Distributor retrofit kit.

Tiny
SPOOKYFINGERS
  • MEMBER
  • 1985 DODGE VAN
  • 80,232 MILES
Chrysler used to make a retrofit kit that changed the distributor on my 318 from an electronic advance to a vacuum advance to bypass the problems I'm experiencing with the vehicle now. Does anyone know where to get this kit?

I've tried all the parts stores and the dealer. And internet searches have done little.
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Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 AT 5:12 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That retrofit kit was for upgrading from breaker points, not a computerized system. If you have an underlying problem with the ignition timing now, you're still going to have that problem plus a whole bunch of new variables to really confuse the issue.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 AT 2:43 AM
Tiny
SPOOKYFINGERS
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The retrofit kit was to get rid of the crappy electronics the vehicle came with and replace it with more reliable electronics.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 AT 9:47 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I have no clue what "crappy" electronics you're referring to. If you have the five-pin ignition module, you already have the best system ever developed. The computerized systems were designed to eliminate ignition timing variation that led to increased tail pipe emissions. That was mainly caused by sloppy timing chains and sloppy distributor shaft bushings. That's why they went to the crankshaft position sensors and computer controls. I raced these engines for many years, and I worked at the dealership for ten years when those kits were available, and they were only produced to update breaker point systems from the '60s. If there was some other modification for a specific vehicle, there would have been a service bulletin produced. It still would not include a complete different ignition system. It would only address a modification to the system already tested and approved for that vehicle.

If you can find someone who still has a "Chrysler Power" book from the '80s, that listed all the racing and high performance parts that were available. The electronic ignition upgrade package consisted of what you already have. If you're having trouble with the ignition timing bouncing around, unbolt the fuel pump, then make a hook from a piece of coat hanger wire and push and pull on the timing chain to see how sloppy it is. It shouldn't move more than about 1/8" from substantial pressure.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 AT 8:08 PM
Tiny
SPOOKYFINGERS
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While I appreciate your candor it was confirmed by the dealer that their high fa-luting electronics, which cost me a few hundred dollars, was not doing the job properly. Ergo my request for a retrofit kit. Which the dealer managed to find one.

This will take care of the problem I'm having with my vehicle finally.
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 AT 11:25 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Any chance you can post a photo of the parts in the kit?
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Thursday, September 1st, 2011 AT 2:58 AM
Tiny
SPOOKYFINGERS
  • MEMBER
P3690426 is the part number to put a vacuum advance distributor in my vehicle. My old system has a rather large black box with a vacuum hook up to it. They are extremely hard to find and the last mechanic just happened upon a new one, which is pretty unheard of. Most need to be sent in and rebuilt.

I appreciate your help.
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Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 AT 12:36 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You'll be doing exactly what I did to my '78 LeBaron as I mentioned in your other post. I had the same type of ignition module. It was the industry's first attempt at adjusting ignition timing with a computer for multiple variables besides just load and engine speed. The five-pin module is available at any parts store for around 25 bucks or less. You can find lots of the distributors in the salvage yards.

Be sure the module is bolted solidly to the body sheet metal. That ground is needed for it to work right. To insure your wiring is correct, get it running with the new module before you replace the distributor. That way if you run into, lets say a no-start condition, there will be that many fewer variables to look at. Once it's running, then you can install the new distributor with the advance mechanisms.
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Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 AT 1:41 AM

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