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  • TFI Distributor Shutter Wheel

    TFI Distributor Shutter Wheel

    The Truth About TFI Ignition, And Aftermarket TFI Distributors


    The Ford TFI ignition system may best be known for the troublesome TFI module that would fail when it got hot. The engine would run for about half an hour, the TFI module would fail, and you’d be stuck on the side of the road. After some time to cool off, the engine would start back up, and you’d be on your way, but once it warmed back up again, you were again stuck on the side of the road.


    It’s truly a shame that this is how TFI will be remembered. The truth is that the TFI ignition system was actually pretty ingenious. Yes, there were issues, but Ford did address them, and today a TFI system built with genuine Ford parts is actually a very good and very reliable ignition system.


    The ingenious part of the Ford TFI system was that it allowed you to use the distributor as a camshaft and crankshaft position sensor, which allowed the ECU to fire the fuel injectors sequentially. Today, we actually use this same principal to fire multiple coils sequentially, which provides for a very simple, yet very effective way to adapt multiple coils systems to older engines that were not originally equipped with multiple coils systems. The way the TFI system works is pretty simple. There is a toothed wheel (the Shutter Wheel) mounted to the distributor shaft. The wheel has eight teeth (one for each cylinder), one of which is narrower than the other seven. The narrow tooth represents cylinder number one. These teeth pass through a hall effect sensor. The sensor sends a signal to the TFI module, which in turn fires the coil. The ECU monitors the square wave pattern created by the shutter and hall sensor, and uses this to determine engine position and RPM. Simple...


    The real trouble started when the aftermarket got involved. Aftermarket companies started making replacement hall sensors and TFI modules. The hall sensors are absolute garbage. If you buy a hall sensor from the parts store, you’ve got a very good chance it will not work right out of the box. The ones that do work will likely fail. It’s just a matter of when. They often fail when they get hot, and then start to work again when they cool, much like the old TFI modules. Because of this, people will often misdiagnose the problem, and replace the TFI module, only to find later that they are stuck on the side of the road again. Even the ones that do work often produce such a poor quality signal that it is difficult for the ECU to properly determine engine position.


    Then the aftermarket started building replacement performance TFI distributors. While pretty to look at, these distributors actually represent a few steps backwards:


    (1) They use the aftermarket hall sensors. The good news is that you can still buy an original Ford hall sensor and install it in any of the aftermarket distributors.

    (2) The shutter wheels they manufacture are NOWHERE NEAR the quality of the originals. The original Ford shutter was held to a tolerance of one half of one degree. The aftermarket ones are so bad, you can often see the difference in the width of the teeth with the naked eye! The result of this will be an inconsistent spark advance from cylinder to cylinder.


    These distributors DO NOT OFFER ANY INCREASE IN PERFORMANCE whatsoever. And now that you understand how TFI works, you understand why. They have not changed a thing that would do anything to improve performance. In fact, the poor quality components actually reduce performance due to the inconsistent spark advance! A better coil, increased primary voltage, and longer dwell times (the length of time the coil is charged) are the only ways to increase the output potential of your ignition system. These distributors do none of these things.


    Some of these manufacturers claim that their TFI module has increased dwell times, and therefor produce a hotter spark. This is not possible:


    (1) Every coil has an optimum dwell time at a given system voltage. When they sell you a TFI module, they do not know what coil you are using, and therefor do not know what that dwell time is, unless they sold you a coil too, however….

    (2) Even if they do know what the optimum dwell is, there is not enough time between cylinder events to dwell the coil long enough to reach those dwell times! At least not with a single coil system, which is where multiple coil systems come in. More coils means more available dwell time, and a real increase in performance.


    So what did we learn?


    (1) If you want a better ignition system, buy a Coil On Plug system. Yes, you can use a CD box, but those are as unreliable as the aftermarket distributors. Learn about our C.O.P.

    (2) If you own one of these aftermarket distributors, you probably have a junk hall sensor. Buy a new one from the Ford dealer and install it.

    (3) If you have one of these aftermarket distributors, you likely have a junk shutter wheel. It is very easy to determine if yours is good or not. The proper tooth dimensions are below. Measure your teeth with a dial caliper or micrometer. If the dimensions are wrong, then change it. New ones are available from Pro-M Racing on this page.


    Proper shutter wheel tooth dimensions for a V8 shutter wheel:


    Large teeth — .398 to .400

    Small tooth — .258 to .262

    There should also be even spacing between the teeth, with the exception of the long space following the narrow tooth.


    We should mention here that our Pro-M EFI engine management system employs a strategy to deal with the bad shutter wheels. Our strategy averages out the pulses generated by the shutter passing through the hall sensor. This provides a consistent spark at all cylinders. The Pro-M EFI system will also set a diagnostic code if the shutter or hall sensor is so bad that the ECU cannot make sense of the signal. Just one more feature of the advanced diagnostics in our ECU.
    $69.99
  • Mallory Promaster e Series Ignition Coils

    Mallory Promaster E Series Ignition Coil

    Mallory's Promaster e Series coils are designed to meet today's specialized ignition requirements. They offer a faster rise time and increased spark duration (compared to stock), and a high-efficiency E-core design for maximum performance. Also featured are an extruded aluminum mount for great heat dissipation, mounting ease, and good looks, and a plug-in style wiring connector for easier installation.
    $79.99
  • Fuel Pump Hanger for 1986 – 1997 Mustangs

    High Flow Fuel Pump Hanger for 1986 – 1997 Mustangs

    Finally, a real solution to the Mustang fuel pump hanger problem!.


    The aftermarket has been selling high volume fuel pumps for Mustangs for many years. But until now, no one has addressed the other half of the problem...
    $159.99
  • Pro-M Racing On Throttle Body Mass Air Meter

    Aluminum Base for On Throttle Body Mass Air Meter

    This is for the base only


    The base will fit the Pro-M EFI and Mass-Flo EFI systems On Throttle body Mass Air Meters.
    $99.99
  • Innovate Motorsports DLG-1

    Innovate Motorsports DLG-1 Dual Lambda Guage with 2 O2 Sensors

    Innovate Motorsports DLG-1: Dual Lambda (AFR) Gauge Kit - includes the DLG-1 gauge, (2) Wideband oxygen O² sensors, (2) 8 ft sensor cables, LC-2 Wideband Controller, (2) O² sensor weld-on bungs, Black/Silver bezel, Black/White faceplate, Serial program cable, & Installation manual.
    $410.95
  • Methanol flow sensor with harness

    Methanol flow sensor with harness

    The Pro-M Racing Water/Methanol Flow Sensor allows the Pro-M EFI Processor to measure the amount of water/methanol being delivered to the engine. One sensor will monitor up to two 625 ml/min nozzles.
    $139.99
  • Pro-M Meter Function Test

    Pro-M Meter Data Sheet Creation

    Pro-M Meter Data Sheets are created when the customer has lost their data sheet. . Please DO NOT send your meter to a distributor to be flowed.
    $50.00
  • 1996 - 1998 Mustang GT

    Pro-M EFI Engine Management System for the 1996 - 1998 Mustang


    The all new Pro-M EFI Engine Management System for the 1996 - 1998 Mustang includes our new fully programmable Pro-M EFI processor, tuning software, USB connection for laptop tuning and1996 - 1998 Mustang specific engine management harness. Learn more . . .
    $1,999.95
  • 1986 Fox Body Mustang

    Pro-M EFI Engine Management System for 1986 Fox Body Mustang


    The all new Pro-M EFI Engine Management System for the Fox Body Mustang includes our new fully programmable Pro-M EFI processor, tuning software, USB connection for laptop tuning and Fox body Mustang specific engine management harness. Learn more . . .
    $1,999.95
  • LC2 Series Digital WideBand Controller

    Innovate Motorsports LC2 Digital Wideband Controller with O2 Sensor

    Innovate Motorsports LC2: These wide band O2 sensors operate over a much broader range of Air/Fuel ratio than the conventional O2 sensors, which allows for more precise fuel control over a broader range of operating conditions. They are worth the money. You'll find that the Pro-M EFI harness has a connector dedicated to wiring for the wide bands. And if you purchase the wide bands as part of your EFI package, you'll get a harness pigtail that plugs into the harness, and makes wiring the wide bands a snap.


    This is a single O2 kit.
    $194.99
  • Pro-M EFI Engine Management Computer

    Pro-M EFI Engine Management Computer with OBD II

    Pro-M EFI Engine Management Computer with OBD II
    $1,299.99
  • Pro-M EFI FoxBody Wiring Harness

    Pro-M EFI Mustang Custom Fit Wiring Harness

    Pro-M EFI Mustang Custom Fit Wiring Harness. For use with Pro-M EFI Engine Management System.
    $799.99

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