Black Box V5.1 Troubleshooting guide

EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS
(page 3)
&
TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE
(page 23)
IGNITION ADVANCE CURVES
(page 33)
Warrantee
This kit is warranted from defects in material and workmanship for 1 year from
date of installation. Euro MotoElectrics disclaims all other warranties, either expressed or
implied. This includes any implied warranty of merchantability of fitness for a non-specific use,
and neither assumes nor authorizes any other person or professional installer to assume for it any
liability in connection with the sale of this product, or for any consequential damages or incidents
arising from its use.
Notes & Disclaimers

The installation of this electronic ignition system assumes the installing technician has basic
mechanical and electrical skills. Please understand that working on 30+ year old motorcycles
may require additional work to the wiring not specifically covered in these instructions.

These instructions cover the installation of the electronic ignition on BMW motorcycles
model years 1970 through 1995. After 1990, BMW changed the wiring to the ignition circuits
and it is not compatible with the EnDuraSpark system without the addition of a relay.
Otherwise damage may occur to the EnDuraSpark Black Box and render the emergency kill
switch ineffective. This kit can be made to work with all known ignition
modifications and aftermarket parts for these models.
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
www.EuroMotoElectrics.com
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Tools Required

5 mm Allen wrench (for removing timing cover)

6 mm Allen wrench (for removing rotor bolt)

small Phillips screwdriver (for removing cover on black box)

needle nose pliers

diagonal cutters (dykes)

razor blade or Exacto knife

painter’s masking tape (optional)

Loctite blue

dynamic timing light (optional)

inch-lb torque wrench with 5 mm and 6 mm Allen bolt drivers (optional)
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
www.EuroMotoElectrics.com
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Parts Inventory
1
4
2
3
7
5
6
15
8
11
18
9
14
16
17
10
13
12
EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition Kit Parts
Item
Qty
1
2
1
Item
Qty
black box electronics unit
10
1
Sticker for timing wheel
trigger unit
timing wheel
11
4
10-32 screws & washers
3
1
1
12
2
M5x12 Allen bolts & washers
4
1
1.5 mm Allen wrench
13
1
3.5” weather stripping for cover
5
1
aluminum mounting plate
14
1
extended rotor bolt
6
1
wheel hub
15
1
grommet
7
1
Laminated wiring diagram
16
1
(this) documentation
8
3
Male spade terminals
17
3
Cable ties
18
1
1
Degree pointer
Bean can cover plate – Optional,
Part # BMW-COVER
9
Description
Description
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 1: Set Dip Switches
Remove the cover on the black electronics box:
Set the DIP switches according to whether the engine has a
single spark plug for each cylinder (stock) or two spark plugs for
each cylinder (dual-plugged):
BMW Single Plug
BMW Dual Plugged
(stock - 26° advance range)
(20° advance range)
ON
1
2
ON
3
1
2
3
When re-installing the cover, don’t over tighten the screws
which will ruin their small rubber grommets.
Step 2: Apply DIP Switch Sticker (optional)
Cut out DIP switch sticker from stickers
sheet, remove backing (with aid of razor
blade) and attach to the top of the black box.
Step 3: Attach Black Box to Mounting Plate
Attach the black box to the aluminum mounting
plate with the four 10-32 Allen screws and lock
washers:
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 4: Remove Gas Tank
Place bike on center stand, flip open seat, and
remove tool box. The seat doesn't need to be
removed if it and the tank are stock.
Turn off both fuel petcocks and remove the gas
lines from the petcocks. If fitted, remove the gas
overflow line under the tank.
Tighten the steering damper (if equipped) so the front wheel remains
straight ahead.
Unscrew and remove the wing nuts (or on later year models, plastic
knurled nuts) at rear of tank. Lift rear of tank until the cross piece
clears the top of the two studs. Then slide tank back as far as possible
(about 1/2 inch). The front of the tank will now clear the front rubber
support.
Unless it is stuck on, remove the rubber front tank support (to
keep from losing it, it falls off easily).
Step 5: Remove Front Engine Cover
With 5 mm Allen remove
front engine cover:
(Later models and R65s
only have the two top
bolts)
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 6: Remove Existing Ignition or Tune up (1970-78) - Optional
The original points ignition components on 1970-1978 Airheads (advance unit, points, points
plate, condenser and points compartment grommet) can be left in place for a backup to the
electronic ignition. Or, since they really aren’t necessary, they can be removed.
Left in place, the points rubbing block, the points contact surfaces, and the
mechanical advance unit would normally wear. To prevent this, we will perform a
standard ignition tune up and then remove the mechanical advance unit. To revert
back to the stock points system, simply slide the advance unit back on the cam nose
and change one wire at the ignition coil (shown on the laminated wiring diagram).
See the owner’s manual, shop manual, or Clymers, Haynes or Chitech manuals for
stock ignition tune-up procedures
Remove the mechanical advance unit, replacing the 10 mm nut and wave washer
on the end of the cam nose. Don’t over tighten this nut! Install it with a torque
wrench to 54 inch-lbs (4.5 ft-lbs). Store the old mechanical advance unit in a
Ziplock bag in the bikes’ tool kit.
For later models with electronic ignition, remove the ignition control unit, located
on the right side of the frame just back from the coils.
There are two wire harness’ leading to the stock ICU. The cable connected to the white
three plug connector is a switched power source. Use the green and yellow wire from this
connector later for the power to the EnDuraSpark ignition black box and the relay for
the coils
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 7: Remove Bean Can Ignition (1979-90)
Similarly, for 1979-1980 Airheads with points in the “bean can”, the entire bean can unit is
removed:

Disconnect the cable going to the bean can.

Remove the two M5 5mm Allen bolts on each side of the bean canister and pull it off.
Disconnect
Remove
For 1981-1995 Airheads, the “bean can” needs to be replaced with the optional cover plate, part
#17 (in the “Inventory” parts explosion), if removed.
The Cover Plate can be ordered from Euro Motoelectrics, Part # BMW-COVER
Remove the two M5 5mm Allen bolts, pull off the bean can and fit the cover plate. Secure with
the original two M5 bolts.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 8: Remove Non-Stock Ignition Components
Ignition
(1978-80)
Remove any
points amplifiers (also called “points” boosters) from the system.
These will
normally be found tie-wrapped to the motorcycle frame under the tank. They cannot be used with
the EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition. If you are not thoroughly familiar with the history of your
30+ old Airhead, you may be surprised these were installed by a previous owner.
Accel units were popular in the 1970s.
The Dynatek DBR-1 is the most commonly used points amplifier on
Airheads today. There may be two!
Some users used the K2543 kit available from many sources
including Apogee Kits and Arcade Electronics.
If your engine had been upgraded to an older generation electronic ignition, usually Boyer or
Dyna, remove it completely. Your new EnDuraSpark Electronic ignition is superior to these
older units in every way: more robust packaging, more robust mounting, better ignition curves,
and crank-driven to avoid the vagaries of cam-driven timing.
Boyer Micro Digital
(formerly MkIII)
Dyna III
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 9: Install Wheel Hub on New Rotor Bolt
With a 6mm
Wheel
HubAllen wrench, remove the center bolt holding
the EnDuraLast rotor to the crankshaft. Often this can be
removed by “jerking” the wrench without holding the motor
from turning.
If the bolt won’t break loose, place the transmission in gear
and apply the rear brake. This will keep the engine from
turning.
Loosely assemble the timing wheel, part #3 (in
the “Inventory” parts explosion) on the wheel
hub, part #6, so the wheel can rotate freely on the
hub. The wheel goes with the “N” and “S” stamps
facing outward.
Wheel
Hub
Timing
Wheel
Center
Bolt
Insert the new longer rotor center bolt, part # 14 in the wheel hub and install the assembly on the
rotor. Tighten with a torque wrench with a 5 mm Allen bit to 14 ft-lbs (168 inch-lbs). Do not over
tighten!
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 10: Install Trigger
With a 4mm Allen wrench, slightly loosen all three stator housing bolts holding the
Be careful not to bump or knock the stator
once it is loosened.
Wheel
Hubstator to the timing case.
EnDuraLast
Completely remove the top and right stator bolts as indicated.
Slide the trigger unit (part #2) under the heavy
black alternator cable onto the stator ring
frame, re-insert bolts.
Tighten all three stator housing bolts with a
torque wrench with a 4 mm Allen bit to 3 ft-lbs
(36 inch-lbs).
Don’t over tighten! These are steel bolts going
into an aluminum timing cover which can strip
easily.
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 11: Install Black Box
Wheel Hub
Install the black box and aluminum backing
plate in the empty space where the voltage
regulator used to be. (The regulator was
removed during the EnDuraLast alternator
installation.)
Attach the aluminum plate to the frame with two M5x12 Allen bolts
& washers, part # 12.
On later models, the voltage regulator location was moved further back on the frame.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 12: Connect Trigger Harness
Wheel
On modelHub
years 1970-1980, run the thick trigger cable from the
black box to the cable
from
the ignition trigger and connect.
Install cable ties to hold the cables
and tidy-up the engine compartment.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
For model years 1980-1990, connect the thick trigger cable from the black box to the cable from the
ignition trigger .
Route the cable through the rubber grommet where the starter power lead runs through
The rubber grommet is already molded for a second wire; it just needs to be carefully removed and then
with a sharp knife cut open to accommodate the trigger wire.
Should the grommet need replacing, the BMW part number is 61-13-1-244-464
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Coil Wiring
The original BMW ignition uses two identical 6V coils wired together in series with a black
jumper wire between the inside terminals- this set up must be retained in order for the
EnduraSpark ignition to work properly, otherwise damage to the Black Box will occure!
To ignition switch
To points & condenser
Switched Power
Connection
Trigger
Connection
Connections to the coils are made at two places. The outside terminal of the left coil is the
“switched power” 12 volt connection with a green wire that goes to the ignition switch. The
outside terminal of the right coil is the “trigger” connection with a black wire that goes to the
condenser and points under the front engine cover.
All 1970-1986 BMW motorcycle ignition systems are wired like this. If the engine has been dualplugged, the updated dual-output coils will be wired in the same way. If the bike has aftermarket
coils (Dyna, Accel, etc.) they will also be wired in this way.
1986 -1990, all G/S and GS models had a single Dual Output coil which is not compatible with
the EnDuraSpark Ignition system. They must be replaced with any of the recommended coils as
described on page 6 and 7 of the Product Information guide
1991-1995. BMW changed the “switched power” connections requiring the use of a relay. Proceed
to step 14, “Wiring for models 1990-1995”
In all cases, ensure that the coils are indeed connected together in “series”- Only one coil is
connected to the switched power and only the other coil is connected to the trigger wire. Then a
single jumper wire joining the “powered” coil to the second coil as shown in the above diagram.
Verify proper coil connection by putting an ohm meter on the power terminal of the left coil and
the trigger terminal of the right coil. The meter should read 2.8 ohms resistance. If the reading is
1.4 ohms, re check the wiring. Incorrect wiring will cause the ignition module to over heat and fail
There were some variations. The green wire became a green/blue wire on later models. For bikes
with electronic tachometers, there is a second black wire at the trigger connection Some wiring
schemes had two green wires at the switched power connection as well.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
For all models up to 1990, wiring in the red, black, and brown wires coming from the
EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition black box is simply:
1.
Adding the red wire to the coil switched power connection,
2. Replacing the black wire at the coil trigger connection, and
3. Adding the brown ground wire under the Allen bolt holding the
coil bracket to the frame.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 13: Connect Black Box Wires
Wheel Hub
Attach the brown wire to either the right or left coil
mounting bracket front bolt. (There may be other
grounding wires there).
Add the red wire to the switched power terminal on
the left coil, which already has a green/blue or green
wire attached. (If there isn’t a spare male spade
terminal available, extra ones are included in the kit).
Left
Coil
Replace the black wire on the right coil going to the
condenser with the black wire from the EnDuraSpark
electronic ignition black box. Models with electronic
tachometers will have a second black wire connected
here
To return to the stock ignition wiring
(if the old points and condenser were
left in place) simply swap these black
coil wires again.
.
Right
Coil
Many Airhead users have upgraded to Dyna or Accel ignition coils, especially dual plugging
conversions. They are wired in the same way:
Some users may have ring connectors connecting their wires to screw-type
coil terminals. The male spade terminals (part #8) can be used to attach the
EnDuraLast wires to these terminals.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 14 Relay wiring for 1991-1995 models
After 1990 BMW changed the wiring to the
ignition circuit. The power to the Ignition
Control Unit was "switched" separately by the
Emergency Kill Switch, while the key switch still
"switched" the power to the ignition coils.
Wheel Hub
In order to retain the functional use of the
Emergency Kill Switch, supply proper current to the
coils and prevent damage to the EnduraSpark Black
Box, a customer supplied 12 volt relay needs to be
added to the system.
Relays are available through Euro Motoelectrics#REL-207 http://www.euromotoelectrics.com/product_p/rel-207.htm
#BOREL-107 http://www.euromotoelectrics.com/product_p/borel-107.htm
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
1.
v5.1
The green/yellow stripe wire that was connected to the original ignition control unit
connects to one side of the Relay coil terminal.
2. Connect the Red wire from the EnduraSpark Black Box to the same terminal
3. Connect the other Relay Coil terminal to a good frame ground terminal
4. Connect the original green “switched” wire of the ignition coil to one side of the “switch”
terminals of the relay
Red lead to black box
Switched power
Original ignition
control wiring
Ground connection
5.
Left coil
Connect the other “switch” terminal of the relay and connect to the left ignition coil.
6. Continue with connecting the Black trigger wire from the Black Box to the right coil, and
the Brown wire from Black Box to ground.
7.
Connect the thin black tachometer wire to the same terminal of the trigger wire. Verify all
connections.
With the key switch “on” and the kill switch in the on or run position, there will now be power to
the EnduraSpark Black Box and the relay will be energized.
By switching the kill switch to off, the power is cut to the relay and Black Box, as well as killing
power to the ignition coils.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 15: Turn Crank to TDC
Wheel
Hub
Rotate the
crankshaft so that the
pistons are at top dead center
(TDC), the highest point in their
travel in the cylinders. Both
cylinders on an Airhead have the
same TDC crankshaft position.
Groove
The timing marks are stamped on
the flywheel and viewed through
the timing hole to the right of the
dip stick.
There is a groove stamped into the
left side of the timing hole. This
groove, NOT the center of the hole,
is used to align timing marks.
Rotate the engine by putting the transmission into 2nd gear and bumping around the rear wheel.
This is preferred over using an Allen wrench in the alternator rotor bolt to turn the crankshaft as
this can wallow out the Allen bolt hole. Turn the crank until the OT dot, to the left of the “OT”
stamping on the flywheel, is exactly adjacent to the groove in the timing hole. (OT, in German, is
Oberer Totpunkt, literally the “top dead point”.) If having trouble turning the engine over, the
spark plugs can be removed but this isn’t usually necessary.
The apparent alignment
of the flywheel timing
marks with the groove on the
engine can vary by several
degrees by raising or lowering
your head a few inches.
This is due to the viewing angle
problem if your eyeball is not
exactly perpendicular to the
timing hole. The problem is
worse on R65s which have a 20
mm smaller diameter flywheel
that sits even farther from the
timing window.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 16: Position Timing Wheel
If necessary,
loosen the three set screws with the provided small
Wheel
Hub
Allen wrench (part #4) so that the timing wheel can rotate on the
hub.
LED
Turn on the motorcycle’s ignition. With the
engine at TDC rotate the timing wheel
clockwise as viewed from the front of the
engine. As the wheel rotates, the LED on
the trigger plate will turn ON when the “S”
stamped on the wheel passes the trigger. It
will extinguish when the “N” on the wheel
passes the trigger.
Rotate the wheel a few revolutions to
see how this works. (If the LED doesn’t
come on, the wheel may need to be
pulled out of the hub 1 mm or so until it
does light).
Slowly rotate the wheel until the LED
just turns off. Tighten the 3 set screws.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 17: Prepare Pointer
Wheel Hub
With a marker divide the stem of the pointer (part #17)
into two halves.
With needle nose pliers, bend the pointer as shown along the
lines.
Cut off a 5 mm piece from the pointer sticker
and apply to the end of the pointer.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 18: Install Pointer (optional)
Wheel Hub
Remove indicated screw, slide on the pointer, replace
screw.
Note the final position of the pointer. If it extends past the wheel hub, it may be pushed
back onto the wheel when replacing the alternator cover.
dual plugged engines). No further timing adjustment is needed. You
Stop! At this point, the ignition is set up for 34° total advance (28° for
dual plugged engines). No further timing adjustment is needed. You
may proceed directly to Step 23.
However, to verify the timing with a strobe timing light or to set the
timing to other than 34°, follow Steps 19 – 22.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Step 19: Temporarily Install Degree Wheel
Wheel Hub
Cut out the timing wheel from the sticker sheet. With
masking tape, temporarily install the wheel so the pointer
lines up with the “OT” mark.
The timing degree sticker is only installed temporarily so
the dynamic timing can be checked. The sticker should
be re-installed every time the ignition timing is modified
(timing wheel rotated on its hub).
The ignition curve parameters of the EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition are nonadjustable. The initial static timing offset, 8°, is fixed electronically. The RPM that
advance starts, 1000 RPM, is fixed. The amount of advance is also fixed: 26° for stock
ignitions, 20° for dual-plugged ignitions. This results in a maximum advance value of
34° for stock ignitions and 28° for dual plugged ignitions. This is optimal timing for
almost all 1970-1980 Airheads, providing an advance curve not limited by emission
control concessions.
Adjusting the ignition timing is done by loosening the three set screws on the timing
wheel and rotating it the amount of degrees to be changed. This changes both the
dynamic “F” and static “S” points (since the difference between them is fixed).
Getting the fully advanced ignition timing correct is much more important than the static
idle timing. It is not important if the timing is off a degree or two at idle. Engines don't
ping at idle (unless something is drastically wrong). Since the advance range is fixed, we
set the advanced timing perfectly and let the static timing fall where it may, usually 8°.
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EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Airhead Timing Marks
1970 - 1990 BMW Airheads have three timing marks stamped on the flywheel:

OT: Top Dead Center used for adjusting valves & EnDuraSpark timing.

S: Static Ignition timing, Spaetzuendung, minimum or retarded
advance. This is the timing mark to use when timing with the engine off
or at idle.

F: Fast ignition timing, Fruehzuendung (spark advanced), the
maximum ignition advance. On later engines, the letter “F” was
changed to a “Z”.
The horizontal line above the “S” and the dot above the “F” are the actual marks
to use for timing. Some flywheels have two lines, one above and one below the
timing letter. These indicate the permissible "range" of the timing, +/ 3° due to
“split images”, i.e., the difference in timing between the right and left cylinders.
Turning the engine over, peering into the timing window, the flywheel will
appear to be moving down. From the perspective of a rider sitting on the
motorcycle, the flywheel, crankshaft, rotor, camshaft and timing wheel all turn
counter-clockwise.
When viewing the flywheel with a stroboscopic ignition light, the “S” horizontal
line should appear at idle. As the RPM is increased, the “F” dot mark will slowly
move up from the bottom into the window. It will stop moving up at about 2200
– 3800 RPM, depending upon model.
Rarely there may be a flywheel installed incorrectly on the crankshaft (being some
multiple of 72° off) so all timing marks are in the wrong place. Re-install
the flywheel correctly by installing the flywheel on the crank at TDC (pistons fully
extended) with the "OT" mark in the timing window. Flywheels that have been
lightened and/or balanced may also have had the timing marks machined off the
flywheel. Put them back by measuring the distances from OT to the “S” and “F”
marks from the chart on the next page.
The diameter of all 1970-1980 Airhead flywheels is the same: 736.6 mm. So 1° of crankshaft
rotation corresponds to 2 mm (2.046 mm actually) on the flywheel. The only exception to this is
the R65 flywheel, which is 200 mm smaller in diameter. 1° of rotation of an R65 crank
corresponds to 1.5 mm on the clutch carrier (flywheel).
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v5.1
Step 20: Determine “F” Degrees (Full Advance)
The amount
of ignition advance built into 1970-1980 BMW Airhead motorcycle was determined
Wheel
Hub
by the automatic advance unit or “ATU”. These varied during Airhead production as emission
controls were introduced. The amount of advance built into the mechanical advance matched the
timing marks stamped on the flywheel. For example, if an ATU had 25° degrees of advance, the
distance on the flywheel between the “S” and “F” marks corresponded to 25° degrees of advance.
The 1970-1978 ATUs were primarily set up for power..The 1979-1980 canister models were
retarded for emission control. While the EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition replaces the ATU, we
will continue to use the “F” flywheel timing mark for identifying the fully advanced crankshaft
position.
Models
Early /5
Late /5
1
Some /6, early /7
Some Late /6 and /7
1979 – 1980 (canister)
1981+ (electronic ign)
Static
BTDC
9° +/- 3°
9° +/- 3°
6° +/- 3°
6° +/- 3°
6° +/- 3°
6° +/- 3°
Advance
Range
30° +/- 2°
25° +/- 2°
25° +/- 2°
28° +/- 2°
26° +/- 2°
26° +/- 2°
Total
Advance
39° +/- 2°
34° +/- 2°
31° +/- 2°
34° +/- 2°
32° +/- 2°
32° +/- 2°
OT – F
2
Distance
79.8 mm
69.6 mm
63.4 mm
69.6 mm
65.5 mm
65.5 mm
Original BMW Airhead Ignition Timing Specifications
1After
Jan 1, 1978, the static timing mark was retarded from 9° to 6° BTDC for better emission control.
Most 1978 flywheels were mismarked, 4 degrees retarded! A service bulletin describes how to time
engine with marks at the top of viewing hole.
2For
R65s, reduce the OT – F distances by 78%.
The above chart can be used to determine the total advance in degrees that the “F” mark on the
flywheel corresponds to. It will be one of 31°, 32°, 34°, or 39°. When in doubt, especially for the
ambiguous 1971 and 1978 model years, measure the distance between the “OT” dot and the “F”
line. Then use the last chart column to identify the total advance represented by the “F” line.
Having determined what the stock flywheel “F” line ignition timing is, should it be used “as is”?
Conventional wisdom might say to rotate the timing wheel on the EnDuraSpark timing wheel so
the “F” line is adjacent the timing groove in the timing window under a strobe timing light.
This may not be optimal. Early /5s probably had too much advance; the early /6s too little. The
“sweet spot” for most single-plugged engines is about 34°, which is the default
EnDuraSpark Electronic ignition configuration.
After a high compression Airhead has been dual-plugged the stock advanced ignition timing point
must be retarded. There has been much dialog, testing, and controversy over what the
ideal ignition advance curve should be. After 20 years of discussion, the Airhead
community consensus is that dual-plugged engines should have idle timing near stock
and fully advanced timing of 27 - 28 degrees. This is the second configuration of the
EnDuraSpark ignition black box.
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v5.1
Step 21: Dynamically Check Timing
Warning!
Wheel
Hub
On this page, view how the F “dot aligns with the groove on the window,
not how it aligns in the window. Your grove may be stamped higher or lower in the
window!
Attach a strobe timing light to the left coil spark plug wire. Start the engine and examine the
timing marks on the flywheel through the timing window. Raise the RPM until the image stops
advancing (moving up) the window, around 3800 (3000 on dual-plugged) RPM. Adjustments
are made with the engine off with the aid of the pointer and timing sticker.
To set the timing to the original maximum advance value, adjust (rotate)
the timing wheel on the rotor so that at 3800 RPM and above the strobe
image looks like this:
To set the timing to 34° (whether or not this was the original BMW value), adjust the timing
wheel on the rotor according to the flywheel type as below:
31° F Mark
Flywheel
32° F Mark
Flywheel
34° F Mark
Flywheel
39° F Mark
Flywheel
Single Plugged Ignition @ 34° Advance
31° F Mark
Flywheel
32° F Mark
Flywheel
34° F Mark
Flywheel
39° F Mark
Flywheel
Dual Plugged Ignition @ 28° Advance
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Step 22: Adjust Timing if Necessary
If the observed
Wheel
Hub“F” dot doesn’t match the appropriate image determined from the previous page,
we will rotate the timing wheel so that it does.
Compare the location of the “F” dot observed with its correct location. Determine the distance, in
mm, between the two, i.e., how much the “F” mark is off at the flywheel.
For example, say we have a single –plugged engine with a 34° “F” mark.
From the previous page, the timing image should look like this:
Say the actual observed timing image looks like this:
The two images are 4 mm apart. Since each 1° of rotation is 2 mm, the timing is off 2°. We need
to move the observed image down in the window, because we are firing 2° too late, i.e., we need to
advance the timing wheel on the rotor bolt by 2°. This is done by loosening the set screws on the
timing wheel and turning the wheel 2° clockwise. This logic can be generalized into an easy rule
for remembering which direction to rotate the timing wheel:
“Rotate the timing wheel in the same direction needed to move the
observed position viewed in the timing window to the desired position.”
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v5.1
Fine Tuning Ignition Timing
A particular engine’s best ignition timing (either for power or fuel economy) is dependent upon
engine compression and fuel octane. (Increasing octane slows the fuel burn rate, requiring more
advanced timing.) The optimal ignition timing is also dependent on exhaust back pressure and
whether a “hot” 336” cam replaces a stock “308” camshaft.
These installation instructions use the best timing for the 1970-1990 Airheads. The 34° advance
is conservative and will work with no pinging if the correct octane gasoline is used and the
combustion chamber doesn't have higher than normal compression from carbonization. 1981 and
later Airhead models, with the lower 8.2 and 8.4 compression ratios, as well as the R50/5, should
use 32° for the maximum advance.
The EnDuraSpark electronic ignition may, of course, be set to any advance value by simply
rotating the timing wheel on the rotor bolt. If you know what you are doing you won’t need these
instructions and the ignition advance can be set to any value. Too retarded timing under heavy
load will result in higher exhaust valve and valve seat temperatures. Too advanced timing will
result in engine pinging and possible engine damage. Pinging (also known as “detonation” and
“knocking”) sounds like steel balls being shook in a jar. It is very pronounced on an Airhead.
Significant deviation from the recommended 34° ignition timing value (28°for dual plugged) will
eat up both performance and fuel economy.
To determine the absolute optional ignition timing for optimal horsepower on a specific engine, a
dynometer or Performance Box timing box is needed. This may allow a couple of degrees
advance beyond 34° to be used. A poor man’s alternative is to advance the timing until the engine
just begins to ping and then backing off (retarding) 2 degrees. Pinging is best induced under an
actual load going up a hill. Lug the engine in a high gear, at low RPM, with wide open throttle,
with a warmed up engine, using the lowest octane fuel that will ever be used. A hot humid day at
sea level is best, if possible.
If ignition timing is advanced beyond what is recommended here to increase mileage and/or
power with premium fuel, do not use lower octane fuels without returning to stock timing. The
engine could be damaged by pinging.
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v5.1
Step 23: Install Timing Wheel Sticker
Set the crankshaft at TDC as described in Step 15. Peel off the backing of the timing sticker and
Wheel
Hub
permanently install it on the timing wheel with the pointer aligned with “OT”. If it is off slightly,
bend the pointer so that it points exactly to “OT”.
Step 24: Apply Locktite
Remove each of the three set screws one at a time, apply a tiny drop of Loctite “Blue”, and re-
install. There
Wheel
Hubis no reason to remove these screws once the timing is set correctly except to
change the engine timing chain!
Step 25: Install Top Grommet (early models)
Wheel
Snip off aHub
top side of the grommet, part #15.
Snip out wedge section:
Insert grommet into top front of engine:
Trim any excess.
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Step 30: Create Top Grommet
Wheel Hub
This step creates the grommet that presses on the
wires coming out the top of the front engine cover.
Cut weather stripping, part #13, along the white lines shown
with diagonal cutters (dykes).
Snip off the ends of the top layer along the dotted lines:
The final grommet will look like this:
Step 31: Install Front Cover
Install Hub
the grommet created in the previous step on the top
Wheel
of the front engine cover, centered as shown.
For 1970-1978 models which have left the original points ignition installed,
start the front cover installation by aligning the ignition wire rubber with the
corresponding cut-out in the engine cover.
Secure the cover over the top right alignment pin and bolt the
cover down evenly. This pin is on the bottom for 1979-1990
models.
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v5.1
TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE
Warning
Do not operate the engine with the spark plug caps disconnected from the spark plugs and:

not connected to anything (ungrounded), or

connected to the spark plug but the spark plug not touching anything (ungrounded).
This can damage the coils internally, fry the Hall Effect sensor, and damage the EnDuraLast
Electronic Ignition black box electronics.
Troubleshooting
(Adapted from the www.bmwscotter.org website, with permission)
These instructions are specific to BMW Airheads upgraded with the EnDuraSpark Electronic
Ignition. For ignition troubleshooting in general refer to these definitive resources:

AirMail Technical Articles by Oak Okleshen. E-mail him for an index at
AskOak@aol.com.

Bob Fleischer’s (Snowbum’s) Airhead website:
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/techindex.htm

Tom Cutter’s hundreds of technical tips in the Airlist Archives:
http://micapeak.com/archives/airheads/
This troubleshooting section is divided into three areas:

No Spark

Spark Cuts Out Intermittently

Poor Performance
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Troubleshooting - No Spark
Engine doesn’t Turn Over
If the engine does not turn over at all, i.e. the starter motor does not engage, there is a
problem with the starting circuit or battery. If the instrument lights dim or go out when
the starter button is depressed the problem is usually a faulty battery, bad connections on
the cables attached to the battery, or bad connections at the starter relay.
If the instrument lights stay brightly lit when the starter button is depressed and you hear
the “click” of the starter relay, then the problem is usually the starter solenoid or a bad
connection on the fat red cable between the battery and the starter. If you don’t hear the
starter relay “click”, the problem is probably the starter relay itself, the kill switch, the
clutch switch, or the connections to these components.
Check Battery Condition
Modern motorcycle batteries are good for approximately 4 years. Every five years, they
should be replaced pro-actively because when they fail, they may do so without warning
(especially sealed batteries). Note that new batteries, from all manufacturers, may be
faulty.
A motorcycle battery cannot be accurately tested with just a voltmeter and certainly not
with the LED lights on a Battery Tender. Wet batteries can be tested with a hydrometer,
testing each of the six cells. The best test is with a pile load tester or similar tester. A
practical test is that the voltage across a battery when the starter motor is turning should
not drop below 11V.
Check Battery Grounds
If the battery is good there may be a bad electrical connection. We will check for broken,
loose, or corroded connections under load by checking for a voltage drop across various
wires. For these tests, we are NOT testing for 12V. We are expecting a voltage of a few
hundredths of a volt over a wire where the voltage drop should be near zero.
Place a voltmeter in the “low” DC range if it isn’t auto-scaling. Scrape the negative battery
terminal clean and firmly attach the voltmeter negative probe. Touch the positive probe
on a cylinder cooling fin. With ignition on, depress the starter. There should be 0 volts!
If more than a few hundredths of a volt, there is a bad ground wire connection. Remove
the heavy black ground wire at both ends (battery and transmission), clean up the
connectors and battery terminal with a wire brush. Replace using a thin smear of
dielectric grease. Be careful not to over tighten the bolt which holds the negative ground
cable to the transmission – it is hollow and easily snapped off.
Remove the tank. On the brackets that hold the coils, there are one or more brown wires
under the nuts on the bracket. Test the voltage between the ring terminals on the brown
wire(s) and the negative battery post, with ignition on and starter button depressed.
Again, it should be 0V. If more, there is a loose or corroded ground connection at the coil
bracket. Remove the wires, the bolts and bracket, clean up with a wire brush, and replace
using a slight smear of dielectric grease.
Going forward, it will be assumed that the engine has a good battery and the engine
turns over.
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v5.1
Troubleshooting - No Spark (continued)
Verify No Spark
Check the spark by removing a spark plug, securing it into the spark plug cap, and then
grounding the spark plug threads to the cylinder head fins. Turn on ignition, insure the
kill switch is “RUN”, the transmission in neutral, and hit the starter button. You should
see a bright spark in the spark plug as the engine turns over.
If there is no spark, then the possible culprits in order of likeliness are as follows.
Check Power to Coil
Remove gas tank. Ground the
negative voltmeter lead to a cylinder
head fin. With key ON, kill switch
on RUN, touch the red positive
voltmeter lead to the left coil
terminal with the green/blue wire.
You should see 13V. (For bikes
without a kill switch, this wire is
green.)
If there isn’t 13V, a component or
connection in the ignition primary
circuit is broken. Note that BMW
Airhead ignition circuits are not
fused.
Use this wiring diagram and the
voltmeter or test lamp to determine
the “switched power circuit” fault.
13 V
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v5.1
1991-1995 Models with relay modification-
Ensure 13V at the relay coil
terminals when both key
and kill switch are on.
As well there should be 13V
on either side of the relay’s
switched terminals.
Continuing further, we assume there is power to the left coil as indicated.
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v5.1
Troubleshooting - No Spark (continued)
Check Secondary Coil Circuit
Remove a spark plug and
securely ground the plug
threads to a cylinder fin.
Position the plug so that it can
be seen firing.
Disconnect the black trigger
wire on the right coil which
goes to the EnDuraSpark black
box. Using a 2’ wire with clip
leads, clip one end to this
terminal. Turn on the ignition
and touch the other end of the
wire to a cylinder head fin.
Every time you make/break this connection, you should see the spark plug fire. This is
what the points used to do: make and break a connection to ground. Repeat for the other
spark plug (or other three spark plugs for dual-plugged engines) and verify that each
spark plug “sparks”. If they do, the coils, plugs, wires, and spark plug caps are okay. Skip
to the “Check Timing Wheel” procedure.
Check Primary Coil Circuit
If there is no visible spark at the spark plugs, investigate the coils further. Leave the 2’
wire in place (connecting the outer male terminal on the right ignition coil to ground) and
connect a voltmeter positive probe to an inside spade terminal of either coil. The voltage
should read about 6.5V, half the voltage of the green/blue wire. (After this test remove
the wire with clip leads so we don’t burn up the coils). If not, the coil is bad (bad primary
circuit) or the crimp connections on the jumper wire between coils are loose.
Check the Coils
Disconnect all the wires connected to the coils, including the high tension lead. With a
multimeter on the ohms scale, measure the resistance between the two spade terminals
on each coil. They should measure 2.0 - 3.5 ohms, the primary resistance of the coil. If
outside this range, the coil is bad or you are using the wrong coils.
Measure the resistance from each high tension coil tower to either of the male spade
connectors. This secondary resistance will be 12-17K ohms for stock Bosch coils, 11.5K
ohms for Accel 140403S coils, and 14K ohms for Dyna DC2-1 coils. If any of these
measurements are open circuit, short circuit, or too high resistance the coil is bad.
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v5.1
Troubleshooting - No Spark (continued)
Check the Ignition Wires and Caps
Leaving the spark plug caps attached to their ignition wires, measure the resistance endto-end of the wire/spark plug cap combination. It should be 1K or 5K (depending on the
spark plug caps were used. Early Airheads had 1K Beru caps; many users have replaced
them with 5K NGK caps.). Test all wires and caps. A meaurement over 5K indicates a
bad wire or spark plug cap. In that case, remove the cap from the wire and measure the
cap and wire independently. The wire should be 1-2 ohms and the cap 1K or 5K ohms.
Replace Spark Plug(s)
If the coils, ignition wires and caps check out okay but there still is no spark when the
trigger terminal is grounded, the problem must be the plugs. Replace.
From this point forward, it is assumed that the ignition system passed the “Check Secondary
Coil Circuit” test described on the previous page.
Check Timing Wheel
Remove the front engine cover exposing the trigger unit. Grasp the timing wheel and
verify that it is slipping on its hub. If so, the set screws have become loose. Follow the
procedures for setting the EnDuraLast Electronic Ignition timing.
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v5.1
Troubleshooting - No Spark (continued)
Check Black Box & Trigger
Turn over the engine with the starter. The LED on the
trigger should turn on and off in the timing wheel
range shown in red:

If the LED turns on and off correctly and there
is still no spark, open the black box and place
all the DIP switches in the OFF position. With
an external spark plug connected and
grounded to the engine, the plug should
continuously fire when the ignition is turned
on. If not, the black box is defective.
If the plug does fire the cables between the
sensor and black box, or their connector, is
defective.

If the LED never turns off, loosen the set
screws on the timing wheel and slide it in or out slightly on the hub to better align
the Hall sensor with the magnets in the timing wheel. If the LED cannot be made
to turn on and off the trigger unit is defective.

If the LED never comes on, double check
there is 12 volts on the coil terminal with
the red wire going to the black box. If
not, there is a loose connection there or a
bad cable on the black box.
If the 12V is there, unplug the connector
between the black box and the trigger.
Stick paper clips in the socket as shown
and check for 4.7 – 5V (the center
connection is ground). If not, the black
box is defective.
5V
If there is 5V, the cable on the trigger or the trigger itself is defective.
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Troubleshooting - Spark Cuts Out Intermittently
This is usually due to a loose spark plug cap on an
ignition wire or on a spark plug. Examine and reconnect if necessary.
The second most likely cause of intermittent spark
is a loose connection in the primary ignition circuit.
Follow the previous trouble shooting section on
“Check Power to the Coil”. Note that a tank bag
can sometimes hit the kill switch, shutting down
the ignition.
If the ignition only cuts out in wet weather then the
problem is probably a coil, spark plug cap, or
ignition wire. Follow the previous trouble shooting
section on “Check the Coils” and “Check the
Ignition Wires and Caps”. If the bike has the
original ignition parts, the ignition wires should be
replaced on these 30+ year old machines.
Sometimes observing the coils and ignition wires in
the dark will identify arcing shorts.
Primary Ignition Circuit
1991-1995 Models with relay modificationA poor or loose connection to the
relay- either on the relay’s coil side
or on the switched terminals may
also cause intermittent spark.
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If the entire bike’s electrical system goes dead intermittently (i.e. no instrument lights and no
brake lights) then the problem is probably:

A bad battery connection, either positive or negative cable,

A corroded connector on the battery end of the battery cables,

A bad battery,

A loose connection of the battery ground bolt on the transmission, or

Corroded red wires on the spade terminals of the starter relay.
On these older bikes there are a couple of places that have been troublesome. The crimp
connections on the jumper wire between the two ignition coils can loosen, causing intermittent
ignition problems. The right handlebar engine kill switch may be severely corroded, especially on
a bike left outdoors or washed with a pressure washer.
Finally, if everything else checks out, the Hall element on the EnDuraSpark trigger may be
failing. This is usually caused by lifting a spark plug cap off a spark plug on a running engine.
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v5.1
Troubleshooting – Poor Performance
We assume here that the performance problem is ignition related, i.e., the engine has good
compression, has a good battery and wiring, is getting gas, and has correctly adjusted valves. In
this context, “poor performance” is synonymous with “weak spark”. We also assume here that the
bike is timed correctly, with the correct DIP switch settings in the black box. The following
troubleshoots the potential faulty ignition components.
Bad Spark Plugs
Fouled plugs come from too much oil in the combustion chamber. The oil can be from
worn or broken rings, worn pistons/cylinders, or worn valve guides. If the problem only
occurs on the right cylinder, it may be a problem with the oil breather.
Burnt plugs come from too hot an engine or the wrong choice of spark plugs or coils.
Engines usually run hot due to too lean a fuel mixture or too advanced or retarded spark.
Check Correct Spark Plugs
These are the correct (stock) spark plugs:
Do not use Bosch resistor plugs, say for example a WR7DC+. These are plugs with a “R”
after then “W” in the part#. This plug is NOT equivalent to a Bosch W7DC spark plug
(even though Bosch says it is). In the US, non-resistor Bosch plugs are usually only
available at BMW motorcycle dealers - Bosch North America no longer imports nonresistor spark plugs.
The spark plug gap on all Airheads, both Bosch and NGK, is 0.026-0.028". This may not
be how they are gapped from the factory. A smaller gap will foul more easily, especially
on /5 models with the shallow oil pan. Larger than specified gaps (like that shipped with
the Bosch) can cause low RPM misfires.
The factory recommended spark plug change interval was 10,000 miles when gasoline
contained lead. Modern unleaded fuel leads to longer service life: 20,000 miles is safe.
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Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Troubleshooting – Poor Performance (continued)
Check Correct Ignition Wires
Up until 1976, BMW Airhead high tension circuits had separate parts: wires, caps, and rubber
boots. Later models had a single integrated wire/cap. The original BMW ignition wires were
Hypalon covered copper core non-resistor wires with a resistance of about 2 ohms per foot. They
will last about 10 years before becoming hard and non-flexible. Replacement silicone wires will
last forever and are not affected by heat, gas or ozone.
Complete sets are available through Euro Motoelectrics:
Part # BMW-WS/AIRHEAD ( 16 inch leads)
http://www.euromotoelectrics.com/BMW_R_Airhead_2V_Ignition_Cable_Set_Silicon
e_p/bmw-ws-fslash-airhead.htm
Part #: MG-WS/30 (30 inch leads)
http://www.euromotoelectrics.com/Moto_Guzzi_Spark_Plug_Wire_Set_Silicone_30_i
nch_p/mg-ws-fslash-30.htm
It is important that copper core wires are used, not the carbon powder center ones normally sold
at auto parts stores.
Check Spark Plug Caps
Spark plug caps should be 1K or 5K. The original caps on 1970-1978 Airheads were 1200 ohms.
1979-1995 Airheads had integrated zero resistance wires and 5K caps. The original BMW Beru
caps had a metal suppression shield around the cap. With age, the Bakelite in these caps can
crack. This can't be seen because of the shield. It isn't detectable with an ohmmeter test, but the
cap will arc with a carbon path short circuit under high voltage.
A good spark plug cap for use with the EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition is the NGK LB01EP.
These are 1K caps with waterproof (designed for watercraft) boots at each end. They are more
reliable than either the separate component BMW/Beru parts or the later integrated wire and cap.
All Airhead points & condenser bikes can use 1000 ohm NGK caps. They should be installed with
a slight smear of dielectric grease under the boots (not in the coil tower or cap terminal!) This
adds an additional barrier for water and prevents voltage leaks. Only use silicon grease; oil-based
greases are conductive.
5K spark plug caps, such as the NGK LB05FP, can also be used with the EnDuraSpark Electronic
Ignition. 5K caps can make a marginal ignition system on a cold engine harder to start compared
to 1K caps. For an ignition system in good shape, however, there is no difference between 1K and
5K caps. Non-resistor caps should never be used on an Airhead.
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
www.EuroMotoElectrics.com
info@euromotoelectrics.com
EDL-IGN Page 41 of 43
Tel: 1-303-526-0901
EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Testing the Wires and Caps
The spark plug caps, wires, and secondary coil resistance can be all checked together by doing a
“cap” to “cap” resistance test. For single-plugged engines, leave everything connected and test the
resistance between the inside of one cap to the other. This tests both coils, both caps, and both
wires. The value should be 12K – 27K ohms.
For dual-plugged engines, check between the two caps on a single coil. The value should be 16K –
24K. Check both coils in this fashion. If any measurement is out spec, disconnect the individual
components and check singly.
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
www.EuroMotoElectrics.com
info@euromotoelectrics.com
EDL-IGN Page 42 of 43
Tel: 1-303-526-0901
EnDuraSpark Electronic Ignition
Installation & Troubleshooting
v5.1
Appendix: Ignition Advance Curves
Euro MotoElectrics, 25958 Genesee Trail Road PMB 321 Golden, Colorado USA 80401
www.EuroMotoElectrics.com
info@euromotoelectrics.com
EDL-IGN Page 43 of 43
Tel: 1-303-526-0901