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LS coil on plug setups, is it really necessary?

sc0terdad

Active member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Location
Victoria, Bc
At what point is a coil on plug setup necessary?

I am attempting to make about 300hp via 1990 b230f+t and k24 turbo and as I have begun to learn more about engine building, I started to learn of the differences and benefits to coil on plug setups and wasted spark as opposed to cam or crank driven distributors.

but for an application making somewhere in the range of 300hp, is it even really worth it to convert to coil pack ignition?

thanks.
 
Not needed, better spark helps but is not required. Many of us made 300+whp on LH with stock coils and copper plugs.

Get some good plugs and go from there. I ran into ignition issues around 23+ psi on normal plugs and switched to some ngk racing plugs that outlasted the hell of coopers @25+psi on a single coil setup. MSD coil and booster helped keep it from misfiring but that ate the plugs fairly quick so I made the switch to get a few more miles out of them.
 
Yeah, it's worth it. you're already going to MaxxECU, it's very simple to wire up sequential coils.
 
Worth it cause the dizzy leaks and is expensive to maintain compared to cheap powerful coils that are no where near the oiling systems and have 0 moving parts
 
The LS coils are nice of you need significantly more spark energy than stock. On a 240, the stock distributor is located in a very convenient spot and it doesn't leak oil like the head mounted 7/9 series cars can.
I have had significant issues with the LS coils mounted on top of the head in the rally car. They get baked by the turbo heat, and failed coils are very common. We have also yet to find plug wires that also don't fall apart. Currently using some super high temp wires with fiberglass boots, we will see how they last. I had to fabricate a stainless heat shield that was covered in DEI insulation to help keep the coils cool. We haven't done a hot race to see if that helps anything. If using LS coils, I'd mount them anywhere but on the cylinder head.

In retrospect, keeping the stock dizzy, coil, and metal ended plug wires would have been better. The only downside there is that the cap and rotor are wear items, but just replace them at each oil change. The current cost of replacing LS coils would have paid for many lifetimes of Bougiecord wires and bosch caps/rotors.
 
I have yet to kill a coil and my turbo is way up high, big and has a big downpipe coming off it.

Plug wires on the other hand... yeah, that's a challenge. But stock wires wouldn't really be any better.
 
I have yet to upgrade any of my 240s to LS coils, I have always run the stock cap, rotor, and wires. I have never seen a reason to change what works well for my usage.

My b230ft and F+T did fine with all that stuff stock. If were running something more aggressive I probably would have made the jump.

If I had a 740 with the head-mounted stuff, I would probably consider it for other reasons
 
required? no not at all. but they're inexpensive, good power, and have readily available components... any parts store anywhere is going to have plug wires for a gm and probably will have a couple coils floating around if something burned up on the road. bit more of a crapshoot with volvo ignition components.
The 'gains' at lower hp levels are usually just lower chances of misfires and bigger gap support. (gains is a relative term, a hotter spark if you're already getting good combustion doesn't really add anything to the equation)
 
I have yet to kill a coil and my turbo is way up high, big and has a big downpipe coming off it.

Plug wires on the other hand... yeah, that's a challenge. But stock wires wouldn't really be any better.
Rally racing is interesting as it stresses things that wouldn't normally be an issue. It's basically repeated dyno pulls for 15min with 30-40mph airflow, so under hood temps are insane. The revs are 3500-7500 and full load almost all the time, the only time that it's not full throttle is while braking or in some corners when you're trying to find grip.
 
The LS coils are nice of you need significantly more spark energy than stock. On a 240, the stock distributor is located in a very convenient spot and it doesn't leak oil like the head mounted 7/9 series cars can.
I have had significant issues with the LS coils mounted on top of the head in the rally car. They get baked by the turbo heat, and failed coils are very common. We have also yet to find plug wires that also don't fall apart. Currently using some super high temp wires with fiberglass boots, we will see how they last. I had to fabricate a stainless heat shield that was covered in DEI insulation to help keep the coils cool. We haven't done a hot race to see if that helps anything. If using LS coils, I'd mount them anywhere but on the cylinder head.

In retrospect, keeping the stock dizzy, coil, and metal ended plug wires would have been better. The only downside there is that the cap and rotor are wear items, but just replace them at each oil change. The current cost of replacing LS coils would have paid for many lifetimes of Bougiecord wires and bosch caps/rotors.
Will failed ls coils cause an issue where power will cut and the engine stops with microsquirt?
 
Will failed ls coils cause an issue where power will cut and the engine stops with microsquirt?
It will develop a misfire on the cylinder with the failing coil.
If the entire engine is shutting off, my guess is that would be an issue with the VR or Hall sensor.
 
It will develop a misfire on the cylinder with the failing coil.
If the entire engine is shutting off, my guess is that would be an issue with the VR or Hall sensor.
Interesting. I'm running the CAS so best part to throw at it would be a new one? I bought it with microsquirt installed by PO and am completely unfamiliar. If I data logged, what would I be looking for?
 
Interesting. I'm running the CAS so best part to throw at it would be a new one? I bought it with microsquirt installed by PO and am completely unfamiliar. If I data logged, what would I be looking for?
you want to check sync loss and sync loss reason in the datalog, or look for spikes that indicate an ecu reset (That would be a noise-related issue usually)
 
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