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Another Upgrade Ignition

Discussion in 'Intermediate CJ-5 and CJ-6 Tech' started by Nosara, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Aug 20, 2018
    Nosara

    Nosara New Member

    Coastal, Ga.
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2018
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    23
    Has anyone used something like this? It sounds like it is self contained.
    -A Team Performance 65K COIL Red Cap HEI Complete Distributor Compatible With AMC/Jeep Straight 6 232 3.8L & 258 4.2L One Wire.
     
  2. Aug 20, 2018
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    There's nearly 2 decades of online articles about the HEI swap for these engines, if you search. This is one of dozens (hundreds?) of Chinese reproductions of the GM HEI distributor. An OEM Chevy 250 HEI distributor will work in the 232/258 if you swap to an AMC V8 distributor gear.

    I'm not a big fan of the GM HEI distributor. A Motorcraft distributor from a '78-on 232 or 258 will also work, and is functionally and electrically the same as the GM repop, but no coil under the cap (a virtue, IMO).

    Many possible combinations of ignition parts will work for these engines.
     
    mike starck likes this.
  3. Aug 20, 2018
    rejeep

    rejeep Sponsor Sponsor

    Rochester, NY
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    Nov 5, 2009
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    Keep it stock
     
  4. Aug 20, 2018
    heavychevy

    heavychevy Sponsor Sponsor

    Danielsville georgia
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    Sep 7, 2008
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    I have been a believer in the pertronix system. There is a module that replaces the points and condensor. Use the stock dist. Cap
     
    mike starck likes this.
  5. Aug 20, 2018
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    OP has the Prestolite BID system, if stock. Reasonable to replace it, considering the orphan status of the BID and its history.

    Pertronix is for the points distributor. The OP could convert to the Delco points ignition used 1974 and earlier, and then add Pertronix. You can also drive an MSD module with the Delco distributor, which would be a fine upgrade. Lots of options for these engines, but not much you can do with the BID stuff.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    heavychevy likes this.
  6. Aug 20, 2018
    Nosara

    Nosara New Member

    Coastal, Ga.
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    Jun 25, 2018
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    23
    I’m currently completely stock .
     
  7. Aug 20, 2018
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    You must consider the choices and decide.

    First, you can keep the BID ignition and drive your Jeep, or go with a different ignition. My J10 still has its Prestolite ignition and it starts and runs reliably (so far). The only upgrade option you have with the BID is to add the MSD module and trigger it from the Prestolite module. You will have the hotter spark of the MSD module but retain all of the Prestolite parts (distributor, module, coil), for good or bad.

    Second, if you choose to replace the Prestolite stuff, you will need a different distributor. Then you have to choose between a Kettering trigger (points) or a magnetic trigger (variable reluctance, VR, which includes the later Jeep Motorcraft distributor, and the GM HEI, either from a 250 Chevy or an imported reproduction aka repop). Mixing and matching within the VR and points domain is too long a story to cover now, but there are dozens of different combinations that you can put together. With a little study, you can understand the principles involved and choose the parts that you prefer.
     
  8. Aug 20, 2018
    Daryl

    Daryl Sponsor Sponsor

    Bonney Lake, WA
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    The HEI is a time proven ignition system that is worlds better then any of the JUNK ever put onto an AMC motor. We can get all caught up in the technical pieces of what the ignition actually does or you can slap in an HEI and forget about it probably for the rest of the life of this Jeep. There are dozens of "fixs" to the original junk that will leave you with all kinds of weird pieces and parts or just swap out to an HEI. Another benefit to the HEI is that every parts store in America will most likely have all the parts on hand if you ever need them.
     
    Focker, sterlclan and 45es like this.
  9. Aug 20, 2018
    rejeep

    rejeep Sponsor Sponsor

    Rochester, NY
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    Who has had an HEI drive gear break off in their motor...

    :banghead:
     
  10. Aug 20, 2018
    heavychevy

    heavychevy Sponsor Sponsor

    Danielsville georgia
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    I have heard that mentioned before. Seems to me that a common fix was to move the old gear from original distributor and install it on the hei.
     
    IrishCJ6 likes this.
  11. Aug 21, 2018
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    I have a HEI distributor from a 250 Chevy that will go in my J10, some day. However, it is the first-year version that puts the coil outside the distributor on the side of the engine block. This distributor https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1271653&cc=1029350&jsn=444 was continued for the K5 Blazer with the 250, while (I recall) the passenger cars got the familiar coil-in-cap version. Mechanically this arrangement seems more sensible for the 250, where the distributor sticks out of the side of the block at a significant angle (like the 258!) The Chevy V8s from the same year got the familiar coil-in-cap arrangement, but the distributor in those engines sits vertical on top of the engine. Much less stress on the cap connection to the distributor body.

    The repop HEIs are/were notorious for chewing up the cam gear of AMC V8s. Happened a lot, where the hardened steel gear of the new distributor meshes poorly with the cam gear and eats it away. Does not seem to be so much of a problem for the 258, but caveat emptor. If you want to run an aftermarket HEI distributor, do your homework. It may be worthwhile to spend some extra money to get a more widely known version like the Davis with a well-documented track record. AMC 6 Cylinder DUI Distributors - Performance Distributors

    Using the old gear should work on the V8s. Online reports say that will work. The V8 gear for the Prestolite and Motorcraft distributors has the same PN, so you should be able to swap your old Prestolite gear onto a Motorcraft. The 6 cylinder Prestolite and Motorcraft gears have a different part number. Whether any of these are compatible with the repop HEIs, I do not know.
     
  12. Aug 21, 2018
    IrishCJ6

    IrishCJ6 Member

    Wicklow Ireland
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
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    387
    I have one of the repop HEI distributor setups on my Amc 360, I however changed the drive gear with the original one. I have not had one issue with it since it was installed nearly 8 years ago.
     
    Daryl and heavychevy like this.
  13. Aug 21, 2018
    Miller Mears

    Miller Mears New Member

    Virginia Beach VA
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    Aug 14, 2017
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    x2 on the Davidson Unified Ignition (DUI) stuff. I put one in an old chevy V-drive boat i have and the service was first class. Talked to the owner both times i called and even had the tech call me with questions during final assembly. And like stated above if it goes south parts are easy to find. IMO
     
    heavychevy likes this.
  14. Aug 22, 2018
    johneyboy03

    johneyboy03 The green beast

    Quebec, Canada
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
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    1,566
    Me.....

    But it was my fault. You have to keep to original gear and swap it over the hei. Otherwise new dist gear with used cam gear will end up with this situation.

    Now i'm running a oem gear on the cam and a bronze one on the distributor. No issues for the last 8 years.
     
  15. Aug 23, 2018
    wally

    wally SSSSTER

    upper merrimack...
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
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    493
    i'll only add that the original prestolite BID drive gear from a 258 can be used with a chevy/buick hei distributor, but the large collar has to be ground down to a short lip to work. worked in my cj for over 10 years.
     

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