Team Chevelle banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
851 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Searched the site and found most post on this subject to be way out of date.
Lots of HEI's available but I'm stubborn in wanting US made, not XXXXXChinese!
Summit racing site has "Issues" today and does not reveal country of origin anyway.
Really hope to order ASAP so that I may have it by Friday.
The only US unit the Summit guy could come up with is $300.00
Thought I saw a reference to a US made MSD the other day but cannot find it now.

Tried to find an original GM part but it appears they stopped making them.
Part number I had is no longer available.

So what is a good non-Chinese HEI SBC distributor in 2021?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,920 Posts
I have run Pertronix in my stock GM type distributors over the years and still do but I looked DUI a lot but never pulled the trigger. They are expensive and I believe made here. Some like them here and some think they are just over priced. We will see what the members think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
851 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
From their site, Current Estimated Shipping Time For This Distributor is 4-5 Weeks

I am very suspicious of my old distributor.
It seems to be the only remaining component from before my rebuild.
And the truck still has similar issues to what it did before the build even with a new carb.
No one in the area has a distributor machine to test it with.
I should be able to get a better idea if I can dig my S.E.A. out of the corner.
 

·
Premium Member
1968 Malibu sport coupe, 489 ci. 590 hp 600 tq, RV T-400 Freakshow 3200 stall, 3.73 12 bolt posi
Joined
·
9,321 Posts
Try looking up member Dave Ray
 

·
Registered
Ryan
Joined
·
665 Posts
I went through this recently. I ended up going to the junk yard, grabbing a few old HEI’s, took them apart, ordered now parts, @luceifershammer mailed me a center weight/ bushing, recurved it, added crane adjustable can, emailed Dave Ray and he sent me all of his HEI how to info. Followed it and it runs flawlessly. It was a rewarding learning experience. But at the end of the day I probably should have just bought a GMPP distributor. Its made in Taiwan. Not much for USA made HEIs these days

 
  • Like
Reactions: Aml383 and LeoP

·
Registered
Joined
·
851 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I could live with Taiwan made.
Data point: Found out that MSD are American made but the "Streetfire" are not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
I just swapped out my old distributor with a summit HEI and the car runs like a dream, smoother and more power than the previous dist which was a points unit with electronic pickup conversion. No issues what so ever with the summit unit.
 

·
Premium Member
1968 Malibu sport coupe, 489 ci. 590 hp 600 tq, RV T-400 Freakshow 3200 stall, 3.73 12 bolt posi
Joined
·
9,321 Posts
I have a Pertronix HEI Flame Thrower III with digital rev limiter that when I bought it a little over 1 year ago was made in U.S.A. @ around $250-$275ish it's a very good dist. but I almost bought the GMPP dist. since a lot of folks like it
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
527 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,853 Posts
Get a early 60s iron distributor, remove the vacuum advance and screw down the points plate to the body.
Get a Vertex Z-6 CD box. Use the distributor to trigger the CD box.. The MSD6AL is also a decent box try to get an older unit..

You'll end up with a very powerful ignition that's easy to adjust and troubleshoot.. The points will last for thousands of miles by removing 90% of the work..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
851 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Well, this came to a head today.
Need to trust my instincts, I thought the distributor was an issue and put off replacement for more troubleshooting. :unsure:
I had started to check out the truck on my scope yesterday but got interrupted.
Brief look I got at the O'Scope showed some hash in the ignition traces.
Decided to make a quick dump run this morning before getting the truck back on the scope.
Big mistake, truck died on the way home with no spark at all.
Okay, I was already suspicious of the distributor so not totally surprised.
The bad part was that being broke down at the side of the road left me very few choices in what distributor to buy.
"OE Quality" Chinese made from O'Reilly's or "OE Quality" Chinese made from O'Reilly's!
They only stock one.
Got a ride home and picked up some tools and a car to return to the truck.
Bought and installed the "OE Quality" distributor.
Truck fired up and purred, MUCH better than it had been.
Got another driver for the car so I could take the truck home.
Fired right up, I pulled on to the road, engine surged a couple of time and died.
No spark at all but the coil was very hot.
HEI distributors are pretty idiot proof, I cannot think of a way to do them wrong and still get them to run at all.
While I was thinking about what to do next the coil began smoking heavily.
So no doubt the new "OE Quality" unit is toast.
Yep, it is under warranty, but I still have to wait until morning to try again, which my back and hips hate as I have to climb into the engine compartment to reach the distributor.
And I still need to move the truck further off the road tonight so it will not be towed.
I left a note with my phone number if that does any good.

EDIT: After thinking about it this may "Just" be a bad coil and cap.
Still not "OE Quality" but may be less of a chore than changing out the whole distributor.
Will find out for sure in the morning.
And I did get the truck moved.
 

·
Registered
Ryan
Joined
·
665 Posts
Yup. Those cheap in cap coils will overheat and take your module with it. Sorry about your bad luck tonight. Hopefully you can get it sorted out in the morning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
851 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK, PSA time.
Do not, no matter what, buy a #GM08 distributor from O'Reilly's!

The first one I got melted the cap, what a stink.
The second failed before the truck ever started, no spark.
I could hardly believe I got two bad units in two days so began checking the truck for wiring issues.
Nope, the 12V feed is fine and there is plenty of grounding contact.
Pulled the distributor again and brought it home.
Battery jumper cable time.
Negative to distributor body, positive jumped to 12V terminal.
Ignition wire from any plug terminal to my grounded spark tester.
Cheap bulb type tester barely glimmers.
Much more reliable and indicative spark gap type tester gets NOTHING at all.

So now I will be putting in my MSD #8360 Ready To Run that I had previously used in the El Camino.
Massive overkill for the truck but at least I know it works.

Looks like the El Camino will be getting a distributor-less ignition courtesy of Megasquirt.
Ignition only as I will be running 4X Weber 44 IDF.

I think I am DONE with HEI's, too bulky, unreliable* and a pain to troubleshoot.
*I have had the internal module fail twice before now, a coil once, and the most recent issue of which I am unsure what failed.
Then two bad "New made in China" units in a row.
 

·
Premium Member
1968 Malibu sport coupe, 489 ci. 590 hp 600 tq, RV T-400 Freakshow 3200 stall, 3.73 12 bolt posi
Joined
·
9,321 Posts
Have you tried getting a GM dist. from a JY ? I'd give that a try since it'd be cheap and if it works add new internal parts, if you were local I'd give you a spare early GM HEI dist I have that's just collecting dust
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
851 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Been without my truck for three days and need it to make a long trip for which I am already late.
Having to climb into the engine compartment several times to do the work is too hard on me, need this over with today.
I do appreciate the offer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,853 Posts
I like the iron points distributor with a tach attachment and no vacuum advance.. Most are dual points, I just use one side. This distributor triggers a Vertex Z-6 Capacitive Discharge box..
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top