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Old 10-27-2003, 01:21 PM
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GM HEI Distributor question

I was working under the hood the other night cleaning up wiring and such. While I was in there I opened up the distributor and cleaned out a bunch of brown powdery stuff. After I cleaned it out I noticed some small spots of rust on the centrifugal advance plates. I was going to lubricate these but I thought I need to check out if anyone has a recommended lubricant. Also I had a question about blue printed HEI's, what's the difference from a stock one, and would it be worth putting one in a very mild SBC 400?

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Mark

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Old 10-27-2003, 01:30 PM
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NO lubricant recommended, it's bad enough when the bearing leaks oil when old.
I would advise you to take it apart and clean it.
The dirt can make the weight's stick and not give you the proper advance that you need. I have seen some stick all the way open or half way.
Watch the dirt that falls down on the pickup coil also around the shaft and bearing
It come from condensation getting hot & cold & age.
This can also make your car miss when damp outside from the ions inside the cap. Newer type have small holes on the bottom to stop this problem.
The blueprinted distributor's have a better coil, advance unit and all brass inside the cap for better spark and longevity.
When stock coils get weak they start dropping off in RPM range.
Hope this answer's your question.
George
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Last edited by 1BAD80; 10-27-2003 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 10-27-2003, 01:35 PM
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The brown powder is left over carbon from electricity jumping the gaps between the cap and coil.

I use a light coating of white lithium grease.

A blue print distributor will have all the correct and exacting tolerances verses a factory one will have a wide variance in manufacturing tolerances. Close is good when you are trying to produce 500,000 in a few day's. But it's not good when you are making every possible horsepower you can muster. Blue print distributor's are just better factory replacements.
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Old 10-27-2003, 03:00 PM
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Ok, what's your recommendation for cleaning out the distributor? Compressed air or is there is cleaner you'd recommend? I think I'm going to order a blueprinted unit. Anyone have a unit they would recommend?

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Mark
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Old 10-27-2003, 07:32 PM
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If you can take it apart and clean each metal part with brake clean and the bottom by the pickup coil a low air pressure and a brush. The weight's will have the crud on the bottom of them. I like to run them across a fine file or oil stone to make sure their flat. Then assemble with a new cap and rotor.
There many new units on the market, but I only use Mallory so that the only one I can recommend.
You will be getting more post from other gearheads that used the others, mainly make sure they say blue printed on them as johnsongrass1 explained why.
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Old 10-27-2003, 09:02 PM
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Much of the rust/sticky advance problems are caused by too much resistance in the secondary ignition system. If the resistance is too high (bad plugs & plug wires, etc.) the electricity will find an easier path straight through the center of the rotor to the shaft. All this high voltage causes the weight pivots to erode, leaving a coating of rust under the rotor, and the weights not moving correctly. The plastic pivot bushings helped a bit, but they still did the same thing in the end. I use Break-Free CLP for lubrication & rust protection. Get it at your friendly local gun store, or sometimes Wal~Mart.
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Old 10-28-2003, 10:46 PM
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Ok, So if I order my new blueprinted HEI unit, what's the best way to install it? Set the engine to TDC and remove the old one? OR?????

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Mark
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Old 10-29-2003, 03:23 AM
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As long as you don't let anyone turn the engine (and believe me, they will try), you can just take the old one out & put the new one in. Just make sure:

1. The new rotor is pointing the same way as the old one was.
2. The new vacuum advance is pointing the same way as the old
one was.
3. The plug wires go in the same positions that they did before.

You will have to start the rotor off a little bit counter-clockwise from where you want it to end up because of the shape of the gears. It should turn clockwise a bit as it drops into place. Sometimes this takes a few tries, even for those of us who have done it many times.
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Old 10-30-2003, 05:12 PM
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Thanks for the info guys, it doesn't sound too hard. I was looking on Summits web site today and they sell a non computer controlled one for around 140.00 I noticed the one they are selling has a plug with 3 wires coming out of the side of the distributor. My current unit has these hacked off and crimped into the harness. What are these wires? Also I'd like to rewire the harness with the proper plug, does any automotive parts seller have one new, or is it a wrecking yard search piece? I really like the summit aluminum unit but it does not say if it's for non computer uses. Anyone used there stuff?

Regards
Mark
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