from Doug's Classic Corollas & Small Haulers page http://au.geocities.com/ke1x/ignition.htm
There are a few different types of distributors fitted to K series engines over the years. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Nippon Denso Points Type
KE1X corollas came out with ND (Nippon Denso) distributors as standard. The earlier ones did not have an octane selector, but apart from that they are all pretty much identical. This same distributor (with octane selector) was used through to the jap imported KE3X corollas. Different models utilize different advance curves.
I like these distributors for the fact that you can easily alter your timing to suit the weather and variance in fuel quality.
The only real problem is the mechanical advance mechanism, which tend to wear rapidly if not lubricated on a regular basis. The bushes in the advance weights develop slop and the slots which control the advance curve can wear. This usually allows the weights to advance, but not retract properly, and you end up with excessive low rev advance and pinging. The vacuum advance plate can stick as well if not periodically oiled.
Bosch Points Type
The Bosch distributor was on later Australian produced Corolla models. These are better made than the earlier ND distributors.
They share the same points as what the majority of Holden red motors used. Points are real cheap and readily available.
My only gripe with the Bosch type is that it doesn't utilize an octane selector.
From a maintanence perspective, these are far more reliable due to a more rugged better design. The advance mechanisms don't really wear, and the vacuum advance plate is far smoother and less prone to sticking. You should still lubricate periodically.
One thing to watch for is the vacuum advance canisters. I have come across quite a few with leaky diaphrams in the canisters.
If you are recurving a dizzy, the Bosch would have to be the best. Many different Australian vehicles used variations of the Bosch dizzy. Weights, springs and vacuum advance canisters from other vehicles can be used to fine tune the all important advance curve.
Nippon Denso Electronic Type
These a mainly found on jap import motors.
There are 2 types, 5K internal ignitor and 4K external ignitor. The internal ignitor dizzy, just needs to be connected to an appropriate electronic coil. The external type needs an ignitor to fire the coil. Ignitors from Mazda RX7s and Mitsubishi Scorpions can be utilized with the external dizzy. The late KR series Townace van also have electronic distributors. The 7KC(carby) comes with the internal igniter type where the 7KE(injection) comes with the external type and also has a screw on distributor cap.
The electronic ND distributors are far better made than the early points versions. The advance mechanisms are a better design, more similar to the Bosch dizzy.
The worst bit about the electronic dizzy is its cost. Wreckers want around AU$150 for one. New igniters depending on type, are over AU$100. New electronic coils are more expensive too. If you take the time and look around a bit you can do it far cheaper.
More on Electronic Distributors
Both electronic distributors use the same cap (mine is Echlin P/N EP383B, interchangable with P/N JP546). My 4K external ignitor distributor is using Echlin rotor P/N EP324. When looking for replacements for these, it's a fair bet that the auto shop won't have an electric distributor listing for a Corolla, in this case look in the Toyota Lite-Ace section.
These are reluctor-style distributors, in effect they are actually AC generators, which output a signal to a solid state relay box called an Ignitor (or Ignition Module). The ignitor is hooked up to the coil, and switches the earthing the same way points do (so the earth then goes thru the coil, thru the ht lead, thru the park plug, etc etc). The "points" gap on an electronic dizzy should be 0.4-0.5mm, make sure you measure with a brass (or other non-magnetic) feeler gauge.
The first Mitsubishi Magnas apparently had electronic ignition in a Bosch distributor. I'll bet this would transfer into a Corolla Bosch unit. Don't forget the ignitor!
I priced new ignitors around September 2002. A Toyota (Torago I think) ignitor was ~$315, an RX7 ignitor was ~$220, and a Mitsubishi Scorpion ignitor was ~$130. Wreckers wanted ~$70 for a second hand ignitor from any 4 cylinder I wanted. Bosch and GM make 4 cyinder ignitors which go for about US$20 in the States, I would reccomend searching eBay for one of these and importing it, much cheaper. Then you'll want to know how to wire the ignitor, we can thank the Datsun mob for this info:
from The Dime Quarterly Datsun page http://dimequarterly.tierranet.com/articles/tech_hei.html
The HEI module has four connecting points.
W - Connects to the positive lead at the distributor. G - Connects to the negative lead at the distributor. C - Connects to the negative side of the coil. B - Connects to the positive side of the coil.
The red wire coming from the distributor is positive. If you find that your distributor has two green wires, you'll have to try running the car with the wires connected both ways to determine which combination is correct. If your first guess is wrong, the car will start, but it won’t run properly.
from Kyle Hagemann's page http://www.sonic.net/~kyle/hei.html
--------------- / \ / \ W\ ------------- /C G\/ \/B W= positive lead from the pickup C= negative side of the coil G= negative lead from the pickup B= positive side of the coil
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