Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,950 Posts
There are numerous choices when it comes to choosing an ignition system for your vintage Ford. You could go all out right off the bat and buy a billet distributor from any number of aftermarket parts manufacturers along with a capacitive discharge (CD) ignition box that could light off a small city. You can get by with the stock points system that vintage Fords came with until about 1975, but you will need to do a little maintenance now and then. Ford Duraspark came out in the mid 70's and offered electronic ignition that was trouble free for the most part, and is still a good choice today. There are Pertronix conversions that allow you to convert your points distributor to a more trouble free electronic ignition. You can even buy a brand new distributor that is basically GM's HEI distributor that will bolt right into your Ford engine.

I am going to show you an alternative ignition system that most people overlook, but that is relatively inexpensive, reliable, and packs a punch bigger that most of the stand alone electronic ignition systems.

The system I am referring to is a "6 series" capacitive discharge ignition box like those made by MSD, Mallory, Accel, Crane, and Jacobs, triggered by a points distributor. What? A points distributor? Most people look at any points distributor as an archaic piece of technology that has seen its day come and never want it back. You get the advantages of a CD style ignition that no points replacement kit can give you using a set of points that trigger the box to fire.



There are a number of advantages to using this system:

• Most Ford guys usually have an old Ford points distributor laying around or can get one for relatively little or no expense.

• You can still get a stock rebuilt points distributor at most parts stores for about $40.00.

• They are easy to work on and you can change the ignition curve pretty easily.

Longer Points life
There are 3-4 amps going across a stock set of open points. With a points distributor triggering the box, this is reduced to .2 amps on a set of open points, which greatly reduces wear. As a matter of fact, the points will probably last forever triggering a 6 series CD box. Since CD. ignition boxes use capacitive discharge technology, the points gap doesn't affect performance. I have a set of points in a CD triggered ignition system that have over 50,000 miles with no wear at all, and as long as the points open and close, the gap really doesn't matter where it is set.

Redundant Ignition System
A really cool aspect of the points triggered CD ignition system is that in the unlikely event of an ignition box failure, you can switch a couple of wires and be back on the road on points power alone in a short amount of time.

There are alternatives to the stock points distributors from the aftermarket made by Accel, Mallory or Cragar that you can still buy new or very inexpensive on Ebay or Craigslist, because most people don't want them. There are severe duty Accel and Mallory dual point distributors that have bulletproof parts and engineering in them 30-40 years after they were made, and parts are still available for them.

For this style of ignition system, a dual point distributor is nice for its ruggedness, but only one set of points is needed. Any of the popular aftermarket coils and spark plug wires can be used with a points triggered ignition system.

All of the aftermarket 6 series ignitions still include the white trigger wire for using a points distributor to fire the box. The white trigger wire connects to the distributor. All of the other connections remain the same, except that the magnetic pickup harness is no longer needed...



Here is a polished stock Ford points distributor using an MSD cap to fire a 6 ALN on a 5.0 in my '63 Ranchero. I am using Ford Racing 8 mm spark plug wires and a Blaster coil...





This is a severe duty tach drive Accel dual point distributor firing an old school 6A in my 351 C powered '64 Galaxie. The spark plug wires are MSD 8.8 mm with an Accel Super coil...





My 289 Ford powered '27 Track T roadster has a Mallory dual point with a marine cap firing an 6T ignition box with an Blaster coil and 7 mm wires...




Conclusion
The old standby points distributor still has a place on your Ford Muscle machine. Add on an aftermarket CD ignition box and you will have a faster starting, smoother idling engine as soon as you turn the key. Multiple sparks from a high performance ignition box are a plus that no points conversion kit can deliver. The points will require no maintenance as there is now far less voltage going across the points and the points now act as a switch to fire the ignition box. In the event that you have ignition box failure, you can switch a couple of wires on the coil and get home on points power alone.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Hi! F15,

BRILLIANT!!! I had no idea this could be done! Or "Why didn't I think of that?!"

I have read some really great tech posts from you. I LIKE the way you think.

I remember the dual point days. Our favorite ignition, in our Fords, was the Mallory dual point. Either the YC (4 lobe point cam) or YL (8 lobe point cam) with marine style cap or the crab cap. Also liked that big ol' black box oil cooled Mallory coil. The crab cap was especially convenient on Ford small blocks... You could remove the front bowl on your Holley without removing the distributor cap. I remember Pop had a set-up on his Mallory YC for shutting off one set of points. The idea was that this retarded the timing for more power at the top end. He would do this at the third gear shift. He drag raced a manual trans car.

Is point bounce still an issue at high revs with this set-up? There's probably an obvious answer to that. Duh!!

I think I've seen you on another message board that deals with tradional hot rods. If you haven't already... You should post this over there. They would like the old school look of this, yet maintain modern reliability.

Keep up the GOOD work!! Have A Great Day!!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
71 Posts
Great write up! I never knew it could be done!
I'll have to say I had long since forgot this. In the early days of CD development, Layfayette had a CD kit that was the pre-cursor of these latest CD boxes. But you, first, had to put it together yourself. It worked great. I'm sure a few, if not a bunch, of you guys remember them. They worked very well with points too! How many remember?
Great article.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
Yes, I have a stock points distributor triggering an MSD 6AL box. Point wear (burning) does'nt exist. I also use a felt wick lubricator to minimize rubbing block wear. The felt is soaked with a small amount of Redline 70wt. racing oil. I have 25+ k. on the points and still have'nt had to reset the. John--Las Vegas.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,950 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hi! F15,

BRILLIANT!!! I had no idea this could be done! Or "Why didn't I think of that?!"

I have read some really great tech posts from you. I LIKE the way you think.

I remember the dual point days. Our favorite ignition, in our Fords, was the Mallory dual point. Either the YC (4 lobe point cam) or YL (8 lobe point cam) with marine style cap or the crab cap. Also liked that big ol' black box oil cooled Mallory coil. The crab cap was especially convenient on Ford small blocks... You could remove the front bowl on your Holley without removing the distributor cap. I remember Pop had a set-up on his Mallory YC for shutting off one set of points. The idea was that this retarded the timing for more power at the top end. He would do this at the third gear shift. He drag raced a manual trans car.

Is point bounce still an issue at high revs with this set-up? There's probably an obvious answer to that. Duh!!

I think I've seen you on another message board that deals with tradional hot rods. If you haven't already... You should post this over there. They would like the old school look of this, yet maintain modern reliability.

Keep up the GOOD work!! Have A Great Day!!!
I've turned the 351 W in my dirt modiifed 7200 RPM's with a points triggered ignition system and I didn't notice any mis-firing. I used one set of heavy duty Blue Streak points in an Accel dizzy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
465 Posts
I'll have to say I had long since forgot this. In the early days of CD development, Layfayette had a CD kit that was the pre-cursor of these latest CD boxes. But you, first, had to put it together yourself. It worked great. I'm sure a few, if not a bunch, of you guys remember them. They worked very well with points too! How many remember?
Great article.
I remember those days. Heathkit had a CD Kit also. You had to assemble that one too. The CD's back then still used the points as a trigger. The point gap wasn't critical. As long as they opened and closed was all that mattered. They would never burn, just wear the rubbing block down to nothing.

I built my own CD ignition from a drawing in Electronics World magazine. Everytime it would quit it was because the paper capacitor that stored the charge would short out. It would always quit at idle, never at cruising speed. Replaced the paper cap with an oil filled one and it never failed again. Still have it to this day though don't know if it would still work.

R
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
This may be a stupid question. So please bear with me.

What does the white wire hook up to? Where in the distributor?

I'm am sooooooo going to do this. I got a MSD 6AL for 50 bucks and went to this forum to find the best points conversion. Found this and saved myself 100.

Thanks!!!!!


Sean
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,299 Posts
What does the white wire hook up to? Where in the distributor?
Sean, it's not a silly question. The wire is mis-labeled in the pic. The white wire from the MSD is connected to the distributor wire labeled "white", but is usually black, and is the only wire coming out of the distributor. The wire we are talking about used to go to the (-) terminal of the coil. Hope that helps.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,299 Posts
Is there any need for a ballast resistor with this set up?
No, but as the points are now only passing a tiny signal, leaving the stock resistor wire in-place will not affect the MSD operation. So, either way is fine.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Sounds like this is for me. I thought the ballast resistor was needed to reduce the voltage to the coil after startup? My car has no wiring at present so I am still wondering if I need to reduce coil voltage. Which MSD model is best for my application? I am thinking 6AL 6420?

Thanks,

Gordo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,299 Posts
I thought the ballast resistor was needed to reduce the voltage to the coil after startup? My car has no wiring at present so I am still wondering if I need to reduce coil voltage.
Gordo, when using the MSD, the coil power is entirely controlled by the MSD box - not your old coil power wire (see diagram posted earlier). So, resistance in the keyed power wire does not matter either way in that case. If running without the MSD box for any reason, then there is risk of coil burnout if the ignition is left ON but the engine not running for very long. So, to do that, you either want a resistor in-line, or do not leave the key ON with the engine stopped.
Which MSD model is best for my application? I am thinking 6AL 6420?
Whichever has the features that suit your needs. There are other companies with multi-spark capacitive-discharge ignition boxes besides MSD that work with stock-type coils as well, such as Summit and Pertronix to choose from.

David
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top