ICE Ignition technical staff are happy to help with any technical questions
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Some common installation questions and checks to make before calling our tech department are as follows
Poor earth / ground is a common cause of ignition problems. Ensure battery negative cable runs direct from battery negative terminal to the engine block as one continuous cable, whether the battery is mounted in the front or rear of the vehicle. This is the only way to guarantee proper earth / ground to the engine.
Earth wires from ICE ignition controls and boosters should also run direct to engine block via the shortest path possible, thereby ensuring a direct link to earth / ground.
Please follow the recommendations below when choosing the appropriate gear for your application.
SG Iron Gears – Used with regular cast iron flat tappet camshafts whether using hydraulic or mechanical lifters only.
Treated Steel Gears – Used with cast roller camshafts whether using hydraulic or mechanical lifters. These camshaft cores are sometimes referred to as SADI cores or in the case of Comp Cams, the camshaft part number will end in -8. The great majority of hydraulic roller camshafts are made using these cores. Occasionally mechanical roller camshafts are also made using these cores.
SI Bronze Gears – Used with steel roller camshafts whether using hydraulic or mechanical lifters only. These camshaft cores are sometimes referred to as billet cores or in the case of Comp Cams, the camshaft part number will end in -9. The great majority of mechanical roller camshafts are made using these cores. Occasionally hydraulic roller camshafts are also made using these cores.
Please note, some camshaft manufacturers suggest that their cast roller cams “will work with most standard distributor gears”. This statement whilst appearing definitive, is actually quite vague. Most standard gears are cast iron, but some are hardened steel. This creates a situation where many standard gears fail on these cast iron roller camshaft cores. As per recommendation above, a steel gear is the recommended choice.
Further, never use a hardened steel gear with a steel roller camshaft. This will lead to severe premature camshaft / distributor gear wear. Always use the SI Bronze option, as it is always preferable to have the distributor gear as the sacrificial item.
The digits displayed on the rev limiters show the engine rpm minus the last two zeros. The lowest setting is “10” which equals 1000rpm. Other examples are “47” which equals 4700rpm, “58” which equals 5800rpm and “85” which equals 8500rpm. The highest setting is “09” which equals 10900rpm.
Most aftermarket tachs will accept a clean square wave signal from the ICE tach output (usually a gray or green wire). This will connect to the tach’s signal wire which is usually green (but may be a different colour).
The signal from the tach output will not work with factory tachs. Where a factory tach is retained, the tach’s signal wire can be connected to coil negative as it would have been from factory (always as a separate wire – never piggy back onto other wires). In this scenario, the ICE tach output wire is not used, unless there is a separate aftermarket tach also fitted to the vehicle.
In most cases, a high volume oil pump is not necessary. The majority of applications only require a standard oil pump.
This is not to say a high volume pump can never be used. High volume oil pumps can be used successfully, however, careful attention has to be paid to bearing clearances, oil viscosity, oil temperature and any modifications to the oil circuit.
Using a high volume oil pump always leads to extra load being placed on the distributor / cam gear, even if the pressure relief valve is set low. This is because the oil pump still has to move the extra volume of oil. In all cases, using a high volume oil pump will void warranty on the relevant distributor gear – no exceptions.
ICE Ignition control modules are NOT waterproof. Make sure the ignition module (modules) are located away from any contact with water, dirt or dust. ICE provide long wiring harnesses to allow the electronics to be mounted in a protected area inside the vehicle cabin, such as under the dash or in the glove compartment.
Never mount the coil inside the vehicle cabin and especially not near the ICE control modules. Control modules should be inside the vehicle cabin and the coil in the engine compartment. This allows the firewall to act as a shield against electrical noise. The powerful spark produced by the ICE system also creates more electrical noise, and if the coil is near the control modules, this will lead to problems.
Plug gaps depend on a variety of factors, so the following information is only intended as a guide.
For modified naturally aspirated applications, plug gaps will generally be between .025″ to .035″. In some cases, the ideal plug gap will be outside this range. In all cases, it is always safer to start with a smaller plug gap and work towards a larger plug gap.
For all modified supercharged applications, whether blown, nitrous or turbocharged, plug gaps will generally be between .015″ to .025″. In some cases, the ideal plug gap will be outside this range. In all cases, it is always safer to start with a smaller plug gap and work towards a larger plug gap.
If you require any clarification, please call or email our tech support service.
The ICE Ford distributor uses a .490″ diameter shaft. Can I use this in my early Cleveland?
The ICE Ford distributor can be used in any model Cleveland engine.
The factory distributor utilizes a single bush in the top of the distributor housing, and the block is effectively the second (lower) bush. The ICE distributor features a high temperature Nachi / Honda roller bearing in the top of the distributor housing and an extra bush in the bottom of the distributor housing, thus not relying on the block for support.
The reason for this is twofold. First, all second hand Cleveland engines will have wear in the block where the distributor shaft locates, thus not providing proper support for the distributor shaft. The ICE distributor overcomes this problem by virtue of its design. Secondly, the ICE Ford distributor can be transferred from a late Cleveland to an early Cleveland without any modifications.
Before we suggest some timing settings, it is important to clarify some of the terminology used in regards to timing an engine. Timing an engine has several components to consider.
- Initial Timing – Also known as base timing / timing at idle. Initial timing must always be checked at idle with vacuum advance disconnected.
- Advance Curve – Traditionally referred to as mechanical advance. Conventional distributors control this with a combination of weights, springs and a cam assembly. With ICE systems, the advance curve is controlled electronically via software in the ignition controls.
- Vacuum Advance – Traditionally controlled by a mechanical device called a vacuum advance canister that physically moves the advance mechanism inside the distributor. With ICE systems, the vacuum advance is controlled electronically via a MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor built into the ignition control. Vacuum advance should always be disconnected when checking timing.
- Total Timing – Is the combination of initial timing and the advance curve with vacuum advance disconnected.
How much initial timing should be used? The answer to this depends on many factors. However, to keep it simple, we can use camshaft duration @ .050″ as our guide.
Therefore, the following is recommended:
190 – 210 degrees @ .050″ = initial timing of 12 – 16 degrees BTDC
210 – 230 degrees @ .050″ = initial timing of 16 – 20 degrees BTDC
230 – 250 degrees @ .050″ = initial timing of 20 – 24 degrees BTDC
250 – 270 degrees @ .050″ = initial timing of 24 – 28 degrees BTDC
270 + degrees @ .050″ = locked timing
Of course, other factors like compression ratio, type of fuel, intake system etc., to name a few, play a part, so must be considered as part of the overall combination. The guide above does not preclude having more or less initial timing for a particualr camshaft size, but gives a starting point for tuning.
How much total timing should be used? This will vary with each particular engine combination. The following is a guide of how much total timing to use in certain naturally aspirated engine combinations.
Chevrolet SB (factory type chambers) – 32 to 36 degrees.
Chevrolet SB (aftermarket type chambers) – 30 to 34 degrees.
Chevrolet BB (factory type chambers) – 36 to 40 degrees.
Chevrolet BB (aftermarket type chambers) – 32 to 36 degrees.
Chrysler SB (factory type chambers) – 32 to 36 degrees.
Chrysler BB (factory type chambers) – 32 to 36 degrees.
Ford Cleveland (factory type chambers) – 32 to 36 degrees.
Ford Cleveland (aftermarket type chambers – eg: AFD & CHI heads) – 26 to 30 degrees.
Ford Windsor (factory type chambers) – 32-36 degrees.
Again, the above information is only intended as a guide. Always start at the lower end of the suggested range as this is the safer option. If you are unsure about any of this information, please check with your tuner before proceeding with any kind of tuning.
When using ICE Ignition systems, resistor plugs should not be used.
Put simply, resistor plugs have approximately 5000 ohms of resistance built into each plug. This is purely for reducing RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).
However, it also reduces the energy available to jump the gap in the chamber and increases the probability of cross firing – refer answer below. Even when using higher quality spark plugs with exotic materials for centre electrodes (which increases the energy available at the gap), if they are of the resistor variety, this will offset any gain made by the superior electrode.
This situation becomes more critical when using LPG and in high performance engines, especially engines using alcohol based fuels such as E85, which invariably have higher cylinder pressures.
The signal LED may or may not illuminate when the ignition is switched on. This has no bearing on the operation of the ignition control. However, the signal LED should flash whilst the engine is cranking. Once the engine has fired, the signal LED will appear solid. In actual fact, it is still flashing, however the human eye cannot see it.