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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 06-20-2014, 02:15 PM   #121
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:57 PM   #122
Bill Harris
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Originally Posted by Big Bamboo View Post
Is there a way to identify the bad points that were supplied by BMW? Reason I ask, is I have a few NOS sets that came in heavy white cardboard boxes. Not sure of the age, though...
Of the two sets of /5 points (listed as 12 11 1 243 555 by Hucky) the rubbing block measures consistently 4.41mm from the inside of the point arm and 4.85mm from the outside surface of the point arm (in other words, "outside-to-outside"). The two brands are the usual Noris points and a new supplier, Bremi.

There are probably a lot of other variables between manufacturer's designs, so this "rubbling block thicknees" may not be universal. But with my sample of two, it appears to maybe be...

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:08 PM   #123
Jim K in PA
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Just throwing this out there - points maintenance really can be a pain in the ass, mostly due to their location on an airhead. Bill has been following my other post on the points hassle on my R90S. I guess I am getting old, but honestly, I find little entertainment laying on my side trying to gauge the points, and adjust the base plate, and set base static timing. I find little romance in a mechanically switched ignition trigger and will be converting all my airheads as well as my other old shit to mag triggers.

As to Cy's nice diagram above, picture the rubbing block worn so it does not contact the cam for a good portion of the rotation across the cam face. If you try and set the recommended gap with the block worn, you may wind up with the arm following the cam, but never actually closing the circuit. That is what I ran into with the R90S, and I have had this happen before on my old Pontiacs.

Rick Jones will be hearing from me soon.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:24 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Jim K in PA View Post
Just throwing this out there - points maintenance really can be a pain in the ass, mostly due to their location on an airhead. Bill has been following my other post on the points hassle on my R90S. I guess I am getting old, but honestly, I find little entertainment laying on my side trying to gauge the points, and adjust the base plate, and set base static timing. I find little romance in a mechanically switched ignition trigger and will be converting all my airheads as well as my other old shit to mag triggers.

As to Cy's nice diagram above, picture the rubbing block worn so it does not contact the cam for a good portion of the rotation across the cam face. If you try and set the recommended gap with the block worn, you may wind up with the arm following the cam, but never actually closing the circuit. That is what I ran into with the R90S, and I have had this happen before on my old Pontiacs.

Rick Jones will be hearing from me soon.
yup points maintenance is a pita! but it's worth it to have piece of mind knowing points are field serviceable.

just don't be thinking electronic ignitions are infallible which they are not. each system has their advantages and drawbacks.

sounds like what you really need are a few of these for $6 each. helps to see what one is working on .. that and some points grease. borg warner CL 70 works good, but sure wish I could find my old tube of bosch grease.

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #125
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LOL - I was wearing my readers, but it still sucks to try and hold the light and the screwdriver with the glasses sliding down your nose. Those big mag visors just get in the way . . .

As to field serviceable? Sorry, Cy. I hear what your singing, but I am not joining the chorus. I have had ignition failures in both points and electronic ignition systems. The electronic trigger failure (one and only in 35 years) was a 5 minute repair once I had the part. I am not sure why you feel they are not field serviceable, because they are. It was a hall effect pickup in my son's Jeep. I have driven well over a half million miles (no exaggeration when you commute 130 miles/day) in electronic ignition cars, and have NEVER had an ignition trigger failure. Coil packs, hell yeah, but not trigger systems and controls. Points have stranded me temporarily at least 4 times that I can recall at the moment.

Honestly, I would take specific spares with me on a real long trip no matter which system I ran. Given a choice I'll go with electronic trigger every day of the week.

We each find our own comfort points, and there is no "right" or "wrong" here, just different ways of getting there.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:45 PM   #126
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Quote:
I guess I am getting old, but honestly, I find little entertainment laying on my side trying to gauge the points, and adjust the base plate, and set base static timing. I find little romance in a mechanically switched ignition trigger and will be converting all my airheads as well as my other old shit to mag triggers.
Me Too!!!

But you DO have the Airhead Point Gap Adjustment Tool, no?



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Old 06-20-2014, 08:47 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by Jim K in PA View Post
LOL - I was wearing my readers, but it still sucks to try and hold the light and the screwdriver with the glasses sliding down your nose. Those big mag visors just get in the way . . .
You clearly need a pair of readers with a LED in the frame. I have some of these, and whilst the light could still be better, they're not too bad. I use them for night reading charts in a hospital. I also keep a pair on the bike, with spare batteries.
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Multi-Str...item5affa56c91

These are foldable...might save some space under the seat. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/201096856...84.m1439.l2649


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Old 06-20-2014, 08:58 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Jim K in PA View Post
LOL - I was wearing my readers, but it still sucks to try and hold the light and the screwdriver with the glasses sliding down your nose. Those big mag visors just get in the way . . .

As to field serviceable? Sorry, Cy. I hear what your singing, but I am not joining the chorus. I have had ignition failures in both points and electronic ignition systems. The electronic trigger failure (one and only in 35 years) was a 5 minute repair once I had the part. I am not sure why you feel they are not field serviceable, because they are. It was a hall effect pickup in my son's Jeep. I have driven well over a half million miles (no exaggeration when you commute 130 miles/day) in electronic ignition cars, and have NEVER had an ignition trigger failure. Coil packs, hell yeah, but not trigger systems and controls. Points have stranded me temporarily at least 4 times that I can recall at the moment.

Honestly, I would take specific spares with me on a real long trip no matter which system I ran. Given a choice I'll go with electronic trigger every day of the week.

We each find our own comfort points, and there is no "right" or "wrong" here, just different ways of getting there.
Different ways. One is a lot faster. Field serviceable? If the field is smaller than a football field. It needs to be since nine out of ten times 'servicing' points just insures their permanent demise will be very much sooner. The only real fix for points is replacing them. [By 'fix' I don't mean adjusting them. That they need all the time on a regular basis regardless if you want them working at their best. Electronic almost always works at their best or they don't work at all. An attribute that I think is a huge advantage over points!] Replacing electronic is just as fast if not faster AND you don't have to mess with them until they break again. Maybe in your lifetime. Field servicing points? It's laughable. You will be lucky if you get 100 yards down the road before you have to 'service' them again. IF they will ever work again at all and the chances of that are VERY slim. Back to points?

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Old 06-21-2014, 02:20 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Jim K in PA View Post
LOL - I was wearing my readers, but it still sucks to try and hold the light and the screwdriver with the glasses sliding down your nose. Those big mag visors just get in the way . . .
I'm nearsighted, which means I can see up close but not distance clearly. But as I've aged, I've lost accommodation (focusing ability) and my "best focus" is stuck at about 10 (good reading distance).

What I use for close-up work is inexpensive drug-store reading glasses. 7-10 Diopter for really close work and 4-6 for moderately close work.

For close-up photons, I use an LED Mini-Maglite held in my teeth or a adjustable headband headlight. Don't laugh-- you can actually get a rubber accessory bite-piece for the Maglite.

And yes, the electronic ignition is potentially easier to field-service than points and Booster, although more expensive.

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Old 06-21-2014, 04:10 AM   #130
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Me Too!!!

But you DO have the Airhead Point Gap Adjustment Tool, no?



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This is a great tool. Well worth the money.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:39 AM   #131
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so....let's say I have a nicely rebuilt and resealed Points can, and a dyna 3.0 coil that I am looking to sell.....what is the going rate for these things now? Reason I am asking is because I am probably not going to go back to points, want Rick's system, but also want a spare for travelling but not an OE unit.

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Old 06-21-2014, 05:59 AM   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim K in PA View Post
LOL - I was wearing my readers, but it still sucks to try and hold the light and the screwdriver with the glasses sliding down your nose. Those big mag visors just get in the way . . .

As to field serviceable? Sorry, Cy. I hear what your singing, but I am not joining the chorus. I have had ignition failures in both points and electronic ignition systems. The electronic trigger failure (one and only in 35 years) was a 5 minute repair once I had the part. I am not sure why you feel they are not field serviceable, because they are. It was a hall effect pickup in my son's Jeep. I have driven well over a half million miles (no exaggeration when you commute 130 miles/day) in electronic ignition cars, and have NEVER had an ignition trigger failure. Coil packs, hell yeah, but not trigger systems and controls. Points have stranded me temporarily at least 4 times that I can recall at the moment.

Honestly, I would take specific spares with me on a real long trip no matter which system I ran. Given a choice I'll go with electronic trigger every day of the week.

We each find our own comfort points, and there is no "right" or "wrong" here, just different ways of getting there.
yes .. points are field serviceable. they may be fiddly and a pita to adjust on the side of the road. but it can be done. carrying spare points/condenser takes minimal space.

I'd like to see you change out halls sensor inside a beancan in 5 minutes. that's assuming halls sensor is what's causing problems and you have the part. are you planning on carrying a spare beancan and brain box too? the fun starts when you are blessed with intermittent failures

potted electronics can and do break down with heat. that's 34 years of service for 1981 airheads with beancan/electronic ignitions and pretty darn good service!

if one is still running on original airhead electronics ... surprise ... those 30+ year old potted electronics are breaking down.

if given a choice .. I'm going with points/cond everytime. but there's absolutely nothing wrong with electronic ignitions either.
the debate on which one goes on and on .. fact is both are just fine .. each has it's drawbacks and advantages.

then there's costs to upgrade ... beancan w/points costs me $35 + new coil for $65 + .. had left over VW points laying around .. ($12 for points) .. reused old condenser = about $100 total costs for me to convert to beancan w/points with new coil.

EME system is $325 without new coil .. other ignitions systems are all about $300 without new coil. And yes there have been reports of failures for brand new replacement electronic ignitions. are you planning on spending another $300 for a spare ignition system to carry?

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Old 06-21-2014, 06:01 AM   #133
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PM'd ya

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyshadow View Post
so....let's say I have a nicely rebuilt and resealed Points can, and a dyna 3.0 coil that I am looking to sell.....what is the going rate for these things now? Reason I am asking is because I am probably not going to go back to points, want Rick's system, but also want a spare for travelling but not an OE unit.
Sent you a PM.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:16 AM   #134
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If you fit an alternator mounted system, Sachse or Silent Hektik, you can keep your bean can on the bike ready to go!
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:40 AM   #135
Bill Harris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyshadow View Post
so....let's say I have a nicely rebuilt and resealed Points can, and a dyna 3.0 coil that I am looking to sell.....what is the going rate for these things now? Reason I am asking is because I am probably not going to go back to points, want Rick's system, but also want a spare for travelling but not an OE unit.

Peeking in here I am reminded that the points Beancan does not use the point cam wiper felt like the /5/6 points plates did. That might suggest that the decided the wiper felt was superfluous and that the wiper felt was actually a /2 holdover on the /5.

What do we think? I need to replace my wiper felt, but if I don;t need to...

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