Volkswagen Ignition




Volkswagen Ignition



Volkswagen Ignition


Points and Condenser


Spark Plugs

Capacitive Discharge Ignition

Cap and Rotor

Plug Wires

Crank Timing

Ignition Coil



You must to have a good spark to make everything run.  And in top of just having spark, having it at the right time is pretty important for optimal performance.


This is one of the places where everyone has their own opinion.



Points and Condenser

These aren't used in modern vehicles because there are better options available these days. 


If you are running a stock distributor, you should replace the points and condenser with a Compufire.  This won't give you grand increase in spark, but will make maintenance much easier as there is no need to check or replace the points and condenser.  Just make sure that you don't hook up the wires backwards or you will fry your new upgrade. 


Petronix is another option, but is know to fail more frequently than the Compufire.




The distributor is responsible for timing and ignition order in your cylinders.


Please see our VW Distributor Page for more information.



Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are what ultimately deliver your spark to your cylinders.


Please see our VW Spark Plug Page for more information.



Capacitive Discharge Ignition

According to the web, Capacitive Discharge Ignition (CDI) allows you to open up the spark plug gaps to .040", quadruples the lifespan of the spark plugs, quicken start ups and reportedly increases MPG by 3-4 mpg.


Capacitive discharge ignition systems have shorter duration but higher current sparks. They are claimed to run better at higher RPM but not as smoothly at lower RPM. The higher current spark is better able to fire spark plugs during fouling conditions such as flooding and over rich conditions.  This is an important feature for racing and off road driving.  Capacitive discharge ignition systems often make up for the shorter duration sparks by using multiple sparks.


A non-resistor rotor should be used with a CDI system as a high energy ignition system will burn out a rotor with a resistor.



The main CDI contenders are Mallory and MSD.  Both have an offroad water/dust/vibration-proof model.


Capacitive Discharge Ignition (CDI) Mallory Hyfire VI CDI

Mallory Comparison propaganda

Volume 8 - Capacitive Discharge Ignition Installation


The Jacobs Electronic modules reportedly fix just about all ignition problems in any vehicle.  They are now owned by Accel, but the original Jacobs units appear to still be available online new and used.


The Jacob's I.C.E. Pak should be avoided due to its high failure rate.


With the exception of the Omni Series and the DIS ignition systems, you do NOT want any Jacobs ignition computer without the Orange and Purple wires.


Any of the the brick shaped or oil pan shaped Mileage Masters will work great for most street vehicles. The Jacob Pro Street, Off Road, RV, Perform Master, FC 3000, and FC 5.0 will all work great for the street or racing. The Pro 10 or FC 4000 should both work well for racing, with nearly double the energy output of the regular Jacob capacitive disharge ignition ssytem.



Jacobs Talk

JC Whitney - designed for Jeep

Accel - new owners or Jacobs


Cap and Rotor

The safest bet is stick with Bosch.  The disposable economy ones at the regular auto parts store and the fancy colored ones should be avoided unless having a cute and colorful engine compartment is more important than the engine actually running.


The stock rotor, which has an internal resistor built into it.  It can fail if you boost your ignition output.  The stock rotor can be modified by grinding a slot between the brass rotor contacts and soldering a jumper wire between them, clean off the flux with 99% pure isopropyl alcohol, then cover the jumper wire with high temperature rated epoxy to help keep it in place.


Example of rotor failure - blamed on high output ignition system.



Plug Wires


Bosch 09001 7mm silicone plug wires are the way to go. 


The Bosch 7mm Premium Wire Set has 100% silicone jacket for ultimate lifetime protection. Precision engineered Opti-Mag Wire delivers maximum firing energy for a longer more powerful spark and optimum ignition performance.  They have an OE fit for VW 4-Cylinder engine.





Crank Timing

Many of the newer car designs use a distributorless system to control engine/spark timing.  With these system, timing is measured from the crank position and spark advance is regulated by a computer.  This allows for more precise ignition timing and control, especially when used in conjunction with a computerized fuel injection system.


Crank fired Ignition System Diagram


Modules from late model Fords are often used as they are easy to retro fit into an aircooled VW.  The Megajolt Lite Jr. (MJLJ) is a fully programmable, stand-alone ignition controller designed to control a Ford EDIS 4, 6 or 8 crank-fired ignition module. The result is a precision, digitally controlled distributor-less ignition system.  The MJLJ is an ideal ignition solution for carbureted engines; it can also work in conjunction with compatible EFI systems.



Megajolt Lite Jr.

Air Cooled VW Megajolt lite Jr. EDIS 4 Kit - Black



Ballast Resistance

The ballast resistance required is dependent upon the particular ignition system or ignition module that you are using.  The Jacobs ignition computers do not require a ballast resistance.  But points and most points replacement ignition modules require a minimum total ballast resistance of at least 3.0 ohms.  So if you are using a Jacobs ignition coil with a primary resistance of 0.4 ohms, you will need a ballast resistance of about 2.6 ohms to net at total of 3.0 ohms minimum total ballast resistance required to run points and most points replacement ignition modules.


A smaller total ballast resistance will allow too much primary current to flow which could overheat the ignition coil and ignition module and damage them. You can use a larger ballast resistance, but you may wish to limit maximum total ballast resistance to no more than 4.0 ohms, as you lose spark energy as the ballast resistance increases.


An air-cooled VW charging system's maximum electrical current (as much as 13.75 volts or more), combined with the added heat of the air-cooled engine, are sometimes enough to cause certain ignition modules (Hot-Spark) to overheat and misfire until it cools down again. Usually the best fix for this problem is to either install a 1.3 Ohm external ballast resistor between the ignition switch and the coil's positive terminal (more on this below) or to install a high-resistance coil (3.8 to 4.2 Ohms primary resistance). Alternators typically produce more current than generators. If peak charging system voltage exceeds 14 volts at 3,500 RPM, the voltage regulator may need replacing. A modern, solid-state voltage regulator is a big improvement over an older mechanical voltage regulator.


You can detect the presence of the resistor by measuring the ohms of primary side of the coil (terminal 15 vs. terminal 1). Because the primary is mostly copper wiring (virtually zero ohms), the presence of a resistor is usually easily detected.



Ignition Coil

According to the collective VW thought on the web, only one coil is worth purchasing (the Bosch made in Brazil). It can be identified by 4 tests:


Believe it or not, there are counterfeit Bosch coils out there!  Some are made in Brazil, Mexico and I wouldn't be surprised if come came from China.


The Bosch Brazil coil purchased from Bus Depot seems to pass all of these tests.


Bosch Blue coil (Brazil)
0 221 119 027 or 00012 (VW 043 905 115C)
turns: 150-1 (unverified)
primary: 3.4 Ohm
secondary: 7.79 kOhm


  Black Coil Blue Coil
Part 0 221 119 020 0 221 119 027
Size Larger Smaller
Primary Resistance 3.0 Ohm 3.4 Ohm
Secondary Resistance 9.83 kOhm 7.79 kOhm
Turns ratio (calculated with 60hz power) 100-1 150-1



VW Coils:

00 015
00 012
0 221 119 021 (Bosch Black coil)
0 221 119 020 (Bosch Black coil) (VW 022 905 115C)
0 221 119 027 (Bosch Blue coil) (VW 043 905 115C)
9 220 081 083 (00 012) (Bosch Blue coil)


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Bosch Black Coil vs. Blue Coil




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