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True Hotrodder
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I have never used them, I have a couple of questions about people's experience with electronic module conversions for the GM distributors that were originally built with a points/condenser setup.

What would you say was the most reliable unit that you installed?

Secondary to the above question, did you feel comfortable enough with the conversion to use it for a long distance trip?

What was your experience as to the installation - instructions, ease of installation, pitfalls, customer service?

Lastly, did you upgrade any other components at the time of installation? Cap, rotor, coil, etc?

Thanks for the feedback!
 

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One of the best I found is to just replace the entire distributor with the ProComp/Speedmaster 7000 distributor. It is just a rebranded Bosch, Holden unit. It should work with your existing Chevy coil. All it needs is a 12 volt source so you can just jumper around the external resistor to the coil or pull the key switch and jumper the run terminal to the start coil terminal then disconnect the resistive wire. Or replace the resistive wire from the run terminal to the plus side of the coil.

Parts are available at the corner store under the expensive Bosch name or through Jegs or Summit under the less financially shocking ProComp/Speedmaster name. The cautionary tale in this which applies to most if not all electronic ignitions is never stall or shutdown the engine and leave the ignition on, else the smoke leaks out of the module.

Bogie
 

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Pertronix 1 is good
Pertronix 2 adds better dwell control
Pertronix 3 adds a rev limiter

All 3 are a good units. I do the cap and rotor (inspecting wires/plugs) at the same time.
I also check for the often overlooked distributior shaft bearing for play. Some shafts/engines are better then others as far as how prone this bearing is to wearing.

MSD units are hit and miss reliablity wise. The only MSD thing you will see me running might be plug wires.

A stock large cap chevy HEI is a very reliable. For a car that will see 3500 to 4500rpm I would not hesitate to swap one over and drive it out of state. Now they are big and ugly. But they are stupid simple and once you adjust the curve(if needed) it is a setup that just works.
 

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Sold a guy a Pertronix II distributor just recently---didnt make Sparks ever. Guy didn't want to wait on warranty so I got him a new module---fired right up---would never put a Pertronix in my own rig.

Never had a fail with the Crane point conversions.
 

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More for Less Racer
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Crane XR-I was my preference also...made by F.A.S.T now. Used it half a dozen different times.

Used Pertronix once, in a 318 Chrysler LA, no problems there, Ignitor II.

Only one that has ever failed on me, and a couple friends....the Mallory Uni-Lite....you couldn't give me a case of them if the caveat is I have to use them myslf...nope.
Module is too damb voltage sensative to be reliable.
Mallory sells an "active filter" to prevent this, but doesn't include it....if it needed help, it should come with the kit IMO.
 

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True Hotrodder
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just a note - I have zero interest in the GM HEI units. If someone wants one of those as their ignition then they already have one. I'm interested in keeping the older, points window-cap type ignition. Less headaches with replacement on tight intakes and firewalls.

I'm glad that the FAST unit was mentioned and the warning about the Mallory. FAST is on my list and Mallory scrubbed off.

Anyone have anything on the AC Delco, Accel or Scott Drake conversions?
 

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the 'Duracell Project'
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we put a pertronix on my son's 68 elco 16 years ago that is still running strong. he's driven that elco all over the country twice, coast to coast and currently resides in seattle. i told him to keep a set of points in the elco just in case, probably that's why his pertronix has lasted that long. 🤣
 

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True Hotrodder
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think Accel and others still make a small cap distributor that uses a GM HEI module mounted to the side. Hard to beat the HEI components for simplicity and reliability.
Thanks but not looking to replace the distributor just looking for input on the various conversion kits for the original points/condenser unit.
 

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Administrator
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I messed around with a module from a 99 4.3 blazer .

I found it will create a whole lot more spark energy than stock points, but it can be wired with points as the trigger. The best part is the current used to trigger the module is so low , that the spring on the points would likey wear out before the contacts.LOL

It is a 4 pin module with a nifty heat sink. I will dig up what I have if interested.
It would require insulating washers under the points so they are not grounded as it requires a 12 v + to trigger the module. Easily done.
I was truly impressed how much more energy it created though...I bench tested it with a spark plug, against a stock dizzy / points setup to see how hot the spark was..
 

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I've added an HEI unit to a hot rod project running a Cadillac flathead engine.
The project is not on the road yet, but I was concerned about the amount of heat exposure as the dizzy sits near to the firewall and Cadillac exhaust thru the top of the engine.
So, I decided to remove the module from the dizzy housing and have made a short harness that sees my module in a small aluminium box inside my cab where I am running a/c.
I am hoping this will be insurance for a trouble free future...
 

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Funny, I had nothing but trouble with my Mallory dizzy.
Kept chewing out condensors and found myself too often stuck on the side of the road.
Dizzy's are like that the luck of the draw seems to play out a lot.
You are right carry a spare and know how to swap it out etc...

My buddy had a big name dizzy and it failed numerous times.
I got him an unnamed copy from China and it has run like a dream since day 1.
Weird **** with dizzy's...
 

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Quality has gone to sh*t. Most stuff is out sourced to third world countries, forced labor they could care less. I had a brand new accel HEI, the module died in exactly 2 months. I agree with hit and miss.
 

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camaroman7d
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#10 · Dec 27, 2005



A lot of opinions so far. I can tell you that 99.9% of the Unilite failures are operator/installer error. They must be wired corrrectly and you must have the correct voltage. If you do not check this and make sure it is right, then you will probably burn up the module. Most people do not read and follow directions, those are the ones that are having problems. There are also more than one style of Unilite, there are magnetic and photo (photo being the most common and the ones people complain about after hooking them up wrong).

I have run several Unilites over the years and NEVER EVER had a failure. I have fixed several peoples that were installed wrong (no ballast resistor and or voltage too high). If you supply to high of a voltage, it will work for a while, but adventually fail. If you connect them wrong POP the module is bad before you ever start the car. They are simple to hook up (only 3 wires, one being a ground). The reason you hear complaints is because this distributor isn't mistake friendly. Once installed "CORRECTLY" you will have no issues.

I have been running the magnetic Unilite that I have now for over 7 years, never let me down.

HEI's are ok for stockers, but they are big and ugly. In stock form they are terrible for anything above 5000-5500RPM. If you are talking a junk yard HEI you need to make sure what the timing curve is, it varies on different years and vehicles. Let's also remember how often HEI ignition modules fail. I have had them fail on me, but never a Unilite.

There are a ton of better distibutors out there than a stock HEI. You didn't provide any details on your vehicle so there is not way to say what will work best. If it is a high winding small block an HEI would be my very last choice.


Royce (NO XQSSS) Bradley
1970 Camaro 385ci 11.90's on street tires, pump gas, no nitrous, no trailer.
Harley FXR
 

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More for Less Racer
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The problem I had with the Mallory Uni-Lite conversion for GM V8 points distributors, which is the shutter wheel/photo eye type, is with cars dorrectly wired and also in compliance with NHRA rules for relocated/rear mounted battery requiring a externally accessable Master Disconnect switch mounted inline on the positive battery cable, which by rule has to interrupt all electrical power to the car when tripped out.

To test you at tech check-in, they can ask you to fire the car up, then trip the master disconnect off, to prove to them it stops all electrical functions in the car....electric fuel pump, engine ignition, nitrous solenoids, electric fans, etc.... and it POPS the Mallory LED every single time you test it.....and that's what I'm saying is BS about it.

Mallory says their "Active Power Filter" will take care of that issue....but if the module needs protection like that it should come with it in the kit, not be an extra cost add-on.....or at LEAST a big warning in the instructions that the module will not survive track tech inspection test procedure.

We caught it in the shop, rather than on the road....but two straight strikes put me off them.

Mallory has or had a Magnetic Breakerless ignition, but I don't believe they ever made a magnetic/GM points conversion kit for stock distributors, at any rate they don't anymore. Just repair magnetic modules for their own distributor models.
 

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When you get broke down on the side of the highway and you discover it is the dizzy, it is really easy to hate the brand from then on. At least with the cheap unbranded stuff you expect it and more often than not for me so far, they have done OK...
 

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'23 T-Bucket Pickup
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Since I have never used them, I have a couple of questions about people's experience with electronic module conversions for the GM distributors that were originally built with a points/condenser setup.

What would you say was the most reliable unit that you installed?

Secondary to the above question, did you feel comfortable enough with the conversion to use it for a long distance trip?

What was your experience as to the installation - instructions, ease of installation, pitfalls, customer service?

Lastly, did you upgrade any other components at the time of installation? Cap, rotor, coil, etc?

Thanks for the feedback!
I used a Skip White HEI with remote coil on the 5.7 Vortec in my T-bucket. It’s the same size as a points type GM. Never had a hiccup in 10 years.
 
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