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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed a Unilte with about 10 years ago and now I have a problem. It's between the unilite and the carb. I just rebuilt the carb so I think it is the distributor. It is pulling a lot of vacume and my engine will idle and run up to 50 but if I get into the Holley 4bbl it backfires and will stall. I've been told Module failure is common to this distributor and I wonder if this is the problem.
 

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I have never understood the attraction to the Mallory Unilite distributor. I have had excellent results, both for street and performance applications, with the stock Ford points distributor equipped with the Pertronix module. Recurving the advance may be necessary depending on your application. Otherwise, it's a 100K mile part, no maintance or repairs needed.

So why the Unilite?
 

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KW....

You are not alone. I installed a Mallory IR unit in one car and bought a Unilite for the other. In simple terms here twenty years later the IR unit is still going as when installed. The Unilite has long since been yanked out.

The car with the Unilite used to act like it was starving for gasoline. Thought is was vapor lock for a while. Then as I pulled away from stop lights, it would mis-fire for perhaps two seconds, and then catch and go. Strange things kept me looking at all wrong things. Then one morning to go to work, it just refused to start up at all. It was done.

I telephoned my friend at Mallory about it all. He mentioned to be competitive, the Carson folks used less that optimum qualtity electronics. They felt if the unit lasted more than one year it was an exception and a good one, for most were pooping out at nine months. Just under the warranty. Mine was going on three years. Out of warranty. I drive around Palm Springs and it was the heat which get to them first. He thought I had one of the exceptional units, for it did not poop out earlier. It hasn't snowed on P.S. since 1975, so in your area the heat may not affect the life of the unit as it does here.

The electronics unit is still available in original condition and quality. If your unit lasted X months, expect the new replacement electronics to last that long too. Many folks here have mentioned they now use another replacement brand for the Mallory electronics and have obtained way better than normal service out of it. In my area, the smog board refuses to accept any distributor other than what was factory installed, and thus have not slipped in the shiney aluminum distributor with any sort of electronics inside.

Wm.
 

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I bought a 77 F350 to get the 460 and it has a mallory unilite it it and sometimes it will just die like the key was turned off but will restart,a few times it backfired out the exhaust damaging the mufflers so when it goes in the 66 it will get a duraspark ignition. Jeff
 

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You guys aren't giving me very much of a good feeling here, got me wondering. I have a Unilite in my 514 and have yet to crank, a bit worried now. On the plus side, I paid F A for it if I recall, so maybe a MSD pro billet is in order, we'll see after she runs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm going by my own experience. The unit is over 10y old and may not be the problem. I bought an E-spark replacement module and will install it. Mallory and MSD run about the same price. I bought it before Pertronix came along. If it's the module I rebuilt my Holley for nothing. Maybe new ones are junk, nothing is made like it used to be.
 

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Jeff....

What you mentioned with your truck, I had that happen on my Mustang a few years ago. Was tootiling along past 60 MPH and it back fired. Took yet another month or so for the unit to completely poop out. I didn't even yank the old one out. I had seen used Mallory distributors designed to fit other makes/models at the local swap meet going for about $15 to $20 each. I just bought a working one there, removed the electronics, and bolted in to mine. Went to drive-in within ten minutes afterwards. Worked as normal for about 9 months w/o incident. When it pooped, and I called friend in Carson Nevada as noted.

At the time a new electronic module was going for $79 and a whole distributor was at $89.


Wm.
 

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I ain’t had a lick of problems with my Unilite and it’s pushing 8 years old. Are you using the spike filter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've read guys using and not using it. I might. The E-spark module was $46.00 local and a new distributor 200+ but we only have one Speed Shop in town that keeps some Ford parts in stock. I may buy it online.
 

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New rules concerning Calif. emissions now such that just because tailpipe poops out less politants, don't mean it is better. They would not authorise the installation of Mallory distributor. Have since gone back to original, with very worn parts inside.

What is spike filter. Asking clerk at local speed shop, and they were unaware of such being available. Term to them seemed familiar, but nothing beyond that.

The emissions folks have ceased looking at engines for awhile again. Would like to re-insert the Mallory again and get the engine to run smoother.

Wm.
 

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i used a stock electronic dist and electronics from a donor ... replace the dist with a new one for less than 50bucks at local parts store and my 429 runs fine no problems.. didnt catch what motor you runnin tho...

my electronics all stock replacement from the late 70's early 80's swapped inta the 63 gal
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My engine is a 390. The problem turned out to be the vacume advance on the mallory distributor and not the carb. $45.00 in parts and frustration and it is running again.
 
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