Accel HEI distributor problem - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 6th, 01, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Eric
 
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Guys, I know we shouldn't be bashing suppliers on this site, but I wanted to let you know about a problem with Accel # 59107 HEI distributors.

My engine power started seriously fading at about 4000 to 4500 RPM. I also blew an ignition module. (I swapped to a stock GM HEI and the problem went away so I know its the distributor).

It turns out that the local performance shop has had to return a number of these distributors for the same problem. Turns out to be defective wiring inside the cap.

I called (or tried to call) Accell at 216-398-8300 to get the problem resolved several times (during business hours) and the phone just rings - no answer!

I've used a lot of Accel products over the years and never had a problem before - I hope this is just a fluke.

Anyone tried the new Moroso distributor?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 01, 07:26 PM
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Hey Eric,

Why don't you stay with the GM HEI, and add an MSD. Get someone to do the curve on the HEI. You can also get a cap to add an external coil if you want to.

Larry
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 01, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Eric
 
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Actually I managed to fix the Accel unit. I cut, recrimped, and soldered the wires that go between the 3 prong terminal on the cap and the ignition module. I did not actually confirm a bad connection but the problem disappeared when I fired it back up. I hope it stays fixed.

I would have stayed with the GM unit except that the one I borrowed wasn't mine and was not for sale. It's actually kind of hard to find one in good shape out here for some reason. They all seem to be rusted up under the cap. The MSD unit would be very nice with either distributor, I just don't have the extra cash laying around.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 01, 10:31 AM
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Make sure your plug wires are good. If the internal resistance of the wires goes too high, there can be arcing from the rotor to the ign module and it will blow out.
Don't run over a .040" gap on the plugs either.
Some underhood decals and manuals from the mid to late 70's spec out .060" gaps and the factory reduced this to reduce arcing problems on later cars.
We had a pickup on our farm with an early HEI and just changing brand of plug would make it arc to ground around the plug bood or arc internally inside the cap. This can accelerate corrosion under the cap too.
David

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 01, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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I'm running a .045 gap on the plugs. I did not know about the arcing problem - interesting. I'm also running a pretty hot coil too, so maybe some arcing is what blew my module. I didn't see any carbon tracking under the cap but you never know. I Ohmed out the wires when I started t/s'ing the problem and they were good.

I always thought that a slightly wider gap would make a little more power, at least to a point.

[This message has been edited by Eric68 (edited 07-09-2001).]
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 01, 10:23 AM
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Yes, a wider gap will force the ignition, any ignition to make more voltage when the coil first discharges.
The problem is, the voltage can leak out or jump elsewhere when you do this, so you have to be very careful.
Plugs will show "corona" effect a dark band around the plug insulator between the boot and metal base if there is voltage leakage around the plug boots.

I sometimes get worried someone may look up an old spec on plug gap for a 77 or 78 car and set the plugs at .060", that would be trouble.

I just re read an old Grumpy Jenkins article and he stated he would not run an HEI over .030 plug gap on a high rpm, high compression race engine. This was an article on the early development of the 90 degree V-6 Chevy.

I'm sure later developments in modules and plug wires have helped a lot and a street engine has less rpm and compression than a racing engine so the plug gap could be opened up more, but don't push it.
The times you should notice a problem would be at idle, and at high rpm's.
The more cylinder pressure, the more juice it takes to fire the plug, also a leaner fuel mixture like you would have at idle, on a smog tuned engine is harder to fire.

The small body distributors as used on the late 80's GM cars and trucks are using a .035" factory gap.
Maybe the Accell mods will allow a larger gap, I don't know.
David


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[This message has been edited by davidpozzi (edited 07-09-2001).]

[This message has been edited by davidpozzi (edited 07-09-2001).]
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 01, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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That's funny you mention using the old spec and gapping at .060". That's almost exactly what I do after thinking about it. The reason I gap at .045 is my first GM HEI car was an '84 LG4 305 Camaro. The manual spec'd .045 and I guess I've always assumed it would be the same for any GM HEI. Same coil, wires, etc. I'll try .030 and see how it runs.
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