Pertronix Installation

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Courtesy of Mike Bliem


Note: This installation completed on 1978 530i, your installation may be different.

The directions from Pertronix say to use the condensor if you have one. Problem is there isn't room in the distributor. Mine runs fine without it. I did mount the condensor on the outside of the distributor and connected the extra wire leftover (figure 3 left arrow) and there was no difference in performance or starting.

-Unhook the coil to distributor cap wire.

-Take off distributor cap (leave wires on)

-Remove rotor.

-unhook wire going to points assembly (figure 1-P4)

-Unscrew(condensor See figure 1-P3), and points-plate (figure 1-P2); carefully remove both

screws; then slide out grommet, points-plate and condensor as one piece.

If you don't have P2, 3, and 4 in your distributor this FAQ may help, but is not to be a guide.

-Attach Pertronix sensor to plate included with the kit (black, flat side towards the magnet ring/distributor shaft).

Sorry about the fuzzy pic, P1 is where the condensor used to be, wont fit now, and apparently don't need it.


The advance moves the entire plate that the points, and new Pertronix plate attach to. When tightening it you could move the whole plate (clockwise) if you don't put a finger on the unit when it starts to get tight, and keep it from turning clockwise and pushing the arm into the diaphragm when it doesn't that, and will make you unhappy if you overlook this.

-Align plate and screw into place with the flat screw. I had a problem here, the screw that came with the kit (figure 1-P5) wouldn't get tight enough, it hit the surface under the plate and pried them apart, I used the one that was holding my original points-plate. The original screw doesn't interfere with any moving parts so that seems to be the fix, be sure the little detent under the plate matches the location tab on the main plate in the distributor. -The black dust cover (Figure 1-P1) will no longer fit, I just left it out. -Red wire goes to POSITIVE (+) terminal on coil. -Black wire goes to NEGATIVE (-) terminal on coil. (using blade connectors here would be good, and just slide on the terminals, I used the round hole tabs that came with the kit, just an extra few mins.) -Slide black magnet ring onto the shaft, be sure it is all the way down over the hex. -Put rotor and cap, and coil wire back on.

I put a little tape over the hole left from the condensor mounting screw, and taped the old connector.

-Either find a rubber plug, tape or a little nut to put the condensor screw back in (without the condensor); to plug the hole now left on the top of the distributor. -Tape up, or if you have a more aesthetic solution, do so, but those wire do need to stay connected to each other (the ones in the connector) -Be sure all your wires are away from the fan, or other moving and/or hot areas, and give her a start.

Start right up and run more solid? If it didn't start, then check all connections, and then fuses. If it doesn't seem to run any better just the same, well that may be cause I was in desperate need of a tune when I did this and replaced the coil, cap and rotor at the same time.

Don't worry about mine looking so sloppy, the car is getting rewired (painless wiring kit) as soon as I get the side-draft kit.

Be VERY careful not to 'tweak' the advance diaphragm when tightening the Pertonix plate (where the points were). Can't stress this enough, the diaphragm cannot be replaced without rebuilding the distributor. Mine was 27 years old and didn't like it so now I'll be doing a centrifugal distributor FAQ next :P.

Have fun and keep the shiny side up! Remember to have that celebratory beer AFTER the test drive.

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