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View Results: Which is more reliable for Airheads ... electronic ignition or points?
BMW Airhead electronic ignitions are super reliable. Leave it alone 19 32.76%
BMW Airhead electronic ignitions are junk, replace with aftermarket electronic ignition 3 5.17%
BMW Airhead electronic ignitions are junk, replace with beancan w/points 5 8.62%
BMW points & Condensers are reliable. leave it alone 27 46.55%
BMW points & Condensers are junk. replace with aftermarket electronic ignition 4 6.90%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-23-2014, 11:54 AM   #151
supershaft
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Wow! We are getting closer to reality. Points and booster might be the best? Leave out the points and we are there! For now, half way but it's a start! .

I think bill means the S mark is between 6 and 9 degrees. More importantly: Timing dual plugged? There is no reason whatsoever to retard your ignition at idle below the factory setting unless it is pinging down there and that is highly unlikely. Leave the idle timing at factory idle settings and just retard max advance. The engine will pick up off idle SO much better for it. Yes, most engines do spend most all their time above 3000rpm anyway but why have your bike pick up off idle slower than need be anyway! Even dirt bikes have ignition curves now!! For a couple of decades. Just off idle is the reason. We all close the throttle sometimes!

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Old 06-23-2014, 01:14 PM   #152
190e
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I'm very happy with points and a booster. If the same coils are retained there is absolutely no performance advantage in replacing the points with a Hall or other sensor - a little maintenance aside. Not until the electronic ignition reaches the level of sophistication where it takes over the advance curve and provides dynamic dwell control so you can drive low impedance coils efficiently. That way you do get a better ignition system at a price.

Just like any other aspect of a Airhead there is scope for improvement if you are willing to throw a few hundred pounds (dollars) at it.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:24 PM   #153
disston
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Electronic ignition with fuel injection and variable lift valves. I think there are even variable length intake tubes but use a turbo and don't worry about it. Some how along the way I think you lose the sense of what the original machine was.

And all those nice modern amenities don't really start to shine until you have a computer big enough to run everything in concert.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:34 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by 190e View Post
I'm very happy with points and a booster. If the same coils are retained there is absolutely no performance advantage in replacing the points with a Hall or other sensor - a little maintenance aside. Not until the electronic ignition reaches the level of sophistication where it takes over the advance curve and provides dynamic dwell control so you can drive low impedance coils efficiently. That way you do get a better ignition system at a price.

Just like any other aspect of a Airhead there is scope for improvement if you are willing to throw a few hundred pounds (dollars) at it.
It sounds as if your booster was free? I would rather spend the money towards a booster on a real electronic ign.. Mechanical advance? That part of the points setup works almost perfectly outside OR inside of a bean can AND is is very adjustable AND I can adjust it the way I want versus being limited to usually numerous curves that don't work well. Sure, I would run points and have when I didn't want to spend the money to improve the setup into electronic. Points do work. Electronic works better and for a LOT longer. Electronic doesn't increase performance? It is hard to tell with a stock engine but they do increase performance. Like I said earlier, go to some vintage racing and see. Almost everyone is running electronic. Not for longevity but for performance. I could see staying with points. I have. Going back to points? It's laughable.
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:30 PM   #155
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It sounds as if your booster was free?
Almost free

10 for the kit and the satisfaction of building it myself - priceless.
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:40 PM   #156
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folks need to stop saying "it takes standard VW points." it might...but that implies that you can get on hand replacement parts at any local car parts place.....not so. When my condenser went pear shaped....three shops did not carry it and all were a three day wait....I could order a whole EI setup and have it to me quicker from MaxBMW or Rick.

The romance of points are nice...but once the romance wears off you need to actually live with your choices.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:15 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by Skyshadow View Post
folks need to stop saying "it takes standard VW points." it might...but that implies that you can get on hand replacement parts at any local car parts place.....not so. When my condenser went pear shaped....three shops did not carry it and all were a three day wait....I could order a whole EI setup and have it to me quicker from MaxBMW or Rick.

The romance of points are nice...but once the romance wears off you need to actually live with your choices.
don't count on a parts store employee to cross BMW to VW. sorry, got to do homework to know this.

points from common VW 009 distributor works fine .. any Bosch VW points with pig tail pointed in same direction works fine too. exact part numbers/models are listed earlier in this thread. you can clip wire from any VW condenser for points and make it work on airheads in a pinch. don't count on the parts store guy to tell you this either .. FYI this same Bosch points was used for a slew of other cars.

so yes if you took your bosch points from a Beancan to any major auto parts store like Oriellys, autozone, etc. odds are they can match it up. same for condenser if you give instructions. note this only apply to points from beancans .. pre-1979 are BMW specific.

ALL airheads lived with points/cond up to 1980 with millions of miles logged in. logic says points can't be that bad
the same could be said about electronic ignition too ... nothing wrong with either one.

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Old 06-23-2014, 03:32 PM   #158
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I believe the VW points substitution you talk about is only the bean cans. Earlier bikes with points plate and wiper felt have no substitute part. At least none I've ever heard of.

I was given a NAPA part # a couple of years ago that is supposed to work on points plates but I've lost the piece of paper.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:41 PM   #159
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Running an old yellow Accel yellow amp, stock points, Andrews coils, 336 cam, tapered inlets to 35 mm, and for an old 900S it goes like crazy. No lag off low RPMs, runs hard WFO to redline. I'd like to post a picture but it won't come up because of some stupid requirement that it be of a certain size, which I have no friggen idea of how to alter. It's my fav scoot. Forgot to add, dual plugged, needless to say, no ping.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:47 PM   #160
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misunderstood.....the three stores I went to DID NOT HAVE ANY POINTS or condensers, to any vehicle in stock...had to order everything. Sorry folks...but the major selling point to points for me was the ability to find replacement parts easily at any auto parts store......nope...not true anymore.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:54 PM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyshadow View Post
misunderstood.....the three stores I went to DID NOT HAVE ANY POINTS or condensers, to any vehicle in stock...had to order everything. Sorry folks...but the major selling point to points for me was the ability to find replacement parts easily at any auto parts store......nope...not true anymore.
that's not true around here .. but let's say it is true that parts stores don't carry any points. just how hard is it to order a spare set of points/cond?

besides most of the time one can easily file points, set gap and go. then fine tune when you get back home.

points/cond are field serviceable .. get over it ..
no one is telling you NOT to switch to electronic ignition. go for it .. all it takes is $325 and a new coil.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:06 PM   #162
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Disston, would do but there's no click to insert picture. Can send pics to other forums, but this is not working. Computers in general to my brain are bleeped up as I like to make stuff not click stuff. Usually I see a paper clip or some such icon that says attach. Whatever, see you at the National next month.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:18 PM   #163
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My " more maintenance free engine" takes about an hour just to take the fairing off, you need to take the lower off to get to the oil filler and battery.
Machining up a tool to reach the plugs.....
That's progress....Grouse away
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:25 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
that's not true around here .. but let's say it is true that parts stores don't carry any points. just how hard is it to order a spare set of points/cond?

besides most of the time one can easily file points, set gap and go. then fine tune when you get back home.

points/cond are field serviceable .. get over it ..
no one is telling you NOT to switch to electronic ignition. go for it .. all it takes is $325 and a new coil.

damn you make it sound so dang easy to have points.....the truth is
I can change my oil and adjust my valves in the amount of time it takes what you are suggesting to get back on the road with points......and this is on a naked r80g/s. If I add the lower PD fairing....add another 10 minutes.

I don't know...I am just not seeing the benefit yet when a person can simply carry a spare bean can.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:23 PM   #165
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