Electronic ignition
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Thread: Electronic ignition

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    Electronic ignition

    I'm thinking about converting my 1956 John Deere 50 to electronic ignition. Looking for experienced folk. Best kit? Convert to negative ground? Timing issues... static and dynamic? Do you have to upgrade the coil, plug wires, et al.. as some suggest... or are these suggestions for a hard starting tractor.. ?


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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    All great questions IMHO. I plan on getting a new wiring harness custom built for my 60 from these guys, Agri-Services. I'll have mine converted to an alternator, negative ground, and electronic ignition. I can't say where I'll get the ignition yet, so I'm eagerly anticipating what you come up with.
    - Jason

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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    06-02-2017 @ 07:24 PM
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    I switched my M and my old G over to electronic ignition. If you are going to use your tractor for anything but driving on and off a trailer at shows, I highly recommend switching over to a more modern ignition. It really woke up the old machines and gave a little more bark to the putt-putt-putt. It would have been nice to get a before and after dyno reading to see just how much it helped.

    Pertronix makes a really easy to install kit provided you know the part number for your distributor. It basically drops into the distributor and hides underneath the cover below the rotor where the condenser would normally sit. No timing adjustments needed. If you are going to go this route you can stay with the stock wiring or upgrade, but a new coil, plugs, cap, rotor, and wires will get the most out of your new ignition. If you are going to upgrade, remember that all the wires, light bulbs, starter, etc, will need to be replaced because 12v requires a different hardware than 6v.

    I use my M on a weekly basis for everything from mowing to splitting wood to snow plowing. I switched over to a 12v negitive ground for the sake of reliability and compatibility with my other equipment. Everything I have can jumpstart anything else. Plus, the 12v is easier to start in the cold because the starter will spin the motor faster.

    Even though I encourage you to switch over to electronic ignition, I feel like I must point out that there are many other causes of hard starting. Weak rings will cause compression to be lost into the crank-case. The idle passages in the carbs of early number series tractors are notorious for clogging up when using fuel with ethanol in it. Be careful that you aren't trying to put a bandaid over something which actually requires surgery.

    Good luck!
    dieselshadow and felixm22 like this.
    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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