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Old 02-06-2008, 10:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Proform HEI Distributor Review

A buddy of mine recently picked up a 1972 Comet as a daily beater and long-term project. The 302 equipped car popped up in the local classifieds for $1300, and had belonged to the same owner the last 15 years. The high-mileage engine was in fair running order but it felt unusually sloth like. Checking the timing we found that we were getting no advance at all. On further inspection we narrowed it down to a seized up advance mechanism in the stock distributor.

Not wanting to take chances with rebuilding a rusty old dizzy we checked the Summit and Jegs catalogs to price out the MSD combo of a new small block Ford distributor and 6AL box. Have you seen the pricing on this stuff recently? He'd have to shell out about $500, way more than this car needed at this time. We searched for a cheaper alternative, but something better than a stock distributor converted to Pertronix or similar. Searching Summit and Jegs for "302 distributor" we found this - a HEI Ford Distributor PN:669669R for about $200. This isn't a "chintzy" overseas knock-off from a no-name company however. It's made by Proform, and has a mix of US made components, while the shaft and housing are built by an ISO-9000 shop overseas.



HEI stands for High Energy Ignition, a GM idea back in the 70's. It is an inductive-discharge system that eliminates points with a solid state module. Along with greater reliability and durability, the solid state system offers significantly more spark energy. In addition, the HEI design positions a high energy coil right on top of the super sized distributor cap. These systems are super easy to install, with nothing more than the original 12V ignition-switch wire the distributor to hook up, and ground. A tachometer output terminal is provided as well.



This unit feels real solid. The body is an all new aluminum casting. The shaft is supported by an upper and lower bushing, making it spin super smooth and yet with no side-to-side play on the shaft. The cap and coil feel thick and heavy duty. Under the cap, the rotor, spring and weight assembly, and HEI module are all high precision pieces with no slop. Furthermore, everything is made for easy advance adjustment should you want to dial in your timing curve.


Because of the greater spark energy and the integral coil, the cap is pretty wide and tall compared to a stock distributor. It is likely to interfere with the underside of a stock air cleaner assembly. We fixed the problem with a cheap spacer that lifts the air cleaner 1" above the carburetor horn. Otherwise, installation is as simple as noting the terminal where the stock rotors is pointing, then pulling the old distributor, and putting in the new one with the rotor in the original position. Wire up the 12V ignition source and ground, re-connect the plug wires, and fire it up.



We set initial timing, with the vacuum advance disconnected, to 14 degrees advanced. We measured full advance of 34 degrees at 4000 rpm. Good enough for this Comet, but you can adjust spring and weights to bring it in sooner if needed.

The distributor made a noticeable difference in start-up and acceleration is much improved, as is the idle. A pretty good deal for $200 in my opinion.
Attached Thumbnails
Proform HEI Distributor Review-proformdist_1tp.jpg   Proform HEI Distributor Review-comet.jpg  

Last edited by 67stang; 02-07-2008 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

See! You CAN use GM technology in a Ford. It is ok. Chevvvvy guys use our 9", we use their solid state modules for and inductive discharge! It all good!

Excellent write up BTW!!!!!!!
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

yes, very good write up and very good to know, it scares me buying something like that off ebay. thanks
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It would be a cold day in you know where before I would pop my hood to show a GM type distributor staring someone in the face.

Blueprint a DURASPARK II distributor and mount a TFI coil. Even rebuilding a points style with a PERTRONIX II would be better (IMO).
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Old 02-08-2008, 04:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review



we run em in 2 comets, and a fox body. cant say enough good about em here. if you do run one , make sure you open the plug gap to maximise the spark.
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by 67stang View Post
...It is likely to interfere with the underside of a stock air cleaner assembly. We fixed the problem with a cheap spacer that lifts the air cleaner 1" above the carburetor horn...
Can you post a pic with the air cleaner fitting over the HEI?
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Old 02-09-2008, 03:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

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Originally Posted by KULTULZ View Post
It would be a cold day in you know where before I would pop my hood to show a GM type distributor staring someone in the face.

Blueprint a DURASPARK II distributor and mount a TFI coil. Even rebuilding a points style with a PERTRONIX II would be better (IMO).
Ditto on that Kultulz, Ford recommending GM parts goes against my grain.
Well written tech article just not in favor of the subject matter.
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario428 View Post

Ditto on that Kultulz, Ford recommending GM parts goes against my grain.
Might as well throw a set of AC plugs in it also...go for the gusto...

When you come up on a nice car (FORD) at a show or somewheres similiar, heartbreak is defined as the guy opening the hood and your seeing an INTERSTATE battery, STANT radiator cap and DELCO master cylinder (don't forget the TAIWAN air filter asm).

HEI= HUMOROUS ELECTRONIC IGNITION

DUI= DELCO UNDIGNIFIED IGNITION...
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Old 02-09-2008, 07:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

i have what is called in the jeggs book a msd ready to run billit dist.i think you can run that without a box ,or should i get a 6L too. its a 289 that was in my falcon when i got it .i don't khow the specs on the motor but it has a big cam . and sounds realy good. it has 0 road miles .right now it has an accel duel point . did i choose wisely? JD.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

Great write up and even better pics. With the coil on top it makes the engine compartment look cleaner. Being a GM design makes it hard for some to swallow. If it were a Ford engineered design these guys would be all over it.
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

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Originally Posted by valleyfirearms View Post
Great write up and even better pics.
Agreed, is an alternative for the non purist but sticks in the craw of a purist like me. Even my lawn tractor is a Ford.

Quote:
With the coil on top it makes the engine compartment look cleaner.
your opinion

Quote:
Being a GM design makes it hard for some to swallow. If it were a Ford engineered design these guys would be all over it.
Hello it's Fordmuscle.com not crapmaro.com

Not trying to start a flamewar but every time this HEI in a Ford engine has come up in any of the forums the same reaction has occured so it is not a surprise now.
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Last edited by Mario428; 02-09-2008 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

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Originally Posted by JDKRUZER1 View Post
i have what is called in the jeggs book a msd ready to run billit dist.i think you can run that without a box ,or should i get a 6L too. its a 289 that was in my falcon when i got it .i don't khow the specs on the motor but it has a big cam . and sounds realy good. it has 0 road miles .right now it has an accel duel point . did i choose wisely? JD.
Yes IMHO
Get a 6AL down the road if you want a rev limiter.
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Old 02-09-2008, 07:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

Good write up 67stang. I run a Performance Distributors DUI in my 400 and I love it. Trouble free and it is simple to install while keeping the wiring clean.....just like the 1 wire alt I have....can't understand why people think you gotta have a crap load of wiring and troublesome TFI modules or so-so Duraspark boxes. Ford's TFI ignitions and Duraspark boxes have left me stranded too many times for me to keep running them. As for the "I wouldn't have a GM part on my Ford" crowd, how about all those Saginaw P/S pumps that Ford used in the 70's or the Quadrajets that were used on the 429CJ? Ford thought the parts were good enough to give GM money to buy those parts and install them as OEM so whats wrong with an HEI system?
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

Duraspark distributor and MSD box works far better than Duraspark/Duraspark.

I can't really complain about the HEI thing...while I personally don't like them (nothing really to do with GM technology lol). I ran a 1 wire GM alternator for years and years on my 67 Coupe. Brighter headlights, better starts, the whole 9yds...it was well worth it and cleaned things up nicely lol. Now I use the Gen3 stuff.

See I do use Ford when I can =).

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Last edited by Is1BadFord; 02-09-2008 at 08:56 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Proform HEI Distributor Review

Hello guys,

iīm install this distributor on my fresh rebuild 5.0 in my 67 Mustang. The quality is very good. No play in the shaft and a massive body and cap. Easy to install.
But the huge diameter is a problem. The 14 inch ford racing air cleaner donīt fit any longer. If i use a spacer to rise the cleaner my hood donīt close. So i must buy a 10 or 11 inch cleaner to fit. And the ignition adjustment is very tricky. I can rotate the distributor only a little to adjust the ignition. The heater port on the left side of the upper manifold is in the way.
My curved monte carlo bar fits great. Thank god
Nevertheless i think it is a good investment.





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