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I've read that you can run a toggle switch to the 12 volt source going into a hei distributer and since it will only turn over without firing it turns over easier and faster , and then you flip the toggle and it starts. Has anyone had any experience with this . It's a 355 with maybe 450 HP.
Yes. Had a 355 sbc in my '34 Ford Tudor. I initially installed a 12v circuit to the distributor that did exactly what you're considering, but for a different reason. Instead of helping the engine turn over faster by overcoming the resistance of a lot of initial advance, I wanted to turn it over to build up oil pressure before it fired. OK idea but I came to believe it caused unnecessary wear and tear on the starter. I had also read that the oil film left on the bearings after the engine is shut down is enough to protect those surfaces until oil pressure comes up at first start. So, I removed the circuit.

If you have so much initial advance that your starter is really struggling, you might want to reduce your initial advance and make weight adjustments so that the curve will bring in the total advance where you want it.
 

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Yes. Had a 355 sbc in my '34 Ford Tudor. I initially installed a 12v circuit to the distributor that did exactly what you're considering, but for a different reason. Instead of helping the engine turn over faster by overcoming the resistance of a lot of initial advance, I wanted to turn it over to build up oil pressure before it fired. OK idea but I came to believe it caused unnecessary wear and tear on the starter. I had also read that the oil film left on the bearings after the engine is shut down is enough to protect those surfaces until oil pressure comes up at first start. So, I removed the circuit.

If you have so much initial advance that your starter is really struggling, you might want to reduce your initial advance and make weight adjustments so that the curve will bring in the total advance where you want it.
Forgot to mention: Turning the engine over until the oil pressure needle started to move created one of those infamous 'unintended consequences'. When I hit the switch to send 12v to the distributor, the fuel vapor that had built up in the exhaust system made for a pretty big backfire. The first time it happened I'm sure some of my neighbors reached for their guns.
 
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