HEI Distributor questions - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old Mar 18th, 17, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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HEI Distributor questions

I'm finally going to make the jump to electronic ignition and get rid of these points. ONly problem is I know n0thing about these things and need help and direction. Here's my story.

I recently purchased a new MSD distributor cap, new MSD coil and new plug wires and installed all itmes. It looks really good. I think MSD makes a great looking product. Problem is the engine now stalls, hesitates and backfires out of the tailpipes. I know this is A timing issue but the MSD dizzy cap does not have a dwell window on it. SO far I've spent $125 on new stuff and the engine runs worse but I'm learning.

A very good friend of mine came over to try and help solve this problem and finally said "it's time to go HEI." I agree. Here's where I hope you guys can help. A few years ago I posted this same question and when I went back to read the replies I'm just as confused now as I was then,. I also need vacuum advance.

One reply said I should look at the MSD 8360 but mentioned there could be a firewall clearance issue. How damn big is this thing? Is the 8360 a lot bigger than a normal distributor cap? Also...I have teh MSD Blaster 2 & Blaster 3 coil. Would those coils work with the 8360?

what about the MSD streetfire distributor? Would that work? IF so...what is the difference between the street fire and the 8360?

What about wiring? Will I need any new type of wiring or connections when installing this new electronic igintion system? Do I simply pull out the old dizzy, install the new HEI and away I go? What about plug wires? will the ones I purchased work with the new HEI dizzy?

You can see I'm clueless here. I hoping to avoid any costly mistakes while learning this new process and want to keep the cost as low as possible. I dont think I need to spend $500 on an HEI system on a stock 327 engine.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can give.

1967 Camaro Convertible with a 327, TH350transmission, Edelbrock 1406 600cfm carb, Edelbrock 1721 fuel pump & 2701 intake.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Mar 19th, 17, 07:38 AM
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Re: HEI Distributor questions

I dont think you don't need a "high performance" ignition parts on an all stock engine. If it were me, I'd remove the aftermarket cap and replace it with an OEM style one. Set the dwell and timing and drive the car.

I also don't think you need an HEI in a stock small block. Don't get me wrong, the HEI is far better than points, but if you think about it, a set of points should easily last somewhere between 10 and 30 thousand miles. So, it's not like you're constantly installing or adjusting points.

If you do go with an HEI, buy a small cap version like Petronix. Some people on here have had some luck getting the regular size GM HEI to fit, but it seems to be fairly rare. Most people have to "massage" the fire wall. "Massage: means bashing it with a ballpeen hammer.

Someone "massaged" my firewall so an HEI could be installed. It looks terrible, but fortunately, it's tough to see what a crappy job they did because the HEI hides the firewall. It's also tough to time the engine because it's so tight to the firewall and to the air cleaner housing. I had to install the distributor a tooth off (and all the plug wires are moved over one spot) so that I could fit the HEI in the space better.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Mar 19th, 17, 09:03 AM
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Re: HEI Distributor questions

Dean - HEI is a good update for any points vehicles, baseline or high perf. There are several approaches to the upgrades.

Points replacement "kits" simply use the standard cap and replace the points unit. Or you go the route you have gone with which is a full replacement of dizzy and control and coil. In your case have you replaced just the cap and the rotor or the guts or the full dizzy? Basically are no points left and therefore no "dwell" to set?

I'm not the best when it comes to these systems but I do think the best approach at this point would be to get back to square one and make sure it still runs with the old cap. It is just possible that you turned the dizzy just enough to lose your tune in the cap swap process.

I would mark real well where the dizzy is once you get back to baseline then carefully replace the cap without moving the dizzy position. And see if your current issue goes away. When in doubt re-read the instructions to see if there was a step you skipped the first time through.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Mar 19th, 17, 09:54 AM
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Re: HEI Distributor questions

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
If she runs well on a points system, leave it be.
Otherwise, as Bill suggests, run a new 12GA wire from IGN spade on fuse panel, to coil, could be a MSD Blaster2, and install Petronix module in place of points.

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