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Old 02-05-2013, 06:21 PM
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SBC Distributor Questions

I have an 82 GMC Sierra with a built 350. I'm not sure what HEI distributor is on my truck, because it was on there when I bought it. I'm pretty sure the vacuum advance is going bad on it, and was thinking about replacing the whole distributor with something geared more towards a high performance application.

Do I have to get a distributor specifically for a 82 GMC Sierra, or can I just get any HEI distributor that's made for a small block chevy?

Thanks guys.

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Old 02-05-2013, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastnloud View Post
I have an 82 GMC Sierra with a built 350. I'm not sure what HEI distributor is on my truck, because it was on there when I bought it. I'm pretty sure the vacuum advance is going bad on it, and was thinking about replacing the whole distributor with something geared more towards a high performance application.

Do I have to get a distributor specifically for a 82 GMC Sierra, or can I just get any HEI distributor that's made for a small block chevy?

Thanks guys.
Basically any distributor for a SB or BB Chevy (except the tall deck BBC, and except the W-series engines) will work. That is if you're not using a computer controlled carb and ignition.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt327 View Post
Basically any distributor for a SB or BB Chevy (except the tall deck BBC, and except the W-series engines) will work. That is if you're not using a computer controlled carb and ignition.
Thanks, and yeah my truck doesn't have a computer on it. The reason I think my vacuum advance is bad is because there is a stall for about 1 second when I floor it before it picks up and goes, and there is also a subtle, low popping noise at times under throttle.

Also, does it matter if i get one that has adjustable vacuum advance or not?
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fastnloud View Post
Thanks, and yeah my truck doesn't have a computer on it. The reason I think my vacuum advance is bad is because there is a stall for about 1 second when I floor it before it picks up and goes, and there is also a subtle, low popping noise at times under throttle.

Also, does it matter if i get one that has adjustable vacuum advance or not?
Actually, most have an adjustable can. If it has a hex-shaped end on it where the vacuum port is, it's adjustable.

Having an adjustable can is a plus. Buying one separately will cost an extra $20, a kit w/the advance, limiter plate and springs costs $40.
Crane p/n 99619-1 limiter plate alone is only $3-4, so I don't see why the kit is so much.

Adjustable


Non adjustable
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:08 PM
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Thanks for the info. I was thinking about going with something like this.
Proform Race HEI Distributors 66941BK - SummitRacing.com
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:14 PM
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I don't have any experience w/Proform's electronics. I know they are licensed to make dress up parts for GM. I see it doesn't come w/an adjustable can.

FWIW, if you're going to buy an imported distributor, you might want to at least take a look at this. They're also available w/black and clear caps, and there's a small cap version.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:23 PM
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I don't have any experience w/Proform's electronics. I know they are licensed to make dress up parts for GM. I see it doesn't come w/an adjustable can.

FWIW, if you're going to buy an imported distributor, you might want to at least take a look at this. They're also available w/black and clear caps, and there's a small cap version.
Wow, that one on Skip White seems like a great deal for $38.50. Have you heard good things about those?
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:00 PM
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Wow, that one on Skip White seems like a great deal for $38.50. Have you heard good things about those?
The only "bad" report I have heard is:

There have been reports (link supplied by artsvettes on another thread) of some imported HEI replacement distributors burning up the cap and rotor due to a high resistance center contact that passes the current from the coil through the cap to the rotor. This isn't just the Skip White distributor, and might not have been a SW dist. at all. Just says "some" distributors. If this is true, the part in question can be replaced w/an aftermarket contact for ~$5.

Then there's: Skip White 65,000 Volt Distributor Revealed - Third Generation F-Body Message Boards

If you do a search for "Skip White hei review" you can read more.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:04 PM
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Alright, yeah i googled them and it seems like they are getting good reviews.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:51 AM
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I would not hesitate to order one myself. Hell, a quality cap and rotor isn't much less than that whole distributor!

I usually use GM distributors, take them all apart, clean and hopefully reassemble. I say hopefully because I have had used HEIs w/worn out top bushings and bad electrical components. The electrics can be replaced from my stash of used parts but the bushings are more of a problem- they can be replaced, but it's not something they were designed to have done.

I've always just passed on any that had bad bushings and picked up another one for $5. Nowadays that's not happening- the 'yards in my area have dried up. No HEIs, no Q-jets, and when you DO find them they're priced way too high or are junk.

One relatively big advantage to some aftermarket distributors is in the ease of setting up the advance curve, as was recently mentioned on another thread by cdminter59. However, the standard HEI can also be adjusted- it just takes some work. Details of how to limit the amount of mechanical advance can be found here, or by searching the forum.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:48 PM
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Ahhhh crap. I just sold one I had laying on my bench on ebay, hardly any use, and 1/2 price. Was an MSD replacment. Wish I had known.

As for the proform. I have sold some of those, and never had a return. Never heard back, but never had a return either.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:13 PM
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Well, I just ordered one of the Skip White distributors. I'm wanting to go ahead and replace my plugs and wires too, just gotta figure out which kind to get.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
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Well, I just ordered one of the Skip White distributors. I'm wanting to go ahead and replace my plugs and wires too, just gotta figure out which kind to get.
Might not be an advantage to buy plugs online compared to a local parts store having a sale, but the wires could have been added to the SW order. And no, I do not work for him! I'd say the same thing if it was Summit. S&H can add a lot to the total cost if there are separate orders.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:21 PM
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You may want to change one thing at a time so you dont introduce a new issue before you solve the original one.
Your symptoms in your initial post would lead me to think you have a vacuum leak. Have you put a vacuum gauge on it to see what the idle vacuum is.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:09 PM
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I have a skip white $38.50 dizzy in my 383. Works perfect and it has a lifetime guarantee.
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