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hi
First book u read is what I was taught at mechanics trade school in the 70`s.
Next u must be very familiar with the whole car and always do the final setup in your car . Allows for gearing and tire size etc .
Light throttle cruise is mostly from 35/40mph upwards 55mph . All this in top gear 1 to 1 gear ratio etc
With digital distributors this job is easy ,at low throttle percentages the mixture is less dense and requires more time to burn so more timing is needed .
Tune at steady road speeds 5mph steps and winding up the advance till vac gauge moves no more combined with wearing ""knock ears "" .
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dave Ray set me up! No need to watch anymore data.
Yeah I guess if you want to hand the ball to someone else then Dave Ray would definitely be the guy . Another icon in his nitch of the auto industry without a doubt
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Al 66 GTO ?
Yeah I got one .
Bought it in 07. Came from the left cost .

A dropped/given up on father and son project it was.
Came in primer running with a 428 (not original) but with original 4 speed muncie and original rear end .
Also came with an additional 389 off to the side. A 66 389 .
Also came with an extra cowl hood and about 6 big cardboard boxes of extra parts .
11 g's. DELIVERED !
bought it on ebay

Buddy of mine was paintin another car at my place for this black dude. The 428 in the car had all the braided hoses and gold teeth.
Well this black cat wanted that motor in the worst way for his 79 Electra. I kept sayin it ain't for sale . Finally one day he says comone man I give ya 3 stacks for it lol
I says to my buddy...how fast can ya get the motor out 🤣. .
So 11 grand for the car turned into 8 .
And I still had the 389 .
I FINALLY had the 389 gone over a year and a half ago . Block done heads done bought a brand new tri power from a guy who specializes in Pontiac tri powers . 2800 for that. Got the correct cam for the tri power
(Yes a different cam than the one that came for non tri power )

But first I bought cam from guy who did block and had em put it it . Before I picked up the block a buddy of mine says hey you get the right bumpstick for that ??
I says yeah its for a 66 389 . He says yeah but its a different cam for tri power.
So I called the guy who did the block and asked him . He said no I got the regular one but it'll work. I says take it outta there avd send it back. He did. Then I bought my own cam and spring kit.
I go pick up the block get it back to my place
We go to put the new cam in and the
bumpstick Bumped into a bearing in the back. WTF !!! The arsehole who did the block had the bearing cocked in there and then just corn holed the dam cam in there .
Block sits there with heads all done and tri power sittin there waitin to go in . I gotta get the bearing straightened out . Or get new bearings I should say .
I'm gonna get that car together this winter
I'll post some photos later on when I get over to the cave .
Short answer there huh ??
🤣
 

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Yeah I guess if you want to hand the ball to someone else then Dave Ray would definitely be the guy .
Yes, David Ray has built/tuned distributors for many people....
BUT, David Ray will email anyone instructions (and has also posted a ton of information over the past decade) that give you the knowledge and confidence to perform distributor tunes and upgrades yourself.

Several years ago, I was in the total dark about how to modify and re-curve my distributor's advance (both mechanical and vacuum) for optimal performance for both cruising and all-out acceleration.
I was one of those "just set your total mechanical timing to 38° and let the initial be what it is"... and David Ray (aka IgnitionMan) called me out on this. Rather then getting mad at being "called out", I took it upon myself to learn as much as a could about distributor advance.
I spent a couple weeks just reading posts from "IgnitionMan/David Ray" (and others) from the past decade. If you gloss over the "all you guys are knuckleheads" comments, there is a ton of useful information to be learned! After reading all of these posts and requesting the email information package from David Ray, it was apparent how much I really didn't know.

Once you understand the parameters of ignition timing... and the need for the correct amount of ignition timing during various operation conditions (cruising at very low engine load > to all out acceleration - high engine load), you'll have a much better understanding of how you can modify your own distributors (instead of paying someone else to do it).
 

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David Visard is one of the very best of the good guys, but, he also does a lot of dyno work, and flow bench as well, and there are severe issues with final tuning an engine on a dyno. Dyno's and flow benches are GREAT tools for developing engine components. Also, AFR gauges are NOT final tuning devices, they are EMISSIONS parameter devices to get an engine into a wide specification for EPA certification. To try to use an AFR gauge to tune an engine is pure fantasy, and way into the fluffy cumulus clouds. ,

I own two full dyno's, one engine, one chassis, and three flow benches, one a dry air flow, the other two are wet flow (air and liquid media), one is a constant flow, the other is an impulse flow (this one actually takes ONE charge at a time, mimicing one intake port flow event). I hand built the last two flow benches, MYSELF.

NOT ONE OF THOSE DEVICES ARE FOR FINAL TUNING ON STREET ENGINES, OR, RACING ENGINES, FOR THAT MATTER. Now, once yu get the seat of the pants settings done, yes, run the testing on the dyno, AFR, as the base lines to set after mods, repair, but, NOT AS THE FINAL TUNING DEVICE.

The best, and only final tuning device I use is set inside the butt area of my pants, and needs the engine running, car driving, and me, sitting in the driver's seat. "Seat of the Pants" dyno

As far as my "bad Attitude", when I get called some name, or "stupid", after ding all this, from factory development to race, to street development, for over 45 years, yup, I defend myself, and my actions, info and help to others. Some people do not make enough money to try what 20 people erroneously tell a person to do to "make it right". I want to get it done the first time, and if someone can do it efficiently, correctly, and not break the bank doing so, I am all for it.

Many people have proved me correct.

It is just that simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
David Visard is one of the very best of the good guys, but, he also does a lot of dyno work, and flow bench as well, and there are severe issues with final tuning an engine on a dyno. Dyno's and flow benches are GREAT tools for developing engine components. Also, AFR gauges are NOT final tuning devices, they are EMISSIONS parameter devices to get an engine into a wide specification for EPA certification. To try to use an AFR gauge to tune an engine is pure fantasy, and way into the fluffy cumulus clouds. ,

I own two full dyno's, one engine, one chassis, and three flow benches, one a dry air flow, the other two are wet flow (air and liquid media), one is a constant flow, the other is an impulse flow (this one actually takes ONE charge at a time, mimicing one intake port flow event). I hand built the last two flow benches, MYSELF.

NOT ONE OF THOSE DEVICES ARE FOR FINAL TUNING ON STREET ENGINES, OR, RACING ENGINES, FOR THAT MATTER. Now, once yu get the seat of the pants settings done, yes, run the testing on the dyno, AFR, as the base lines to set after mods, repair, but, NOT AS THE FINAL TUNING DEVICE.

The best, and only final tuning device I use is set inside the butt area of my pants, and needs the engine running, car driving, and me, sitting in the driver's seat. "Seat of the Pants" dyno

As far as my "bad Attitude", when I get called some name, or "stupid", after ding all this, from factory development to race, to street development, for over 45 years, yup, I defend myself, and my actions, info and help to others. Some people do not make enough money to try what 20 people erroneously tell a person to do to "make it right". I want to get it done the first time, and if someone can do it efficiently, correctly, and not break the bank doing so, I am all for it.

Many people have proved me correct.

It is just that simple.
Thanks...I'm trying to optimize the ignition timing and vac advance etc on my truck.
89 k2500 with a mid 70's 350 in it .
Msd "street fire" distributor that has an adjustable vacuum advance canister on it .
Can you point me in the direction of one of your more comprehensive posts or videos or anything that might apply to what I'm trying to achieve here ?
 

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Thanks...I'm trying to optimize the ignition timing and vac advance etc on my truck.
89 k2500 with a mid 70's 350 in it .
Msd "street fire" distributor that has an adjustable vacuum advance canister on it .
Can you point me in the direction of one of your more comprehensive posts or videos or anything that might apply to what I'm trying to achieve here ?
Email him and he’ll send you a packet with tons of good info. That’s what I did when rebuilding a junkyard GM HEI. Works perfectly.
 
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He helped me with my old 454, ran great after following his instr., have to find that email for my new engine
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
He helped me with my old 454, ran great after following his instr., have to find that email for my new engine
Yeah I looked on his website and yes he asks people to email him . The only thing is though it looks like it looks like he's more converting old distributors?? I'm not sure what id be asking for because I don't need that.
 

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Yeah I looked on his website and yes he asks people to email him . The only thing is though it looks like it looks like he's more converting old distributors?? I'm not sure what id be asking for because I don't need that.
If you want a full write up and pictures on just how to properly set vacuum advance degrees to work right, send an email to: [email protected] and ask for the "vacuum advance package". It is free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm running this msd street fire .
Right now I'm at 18 initial and all in at about 28 or 2900 at 36 degrees.

Without changing springs or bushings In the distributor the mechanical advance remains at about 18 degrees no matter where I have initial set .
If I set initial at 10 my total is 28
If I set my initial at 14 my total is 32

I'm not sure what dictates what is optimal even within these parameters of not changing anything in the distributor.
Itll run at 10 initial. Itll run at 20 initial.
I have no idea what the starting point is
/ should be or what I'm shooting for as far as rate of advance or where to stop the advance.

Somthing in the instructions with this spring and bushing kit confuses things even more because every single graph they show only goes to 28 degrees total.
Very confusing.
 

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The rotating shaft keys into a slot. By bushing the pin, or key, you limit the amount of mechanical advance. If you take the rotor off and work the weights you'll clearly see the pin and slot.

BTW, I always thought that low compression engines could tolerate ALOT more advance than a 10:1 engine. so they may like to see 40-45 degrees or more at rpm. For most engines we build from 34-38 seems to be a common sweet spot.

Al, I'd set it at 16 (34) or 18 (36) and it ought be very close. How much vacuum advance you add is somewhat dependent on the engine and its cylinder pressure.
 

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I'm running this msd street fire .
Right now I'm at 18 initial and all in at about 28 or 2900 at 36 degrees.
The instructions that you attached in post #15 are not for your MSD Streetfire distributor. The instructions you posted are for an advance "spring and bushing" kit to be used in a completely different type of distributor... and the advance bushings can not be used in your Streetfire.
Attached to this post are the correct instructions for your MSD Streetfire HEI distributor.

I am willing to help you out, but first I have to see what I am working with.
Can you remove your distributor cap and rotor and take/post a photo (similar view to the one shown below) that shows the advance weights and springs of your Streetfire distributor that is currently installed in your truck.
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In another forum, you posted that you purchased your MSD Streetfire distributor brand new about 4 years ago.
  • Where did you purchase your Streetfire from?
  • Did your Streetfire come with a Vacuum Advance Stop Plate (just like the one shown below... and also shown in the attached instructions)?
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The rotating shaft keys into a slot. By bushing the pin, or key, you limit the amount of mechanical advance. If you take the rotor off and work the weights you'll clearly see the pin and slot.
The above is true for the MSD "Full Billet" line of distributors (and similar copies)... but there is no pin on the MSD Streetfire HEI that can except an advance bushing to change/limit the amount of mechanical advance.

The total amount of mechanical advance in the MSD Streetfire HEI is controlled by the advance weights and centerplate... but the advance weights and/or centerplate can be swapped (or modified) to change the total amount of mechanical advance within this distributor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Al 66 GTO ?
Here's a couple I took last night loading the block into my truck. Itss .030 over 389. Its headed over to the machine shop tomorrow to replace the cam bearings the first guy butchered in there .
I'll have em fix it then paint the block and heads Pontiac blue . The tri power bling thatll cap it off is in a box. Ill get a photo of that when I drop off the block tomorrow and a couple of the car . Itll be interesting tuning that set up. Never done it .
That tri power is a real eye cat
 

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Once again, here is the email address for the vacuum advance packet. [email protected]

The info pertains to any vacuum advance, on any vacuum advance type distributor, as long as the engine DOES NOT have a functioning EGR system in use, no matter the make, model, engine year, type.

YES, I also do ignition conversions on older points distributors, but I was also involved with Delcpo-Remy to get the large coil in cap HEI working right, and worked on the T.I. and Unitized forst series ignition systems, Ford Dura-Spark, MOPAR, and a couple of aftermarket ones as well.

The MSD degrees stop pictured is a pain in the rear to get right, they come loose, and just aren't worth it. The single plate I outline is far, far better, and easier to use, stays put.

The MSD vacuum advance IS "adjustable", but in doing so, the way it is, doesn't help. SEPARATING degrees stop from vacuum rating pull IS, and that is what the small adjuster does, as outlined in my packet. For those of you that just can't stand text only, there are pictures, all sorts of pictures..
 
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