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Old 01-25-2009, 06:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

I have a 1986 302 with a Ford Motorsport E303 roller cam. The motor is carb'd and I intend to run HEI (save the GM debate, I have cars from all the big 3). The Proform HEI I've read has iffy quality control so I want to go with either Mallory's or Taylor/Vertex's HEI. The Mallory has a cast iron gear which will need swapped out but the Taylor comes with what they call a hardened steel gear. I don't know if either is compatable with the cam (although steel to steel should work in theory). When researching the Proform HEI (which comes with a steel gear as well) it was mentioned that it will not work with a roller cam which doesn't make sense and leads to my confusion.

To be safe I could buy the actual Ford steel gear. My question is, will the Ford gear fit these aftermarket distributors properly? They are availale in two shaft diameters.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

Anyone?
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

I have the same question,

I bought the HEI style Proform from summit.
On there website they say it will work with the factory roller cams. But in the box it says it will not work with steel cams.

Does anyone know if the steel gear on the Proform HEI will work? or will it chew it up like a cast gear?
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

I also buy some cheap parts but electronics are not one of them. I am not criticizing but have been there. One call to MSD to the tech line and it paid for the little more I spent. It is an area that talking to a person at the company makes a huge difference. Just as a reference the 85 Mustang HO is the only roller cam engine I know of that had a carb and distributor. Considering it was a one year only deal my guess is your proform will not work.
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

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Originally Posted by bob10 View Post
On there website they say it will work with the factory roller cams. But in the box it says it will not work with steel cams.
If by "steel cams" they mean billet, that's not the same as a factory roller cam. Factory cams used SADI cores with heat-treat hardened gears.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

I've got an '85 HO in my '68 Mustang. Roller cams are hardened steel so you want to run a softer distributor gear like either bronze or composite. When I bought the car it had the iron gear on it and it was starting to create metal shavings. Ford distributors come in two shaft sizes, so you'll need a micrometer to measure the distributor you have and order the correct gear.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

The factory didn't run "soft" gears with their roller cams and they generally lasted 100,000+ miles. The bronze and composite gears don't last very long, the harder cam gear eats them up just like it did your iron gear.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: E303 roller cam/which distributor and gear?

OK, the first thing to understand is that factory style (factory, and aftermarket replacements like FMS, crane, trickflo etc) hydraulic roller cams are not made from steel. They are made from austempered ductile iron billet.Next, don't try and run a soft gear like bronze in an engine with a camshaft made from austempered ductile iron billet that sees street useage. It will wear very quickly. And when it wears it dumps filings through the engine. The factory gear is just fine for over 300,000 miles.If you need a replacement distributor, ask the seller if the gear is compatible with austempered ductile iron billet camshafts. If the seller doesn't know there are two options- walk away and buy a distributor from someone who knows what they are selling, or- fit a mallory alloy steel distributor drive gear. These are compatible with austempered ductile iron billet cams (and regular flat tappet cams as well).Good luck
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