 trigger wheel is ok running at cam speed but only to tell a single coil what to do. I would contact a member here for a crank pulley designed for a ford 36-1 wheel and slap a hall sensor on it. Run a single coil and call it a day.
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:38 AM   #18
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The coil driver is for one coil, you need 2 for wasted spark, you also need to be able to tell the ecu which 2cylinders to fire. A 36-1 on the crank will give enough information to the ecu. 4 trigger wheel is ok running at cam speed but only to tell a single coil what to do. I would contact a member here for a crank pulley designed for a ford 36-1 wheel and slap a hall sensor on it. Run a single coil and call it a day.
I found this on how to direct drive two separate coils in wasted spark (i.e. Ford EDIS) with the MS-II: http://www.microsquirt.info/dualspark.htm . You have to scroll down a ways past all the Microsquirt stuff then it gives the info.
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:29 PM   #19
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I have a crank pulley adapter for B21/23 and Ford EDIS wheel.
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