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Username Post: electronic ignition        (Topic#367482)
Denver56BelAir 
Senior Member
Posts: 563

Loc: Parker, Colorado
Reg: 01-11-05
01-18-22 01:27 PM - Post#2834786    

I'm currently running a single point distributor. It works fine. I had an electronic ignition years back, it failed, I temporarily went back to points. Can someone recommend an electronic ignition where I can keep my stock distributor?



Paul
Parker, Colorado
56 BelAir Post, T56, 327, 4:11, Astro custom chrome steel wheels,


 


Tony1963 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1303

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
01-18-22 01:46 PM - Post#2834788    
    In response to Denver56BelAir

I always liked the 70s style GM HEI distributor. If you have space, that's the one that I would recommend.

Parts are cheap and easy to source.



 
Shepherd 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2555

Loc: Lake George, NY
Reg: 11-11-15
01-18-22 02:56 PM - Post#2834793    
    In response to Tony1963

Seconded



 
pauldian 
Contributor
Posts: 466
pauldian
Loc: seligman,arizona
Reg: 05-14-09
01-18-22 03:27 PM - Post#2834796    
    In response to Denver56BelAir

  • Denver56BelAir Said:
I'm currently running a single point distributor. It works fine. I had an electronic ignition years back, it failed, I temporarily went back to points. Can someone recommend an electronic ignition where I can keep my stock distributor?





https://pertronixbrands.com/pages/pertronix-ignit i...


Remember,I'm not always right. But I'M never WRONG !


 
Tony1963 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1303

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
01-18-22 03:29 PM - Post#2834797    
    In response to pauldian

My concern here is that in the last month we have had two posts about failed modules for this brand.





 
pauldian 
Contributor
Posts: 466
pauldian
Loc: seligman,arizona
Reg: 05-14-09
01-18-22 03:45 PM - Post#2834799    
    In response to Tony1963

I can only say I've had a pertronix on my 1939 master deluxe for over five years with no problems and been very happy with it.

Remember,I'm not always right. But I'M never WRONG !


 
Tony1963 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1303

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
01-18-22 03:49 PM - Post#2834800    
    In response to pauldian

Out of curiosity, did you go with that brand due to the appearance of the original style?



 
55MAS 
Senior Member
Posts: 1629

Loc: North Coast, USA
Reg: 12-19-01
01-18-22 05:26 PM - Post#2834809    
    In response to Denver56BelAir

  • Denver56BelAir Said:
I'm currently running a single point distributor. It works fine. I had an electronic ignition years back, it failed, I temporarily went back to points. Can someone recommend an electronic ignition where I can keep my stock distributor?





GM HEI if you want 45+ year old technology. Also, highly likely that it will not fit into a '55/'56 Chevrolet. As you know I own a '55.

If you drive distances to shows or other long trips and go with an electronic set up of any brand you need to carry spare parts. When those fail you are dead on the side of the road, not like points. Or use one of the conversion kits with your distributor can carry spare electronic parts and you can also carry the spare parts to convert back to points.



 
pauldian 
Contributor
Posts: 466
pauldian
Loc: seligman,arizona
Reg: 05-14-09
01-18-22 07:12 PM - Post#2834816    
    In response to Tony1963

  • Mercedes Said:
Out of curiosity, did you go with that brand due to the appearance of the original style?


Answer, Yes and as I look back it's been close to eight years when I installed the pertronix.


Remember,I'm not always right. But I'M never WRONG !


 
japete92 
"8th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 2002
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
01-19-22 08:29 AM - Post#2834846    
    In response to Denver56BelAir

  • Denver56BelAir Said:
I'm currently running a single point distributor. It works fine. I had an electronic ignition years back, it failed, I temporarily went back to points. Can someone recommend an electronic ignition where I can keep my stock distributor?






Your desire to keep your stock distributor eliminates the large cap GM HEI, or any other 'new' distributor. I don't believe it would fit even if you wanted to switch.

There are MANY reports of both good and bad quality of any of the 'plug in' electronic alternatives to the points. I do not have a recommended part to change to. I would likely go with the Petronics if I felt compelled to change.

The 'best' alternative is actually temporarily (hopefully) unavailable due to the shop owner's health problems. Here's a link to his site:

https://www.davessmallbodyheis.com

Dave Ray is 'IgnitionMan' on this forum. He has MANY opinions regarding ignition system and searching for his posts can reveal them (if you wish to take the time).

I have a 'core' small cap distributor I am waiting to send him for conversion.

Here's how Dave suggests testing a coil:

https://www.chevytalk.org/fusionbb/showpost.php?po...

Dave is available to answer questions (he responded to one of mine yesterday). There's a 'form' on the web site to send him an email.

Just trying to be helpful.

Pete



 
IgnitionMan 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3958

Reg: 04-15-05
01-20-22 01:06 PM - Post#2834942    
    In response to Tony1963

"My concern here is that in the last month we have had two posts about failed modules for this brand."

Them ain't the only two, won't be the last 2.

I was part of the development of the coil in cap large HEI, loaned to Delco-Remy from my boss at Chevrolet Skunk Works, Zora Arkus-Duntov. Really nice, reliable HEI modules.

They have loads of other issues, problems with 437 different curves, as in "which EMISSIONS curve to use"? (It could take decades to find the right curve, and the aftermarket curve kits are NOT for street use, only for DRAG RACING? Epoxy filled coils that run nuclear hot, layer short inside themselves, fail slowly, taking module after module out before you listen to me, and finally test the coil properly, then change it, and as they fail slowly, they take HEI modules out "for no apparent reason".

Yup, I am "opinionated", comes from decades of hearing what an idiot I am, then fixing what others cause to fail, and have problems with.

Other than that, wadda ya wanna know???

Oh, yeah, the surgeon is getting a surgical =facility together, so he won't have the problems of the various hospitals telling everybody if they don't have 3 trillion vaccinations, they can't come in. Shouldn't be a lot more time until the shop is back open, and my sanity and peace comes back.



 
Tony1963 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1303

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
01-20-22 02:20 PM - Post#2834953    
    In response to IgnitionMan

The GM HEI was designed by Delco-Remy. I've never heard anywhere that it was a borrowed design.

https://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histori...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_energy_igni tion...



 
Shepherd 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2555

Loc: Lake George, NY
Reg: 11-11-15
01-20-22 02:58 PM - Post#2834958    
    In response to Tony1963

Gotta ask, are there any domestic GM style Hei parts available? The original 70's Hei distributors saw multiple under engineered rotors fail. They resolved that pretty quickly. I have 6 GM Hei equipped cars running out of our car club, 2 have experienced module failures, both were 10 year old distributors, but low mileage. The MSD street fire unit in my car was trouble free, but I replaced the coil and module anyway ( Napa premium), kept the old ones in my trunk tool box.



 
Tony1963 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1303

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
01-20-22 03:16 PM - Post#2834959    
    In response to Shepherd

Both Delphi and AC Delco, as well as a number of other suppliers still sell the module. They are dirt cheap.

I never had a module failure on any GM vehicle of that era. I did replace one in an 85 Suburban when I had everything apart as a preventative maintenance item.

My first 1962 Impala I installed a 70s era HEI system.





 
Denver56BelAir 
Senior Member
Posts: 563

Loc: Parker, Colorado
Reg: 01-11-05
01-23-22 02:44 PM - Post#2835110    
    In response to pauldian

Can someone recommend something specific for me? I'm looking at the Pertronix website.

https://pertronixbrands.com/products/pertronix-71 1...


I see various products with a conversion that goes into the distributor under the cap. Also I see external control boxes that you mount on the firewall. Too much to choose from

Please advise

Paul
Parker, Colorado
56 BelAir Post, T56, 327, 4:11, Astro custom chrome steel wheels,


 
pauldian 
Contributor
Posts: 466
pauldian
Loc: seligman,arizona
Reg: 05-14-09
01-24-22 08:24 AM - Post#2835150    
    In response to Denver56BelAir

  • Denver56BelAir Said:
Can someone recommend something specific for me? I'm looking at the Pertronix website.

https://pertronixbrands.com/products/pertronix-71 1...


I see various products with a conversion that goes into the distributor under the cap. Also I see external control boxes that you mount on the firewall. Too much to choose from

Please advise


If you want to keep the ( ORIGINAL ) look use the pertronix. I know no other distributor you can purchase or can be redone to keep the original look. It's your choice and yours alone!


Remember,I'm not always right. But I'M never WRONG !


 
IgnitionMan 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3958

Reg: 04-15-05
01-25-22 11:54 AM - Post#2835222    
    In response to Tony1963

"The GM HEI was designed by Delco-Remy"

Yes, well, mostly. Along the way in the early 1970's, I was "loaned" to Delco, from my job at Chevrolet Skunk Works, and my direct boss, Zora Arkus-Duntov, to help get the new design large diameter, coil in cap HEI working reliably.

IT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE A PERFORMANCE DISTRIBUTOR, EVER. It was to be a reliable, EMISSIONS compliant distributor for stock applications, that would not degrade, nor change operation for a 50K mile period, per EPA guidelines.

ONLY issues, coils are epoxy, do not cool the windings, and they layer short, taking modules out with them, and, to change the way the mechanical advance was adapted, so there didn't need to be a fully different distributor for every curve.

So, the coils, no hope, no change, they still go bad, taking modules out "for no apparent reason".

And, to make the mechanical curves work for the 437 different applications, we did not set the center curve as a brazed on part, we made it changeable, and added the start and limit points in the curvature. So, weights/center combo, sets the EMISSIONS curve for the engine it is servicing.

So, along comes the Suburban, small and big blocks, they all needed the HEI for emissions, but, oddly, the same weights/center package, one that works in every application, by everybody, today, 22 crankshaft degrees, 41 weights, 375 center. And, that is what is in every carbureted ZZ crate HEI, and has been adopted as the perf curve for the aftermarket units you buy now.

Want to spend years searching for a curve that works in YOUR Top Fueler for the street, find all the combos, and go head on.

Want to keep it simple, do not add bushings, weld up this or that, find and use the 41/375 package, and go drive it.



 
Tony1963 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1303

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
01-26-22 08:04 AM - Post#2835250    
    In response to IgnitionMan

Good thing that modern distributor-less ignition systems came along that are computer controlled and render the old HEI as obsolete.

Today, the computer controls the timing, curves, etc. Much more reliable than anything from the ancient past.



 
KOOL57 
Member
Posts: 183
KOOL57
Loc: Fargo, ND
Reg: 01-04-03
02-05-22 01:56 PM - Post#2835751    
    In response to Denver56BelAir


My story:
About 10 years ago, returning home from "Back To The 50's" in Mpls, my brother made it about 190 of 200 miles when his '49 truck quit. Ignition. He had a spare HEI distributor at home, so I gave him a ride home, then back to the truck. Truck started right up. Since then he carries along a spare distributor. Hasn't had a problem since.

About the same time, I bought a HEI distributor (larger one with coil on top). When I tried to install it in my '57, oh no, the windshield wiper motor was in the way. Whoa, this could be a real hassle, even close to home. And, looked really close to the firewall. So, put the points distributor back in. Maybe not the best system, but I know how to fix. Never a problem.
Maybe some day a Pertronix.

Just wondering if any of you take along a spare dist.

"If it ain't got fins, it ain't a real car!


 
Tony1963 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1303

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
02-05-22 02:35 PM - Post#2835755    
    In response to KOOL57

If I have to carry a spare Pentronix due to reliability issues, and substitute with a points system, the Pentronix is either in the trash or stays on the store shelf.



 
elvis 
"9th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 913
elvis
Loc: Ontario
Reg: 11-10-05
02-06-22 08:33 AM - Post#2835785    
    In response to KOOL57

Hi gang,
I've been following this thread with interest. We finished our build 12 years ago. We're running a sbc with 325 H.P. and 370 ft.lbs. of torque.
At the time of the engine install, we decided to forego the HEI distributor. As memory serves, when people installed an HEI, firewall modification was required. We were beyond the point of modifying the firewall with our build. The closest we came to installing an electronic distributor was using the following:
Mallory Unilite Distributor part # 3748201
MSD Blaster Coil part # 8202
MSD Ignition Box 6A
No ballast resistor is required and this set-up delivers tons of spark. It also maintains a '57 era appearance (overall, that appearance is the effect we were aiming for). We also installed new wiring from American Autowire. Donny Bock at AAW is brilliant and walked us through the installation. Edgar at MSD also provided technical answers.

No, we don't carry a spare distributor.
Take care



Attachment: Engine_bay_driver_side_08-20-12-1.jpg (40.98 KB) 19 View(s)




Pouring money between the wheels.


 
VWNate 
Senior Member
Posts: 375
VWNate
Loc: Sunny So.Cal.
Reg: 09-25-02
02-10-22 07:07 PM - Post#2836039    
    In response to elvis

Another good thread .

Too bad you're not an old Cruisrer like me, I'd tell you what to do with the i6 ignition .

ANYbreakerless ignition will be so much better than the points .

No need for HEI although I like and use, the stock DELCO HEI system when I can .

Pertronix and others (cheapo Chinese copies) always have naysayers due to failures but as one guy said repeatedly = bad coils overheat and fry the modules, not bad design .

If you take the time to read the instructions you'll see that the impedance of the coil used is critical and this varies both with the voltage used (ballast resistor or not) as well as the brand of the module .

The other primary cause of ignition module failure is : leaving the key on whilst you're fiddling with something else or listening to the radio at the cruise in .

Just because the engine isn't running doesn't mean there's no current going through the system .

I have breakerless ignitions , Pertronix Ignitor and the cheapo Chinese copies, running in daily use for over twenty years and never a failure yet because I took the time to set it up properly .

When my son was young he ran race cars with MSD and had failures, he didn't do things step by step and of course, blamed the product .

Heat and vibration is what causes ignition coils to break down, hy they came up with epoxy coils, Because I have Motocycles and vintage 4 cylinder engines that vibrate, I *only* use epoxy coils and again : never yet one failure .

My 1969 Chevy shop truck has a 250CID i6 engine in it, I hunted the junkyard until I found a few 1976 / 1977 (only) Camaros with i6 engines and used the stock DELCO HEI disributor and modules, I did buy new caps, rotos and wires but the spare modules I carry are vintage DELCO ones also thirty + years old .

The OEM stuff is pretty darn good, if you take the time to properly set it up, install and maintain it, you'll love how easily your engine starts cold or hot and how much smoother it idles .

Try a good breakerless ignition system and once you understand, spread the gospel .



-Nate
'49 3100 Series Pickup W/'57 235 & Muncie M420 ~ SOLD & Missed .

'69 C10 Stepside shortbed L6 250 , TH350 , P.S. & B.B. side mount spare , NEW Shop Truck soon to have factory AC !


 
mean60impalagene 
Contributor
Posts: 180

Reg: 01-31-13
02-11-22 10:38 AM - Post#2836069    
    In response to VWNate

Great Information and wisdom. Thank You... A/C Delco is your go to brand?



 


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