Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Sounds like you found your problem. HEI takes a full 12 volts and the wire you said was cloth braided is a resistance wire. Try jumping that connection straight to the battery and see what happens. It just might start unless all the cranking has flooded the motor.
What a lot of people do is replace the resitance wire with a solid copper wire for HEI. There are about three different ways to do it.
1. Remove the terminal from the fuse block. Install a new terminal (made by packard electronics) and crimp on a new copper wire. Don't try to dig the old stuff out of the connector and solder a new wire to it. Solder won't stick to the brass and you'll eventually have a bad connection.
2. Cut the resistance wire an inch or 2 from the fuse block connector. Then butt splice a new copper wire to the stub of resistance wire remaining. The short piece of resistance wire won't add a significant amount of resistance to the circuit. Just be sure to properly seal the connector from the weather. I like to crimp a bare butt splice, solder it, pack it full of dielectric grease and heat shrink over it.
3. A third method is a variation of method 2. Insead of just crimping one new copper wire to the butt splice, crimp both the new wire and the old resistance wire to it. Then on the business end of the wires, add two small female bullett connectors. This way you can switch between an HEI and solid state ignition just by plugging into the appropirate wire.
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI