Mechanical Ignition Handbook: The Hack Mechanic guide to vintage ignition systems


Rob Siegel


Mechanically timed ignition is easy to understand and wonderfully straightforward to diagnose and repair, which is good because it is one of the most likely things on an older car to die and leave you in the lurch.

Rob Siegel–better known as the Hack Mechanic– explains how mechanical ignition works and discusses in detail how to set timing and advance. There is also a full chapter on troubleshooting mechanical ignition problems.

Illustrated with over 100 photos and diagrams and supported by clear, step-by-step instructions, the Mechanical Ignition Handbook features sections on mechanical ignition basics and components, common repairs and recommended tools, adjusting point gap, setting dwell angle, locating the timing mark, finding top dead center, setting static and dynamic ignition timing, using both a standard and an advance timing light, testing coil resistance, and retrofitting breakerless electronic ignition.

Applies to vintage cars from the 1950s up through the mid 1980s that have either points and breakers or mechanical ignition advance, including: Porsche 356, mechanically-timed Porsche 911, BMW 1600 and BMW 2002, Ferrari 365, Austin-Healey Sprite, MGB, Triumph Spitfire, Triumph TR3 and TR6, Jaguar E-Type, Mercedes models including the Mercedes 190 SL, Volkswagen Beetle, early Volvo, Pontiac GTO, vintage Chevrolet Camero and other American muscle cars.

If you are a vintage car owner who wants to understand how to adjust timing and advance to keep your favorite ride running smoothly, this is the book for you!