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Old 09-30-2012, 09:43 AM
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Time for a distibutor upgrade!

Hi all,
Long story short, my freshly built '83 Grand prix left me sit yesterday. After a quick diagnosis I determined that I had no spark, so it's something in the distributor. what it is at this point I'm not concerned with. (What do you know, the only part I didn't touch, because it worked fine when I pulled it a year ago.)

Anyways, I want to upgrade the stock distributor. I looked at the ebay cheapies, but I don't see something for $60 working for long. SO, what do you guys recommend? MSD guts inside my stock one? A whole MSD/pertronix..etc distributor? I've got a budget less than $200 to work with.

Suggestions?

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Old 09-30-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobyj17 View Post
Hi all,
Long story short, my freshly built '83 Grand prix left me sit yesterday. After a quick diagnosis I determined that I had no spark, so it's something in the distributor. what it is at this point I'm not concerned with. (What do you know, the only part I didn't touch, because it worked fine when I pulled it a year ago.)

Anyways, I want to upgrade the stock distributor. I looked at the ebay cheapies, but I don't see something for $60 working for long. SO, what do you guys recommend? MSD guts inside my stock one? A whole MSD/pertronix..etc distributor? I've got a budget less than $200 to work with.

Suggestions?
A lot of guys are running economy distributors w/a module upgrade w/o incidence.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:16 PM
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I put in a Mallory, works well.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:34 PM
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Performance Distributors - High Performance and Racing Ignition Systems
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:28 AM
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Thanks for the link, But If I'm gonna spend $280, Would it be better to get something like this?

JEGS Performance Products 40005K2 JEGS Chevy HEI Street Spark Distributor

It comes with the street fire ignition box.. But then again I'm not sure If I have room for the box.

I checked into mallory as well as the cheaper ones, Kind of a toss up at this point. I just want to get the best bang for my buck.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobyj17 View Post
Thanks for the link, But If I'm gonna spend $280, Would it be better to get something like this?

JEGS Performance Products 40005K2 JEGS Chevy HEI Street Spark Distributor

It comes with the street fire ignition box.. But then again I'm not sure If I have room for the box.

I checked into mallory as well as the cheaper ones, Kind of a toss up at this point. I just want to get the best bang for my buck.
A stock used HEI- as long as the bushings are tight- can be the basis for a good reliable distributor.

Almost all distributors that use weights and springs for the mechanical advance will need work to get the advance curve dialed in. The MSD distributor can be made to give 18 degrees of mechanical at the most, using the bushings they give you in the box. But depending on the cam, you may need more than this. There are aftermarket bushings that are uber expensive (for the tiny bit of metal they're made of) that'll give you more initial/less mechanical, but this adds to the cost.

A stock HEI also needs to be similarly modified but there are no bushings to replace, it takes a different approach. More on that and other HEI info can be seen here.

There are GMPP Delco HEI distributors but I have no idea where, or how well they're made. Assuming they're as good as the stockers were, that could be a place to start. Same thing w/modifying the mechanical advance, though.

Skip White 65,000 Volt Distributor Revealed - Third Generation F-Body Message Boards is a thread about the TSP distributor from someone who owns one and isn't just bashing offshore parts or repeating what they've read somewhere w/o having actually used them. BTW- I'm NOT saying offshore is the way to go. I am saying it is ONE way to go. Anyone who is anti-anything-but-made-in-the-USA can have that opinion, no problem from me. BUT, ain't nobody gonna tell me how to spend MY money, either.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:54 AM
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I bought a Billet alum MSD type replica that uses magnetic pickup for my sbc from E-bay for $47 brand new. So far it's been working really good.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:48 AM
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I also got an MSD 6A for $45 from E-bay. And it works
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:47 PM
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I just don't feel comfortable with the cheapie replicas. Where I'm located if your car does die, you're walking a LONG ways, because there's rarely cell service or traffic. I got lucky this last time.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:31 PM
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computer

In '83 some GM products used a computer controlled timing advance in the distributors. The fully mechanical HEI may work fine but the CCC (computer) will throw a code if no device if found.

vicrod
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by vicrod View Post
In '83 some GM products used a computer controlled timing advance in the distributors. The fully mechanical HEI may work fine but the CCC (computer) will throw a code if no device if found.

vicrod
No computer controlled stuff left in this car, It's all been completely removed.

I decided to get the MSD street fire distributor from a local place here. He had one on hand, and it cost me $130. Since I won't be twisting past the 6k mark, It should be sufficient.
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