MSD Streetfire Dist...any good? [Archive] - Chevelle Tech

: MSD Streetfire Dist...any good?


dpvoiceguy
Apr 24th, 08, 10:26 AM
My motor is fitted with an HEI dist. that was there when I got the car. I do not know the vintage of the dist. or anything about its history. Furthermore I am not knowledgeable enough about the subject to accurately judge its condition. I have an MSD-6A box and the dist has the module removed and the MSD jumper installed. In order to "wipe the slate clean" I was planning to change out the dist. with a new one so that at least I know what I've got when I try and tune. I've got an adjustable vac advance that I want to install and play with but I don't want to chase my tail if the dist. is questionable. Is the MSD Streetfire a good choice for my application or would you recommend another and why?

Dave427
Apr 24th, 08, 12:16 PM
I would run the pro-billet dist. that already had the 2 wire connection for your box. You will be spending too much money on the street fire dist. that already has a module installed. I use a 8555 it doesn't have a vacuum advance but they sell a version that does that will plug directly to your 6AL box.

Dave

dpvoiceguy
Apr 24th, 08, 1:32 PM
Thanks, Dave. You seem to be my shadow lately, which is a good thing because you've always got good info for me! :beers:

dpvoiceguy
Apr 24th, 08, 2:56 PM
OK...dug into this a little at lunchtime and got some numbers. Here's a summary:

What would you do?
• Limited budget.
• Suspect vac advance is not working properly (rough idle, carb/filter is nice and clean)
• HEI dist with unknown history, doesn’t look all that great inside, no knowledge of how to judge condition but suspect it’s not advancing properly due to knocking even though initial timing looks good at 16 deg BTDC
• In order to rule out the dist/vac advance I’d like to change it and start fresh.
• Already have MSD6A box and HEI module has been removed and jumped out with HEI jumper harness.

Now…here’s the question…

• MSD Streetfire dist $159 @ Summit, and presumably I’d have to get it, remove the module, and do the harness thing. Would reuse my MSD cap, rotor, coil
• Or…MSD Pro Billet kit $368 @ Summit (need kit since I don’t have a coil/coil wire), the nice thing is that it wires directly to the MSD box.

It seems like a big $ difference for the convenience of wiring directly to the MSD box, but can I justify it? I RARELY spin the motor to 5K, so I might never even tax the limits of the Streetfire.

:confused:

Schurkey
Apr 24th, 08, 3:54 PM
Far as I know, the Streetfire stuff from MSD is just their way of competing with all the junk Chinese crap...by importing their own line of low-budget Chinese stuff.

I'd avoid it.

You have what you need. A genuine Delco HEI. Save some money, take a look at:

http://www.chevelles.com/techref/ftecref5.html

In partcular, photo #20.

1968SWBBigblock
Apr 24th, 08, 9:41 PM
I have about 400 miles on my street fire without any issues
Summit and Jegs both gave it a good rating for a street car.
I am going to wire it up with a summit digital box - summit sez it is a plug and play operation.
I do agree the HEI from GM are great pieces, kind of hard to compete with perfection

dpvoiceguy
Apr 24th, 08, 9:45 PM
Far as I know, the Streetfire stuff from MSD is just their way of competing with all the junk Chinese crap...by importing their own line of low-budget Chinese stuff.

I'd avoid it.

You have what you need. A genuine Delco HEI. Save some money, take a look at:

http://www.chevelles.com/techref/ftecref5.html

In partcular, photo #20.

I think I catch your drift, Schurkey. I have a Mr. Gasket variable vac advance kit. It includes a new center plate, a set of weights, an asst of springs, and plastic weight bushings to slide over the pins. In your photo #20 you show worn pins. So I guess you're suggesting that I first inspect the condition of the pins and the possbility that my mechanism could be worn, sloppy, not moving freely, etc.
*How does one change the pins if I am able to find them at my local parts store? It would probably pay for me to do so before I press the plastic bushings into the new weights and go to drop the weights on the pins, right?
*Do I need to remove the dist. itself at any point? Do I need to inspect the gear itself and must I remove the dist to do so? ( I think I read about lifting or rocking the dist body somehow to check for play (?)
*In some of the photos I see evidence of lube. What areas should be lubed and is there a specific product I should use?
*Do you have any recommendation as to which spring would be the best starting point once I begin experimenting with the variable advance unit?

btw...What an awesome document you compiled...I haven't even walked out to the car and I already feel more confident having read through it once! :thumbsup:

Dave427
Apr 24th, 08, 9:59 PM
The 8555 is $232 thats what I run, it has no vacuum advance.
The 8361 is $234 its just a bit more then you get vacuum advance.
The one you priced its a ready to run that comes with a module. (8474)
So all you need is a coil, I would use a blaster 2 which is $38. or the Blaster SS for $44. you pick.

Dave

Schurkey
Apr 24th, 08, 10:17 PM
I think I catch your drift, Schurkey. I have a Mr. Gasket variable vac advance kit. It includes a new center plate, a set of weights, an asst of springs, and plastic weight bushings to slide over the pins. In your photo #20 you show worn pins. So I guess you're suggesting that I first inspect the condition of the pins and the possbility that my mechanism could be worn, sloppy, not moving freely, etc.
Yup--but--that sounds like a CENTRIFUGAL advance kit, not a vacuum advance kit.
*How does one change the pins if I am able to find them at my local parts store? It would probably pay for me to do so before I press the plastic bushings into the new weights and go to drop the weights on the pins, right?
Change the pins by knocking them out with a hammer from the top. Be sure to support the plate they ride in. Depending on the plastic bushings used, you may not need to change the pins; the plastic will ride on enough of the non-worn surface to work OK. Not all styles of pins are available.
*Do I need to remove the dist. itself at any point? Do I need to inspect the gear itself and must I remove the dist to do so? ( I think I read about lifting or rocking the dist body somehow to check for play (?)
"I" would pull the distributor. But then I have lots of experience putting it back in, and it's no big deal. I'm not sure I'd recommend that course of action for you, though. It's unlikely that the distributor gear is bad. The defining points are whether or not 1) the centrifugal advance moves freely once you remove the springs and weights; and 2) the pickup coil rotates freely on the pivot post when you disconnect the vacuum advance. If they do--leave the distributor in place. If either the centrifugal advance or the pickup coil binds--at all--it has to come apart to be inspected, cleaned and lubed.
*In some of the photos I see evidence of lube. What areas should be lubed and is there a specific product I should use?
I put a THIN film of lube on the shaft in the area shown in photo 20; and a THIN film along the main shaft where it goes through the housing. Similarly, a THIN film on the pivot pins and where the weights slide on the nylon pads (newer distributors don't have nylon pads, it's just stamped metal)

There is a grease reservoir sealed with a plastic "cap" under the pickup coil; but you generally destroy the plastic cap if you pull it off; and far as I know you can only buy new ones in a pack of five or something. (Delco P/N 1837617) Put a THIN film of grease on the pivot post for the pickup coil, too.

I use Lubriplate 105 motor assembly grease. Available at any NAPA, probably available at any other parts store, too. But then, most any white grease would work ok.
*Do you have any recommendation as to which spring would be the best starting point once I begin experimenting with the variable advance unit?
No, not really. And the weights supplied in the recurve kit can go straight into the recycle bin. Much too light. Try re-using the stock weights.

If you were starting fresh, the Crane adjustable vacuum advance kit comes with an assortment of centrifugal advance springs; and you don't pay for weights that you don't need.

Another possibility is to just buy a new distributor shaft kit from GM. New shaft, new pivot pins, new weights, new center plate, you even get a new rotor. Everything is nice 'n' virginal. AND it's the same stuff used in the distributor that goes in the semi-hot crate engines like the ZZ4 and HO 454. It may not need further tuning--the advance is pretty good as-is. List price is frightfully high, but if you can arrange for a discount it becomes entirely reasonable. I think I paid ~$65 about a year ago. GM part number 01894379 (if that doesn't work, try it without the first 0--just 1894379.)

btw...What an awesome document you compiled...I haven't even walked out to the car and I already feel more confident having read through it once! :thumbsup:
Thanks.

novaderrik
Apr 25th, 08, 5:00 AM
head to your local NAPA store and buy a new pickup, coil, module, cap and rotor, and advance spring and weight kit for the HEI you already have.
put all the new parts in the distributor housing you have, and ditch the MSD box. you don't need it.
it's not that hard to rebuild and setup an HEI distributor- and you may even learn something about how your ignition system works.
and if you don't have one- get a timing light. i love the dial back Craftsman light that i got from Sears 4 or 5 years ago.

dpvoiceguy
Apr 25th, 08, 6:04 AM
Yup--but--that sounds like a CENTRIFUGAL advance kit, not a vacuum advance kit.

Change the pins by knocking them out with a hammer from the top. Be sure to support the plate they ride in. Depending on the plastic bushings used, you may not need to change the pins; the plastic will ride on enough of the non-worn surface to work OK. Not all styles of pins are available.

"I" would pull the distributor. But then I have lots of experience putting it back in, and it's no big deal. I'm not sure I'd recommend that course of action for you, though. It's unlikely that the distributor gear is bad. The defining points are whether or not 1) the centrifugal advance moves freely once you remove the springs and weights; and 2) the pickup coil rotates freely on the pivot post when you disconnect the vacuum advance. If they do--leave the distributor in place. If either the centrifugal advance or the pickup coil binds--at all--it has to come apart to be inspected, cleaned and lubed.

I put a THIN film of lube on the shaft in the area shown in photo 20; and a THIN film along the main shaft where it goes through the housing. Similarly, a THIN film on the pivot pins and where the weights slide on the nylon pads (newer distributors don't have nylon pads, it's just stamped metal)

There is a grease reservoir sealed with a plastic "cap" under the pickup coil; but you generally destroy the plastic cap if you pull it off; and far as I know you can only buy new ones in a pack of five or something. (Delco P/N 1837617) Put a THIN film of grease on the pivot post for the pickup coil, too.

I use Lubriplate 105 motor assembly grease. Available at any NAPA, probably available at any other parts store, too. But then, most any white grease would work ok.

No, not really. And the weights supplied in the recurve kit can go straight into the recycle bin. Much too light. Try re-using the stock weights.

If you were starting fresh, the Crane adjustable vacuum advance kit comes with an assortment of centrifugal advance springs; and you don't pay for weights that you don't need.

Another possibility is to just buy a new distributor shaft kit from GM. New shaft, new pivot pins, new weights, new center plate, you even get a new rotor. Everything is nice 'n' virginal. AND it's the same stuff used in the distributor that goes in the semi-hot crate engines like the ZZ4 and HO 454. It may not need further tuning--the advance is pretty good as-is. List price is frightfully high, but if you can arrange for a discount it becomes entirely reasonable. I think I paid ~$65 about a year ago. GM part number 01894379 (if that doesn't work, try it without the first 0--just 1894379.)


Thanks.

Schurkey...it's a kit that comes with both. See the image attached. I also found a picture of the innards under my rotor. When I changed the rotor last year I took this just for reference.

IF I were to drive those pins out from the top (that's if it's even necessary...like you said), do the new ones go in from the top as well and can the plate withstand the force of banging them in while the dist is installed?

novaderrik
Apr 25th, 08, 6:15 AM
don't bang on the pins on the top.. you don't need to touch them at all.
to get the advance weights off, just take the springs off and pull the weights off the pins.
but be careful- the springs like to go flying when they come loose if you aren't careful.
to get the center cam off, take off the "E" clips that holds it down and pry it off. again, they like to go flying if you aren't careful- and they are impossible to find once they do go flying.
i don't know why they even sell the weights with those advance kits tho, since all you really need from the kit is the lighter springs. 9 times out of 10, the weights that come with most kits don't work as good as the stock weights do with the lighter springs that come with the kit.

dpvoiceguy
Apr 25th, 08, 7:04 AM
don't bang on the pins on the top.. you don't need to touch them at all.
to get the advance weights off, just take the springs off and pull the weights off the pins.
but be careful- the springs like to go flying when they come loose if you aren't careful.
to get the center cam off, take off the "E" clips that holds it down and pry it off. again, they like to go flying if you aren't careful- and they are impossible to find once they do go flying.
i don't know why they even sell the weights with those advance kits tho, since all you really need from the kit is the lighter springs. 9 times out of 10, the weights that come with most kits don't work as good as the stock weights do with the lighter springs that come with the kit.

Thanks, Derrick. So you're suggesting that the pins (even if somewhat worn) would be fine with the bushings included in my kit? What do you think of the condition of things inside the dist. in my photo? Should I be at all concerned about the oxidation/surface rust?

mr 4 speed
Apr 25th, 08, 7:20 AM
FYI
MSD makes an HEI module that has a built in rev limiter for $80

lucky3
Apr 25th, 08, 10:46 AM
Just go buy a summit billet dist. Its like $155 and $38 for the coil. I run one and it works awsome and it looks just like my brothers billet one but black. It also has one wire to plug into the msd box.

Schurkey
Apr 25th, 08, 12:28 PM
Schurkey...it's a kit that comes with both. See the image attached. I also found a picture of the innards under my rotor. When I changed the rotor last year I took this just for reference.
OK. Yeah, there's some ugly-looking rust. Won't hurt a thing.

IF I were to drive those pins out from the top (that's if it's even necessary...like you said), do the new ones go in from the top as well and can the plate withstand the force of banging them in while the dist is installed?
1. Make sure you can get replacement pins that match what you have. Not all HEIs use the same style pins.

2. I would be reluctant to do this with the distributor in the car; I'd be afraid of bending the plate they press into. If you pull the distributor apart, you could support the plate while driving the pins out.

3. IF (big IF) you can make the plastic bushings fit your weights--and then slide nicely over the existing pins, LEAVE THE PINS IN PLACE.

dpvoiceguy
Apr 25th, 08, 1:03 PM
OK. Yeah, there's some ugly-looking rust. Won't hurt a thing.


1. Make sure you can get replacement pins that match what you have. Not all HEIs use the same style pins.

2. I would be reluctant to do this with the distributor in the car; I'd be afraid of bending the plate they press into. If you pull the distributor apart, you could support the plate while driving the pins out.

3. IF (big IF) you can make the plastic bushings fit your weights--and then slide nicely over the existing pins, LEAVE THE PINS IN PLACE.

Excellent! I'm excited to check these things out. My son's First Communion is tomorrow, so it'll have to wait until Sunday at the earliest, but I'll post back as soon as I have something.