Technical Help

Click here to view or download a copy of the installation instructions.

A bad or marginal ground connection to the breaker plate is by far the most common. Every time the vacuum advance moves the point plate, the ground wire is flexed. This will eventually cause fatigue cracks inside the wire insulation or near the terminals. If your existing ground wire is old or appears to be fatigued, it should be replaced to avoid any issues. We manufacture a high-quality replacement Distributor Point Plate Ground Wire that fits most 1957-1974 GM V/8 Point Type Distributors (M&H Part Number 38298). Please call us at (562) 926-9552 if you would like to order one.

Was the car running before installation of the ignition? If not, first check fuel, compression, and wiring according to the procedures outlined in your vehicles shop manual.

If the car started with the points, but not after installation of the module, check that the rotor was modified per the installation instructions, re-installed, and indexed correctly and that the battery ground cable was re-attached. If the distributor was moved, the timing may be too far advanced or retarded. Set the timing statically, as described in the instruction sheets.

If this looks OK, use a test light to verify there is voltage present between the coil (+) terminal and ground, with the key in both the start and run positions. Loss of voltage may be due to blown fuse, faulty ballast resistor or improper wiring. With the key in the run position and the engine stopped, check that voltage is also present where the point wire connects to the module. This will verify continuity though the coil primary and the point wire.

Next, connect one lead of the test light to battery (+), and touch the other end to the point plate to verify continuity to ground.

If all this checks out, the coil or module may be suspect. To test the module, remove the point wire from the coil (-) and attach it to the test light. Connect the other end of the test light to +12 volts. The light should blink rapidly while the engine is being cranked, and go out when the engine stops. If the light does not come on, or stays on when the engine is stopped, the module should be sent in for further testing. It's worth noting that a voltmeter will not provide the correct results, you must use a test light.

If a bad coil is suspected, it should be replaced or a live spark test can be performed.

You will need to purchase a calibrated standard ignition test plug to perform this test. These are manufactured by the K-D Tools company (K-D part# 2757) and are available at most auto parts stores. This plug forces the coil to generate a known voltage, providing an accurate pass/fail evaluation.

Turn off the ignition switch. Remove the high voltage wire from the coil. Remove one spark plug wire from the car and attach it to the test plug. Insert the other end into the coil. Clip the test plug to the hood hinge on the drivers side.

Crank the engine over. The spark should easily jump the gap and will vary in color from blue (strong) to yellow (weak) depending on the output of the battery during cranking, as well as several other factors (you may need to do this test in a darkened area).

Possible causes: plug wire was left off or swapped with another cylinder, timing is too far advanced or retarded, coil or plug wires are arcing to ground, broken plug wire, loose coil or module connection, low battery voltage, weak coil, coil polarity reversed.

If the distributor appears damaged or near the end of its useful life, it should be replaced with a new one or taken to a competent rebuilder to restore its original performance.

If you don't have a competent rebuilder near you we recommend using the following company:

T.I. Specialty
1631 Pheasant Run
Richmond, IN 47374 USA
(765) 962-4265 (10:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST)

This is a noise filter for the radio and should remain connected to the coil (+) terminal. It should not be connected to the coil (-) terminal as it may interfere with operation of the Breakerless SE.

No, the Breakerless SE will not work for triggering aftermarket CD ignition boxes such as the MSD 6AL, Crane Cams HI-6 etc. Connection to the ignition coil is required for proper operation.


Breaker-point systems operate by keeping the points closed (i.e., dwell time) for a fixed number of engine degrees of rotation regardless of RPM. As RPM increases, it takes less time for the engine to rotate through this fixed number of degrees, which means the points stay closed for a progressively shorter period of time. This results in the coil receiving less of a charge at high RPM. Increasing the dwell would solve this problem, but cause overheating of the coil at low RPM when it takes a much longer period for the engine to rotate though this same number of degrees.

The Breakerless SE approaches this problem by more closely maintaining the time required to charge the coil. Think of the coil as a bucket being filled from a constant stream of water. It requires the same amount of time to fill whether you want it to fill quickly or slowly. Keeping the charge time constant ensures the coil will be more fully charged at high RPM without overheating at low RPM.

Since this fixed time may be equivalent to only a small number of engine degrees at low RPM (and a much larger number at high RPM), it's easy to see how a dwell meter calibrated for point systems will give an inaccurate reading. Dwell time for the Breakerless SE is non-adjustable.

Breaker points require a large condenser, which coupled with the inductance of the ignition coil, form a resonant circuit (i.e., an oscillator). When the points open, current flows back and forth between the coil and condenser creating a distinctive ringing pattern on the scope.

Since the Breakerless SE does not use a condenser, this ringing occurs at a much higher frequency and may not be apparent on standard shop test equipment. The Breakerless SE also does not allow the waveform to ring below ground (negative), giving the appearance of the oscillations being clipped off on the bottom.

Yes, you can use a Sun Distributor Machine. Click here for instructions.