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Old 02-12-2000, 03:04 PM
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Default 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

Ignition Upgrade For Jeep 304 & 360 CID V-8 AMC Engines.

The Jeep 304 & 360 CID AMC V-8 from 1978 to 1990 are eligible for this upgrade.
The 304 & 360 CID Engines from '78 to '90 used the same Motorcraft distributor for all variations.
(If you have a 304 or 360 CID V-8, 1977 or older, I urge you to see below*)

The distributor type is one of the most dependable ever released from the factory.
The distributor it's self is a very good unit, and can easily be tuned and used for even extreme performance upgrades.

Jeep used the small 'well' type distributor cap, short rotor, low energy ignition spark plug wires and low output ignition coil, and these are the problem.

The distributor cap design is left over from the 1920's. (WWI technology)
The plug wires haven't changed in any distinct way since the 40's. (WWII technology)
The ignition coil is still based on the oil filled units that appeared in the 1920's. (WWI)

The below described upgrades use as many stock, off the shelf parts, as possible, so they can be replaced at any parts store. This keeps cost and replacement parts availability problems to a minimum.
I also try not to get away from factory groupings. If I use all parts from the same year, then it makes it easier to remember where things come from.

Stock Parts To Replace: (stock jeep components)
Distributor Cap, Rotor, Plug Wires, Distributor Advance Springs, Ignition Coil.

BASIC UPGRADE.
What To Use For Replacement:
FROM: From A 1979 Ford F-350 Truck With A 460 CID Engine.
Distributor Cap Base,
Distributor Cap,
Rotor,
Spark Plug Wires,
Ignition Coil,

Distributor Centrifugal Advance Springs;
FROM: Aftermarket Supplier.
Mr. Gasket P/N 925D

This upgrade will bring your Jeep ignition system into the mainstream 70's technology.

HIGH PERFORMANCE UPGRADES:
Once the cap, rotor and plug wires have been upgraded, then you can use some 80's technology in the form of the THICK FILM INTEGRATED (TFI) ignition coil.
The TFI coil is Motorcraft's answer to the GM HEI coil, and out preforms the common GM HEI coil by about 1-1/2 times.
(yes, that's correct, the TFI coil stomps the GM HEI coil)
The TFI coil will work with ALL of the DuraSpark modules. It's an odd looking thing, but can be mounted in any orientation (even up side down).
The coil from a '83 Ford F-150 Pickup with a V-8 engine (non-EEC). The coil runs about $20 in discount stores. GP Sorensen P/N GC407S. AC Delco P/N F503Z.

Change the centrifugal advance springs to some Mr. Gasket P/N 925D Springs, about $4.
This will allow the total ignition advance to come in faster. (Faster ignition advance is often the performance 'kick' that switching to a GM Style HEI distributor gives)

EXTREME PERFORMANCE UPGRADES:
The next HUGE jump in ignition performance is the CAPACITIVE Discharge Ignition (CDI).

All factory ignitions, and most aftermarket ignitions supposed to be upgrades for the Jeep are still INDUCTIVE discharge ignitions (IDI), including the extremely expensive D.U.I. ignitions and all JACOBS ignitions.

Multiple Spark Discharge (A CDI module upgrade) gives vastly superior ignition energy on all counts. Spark Duration, Spark Voltage, and Spark Amperage.
The MSD Capacitive discharge module driven ignition will out preform the Inductive ignitions in all areas, from 100 to 1,000%.
MSD is the biggest and best bang for your bucks.

The MSD 6 series units are compatible with all Motorcraft distributors and ignition coils.
The MSD 6A, P/N 6200, unit is enough for most stock or lightly modified applications. Around $135.
The MSD 6AL, P/N 6420, unit is the Cadillac of the 6 series with compatibility with all of the usual MSD timing devices, and it has a built in Soft Touch Rev Control. Around $175.
The MSD 6 Off Road, This unit is built like a tank. Epoxy sealed for water resistance and equipped with Weather Pack water proof connectors. Around $215.
The MSD 6-M-2, P/N 6460, is completely water sealed, and was intended for offshore power boating. This is the hot ticket for the guys doing water racing or deep water fording. It comes with both sides of Weather Pack connectors for sealed connections also.

Use Wiring Adaptor P/N 8869 to connect the Motorcraft distributor connector to the MSD 6A and 6AL harness. (Around $10.) This wiring pigtail keeps you from having to cut into the distributor wiring or the MSD wiring, and it keeps the distributor pick up coil polarity correct.
There is one for the marine and off road units with the Weather Pack connector, but the part number evades me right now.

*1977 And Older 304 & 360 CID V-8 Engines With The Delco Breaker Points Style Distributor.
You have three choices,
1. Up Grade to the Motorcraft distributor & DuraSpark ignition module, and add the upgrades described above for the Motorcraft distributor.
2. Use an electronic ignition conversion kit for the Delco distributor, and use the DuraSpark or MSD ignition modules, but you will have to go to the aftermarket for adequate distributor caps & rotors.
3. Use a MSD ignition module that will work with breaker points. You will still have to go the aftermarket for adequate distributor caps & rotors.

*1977 And Older 304 & 360 CID V-8 Engines With The Prestolite Electronic Ignition.
The only choice you have is to upgrade to the Motorcraft Distributor and MSD or DuraSpark Module.

SEE WIRING DIAGRAM ATTACHED TO THIS POST.

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Attached Images
File Type: jpg 9-21099-DuraSparkGraphic.jpg (43.4 KB, 13 views)
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2000, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

Team Rush,
Will you e-mail me at vanzandts_jeeps@yahoo.com??? I am really interested in discussing this MotorCraft AMC V8 distributor upgrade. I have a HEI converted V* distributor on one of my motors and I remember you said that out of all the caps tested that only one performed well, will ya tell me which one that was??
I also need to know more about the AMC distributor as well.

Thanks
Peanut

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Old 02-12-2000, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

I said out of all of the Aftermarket 'Super Coils' for the HEI only one didn't leak voltage outside the cap.
That was the Accel HEI Super Coil. It just comes with a superior insulating coil cover. It also has a pretty good silicone sealing donut that goes between the coil and the center electrode.
It still throws enough voltage to burn right through the rotor, arc around the rotor, and crossfire two, three or all of the plugs at once if it takes a notion.
The Accel Super Coil still comes with a distributor cap with brass terminals if I remember correctly.
The best thing you can do for your HEI is to vent the cap, and screw a vacuum nipple into the bottom of the distributor housing. HEI caps have a huge problem with cross fire and ground fire inside the cap because of ozone build up inside the cap. Vent the ozone, and gain some control of the spark again.

Anything else you want to know? Just ask, I'll get to it just as soon as I can....

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Old 02-13-2000, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

Hey TR,
I have already upgraded my Delco points style to electronic. As far as the cap and roter upgrade, are they the same as the ones you listed for the motorcraft application?

'79 CJ-7
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Old 02-13-2000, 11:11 AM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

awsome post team rush, just wish i hadn't rushed right out and spent the 350 bucks on the dui unit. guess i'll have to live with it now though. would really like to know more about venting the dui unit, do i run a vacum line where??? i can honestly say that my 401 is running much better with the dui over the stock prestolite unit. thanx for any help. keep up the informative posts

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Old 02-13-2000, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

*ChrisM* asked,
*I have already upgraded my Delco style to electronic. As far as the cap and rotor, are they the same as the ones you listed for the motorcraft application?*

NO! The Delco points type distributor has only one cap upgrade option that I know of. (Cap-A-Dapt and phased rotor is the one I use on my own jeep)

Cap-A-Dapt uses a two piece arrangement like the Ford caps are. Once the base is installed, you can use stock Ford V-8 caps on the adaptor. The rotor still has to come from MSD.
The rotor noses are held in with a screw, so you just flip the rotor nose over in a pinch. I always have an extra rotor around, sense this is the only part of the system that wears out and can't be replaced at the local discount auto parts store in a pinch.

MSD Cap-A-Dapt, Cap, Fixed Rotor, (Kit) P/N 8445
MSD Cap-A-Dapt, Cap, Phased Rotor, (Kit) P/N 8420 (Summit $37.95) Recommended.
Replacement MSD Fixed Rotor, MSD P/N 8423
Replacement MSD Phased Rotors, MSD P/N 8421 (around $10) Recommended.

Be ready to change to some real plug wires also. The Ford style cap has high energy towers, not the cheap 'well' type terminals.

If your electronic trigger is magnetic, it will fire the Dura Spark or MSD modules just as good as the Motorcraft or MSD distributors do, and the advance weights and springs are on top too! The best of both worlds!

With the small size of the Delco points distributor, and the fact that the Ford cap is smaller than the GM HEI, it makes a really neat arrangement for us Chevy powered guys with no fire wall clearance.
Easy to work on and adjust, more adjustability than the Motorcraft or GM HEI, common as nails, found in junk yards everywhere for $5 to $15 dollars, and as reliable as an anvil.
Hell of an arrangement! Best of all worlds, That's why I use it!
------------------------------
*jepguy* asked,
*just wish i hadn't rushed right out and spent the 350 bucks on the dui unit*

There are some die hard GM HEI fans here, and on the chevy 4x4 and a couple of the other sites, sell it to one of them, I don't post there.
------------------------------
*jepguy* asked,
*would really like to know more about venting the dui unit, do i
run a vacum line where?*

Drill a hole, or drill the drain hole out on the bottom plate of the distributor. Tap it, and screw in a barbed nipple for a vacuum line. Run that SMALL vacuum line to air cleaner or to the PVC port.
Then drill a small hole in the distributor cap up between terminals somewhere. Epoxy a piece of plastic tubing (nothing that conducts electricity) and run a vacuum line to a filter.
(Fish tank filters work great for this, believe that or not!)
If you do a lot of deep water fording, put the filter above the water line.
That's all there is to it.
------------------------------
*jepguy* asked,
*I can honestly say that my 401 is running much better with the dui over the stock prestolite unit*

I don't doubt that for a minute!
Prestolite was junk the day it rolled out the door of the manufacturer, and it's been loosing ground ever sense...
That GM HEI clone you have is about 300% the ignition the Prestolite was. The GM HEI clone has problems, but it's going to be dependable, and you are going to be able to get parts for it.
I tried everything I could think of the upgrade them, it's just no use.
If you run across anything, let me know, will you?
-------------------------------
BTW, The GM HEI clone from D.U.I. uses a lot of MSD internals. Check Summit or MSD for replacement parts instead of going to D.U.I. for them. It will save you a lot of money.
MSD timing controls like the advance knob on the dash, REV limiter, Ect will work with the D.U.I.. because it has MSD internals already.
--------------------------------

Later Folks, Aaron.

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Old 02-13-2000, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

Two more questions:
1) Phased vs. fixed cap/roter. Please explain.
2) You recommended a different set of advance springs for the duraspark dist.
How about for the Delco dist? (this is on on a '74 AMC304)

TIA,
Chris





'79 CJ-7
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Old 02-13-2000, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

*Two more questions:*
*1) Phased vs. fixed cap/roter. Please explain.*

Rotor Phasing. The nose or blade of the rotor rarely lines up with the plug wire terminal. Cut a hole in a old distributor cap and put a timing light on the rotor. Rev the engine a few times and watch what happens to the rotor in relationship to the plug tower it's supposed to be firing...
A Phased Rotor is a two piece arrangement, one moves on top of the other. It allows you to adjust the rotor nose placement where it swings from one side of the tower to the other.
With a regular, or fixed rotor, the adjustment is bad, and just keeps getting worse as the centrifugal advance comes in and goes out...

If the rotor nose is closer to the next tower in the firing order, it's going to jump to that terminal and fire that terminal 90 degrees too soon. That's detonation, and it's like hitting your pistons and rods with a sledge hammer!
If the rotor is in between two terminals, it may fire both of them, resulting in the same detonation.
If the rotor is in between two terminals, the spark energy may jump to the internals instead of going to any plug tower. That results in a misfire, and it does damage to the distributor shaft and weight pins.
The Phased Rotor is a heavy two piece arrangement, and it insulates the shaft and weights pretty good.
It aligns the rotor nose to the terminals, more or less, and helps stop cross fire.
The Cap-A-Dapt uses a Ford style distributor cap, with a vent, so it helps stop the build up of ozone, and that helps control cross firings.
--------------------------------------
*2) You recommended a different set of advance springs for the duraspark dist.*

The part number for the ford distributor is Mr. Gasket P/N 925D.
The kit for any GM distributor can be bought off of the shelf at any discount parts store.
It will say for HEI, but the springs are the same in the points and HEI distributors.
---------------------------------------
*How about for the Delco dist? (this is on on a '74 AMC304)*

See Above. The springs for a GM HEI will fit your Delco points distributor.
---------------------------------------

Does this clear it up?

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Old 02-13-2000, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

> Does this clear it up?
Absolutly...Thanks.

-C

'79 CJ-7
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Old 02-15-2000, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: 304 & 360 AMC Ignition Upgrade Article

Just had a lot of questions this article can answer.
Thought I'd send it to the front again....

I'm desperately trying to figure out why kamikaze pilots wore helmets...
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