The History of an Aftermarket Ignition (Jacob's)


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The history of my Jacob's Electronics ignition system (once called the Omni, I believe) is now complete, and I think it's worth sharing...

Sometime back in '97...
I purchased this unit hoping it would at least help the low end torque problem of the Civic, if not allow me better mileage. What I found was my mileage didn't change much (probably due to my foot being intimately close with the floorboard more often than before), but there was a very noticable difference in power. I would describe it like this: the new ignition made it feel as powerful with the a/c on as it previously felt without a/c - then it felt even better with the a/c off =)

Up to 2001...
Everything seemed to be working well.

Sometime during 2001...
I hadn't realized it then, but now that I look back it seems as though the ignition had begun it's slow and almost imperceptible decent to failure.

Here's where things got noticeable. There seemed to be the slightest hesistation (only a few milliseconds) when I shifted right after I put my foot back on the gas. I thought it may be something to do with the drivetrain. After all, everything was still original from July 1995 when the car was assembled in Canada. Maybe the clutch was finally showing signs of wear...maybe some rubber bushings had softened up enough to allow some play...I was convinced something mechanical was wearing out.

Friday, June 20, 2003...
I leave work only to find my car turns over without any hesitation, but it just won't fire. After making sure all ignition wiring was firmly attached, I pulled the main wire from the coil and checked for sparks. Nothing. I got a ride home to pick up the original distributer cap, as that would reconnect the spark plugs to the original, factory ignition system. The car started as though nothing was ever wrong.

On the way home, it felt as though the engine had more power now, using the original ignition, than days, weeks, or even months before when the Jacob's ignition was in control.

So here's the quick summary (and points of interest):
:: 1997 - got new ignition
:: every year I get new plugs (regular NGK) before inspection
:: every year they adjust timing and valve clearance before emissions testing (passed with flying colors until 2001 - another indication something wasn't right)
:: 2001-2003 thought something was mechanically wrong with drivetrain
:: June 2003 Jacob's ignition quits.
:: back to original ignition...runs great, very smooth, not so much low end torque, emissions are probably way better than the last couple years...
:: still using original wires almost 8 years later, about 90000 miles
:: it is now obvious that performance degraded verrry slowwwly over time until it was worse than stock. It looks like the unit may have only been good for about 4 most =)

So there you have it. The birth, life, and death of an aftermarket ignition system. I would like any comments any of you have on this subject. I will be putting another ignition on the car in time, but I am in no hurry. Any opinions about other brands would be very welcome!

Thanks a million!