Disadvantages of distributorless ignition system

Distributorless ignition systems involve the sparking of plugs directly from the coils. An ignition control unit (ICU) and Engine Control Unit (ECU) control the timing of said spark. Usually, these systems have one coil per cylinder or pair of cylinders.

The popularity of such ignition systems lies in their common use of the waste spark distribution method. This method ensures every cylinder is paired with its opposite in the firing order. Each coil’s secondary lead is attached to the sparked plugs of the pair of matched opposites.

This theory is widely used because it is said to require no timing adjustments, involve no wearing out of parts as they are immobile, and result in less engine drag as there is no distributor to drive.

However, its superiority as a system has been often disputed by its number of advantages. This article will outline the drawbacks of having a distributorless ignition system below.

1. No Piece Autonomy

The entire system is reliant on the good functioning of all its pieces. This means every sensor in the system sports an important use to the system as a whole, and that it cannot afford the loss, wear or breakage of just one piece. For instance, if the crank sensor were to die, the entire system would shut down. You would then be required to change the entire coil pack, which can be quite costly.

2. The Necessity Of Specific Expertise

As new, innovative technology, few people will know how to install this system. Expertise regarding the pieces you need and their upkeep isn’t very accessible and when so, it can be relatively expensive. Should you not be proficient at mechanics yourself, you may find that you are getting the required work done by someone unsure of the system’s workings, or paying more than you should for installation and servicing.

3. Problem Diagnosis Difficulty

As a great number of parts being faulty may lead to the system shutting down, it can be very hard to establish the actual root of a problem. This may be very inconvenient to you as your engine might be required to be studied or assessed for several days, which not only will cost you money but can be burdensome to your day to day commute life.

4. Susceptibility To Heat Damage

Because of the nature of the sparking operation in distributorless ignition systems, there is more engine exposure to heat. This may mean that long journeys or repeated ignitions could quickly wear out your engine. The level of heat can also damage a variety of components, including sensors and speak plugs, which will require entire coils to be changed.

5. Low Durability Of Components

After a certain mileage, it is natural to expect pieces to wear out. However this system in particular is reported to accelerate that wearing out, and require the change of several pieces every time one because defective. This can be a tedious process, making the upkeep of your car particularly expensive after it’s got a certain mileage on its engine.

While the disadvantages of distributorless ignition systems may seem overwhelming, their use is actually advocated by several mechanics claiming the system is revolutionary. You need only ensure before installing them that you have done the appropriate research and can handle the upkeep.


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