MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPER - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 17, 7:20 AM Thread Starter
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MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPER

Back Story...
Tried at least THREE times to use my locked out MSD distributor with the TIMING CONTROL FUNCTION of my Holley Sniper EFI.

Did everything 100% by the manual, distributor dropped in at 15* reference on the balancer, rotor phased 15*, etc...and car would idle great, but driving? Got misfire, buck, stall randomly, and do all kinds of weird stuff, making the car undriveable. Rotor sweep was perfect and exactly how the Holley Videos said it "should" be...but it wasn't right, at all...

Finally tried it one last time WITHOUT phasing the rotor, dropping the "locked out" distributor in at 50* reference, and since the car always ran fantastic with conventional (or locked out) timing and no rotor phasing whatsoever, in the past. Car ran great...and it's been that way for a few months, at least.

Recently got a hard starting issue, kicking back as if the timing is too far advanced....

Finally caved in and spent the $430 on a Holley Dual Sync distributor...

Had the first drag race (not T&T) a few days away, so decided to swap the car back to conventional timing, with mechanical advance, which equalled my "Sniper/MSD Timing Control" settings of 33* base and 44* TOTAL WOT Timing...

FAST FORWARD....
FWIW, I went drag racing this past weekend.
Entered two different classes, so the car STARTING and being 100% reliable doing so, was kind of important, lol.
I absolutely, positively did not want to swap the new Dual Sync in a day or 2 prior to going....just in case it didn't work as claimed.
Had zero issues starting, zero issues racing, zero issues, period. Car did run 1 tenth/mph slower then the last time, but weather conditions were not ideal, so I'd call it a wash...

Yesterday, after work, brought the car up on #1, then turned balancer to 50* BTDC, and swapped in the Dual Sync. Rather than spend 25 bucks on a 5 dollar adapter, I cut the harness plug off of the Dual Sync and soldered new ends on the signal wires, to use with an MSD plug (like an MSD distributor has) MSD Part# 8824. Used a solder on spade terminal for the 12 volt power wire, so it could easily be unplugged if distributor needs removal.

After the easy to setup process shown in the manual, snugged it down, and it fired right up.

I have 38* line (w/paint stick) already on my balancer, so used it as my reference point, using the STATIC TIMING SET feature. This "locks" the timing at whatever you set it at, with no adders, or other ways for it to change from the setting you choose....Dialed in IDLE timing, easily, and then started the sync process using the INDUCTIVE DELAY.

Started at 140usec, which was where the MSD was...

Trial & Error, obviously, (and went the wrong way at first, lol) but after moving the Inductive Delay setting several times, ending at 265usec, so it now matches at idle and high rpm.

Reason for this part of the story...
I had to start, and restart the car at least 20 times, to adjust & dial in the Inductive Delay, and car started easily every single time...


Have not driven it yet, but I just need dry roads to test it out, which it looks like will happen today...

In my opinion, being one of many people having the headaches that come with using, or trying to use, the MSD distributor, and it's directly related Holley Sniper EFI Timing Control PROBLEMS, HOLLEY should update their online & printed manuals and say that the MSD does NOT work PROPERLY with the EFI, IF using Timing Control...

p.s.
I've had no less than 5 different people PM me either on here, or on the Holley forum, with the same issues when trying to run an MSD distributor and Timing Control...either the hard starting, and/or the rotor phase issues...

Hopefully, this helps someone...as I am evidently the involuntary guinea pig (punching bag) for all things EFFED UP regarding Fitech and Holley Sniper throttle body EFI conversions, so figured I'd share my latest experiences, lol.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 17, 8:35 AM
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

The sad thing is that it's hit and miss. I had zero problems with a cheap HEI as mentioned here:
Holley Sniper - Rotor Phasing and Reference Angle
and here:
FOr those running EFI that want a low cost dist.

With less than $50 for a chinese HEI knockoff, it's worth a try before shelling out big bucks for a Holley Dual Sync dizzy.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 17, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

As I just stated in the other thread...while you and some others may be "ok" and/or happy with your $50 distributors, in stock, or near stock combos, I'd never trust one the way mine is driven...

Not worth the risk...

After trying it with the MSD, I'd either use the distributor designed for the system, OR...

Use an MSD distributor and just run conventional, mechanical timing....

This thread was made solely to share my recent, relevant experience with an MSD and Timing Control....

Not to start a debate on whether to use a $50 distributor instead....that's already been discussed in it's own thread.

1971 Chevelle SS "439" 2.1 tons of fun...
11.31@117 w/4.10's, 4200+ stall, QFT SS-830 carb
11.72@115 w/3.90's, 3300 stall, and Fitech GoEFI4
11.51@116 w/3.90's, 3300 stall, and Holley Sniper EFI
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 17, 11:57 AM
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Bob, I guess I don't understand. When I bought my Avenger system, Doug told me to get a small cap HEI. I assumed that he designed it that way, so I never questioned it. I bought one, installed it, and it runs fine. I don't drag race, but when I get all the other stuff sorted out, I plan to tune it at the track. I haven't studied ignitions much yet because I have other issues that I'm dealing with, but what is the advantage using other distributors? Does the Sniper not have the ignition controls that the Avenger/HP have? I thought about going DIS when I first started looking into EFI, but that seemed like way too many potential problems for a fast street car. Are the TBI's not flexible enough for what you want to do?

Sorry if this has been hashed out before, but maybe it is something that I should check into. Heck, I don't even have a CD box because I'm not sure that it's worth the potential problems. I have had enough grief for the stuff I have now!

P.S. A Holley tech told me to set my inductive delay at 250us using a small cap HEI. I've never checked it yet though.

'69 Chevelle SS (Almost on the road, and it runs again, but in the body shop for a while.)
Engine parts: (Heads, cam & lifters from Lewis Racing Engines)
ZZ502 Short block
AFR 305 CNC 106cc Chambers 8002 springs
Comp Custom Magnum HR 306/303 Adv dur 246/248@ .050 .680/.647-112LSA-108 ICL (Crap!...ate the cam's distributor gear!)
NEW CAM: Bullet HR ADV Dur 295/297 238/242 @ .050 .680/.650-110 LSA-108 ICL Morel lifters
Holley Avenger MPFI
612HP/594TQ (Dyno numbers with the Comp Magnum Cam)
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 17, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkP View Post
Bob, I guess I don't understand. When I bought my Avenger system, Doug told me to get a small cap HEI. I assumed that he designed it that way, so I never questioned it. I bought one, installed it, and it runs fine. I don't drag race, but when I get all the other stuff sorted out, I plan to tune it at the track. I haven't studied ignitions much yet because I have other issues that I'm dealing with, but what is the advantage using other distributors? Does the Sniper not have the ignition controls that the Avenger/HP have? I thought about going DIS when I first started looking into EFI, but that seemed like way too many potential problems for a fast street car. Are the TBI's not flexible enough for what you want to do?

Sorry if this has been hashed out before, but maybe it is something that I should check into. Heck, I don't even have a CD box because I'm not sure that it's worth the potential problems. I have had enough grief for the stuff I have now!

P.S. A Holley tech told me to set my inductive delay at 250us using a small cap HEI. I've never checked it yet though.
I could only "guess" the small cap HEI was recommended because they didn't offer the Dual Sync yet. The Holley forums definitely push the Dual Sync HARD now...yet you can barely find one, if you decide to go that route...

I decided to use one solely because it is designed to work with the Holley EFI. And obviously, because the MSD I had been using was "not ideal", according to Holley, and according to my results being that the car RUNS great, but starting as if the timing was stuck overadvanced...

It's also pretty much a case of IF/WHEN you have any sort of issues when running Timing Control, it is blamed on either "electrical interference", and/or the choice of using an MSD...which is particularly aggravating since Holley OWNS MSD...What the reference manual says to this day, in reference to enabling Timing Control w/MSD or Dual Sync, and in BOLD, is that the Inductive Delay, AND Reference Angle should NOT need to be changed....FACT is, they both NEED to be changed, as well as now also NEEDING Minimum Signal Voltage and Filtering probably needing modifying (at least for the MSD).

No idea about the other software, so I can only assume it's very similar, but maybe not quite as advanced, or thorough? The Sniper software is pretty darn impressive though.

I have no problems with the TBI doing it's job, and doing it very well. I just wanted to use more than just "fueling" since the unit/ECU is capable of doing so much more.

And with the odd issues that I always seem to have, a $50 distributor and 6500 rpm is, IMO, a recipe for disaster...I bought the Dual Sync with money stowed away in my PayPal account, from another item that was sold, so it really wasn't a current outlay of cash to get the distributor that Holley now highly recommends...

I am a little confused at the generic Inductive Delay setting they gave you. That is something that needs to be checked and adjusted for, to your specific combo.

My ID with the MSD was 140, and with the Dual Sync is now 265, I think it is...
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 17, 2:10 PM
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

If there's a small cap HEI already present, and a non-cheap one at that, use it. If you run into problems, you can still upgrade to the Dual Sync.

And yep, I would not regularily push my car on a cheap distributor, but for a daily that sees track action maybe three times a year it's fine.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 17, 2:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Grip View Post
If there's a small cap HEI already present, and a non-cheap one at that, use it. If you run into problems, you can still upgrade to the Dual Sync.

And yep, I would not regularily push my car on a cheap distributor, but for a daily that sees track action maybe three times a year it's fine.
Agree with both.

I already had a fully functional MSD distributor and digital CD box, and with their instructions saying it was "good to go", I went with it...which, now I know, was a mistake.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 11th, 17, 9:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Just to update.

Raced Saturday at a Nostalgia Drag event.
No learning done as I wasn't able to really drive the car prior to going.
Two time trials, and two rounds of racing is what I was able to do.
Car ran great, and most importantly, fired right up every time.
Lost the 2nd round to a red light, which really sucked since I was dead on my dial in.
Even with a fresh tune, for the Dual Sync, so no learning whatsoever, it stayed within .04 of a second from 1st to 4th pass.
A joy to sit there under the canopy between runs, and relaxing, instead of wrenching on carb or whatever else.
Never even opened the hood....
Took the car home, unloaded it, and took it for a little drive.
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1971 Chevelle SS "439" 2.1 tons of fun...
11.31@117 w/4.10's, 4200+ stall, QFT SS-830 carb
11.72@115 w/3.90's, 3300 stall, and Fitech GoEFI4
11.51@116 w/3.90's, 3300 stall, and Holley Sniper EFI
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 17, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Looked at the 4 datalogs from yesterday and the ECU is definitely doing it's job.

Closed Loop Compensation aka SELF LEARN (MAXIMUM NUMBERS, NOT AVERAGE FWIW)

Run #1 was -28%, it was subtracting 28% fuel at WOT.
Run #2 was 11%, ADDED. I logged burnout and dragstrip run
Run #3 was -8%
Run #4 was -6%
On my short cruise afterwards, LEARN was very low, 0-1%, with an occasional spike as high as 10%, I'm guessing in areas the car wasn't in long enough to get useable data at?

Injector Duty Cycle a nice 70-73% MAXIMUM on all 4 runs
Convertor "Flash" stall is 4200 rpm

Here's a quick video of how to beat yourself at bracket racing...run right on the number, but redlight...

https://youtu.be/lk_dofFiry4

.

.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 17, 7:36 PM
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

I'm watching your experience closely with this. I have a fresh build that will be getting a Sniper this fall and I need a distributer for it. If this Dual Sync works out for you I'll be going that route. I should probably look it up for myself but you seem to have as much knowledge with the Sniper as Holley seems to, so my question is: I'm going to break the new engine in on a known-good carburetor then switch it over to the Sniper to minimize unknowns while breaking in the engine, new trans, etc. Will the Dual Sync work as a stand-alone with the carb just for break-in purposes? I have an MSD Pro Billet HEI in another engine that I could use but it would be nice to put the darn thing in once and be done.

Holley hasn't done a thing to sell me on their system, BTW. It's been mostly your experience that has. They owe you some marketing money in my opinion. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 17, 8:03 PM
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by rel3rd View Post
As I just stated in the other thread...while you and some others may be "ok" and/or happy with your $50 distributors, in stock, or near stock combos, I'd never trust one the way mine is driven...

Not worth the risk...

After trying it with the MSD, I'd either use the distributor designed for the system, OR...

Use an MSD distributor and just run conventional, mechanical timing....

This thread was made solely to share my recent, relevant experience with an MSD and Timing Control....

Not to start a debate on whether to use a $50 distributor instead....that's already been discussed in it's own thread.
Sorry but my opinion is that using the small cap HEI is less of a risk. If you ever have any trouble a new one or parts for it are available and in stock at any parts store. Good luck if the dual sync craps out in the middle of nowhere.

There is really nothing to worry about with these things. Millions of cars and trucks use them. You eliminate the module. It's already phased. Worst case maybe the pickup fails and it doesn't run. What else could possibly be risky?

I'm sure the Holley is a nice piece. I hate to say it but it's probably also made in China.
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66 Chevelle crew cab 454 FiTech /TKO 600 5 speed
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 17, 6:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy the Cat View Post
I'm watching your experience closely with this. I have a fresh build that will be getting a Sniper this fall and I need a distributer for it. If this Dual Sync works out for you I'll be going that route. I should probably look it up for myself but you seem to have as much knowledge with the Sniper as Holley seems to, so my question is: I'm going to break the new engine in on a known-good carburetor then switch it over to the Sniper to minimize unknowns while breaking in the engine, new trans, etc. Will the Dual Sync work as a stand-alone with the carb just for break-in purposes? I have an MSD Pro Billet HEI in another engine that I could use but it would be nice to put the darn thing in once and be done.

Holley hasn't done a thing to sell me on their system, BTW. It's been mostly your experience that has. They owe you some marketing money in my opinion. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.
Thanks for the kind words.

Since the goal is to "minimize unknowns", I would 100% use a carb and known good distributor for break in.

I definitely would not use the Sniper right off the bat (just in case there is an issue with it), and I MOST definitely would not try to run ANY distributor using timing control until AFTER I am 100% sure the EFI is working properly.

I am 99% sure the dual sync only works with EFI.

Hope this helps, and thanks again for the kind words.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 17, 7:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R View Post
Sorry but my opinion is that using the small cap HEI is less of a risk. If you ever have any trouble a new one or parts for it are available and in stock at any parts store. Good luck if the dual sync craps out in the middle of nowhere.

There is really nothing to worry about with these things. Millions of cars and trucks use them. You eliminate the module. It's already phased. Worst case maybe the pickup fails and it doesn't run. What else could possibly be risky?

I'm sure the Holley is a nice piece. I hate to say it but it's probably also made in China.
No doubt it's made in China, especially since it's not advertised anywhere that it's made anywhere different.

My main worry would be the ability for the $50 Ebay version to withstand regular revs to 6500 rpm, and hoping it not come apart at higher rpm. After all the BS I have dealt with during this whole EFI conversion, I'm not going to cheap out at the last hurdle. Like I said, Not worth the risk, to ME.

As for breakdown worries...I have none.
I have towing coverage under my classic car insurance, as well as unlimited access to a trailer and a rollback, and I literally stay within 50 miles of home if out for a drive (I mean I do have 27" tall tires, 3.90 gears, and a 4000 stall), or else I'm at the track, so breaking down is not a worry. In fact, I'd all but guarantee I've broken down with this car more than most people have with theirs...(driveshaft implosion, 2 transmissions, 2 converters, blown heater hose, water pump, and oh, 3 times due to that POS Fitech Fuel Command Center, and once or twice when the handheld shorted out...just off the top of my head, lol.

Not to mention if the car craps out, on the road, I'm not going to be swapping in a new pickup for my Ebay distributor, or my Chinese Dual Sync, under ANY circumstances. I'm going to transport the car back to the shop, and fix it. So, don't worry about me being stranded...It ain't happening, but thanks for the good luck wishes.

We all have our opinions, but respectfully, I'm not, under any circumstances throwing a 50 dollar Ebay distributor in my car, and beating the snot out of it like I do. I'd compare that to me building my engine, with Brodix heads, HR cam, and all the best parts I could afford, and then throwing some Ebay roller rockers on it, because they work for other people...

If anything, if there's ever an issue, I'll pop the probably also Chinese MSD back in and simply do away with timing control. Other than a slightly smoother idle (w/timing control), it isn't any faster or slower, or run any better or worse, either way.

So, until there's an issue, I'll keep my $50 Chinese Dual Sync, that I paid $400 for, in place.

I'm happy with the decision, and that's all that really matters.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 17, 12:42 PM
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Whatever works for you. Thing is, I bet even if you walked into a GM dealer and bought a brand new delco replacement small cap HEI, it also would be made in China. Heck maybe even in the same factory. So might as well get the $50 one off ebay.

Tom

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 17, 1:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: MSD vs. HOLLEY DUAL SYNC Distributor w/SNIPER TIMING CONTROL SNIPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R View Post
Whatever works for you. Thing is, I bet even if you walked into a GM dealer and bought a brand new delco replacement small cap HEI, it also would be made in China. Heck maybe even in the same factory. So might as well get the $50 one off ebay.
No debating that one, lol.

I bought some fuel injector O-rings yesterday for my son's car...

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