New MSD distributor, failing on load - Team Camaro Tech
Troubleshooting Diagnosing problems done here.

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old May 6th, 17, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Rick
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Braselton, Georgia
Posts: 161
New MSD distributor, failing on load

Good evening,

I have a 69 Camaro, 406, MSD 6a, MSD 85551, and blaster coil. I previously had a MSD 8555, the model before the 85551. It got hard to crank and I found out that the weights had rust around them. There was dirt and stuff in the cap. Plus, the weights were loose, even with new springs.

So I decided to just upgrade and bought a MSD 85551. I replaced the distributor, set the initial timing at 16 (I think it was at 18 before but was advised to go to 18 since I have a manual trans). Hooked everything up. The car fired right up. I let it sit at idle for a while and got the timing right on 16.

Today, I took it for a drive. It is about a mile to get out of my neighborhood and it ran ok. Then I ran it for about another mile and it seemed to be ok. Coming back, it started missing under load. Just a random skip. At idle it ran fine. Coming back through the neighborhood, I kept it in second and let it rev up. Then it really started acting up, at times acting like it didn't have gas/etc.

After it cooled, I checked the wires to make sure nothing was touching and that I had put them back on the distributor right. I am going to crank it in the dark garage tonight to see if I can find anything arching, just to be sure.

The MSD is set up with light silver springs and the black bushing for 20 degrees. No vacuum advance. Any suggestions on what is ailing it? Nothing changed except the distributor.

Thanks,

Rick
69 Camaro SS
TKO 500
406
278 Lunati Cam
Eagle internals 6 inch stroke
AFR 195 heads
Air Gap Intake
Dynatech Stepped headers
Demon 750 w/annular boosters
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old May 7th, 17, 09:21 AM
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Rick
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Denver
Posts: 533
Re: New MSD distributor, failing on load

Well first off I would have run vacuum advance but that's just me. Your timing should be fine at 36. I would check voltage to the MSD (be sure it is battery voltage - 12v), if thats ok then I would try another coil. Since I have seen a few failed MSD boxes I would suspect that as well.

If you put the old distributor in is it ok?

69 COPO clone, 461" BBC 11.25:1 Compression
840 Rec Heads (2.25/1.88) AED 850 HO carb
Orig Exhaust Manifolds
Straub (Clay Smith) cam, 288/300 .600/.569 109.
TH400, 3500 stall, 4.11 12 bolt posi
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old May 7th, 17, 11:33 AM
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Rufas
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 535
Re: New MSD distributor, failing on load

Yes, a correctly set up vacuum advance should be used, but, it needs to have a stop built/installed to restrict the total number of degrees it gives, then, connected to full manifold vacuum ONLY. Do not connect it to full manifold vacuum before a stop is made and fitted, you will add too many degrees.

On that Blaster coil which one, and on its bottom, what "Made in xxxxx" is there, Mexico, China??? It makes a giant difference.

And, to test the coil, take it off the car, and find a parts store with an off vehicle run tester, put the coil on the tester, and let it run for a while, at least, until it gets up to operating temperature. Resistance tests are no longer valid ways to diagnose coil issues.

From what you said, the issue occurs when the system gets to operating temperature, let the coil run on the machine. Better yet, if you still have a dead stock round coil to fit, try it on the system, it will work, and if it is the coil, the problems should stop immediately.

Blaster coils have been serious problem causers for the last 15 years.

What is a 85551? If it is a Ready to Quit full distributor with its own module, it, too, might have issues.

16/18 degrees initial, WAY TOO FAR ADVANCED for a 406, the 3.750 stroke doesn't want, nor need that much initial timing, more like 10/12 max, and a total of 30 to 32 degrees.

If you want a full pictures and instructions package sent to you, ABSOLUTELY FREE, WITH NO STRINGS, send an email to [email protected] ask for them, and I will send same.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old May 7th, 17, 11:34 AM
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Mark
 
Join Date: Sep 1998
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Re: New MSD distributor, failing on load

There's a batch of Blaster 2 coils out there that are causing MSD boxes to fail.

Mark 70 Z28 M22 3.73 Z21 Z87 - Lunati 20120121 Roller Cam

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old May 7th, 17, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Rick
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Braselton, Georgia
Posts: 161
Re: New MSD distributor, failing on load

Thanks for the replies. The 85551 distributor is a pro billet distributor with no vacuum advance. The one I just took out is the same distributor, older model. It ran great for a few years until recently the motor got hard to crank. Then I pulled the cap off and saw dirt/corrosion in it. Plus, the weights would not come back in, even with new springs. There was rust on the pivot rods on the weights. So that is why I got a new one.

The 406 that is in it runs about 10.5 compression. The guy I built it with recommended staying with this distributor, using 6 inch rods, icon forged pistons, etc. And with the Lunati cam, it has very good street manners. No overheating issues, even in 90 degree weather here in Georgia.

Last night, I went through all of the plug wires again, making sure they were on the right plug/etc. and making sure that they were not touching anything. I did notice that some black tape I had on the wires to the starter had burned. I didn't see any spots where they burned through. I cranked it in the dark and ran it, looking for any wires that were arcing. Didn't see any. Revved the motor up and still didn't see any.

I checked the voltage on the coil, about .75 ohms on positive to negative and 8000 ohms on the center of the coil to the positive.

So, today, I cranked the car and let it come up to temp before taking it out on the street. I took my buddy that is a mechanic to see if he could tell what the issue was. And as we all know, the car worked just fine, no issues. My theory is that maybe a plug wire was arcing at some time or possibly I have a bare spot on the starter wires that was grounding and causing problems with the MSD box. At this point, I don't have any idea what the issue was. Going to check the starter wires after the motor cools off.

Rick
69-Pace likes this.

69 Camaro SS
TKO 500
406
278 Lunati Cam
Eagle internals 6 inch stroke
AFR 195 heads
Air Gap Intake
Dynatech Stepped headers
Demon 750 w/annular boosters
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old May 7th, 17, 06:34 PM
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mike
 
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Location: east coast
Posts: 2,288
Re: New MSD distributor, failing on load

Could there be a moisture problem under the cap? Do you run a pcv?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old May 7th, 17, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Rick
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Braselton, Georgia
Posts: 161
Re: New MSD distributor, failing on load

I do run a pcv on mine. There had been moisture under the old cap/distributor. But I found the issue today. I was putting some tape around the wires that go to the starter and saw a little white spot on the plug wire to number 4. I looked closer and found that it had a big crack in it. It was hiding behind the header. So when I was moving the wires around last night, I guess I moved it far enough away that it stopped and that is why it didn't fail today. I have some spare wires so I'll swap it out.

Thank you everyone for your comments and advice. It is most appreciated.

Rick
duskblue69
69-Pace likes this.

69 Camaro SS
TKO 500
406
278 Lunati Cam
Eagle internals 6 inch stroke
AFR 195 heads
Air Gap Intake
Dynatech Stepped headers
Demon 750 w/annular boosters
duskblue69 is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old May 8th, 17, 09:51 AM
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Rufas
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 535
Re: New MSD distributor, failing on load

"I checked the voltage on the coil, about .75 ohms on positive to negative and 8000 ohms on the center of the coil to the positive."

OK, well, what was the voltage at the coil? If the system uses an MSD box, it is irrelevant. OHMS RESISTANCE IS NOT VOLTS.

"Pro-Billit" doesn't tell me much, and, resistance ratings, tell me NOTHING. What did the run test at the auto parts store come up with???

COPO, Blaster coils have been pure trouble since 2002, when production was moved to Mexico from Indiana.
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