Need advice on an HEI distributor - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice on an HEI distributor

Was hoping someone might be able to tell me about HEI distributors. I have very limited knowledge with these but am going to replace my current points ingnition system and have read that HEI is the way to go.

I see there are many sytems to choose from and am only looking for a good system for my 327 engine. Any advice on brands or installation would be appreciated.

1967 Camaro Convertible with a 327, TH350transmission, Edelbrock 1406 600cfm carb, Edelbrock 1721 fuel pump & 2701 intake.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 06:06 AM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

Quote:
Originally Posted by islanddean View Post
Was hoping someone might be able to tell me about HEI distributors. I have very limited knowledge with these but am going to replace my current points ingnition system and have read that HEI is the way to go.

I see there are many sytems to choose from and am only looking for a good system for my 327 engine. Any advice on brands or installation would be appreciated.
I would simply install a conversion kit it the stock Dizzy.

The HEIs are just too big and bulky and 1/2 they time don't clear the firewall.

http://www.summitracing.com/search/m...nversion&dds=1

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 06:07 AM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

I have a '67 327 and I replaced my points setup with an MSD unit http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ms...maro/year/1967. I also swapped out the plug wires for MSD wires. Car ran a lot smoother after that and there's no fiddling with the points.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 06:13 AM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

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Originally Posted by family man View Post
I have a '67 327 and I replaced my points setup with an MSD unit http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ms...maro/year/1967. I also swapped out the plug wires for MSD wires. Car ran a lot smoother after that and there's no fiddling with the points.
If you change the dizzy go with the 8360 and a good coil. No need to run an ignition box and the new 8360s have rev limit function

Rev Limiter: The Ready-to-Run Distributor has a built-in rev limit that can easily be adjusted from 2,000 rpm to over 10,000 rpm. The default is 10,000 rpm. To set the rev limiter, run the engine to half the desired rpm then ground the Gray Tach wire (a jumper is supplied) for approximately one second. Every time the key is turned to the On position, the tach will display the programmed rpm limit.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 06:17 AM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

^ X3 on the Ready to Run. You'll need a full 12 volt source as you would also with an HEI.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 06:32 AM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vega$69 View Post
If you change the dizzy go with the 8360 and a good coil.
Forgot to mention I also got the MSD Blaster coil. http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ms...t/model/camaro

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 06:37 AM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

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Originally Posted by rojo View Post
You'll need a full 12 volt source as you would also with an HEI.
You'll need to run a new lead (12 AWG IIRC) to the distributor from the fuse box. The one that feeds the existing distributor has a resistance type wire to knock down the voltage, you don't want that! There are several threads on this, I went through the same thing when I did mine.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 10:47 AM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

If you search here using "pertronix" you'll find many. many threads on the various choices to convert the existing points distributor. Some of them are good, some not.

Do you have any idea how many miles are on your existing distributor? If it is OE, you should find a stamping on the housing face just below the cap (don't have to take anything apart, but you may need a degreasing rag and a mirror to find the stamping depending on where it is right now). Having/posting this number will give us the ability to tell you if it is likely OE, if you don't know.

If the distributor has high miles and you can live without driving the car for a bit, you're probably going to want to pull the distributor out and inspect some of the rest of the parts to see if you need anything else. Make sure you mark, on the engine, where the rotor is pointing, and where the vac advance module is pointing. I usually just clean any greasy surfaces and then stick down some good masking or duct tape in the general area, and then make a line with a Sharpie. If you do end up pulling the distributor, you will still need to be ready to set/adjust timing with a timing light when you're done, but having the current positions marked will keep you from dropping it back inn out of phase. Your engine drives the oil pump shaft off the bottom inside of the distributor gear, so when you reinstall, the tang on the gear fits into a slot in the top of the oil pump shaft. So, unless something happens while the distributor is out, the worst you could do is put it back in 180 degrees out. Having current positions of things marked means that things should be close enough for the engine to start, or be close to starting, when you put it pack together.

After hearing many horror stories about the Pertronix and similar conversion kits (which I think have mostly been addressed by improvements by the manufacturers in the years since 2004/2005 when I was figuring out what I wanted for mine), I found many, many good things said about conversions by Dave Ray. Here is his site:

http://davessmallbodyheis.com/

Dave has been hard to reach from time to time, because of some health issues, but I think he is back now. What I liked about his work was that it uses common, off the shelf parts (so if down the line I had problems, I could get parts locally) and that he takes all your car's specs and uses his lifetime of knowledge (and his distributor machine; how many places even have those any more??) to put the right weights and springs in to get the most performance right out of the box. You could search "small body" here and probably find many threads (including some of mine) that show not only Dave's work but also a lot of discussion about the other choices. I liked that I got a completely new HEI distributor in my OE housing (I actually used the OE 327/210 distributor out of my 68 as the basis for my 69 396 HEI build), and unless you know where to look, it looks bone stock. I guess the same can be said for any of the "in cap" conversion kits. But, with my detailed specs, Dave got the distributor set 100% perfect for my combo, and I have not had to fool with weights or springs on my own. Tuning weights and springs isn't that big a deal, but these days you usually need to order a kit (separate from any HEI conversion kit) to get the distributor really dialed in. Dave did all the hard work for me, and I have about 1500 or so trouble free miles and consider that less than $200 "investment" one of my best choices.

Likewise, I have heard many good things about the MSD Ready to Run (I think it is 8360; wait, one of the guys above confirmed that...). May be able to search "8360" here and find the numerous discussions on that unit (never sure how the "new" search engine will like numbers).

Once you have identified a kit or two that converts what you have now, you should be able to go on Summit or the manufacturer's website and download the installation PDF. Then you can figure out if it can be done with the distributor in the car (I think most of them can be) and whether you are up to the install.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 12:24 PM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

you do not meantion the application u wish to put the HEI....
or put another way... if really need to go that route in the 1st place...
If running LPG or CNG yes hei gives more postive spark due to the nature of the fuel.
If a cruiser, pionts will work just as well.
Big bodied HEI units like stock gm rpc can have fire wall clearence...with correct engine and higher trans mount with the HEI mounted in the correct postion clearence is not an issue... just
MSD units are for those who dont have HT /spark plugs kept in good condition...multi spark.. if the 1st spark doesnt explode the mix the next will....And when the engine gets up in rpms, the less time for the 'backup spark(s) till it runs like a normal dizzy.
The Factory GM hei will do the rpms any street /track will require... funny how GM ppl diss the factory unit yet the Dodge, and jappa motorcycle guys (real high rpms ) use the GM 4 pin modules.
GM HEI s are rock solid reliable...u will wear out the bushes, cap etc before the module ... well several shafts, bushes...
I trilaing a elcheapo RPC GM replica HEI at the moment on a LPG engine.

The other major thing to relise is there is no such thing as 'plug and play' type dizzies....
HEIs GM and aftermaret are pre setup for BALL PARK post mid 70s pollution/EGR engines.
Very different in the VA, Cent configuration to out non EGR manifold VA engines...

ie .. the rpc was pre configured with about 10 deg in the cent, and 25 degs in the VA between 2" and 13.5"
To run on non egr means putting (ball park) 20 to 24 degs in the cent and 7 to 10m degs in the VA between approx 7 and 12 "
To confuse things even more the aftermarket rpc spring/ adjustment bush set ... the bushes do not alter the cent AT ALL. The cent throw out is determined by the shape of the tail of the counter weight and the anvil it works on... this applies equally to All GM HEIs and pionts dizzies.
The springs are a good selection.
I was able to have the dizzy in,HT leads, ball park dialed in ....because I knew what I was doing , in about 40 minutes....and final dialed, the following day into the known previous dialed in config of the GM HEI I was replacing in about another 30/40 mins.

If changing from pionts to HT...DONOT use the old pionts HT leads...u wil blow holes in them almost on 1st fire up.... like a garden hose with way too much pressure (voltage)
I have had excellent runs and only now use top gun 8mm ss spiral wound HT leads, that I make up from scratch myself.

Some HEIs have issues with factory tachs I believe.. have not had this issue .....
And some dial back ... well a lot, have issues with HEI dizzies.

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 12, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

The car just runs bad and really cuts out when I stand on the gas peddle. Here's what happened.

A friend of mine helped me change the old intake with a new Edelbrock intake...IT'S SEXY LOOKING! When we put everythng back together...for some reason the car sputters and smokes when I stand on the gas peddle. The points are set correctly and the dwell is correct so Im guessing I may have a problem with the distributor.

I've had the car since 1999 and have never changed the dizzy and do not know anything about the car's history so I'm unsure how old the dizzy is. Im also having trouble with the timing but thats another thread.

Thanks for the replies but I'm still confused as to which way to go as I have absloutely NO experience with these things and dont know how to trouble shoot problems. I do have a Crane Cams Fireball points conversion kit but have not installed it yet. YOu can see my confusion.

1967 Camaro Convertible with a 327, TH350transmission, Edelbrock 1406 600cfm carb, Edelbrock 1721 fuel pump & 2701 intake.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 5th, 12, 02:28 PM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

Your distributor could have work springs, worn cam, or a few other problems. Check your cap and wire connections before giving up on it.

I'm running a blueprinted HEI from Summit Racing that is supposedly good to ~9,000 rpm. I've only had it to ~7,500 and no issues running out of curve or spark. It's full size body but my firewall had already been "dented" for a big distributor on the old motor by the previous owner. Had my firewall not been dented, I would have gone with a small body HEI.

I like HEI's because they are simple to install and use. Run a good 12v wire and that is about it. Most HEI's even have a spade for tach output to make things even simpler. No points so no dwell to deal with. Caps and wire seem to last longer than Mallory or MSD units I've had in the past.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 5th, 12, 03:13 PM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

Give Davis Unified Ignition (http://www.performancedistributors.c...stributors.htm) a call. They'll set you up with a custom curved HEI for your application. Be prepared to answer a ton of questions such as engine size, compression ratio, cam duration, carburetor size, vehicle wt., etc.


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 5th, 12, 04:09 PM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

Quote:
A friend of mine helped me change the old intake with a new Edelbrock intake...IT'S SEXY LOOKING! When we put everythng back together...for some reason the car sputters and smokes when I stand on the gas peddle. The points are set correctly and the dwell is correct so Im guessing I may have a problem with the distributor
This tells me it is NOT electrical
other than u have HT leads around the wrong order....
or similar/related to this....
Very often when the dizzy is pulled out, it turns the oil pump gear slightly, so when it drops back in the rotor is 1 tooth out, but the body is repostioned the same way.
Always mark where the VA is pionted AND where the rotor is pionted....
There are 2 ways to 'fix this alignment
1/ simply lift and fully replace the dizzy till the rotor comes around to the orginal postion before it was orginally pulled.
2/ a long screw driver , torch and mirror and realing the oil pump.

You checked dwell, and pionts...u do not mention checking the intail timing on the crank????
I assume the engine was NOT turned over from just before loosening the dizzy hold down clamp to checking and setting intial timing.. BEFORE firing up
Another trick here....ign off, cap /rotor on, timing light on #1, engine on #1 comp stroke, u can turn the dizzy, flick the pionts and the timing light will flash, spark plug fire.

OK thats the easy cheap stuff....
car sputters and smokes when I stand on the gas peddle.
If timing or dizzy more like u will have back fire in the mix.
This is more likely a gasket leak internally in the inlet /carb.
And once that is sorted, the carb will need re dialing in and tuning with the charactoristics of the new valley cover.

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 5th, 12, 06:43 PM
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Re: Need advice on an HEI distributor

Which intake gaskets did you use? Need to use FelPro PrintoSeal or GM fiber gaskets - the Edelbrock instructions specifically tell which to use, and which not to use like the FelPro blue gaskets. The low torque of the bolts on an aluminum intake won't crush the silicone Blue gaskets properly, and you get massive vacuum leak (only that, if lucky). It will run exactly as you describe.

Eric
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Oct 6th, 12, 09:12 PM
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Could also be a carb issue. If you took it off to replace the intake, the accelerator pump could be adjusted wrong. What carb do you have?

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