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How To Install An Electronic Distributor


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Alrighty well I had a bitch of a time doing this so I thought I'd put up a guide specifically for k engines.

I've got an otherwise stock 4k-c engine in a 1980 ke55.


before you start - i'd like to say that I'm pretty much re-writing a guide on toymods on this topic.

I'd also like to point out that this I'm writing this for people like me who are new to the world of auto-electronics. If you're electrically minded you can probably skim over a lot of stuff here.

If you ruin your engine or anything I take no responsibility... i don't know how you could do that, I'm just saying.


There are other ways of doing this, such as finding a dizzy that suits that has an inbuilt ignitor, which may make things easier. I don't know about them as I've only done this once. I'm also writing this as a guide with these parts specifically because (at time of writing) all can still be bought brand new or reconditioned no problem.

What do you need?

* Basic tools

* Basic wiring stuff - coloured wires, male/female spade terminals, few ring terminals, set of wire strippers/crimpers, electrical tape (I didn't do any soldering - just crimping... your call)

* Bosch HEC716 coil

* Bosch BIM024 ignitor module (referred to as 'module')

* Electronic distributor to suit your k engine. I got one from Starlet with a 4k engine.

* Gregorys manual with a wiring diagram helps but isnt necessary

What does it cost?

* Coil and module i got for $70 each new from repco. maybe cheaper on ebay, definitely cheaper from a wrecker if you don't mind second hand. Not sure of which cars will have them though

* The distributor I got from ebay HERE. Those guys 'planetautoparts' are still selling them. They are completely reconditioned with all new parts. WIth shipping works out to about $100. Sometimes on sale for 40% off

* All the wiring stuff including the crimpers was probably $20 from somewhere like Jaycar


The distributor, coil and ignitor

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Let's start

First, disconnect your battery.

Then, make sure you understand your stock setup. Here's mine (before). Please note that I don't have a tacho. You can use this guide to install one I believe, but I haven't done so yet.


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Note the thicker black/yellow wire on the left. This is your +12v power

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This is a diagram of the stock setup

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Only two wires of the stock setup will be used. One is the +12v going into the left side of the ballast resistor (rectangular white thing). This is where you'll get your power.

The other is the noise suppresor which is that little cylinder thing at the top of the bracket. it goes to the coil positive. It helps stop weird sounds coming through your radio


Now here is a diagram of how we want everything to end up

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1. Setting up the coil/module


So pull out your coil and the ballast resistor. Disconnect the wires but make sure you know where they all went before hand (photos help).

Now we wanna put the new coil and the module in. I discovered that it's damn easy to adapt the old coil's bracket to fit the new coil, and mount it in the same spot! Sweet!

I just drilled a quick hole in the bracket to make it fit. I also needed a nice long thin bolt from the hardware shop to squeeze the bracket around the new coil.


New coil, old bracket

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Ugly new hole drilled

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So stick that, with the noise suppresor back onto where the old coil was mounted.

Next we need to mount the module. I drilled two little holes with a 5/32th drill bit in a fairly flat spot on the wheel arch area


Note the module and the white goo behind it.

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The module comes with a sachet of white heat-sink paste. Jaycar also sells it in little tubes for a couple bucks, so i used a little extra.

Smear that all over the back of the module before you mount it. This, and a good ground stop it from failing on you.


This module get's it's ground from one of the bolt-holes that you mount it with... Sooo you could grind some deadener shit away from the underside of your wheel arch and have a the nut for that bolt up against bare metal... Instead of that I just ran a ring terminal from the front-side of the module's ground bolt to the bracket that the coil's mounted on. There's that done.


2. Getting the wiring sorted


The wiring is annoying if you're like me and not electrically minded, but you'll get there in the end.


Okay so here's a picture of my wiring all done... now keep in mind, I just grabbed the coloured wires from the hardware shop round the corner and they didnt have many colours... so basically nothing matches up to the colours on the diagram above. BUT it does work, and if you look at this picture and the diagram, you'll figure it all out. The high tension lead is disconnected for this pic obviously.


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Have a look at the module.

* The black wire, and the red wire on the left two terminals (marked 3 and 7) go to the distributor.

* The black wire from the right side terminal (marked 16) goes straight to the coil negative (this is the wire your tacho would have a cord going to).

* The other terminal second from the right (marked 15) has the green wire. This wire goes to a spade terminal double adapter which then has a red wire to coil positive, and also plugs into the black/yellow +12v wire that's there from the stock setup. The coil positive also has the noise suppresor hooked to it.

* also note the black cord from the module bolt going to the coil bracket. this is the ground


All of the unused wires from the old setup should just be taped up and tucked outta the way. If I were doing an engine swap or something one day, I'll tidy all the wires and get rid of the unused ones.



3. Installing the Distributor


Now we need to swap over to the new distributor... You can mark where the rotor currently is, but we're gonna check the timing later anyway, so I didnt bother.

Unhook your spark plug leads, pop off the little vaccuum advance tubes (make note of which one went where, again photos help), unscrew the bolt holding the dizzy down and there should be just one black wire on the under side to unclip. Take out your old distributor and put it aside on some newspaper.


The rubber o-ring on the dizzy shaft needs to sit flush with the shaft body. At first I thought the dizzy was the wrong size and gave up.

You must NOT be able to see the rubber o-ring once the dizzy is in properly, or it'll leak oil like a bitch.

If your old o-ring is a bit haggard, order a new one FROM TOYOTA. The ones that don't fit properly are likely to be aftermarket.

This picture is after I swapped them over. The clean dizzy is the new one with the old o-ring. The old dizzy has the aftermarket o-ring which isn't flush with the shaft

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I changed my plugs and leads at this point. You can drop the new dizzy in to make sure it fits, but we're gonna take it out again.


Now we're gonna get cylinder #1 to TDC (Top dead center). This means that cylinder #1 will be at the peak of it's compression cycle. If the engine was running, at TDC cylinder 1 would be full of a compressed mix of petrol and air with a spark going off, about to shoot it back down.


To get cylinder #1 to TDC, you take out the spark plug in cylinder #1 and put it aside. Grab a 19mm spanner and turn the engine over by the nut in the middle of the crankshaft pulley (car in neutral/park). With your other hand, stick your thumb in the hole where the spark plug was. As you turn the engine over (clockwise) after a short time you'll feel either a sucking feeling on your thumb (intake), or a blowing feeling (compression). As you feel it blowing on your thumb, look closely at the crankshaft pulley and you'll see a small notch on the inside edge next to the engine.

On the engine is 3 marks - 20, 10, 0.

You want the little notch on the pulley to line right up with the 0 mark on the engine. You need to make sure theres a distinct blow against your thumb. if not you've got that cylinder on the exhaust stroke, and need to turn it over again 360 degrees.


With those 2 marks lined up on the compression stroke, you've now got cylinder #1 at TDC. Good job, put the spark plug back in.

Now the goal is the line the distributor up so that the rotor is exactly on spark plug #1.


Look down into the hole where the dizzy goes. At the bottom is a slot for the oil pump drive tang which is the part at the very bottom of your dizzy. This lines up with where the rotor at the top of the dizzy is pointing.

Grab a long flathead screwdriver and get that slot lined up roughly to where the #1 mark on your distributor cap will be. Try to get it as close as you can.


Now, with the dizzy out, get the rotor lined up roughly with the #1 point on the dizzy cap. Put the new dizzy in. You may need to turn it a bit one way or another a few times before it clicks right down into place.

This part is like 'fine tuning'. With the bolt that holds the dizzy down screwed in but NOT TIGHT, you'll be able to move the dizzy around a bit with the rotor staying still. Get the rotor lined up with where the #1 point will be on the cap. You want it right on the dot. You might need to take the dizzy out again and adjust the oil pump drive slot again but you'll get it in the end.


Once that's all lined up, carefully tighten the distributor hold down clamp bolt. Good job


You can check your timing with a timing light if you or a friend has one later on. Otherwise my mechanic said he'll double check it for 6 coopers pale next time I drop in.

In any case, if you've gotten TDC lined up with the rotor at spark plug #1, your engine will start.


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4. Almost done


At this point you only need to plug a few things in.

* Plug the high tension lead from the coil into the middle of the dizzy cap.

* Plug in all the spark plug leads to the dizzy cap. The order is 1-3-4-2. on the cap will be numbers or at least a number for #1. the rotor moves clockwise so just make sure they are in the right order or your car will misfire like a mofo

* Plug in the two vaccuum advance tubes to the round guy on your new dizzy

* Remember pins 3 and 7 on the module? They go to your distributor (the green connector on mine)



The colours of the two wires on my new dizzy were white and brown... not white and red. I assumed brown would = red, but the car wouldnt start. When swapped over it turned over straight away. Keep that in mind!





That's it!! Reconnect your battery, double check all the wires/screws/bolts are nice and secure and fire it up.

You can check your timing with a timing light if you or a friend has one. Otherwise my mechanic said he'll double check it for 6 coopers pale next time I drop in.


Any problems at all, just post here and I'll do my best to answer them.

:y: :y: :y: :y:

Edited by jackbyo
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  • 1 month later...

cheers all


One thing I'd like to add though,


make sure you get your timing done properly after this install. The 'rule of thumb' to get to TDC works well enough but even then I was actually 11 degrees off!!

Mechanic should only charge you $15-20 to do it, or ask a friend with a timing light. Quick timing adjustment made her start easier, idle quieter and be more responsive


cheers :y:

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  • 3 months later...

and in general you gained what?? other than new parts you gained what exactly?


Greater spark to create a cleaner and better combustion, no parts that wear out as often or at all. Easier to modify ignition timing to accomodate different driving environments.

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Well, it all depends on the advance curve the dizzys have. If your new electronic unit has a different advance curve the car will have different power at different revs.


The one I bought is flat as under 3000, makes the car very slow to get moving.


Its easy to check, mark the pulley with white typing ink for 40degs (Using the marks on the timing chain cover) have one person watch the timing light and one person work the throttle. Just read the advance every 500revs and plot it.


When I get my new one working as well as my old one did I'll tell you what needed doing.

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I was running it at 18deg at idle, felt good around town but it went up to 50 at high revs! Use 15deg & see.


I don't know the answer yet Evan, I want to investigate the vacuum side of it first to see how that double vac unit works best, then the springs & weights.

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I think in the end the springs and weights will be the answer, after all they are the ones that will controll the advance curve.

The stronger vac source thing that I tried is really just like setting the ide timing further advanced. It won't change the ignition curve

but it does give you that little more advance at low rpm BUT then you run into running that 50 degree advance at high rpm.


Would the weights from the 4k dizzy fit onto the electronic unit? I have three dizzys at home, 4k, 5k and the electronic unit.

Now I just need a tacho so that I can read rpm as my meter on my multimeter has shat itself. might do some stuffing around :hmm:

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  • 2 months later...

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