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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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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!!!!!!!:D
 

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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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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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...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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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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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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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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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. :D :D

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

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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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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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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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 =).

Cris
 

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Hello guys,

i´m 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 don´t fit any longer. If i use a spacer to rise the cleaner my hood don´t 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.





Markus
 

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buy an offset air cleaner base. easily had for short money, and you wont need a spacer. as far as the adjustment, just index the cap. it doesnt know where 1 is sposed to be and so forth. you can have that thing pointing anywhere you want it.
 

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Excellent write up. Im impressed with the initial quality that you can see there.

However i too am against the GM style HEI but for different reasons.
Back in the late 80s early 90s i worked for my parents in their feed store. We eventually had 3 trucks.
  1. 1986 GMC 3/4 ton pickup 350ci
  2. 1980 Chevy truck 1 ton flatbed 350ci
  3. 1988 FORD 1 ton 14ft flatbed Econoline van cut-away 460
  4. 1985 GMC dually 1 ton 454 gas (step dads Personal truck)
The work truck chevys had to be towed back to the store at least 3 times each over the 3 years we were in business. Cause? The HEI module burned up because of spark scatter or overheating (IMO).
I got pretty good changing out the CAP, Rotor, Module, (yes Cleaned and thermal greased, AGAIN!) And i think that the coil went out at least twice in the time period.
Wasn't just the work trucks either. I had to leave from work with the FORD in Norco Ca to go to Hemet Ca to tow my step dad back home one morning. Thats 50 miles one way. When i got back that night after work i brought a module, cap, and rotor care package. Cause??? U guessed it. The Module.
It doesnt stop there either. I was on my way back from a delivery and saw the proverbial stranded mother and young child on the side of the road in there late 70s chevy truck. They said that the truck "just died" So i drove them to the nearest part store and told them that i bet its the module. Had them get the care package, Installed it with the Tools that i now carried in all the chevys and fired it right up and away they went.

And Ford has taken such a beating over thier TFI module.

To be fair though FORD had 2 issues.
Starter
Catalitic convertor.

( what a workhorse. 8000LBS on the bed Once! 6000lbs on a reagular basis!! You couldnt even feel a ton on the bed! )

Maybe the technology is WAY better with the modules Etc for the HEI systems in the aftermarket nowadays, But i can tell you after that experiance I will never go with HEI again.
 

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Excellent write up. Im impressed with the initial quality that you can see there.

However i too am against the GM style HEI but for different reasons.
Back in the late 80s early 90s i worked for my parents in their feed store. We eventually had 3 trucks.
  1. 1986 GMC 3/4 ton pickup 350ci
  2. 1980 Chevy truck 1 ton flatbed 350ci
  3. 1988 FORD 1 ton 14ft flatbed Econoline van cut-away 460
  4. 1985 GMC dually 1 ton 454 gas (step dads Personal truck)
The work truck chevys had to be towed back to the store at least 3 times each over the 3 years we were in business. Cause? The HEI module burned up because of spark scatter or overheating (IMO).

Maybe the technology is WAY better with the modules Etc for the HEI systems in the aftermarket nowadays, But i can tell you after that experiance I will never go with HEI again.
Now reverse your experiences, and those have been mine with Ford's TFI and Duraspark boxes. Between my parents and different buddies and relatives, I've lost count of how many times we've towed a car or truck that has burned up one or the other. The cars of the early 80's were the most problematic for us. One car, 1986 Mustang GT, would die about every 6 months. It got sold after 3 years.
 

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Guess its just the luck of the individual. The only tfi vehicle that is in the family is my moms 1988 Bronco. Never had and issue after over 190,000 miles.
 

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Chevy stuff in a ford.Hei distributors are a great cheap way to get a good distributor.If you dont like running chevy stuff then everyone who has afternarket heads on a small block ford should take them off because the valves are usually 2.02 1.6 and those didnt originally come in Fords.I have a one wire G.M. alternator on my 69 ranchero because the stock one would always take a crap on me and the duraspark ignition on my Torino would leave me stranded in the most convenient places.So if it performs better you should go for it.I currently run MSD ready to run distributors in both my cars and one wire alternators and my AFR heads on one car and World heads on the other both have chevy valves.I was raised die hard Ford but sometimes you gots to do what you gots to do to go fast and drive em every day.Maybe I will start complaining when I see Honda crap under someones hood:)
 
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