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Old 05-07-2012, 05:31 AM
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HEI Modules

I have 6 vehicles with H.E.I. distributors, lately I've had a run on failed modules, especially the performance models, especially the Mallory brands. The stock modules seem to last longer than the racing models, some have gone bad just sitting in the garage. Any ideas, I'm on the way to buy another one.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:56 AM
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Performance Distrbuters in Tenn. sells a heavy duty module made by D.U.I. Not sure if its American made or not, but I have had good luck with it
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleypc
I have 6 vehicles with H.E.I. distributors, lately I've had a run on failed modules, especially the performance models, especially the Mallory brands. The stock modules seem to last longer than the racing models, some have gone bad just sitting in the garage. Any ideas, I'm on the way to buy another one.
I'm not aware of a good back-to-back-to-back type test of HEI modules- and that would be something that I bet a lot of guys would be interested in, including ME!

The first thing I'd suspect is heat is killing them. Modules have to have heat sink compound on the back so they can use the distributor body as a heat sink. Otherwise the module can overheat and fail. I often hear dielectric grease being recommended as a heat sink compound. My thoughts on this is that dielectric grease is not good as a heat sink compound- BUT it may be better than nothing. I DO know there are good products available that will work much better than any non heat sink compound, like described , under Module.

Next would be a good ground path. The screw hole reinforcement sleeve also acts as the ground. The distributor is grounded to the engine block through the clamp and secondarily through the gear, bushings, etc. (but I wouldn't rely on just that). If the clamp, clamp bolt, and/or distributor body has paint or grease on it, that could keep the module from grounding as it should. The engine block also needs to have a good ground path to the battery as well as the firewall.

The HEI needs full battery current to work right. I don't thing not having enough current would cause a module to fail, but too much current sure can. So if the voltage regulator were to be allowing voltage spikes, that could cause a module to fail.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
I'm not aware of a good back-to-back-to-back type test of HEI modules- and that would be something that I bet a lot of guys would be interested in, including ME!

The first thing I'd suspect is heat is killing them. Modules have to have heat sink compound on the back so they can use the distributor body as a heat sink. Otherwise the module can overheat and fail. I often hear dielectric grease being recommended as a heat sink compound. My thoughts on this is that dielectric grease is not good as a heat sink compound- BUT it may be better than nothing. I DO know there are good products available that will work much better than any non heat sink compound, like described , under Module.

Next would be a good ground path. The screw hole reinforcement sleeve also acts as the ground. The distributor is grounded to the engine block through the clamp and secondarily through the gear, bushings, etc. (but I wouldn't rely on just that). If the clamp, clamp bolt, and/or distributor body has paint or grease on it, that could keep the module from grounding as it should. The engine block also needs to have a good ground path to the battery as well as the firewall.

The HEI needs full battery current to work right. I don't thing not having enough current would cause a module to fail, but too much current sure can. So if the voltage regulator were to be allowing voltage spikes, that could cause a module to fail.
The other thing is that there are many reboxed stock replacement offshore modules, which all suck, they fail early and they tend to put out a lot of signal noise, I went through 3 modules in a month before I went to a better brand. These were NOT performance modules though and I have never used a mallory one.

DUI modules seem to have a good reputation and I have never had problems with an ACDelco module, there's another brand I just started using as well that seems to be holding up fine but the name escapes me at the moment, its something like BRG but that's not it. Its 3 letters beginning with a B.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:29 AM
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My post above should have contained the following link:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
I DO know there are good products available that will work much better than any non heat sink compound, like described HERE, under Module.
Sorry if it caused any confusion.

X2 on GM modules being reliable. Don't know how they stack up performance-wise, but they DO last.

DV, are you thinking of "BWD" modules?
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
My post above should have contained the following link:


Sorry if it caused any confusion.

X2 on GM modules being reliable. Don't know how they stack up performance-wise, but they DO last.

DV, are you thinking of "BWD" modules?
yea, BWD, I believe they are american made too, and they were about twice as heavy and appeared more solid than the offshore crap it replaced. Its working very well so far.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:42 AM
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Your not using Accel coils are you?
ssmonty
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:57 AM
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I have been reading up on this lately , not claiming to be a expert. I have also read that heat no heat sink compound will kill them, just heat in general. It seems that the GM modules are pretty darn good and I have taken a trip the the local scrap yard and got a handfull of 990's for free. IMO also the modules,GM, are not the problem . You have some thing else killing them. I think we need more info on your set up to help. What coils are you running ? internal or external?
Have also came across the mallory dist and parts being junk, not what they used to be.
HEI likes nice big 12v hot wire with no resistor.
Look up layer shorting in the coil, I think this is a main cause of failed modules.

Last edited by Catfish11; 05-07-2012 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:08 PM
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I've been lucky- I have never had an HEI coil fail.

Something else to check: I've had the center electrode burn out ("rotor bushing" in diagram below), deformed the plastic of the cap- made a mess. Also check to be sure the little spring that contacts the bottom of the coil is in place and hasn't been lost or overheated.



Here's another page on HEI coils/modules and a thread I bookmarked that might be interesting.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:05 PM
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HEI modules Do mean BWD? A guy at Advance put me on to them today, I will test them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ap72
The other thing is that there are many reboxed stock replacement offshore modules, which all suck, they fail early and they tend to put out a lot of signal noise, I went through 3 modules in a month before I went to a better brand. These were NOT performance modules though and I have never used a mallory one.

DUI modules seem to have a good reputation and I have never had problems with an ACDelco module, there's another brand I just started using as well that seems to be holding up fine but the name escapes me at the moment, its something like BRG but that's not it. Its 3 letters beginning with a B.
do you mean BWD Z-SERIES? A guy at Advance put me on to them this afternoon, I will test them out . I also heard that running a ground wire from the vacuum advance mounting screw to the engine block may work also. Thanks.....pc
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleypc
do you mean BWD Z-SERIES? A guy at Advance put me on to them this afternoon, I will test them out . I also heard that running a ground wire from the vacuum advance mounting screw to the engine block may work also. Thanks.....pc
Running that ground is a good idea. You could take it all the way to the ground screw under the rotor for the module.

I use BWD from advance on customer stock vehicles.

However, check out MSD digital HEI modules. I won't use anything else on my personal and customers performance vehicles. They have a large heat sink area, programmable rev limiter(without removing the cap or pills), an external ground lead that is plenty long, and have very clean electronic signals(radio, dakota digital dash, and etc). I use them in trucks for towing, drag cars(street cars), and all the way up to circle track cars without alternators(they r easier on battery life and have more oomph). I have only had one fail, and im fairly certain it was my fault. I ran the ground to the carb stud instead of the block or at the engine ground strap, DOH! .

They are a little expensive, but after you buy three high end replacement modules you could have bought the MSD Digital HEI module, and it comes with a rev limiter and tachometer check!

I am also curious to see what you find with your back to back failures.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:24 PM
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Guys - This is an interesting thread on modules and with the problem I'm having with my 63 Avanti's 350 Chevy chugging and dying, I'm less convinced it's fuel delivery and more persuaded it's electric.

Going to test voltage on the BATT clip first. Impedance seems correct for the coil and if the voltage is a steady 12 or 13v on the BATT terminal, I'm suspecting the module.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StudebakerTom View Post
Guys - This is an interesting thread on modules and with the problem I'm having with my 63 Avanti's 350 Chevy chugging and dying, I'm less convinced it's fuel delivery and more persuaded it's electric.

Going to test voltage on the BATT clip first. Impedance seems correct for the coil and if the voltage is a steady 12 or 13v on the BATT terminal, I'm suspecting the module.
Might want to keep everything on the thread you started, but in any event, the module is easy enough to swap out. Most guys who run HEI ignitions have a few on hand "just in case". If you don't, ask around- someone will have one to try out.

HEI distributor info

Good luck.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:43 AM
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I was advised by Mark Hamilton at MadElectrical to purchase this Delco module.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:36 AM
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That's a good module, sometimes called a "990" series module. Used in the ZZ4. GM p/n GM #10482820.

Other 'good' numbers:
  • Standard Ignition/Bluestreak p/n LX-301
  • Borg Warner CBE4
  • Echlin TP-45
  • Standard LX-301
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