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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My cj5 has a '74 304 which is using a point ignition. My friend gave me an electronic ignition from his old chevy. Since mine is a delco distributor already, will his work in my jeep? If I can change the gear, will the engine care what the distributor is as long as it's a v8? Any one know of any articles on this sort of thing? Thanks.

 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Nope, it won't work. If it did, everyone would have HEI in their AMC V8's. The easiest thing for you to do is swap in an electronic ignition from a newer AMC V8 or go with an aftermarket electronic ignition. There are a couple of people who have converted Chevy HEI distributors to work in an AMC V8, but they have either done machine work or mixed and matched parts from each type to make them work. Some have posted that they have done it, but no details have been shared that I am aware of as to how (at least on this BBS).

 

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Don't worry about the GM HEI distributor...
The Motorcraft/ DuraSpark ignition out performs the GM HEI anyway.
The Motorcraft/ DuraSpark ignition was used on AMC V-8 everything '78 & '79.
The Motorcraft/ DuraSpark ignition was used on AMC V-8 Jeeps from '78 to '84 still using common parts,
and from '85 to '91 with a different distributor and computer controlled ignition.
The same DuraSpark module was used in everything from '76 to '82, no matter if it was a 4, 6 or 8 cylinder engine. (almost all used the 'blue grommet' module)
If you get a round cap Motorcraft distributor from a '78 to '82 Jeep with a 304 or 360 engine,
the DuraSpark box from any '76 to '84 Ford engine will work. (The 'blue grommet' DuraSpark module)
If you need wiring diagrams or part numbers let me know.

Later, Aaron.

When a fool and a wise man argue, Onlookers can't tell the difference...
 

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Curious Here Aaron,

whats the computer controled ignition in the 78-91 models?
do you mean the BBD 258 setup?

I had a 1980 Cherokee 360 ( became engine donor for CJ) and it only had the typical Duraspark Module, no other computer stuff...

side note/question

I know the WIDE Ford cap is better, what was its normal application to ask for it at the parts store?

early 80s Ford truck with 351?

later


OzarkJeep
NW Arkansas
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In what way does a duraspark outperform HEI? Module failures? Duraspark is an inferior system anyway you slice it. Output, reliability, and ease of repair when necessary are all in GM's favor, and many Fomoco line techs will tell you this.

 

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/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif We were going to go GM on our 304, and were accumulating the parts to do it. We simply could not imagine anything better than the simple GM setup, but there is. A Dura-Spark distributor with a Ford top end, and the MSD6A box will kick some life into that 304, and just may increase the distance between fuel stops. The overall cost is a few bucks less than a store-bought GM conversion (If you were good on a lathe and did your own you could do the GM conversion for peanuts). There was a post by TeamRush on the Ford conversion just recently. TeamRush knows distributors....has raced and built racing engines./wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif Haven't we all.....SHEESH! to have the dough back we wasted on going fast(er)!/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

CJDave
I never believe any statistics unless my moonguys /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif made 'em up themselves.
 

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Ozark, the date was a mistake, I corrected it. (I need a proof-reader)
I can't be 100% sure of the change over dates, I'm going by an interchange book, and they are often wrong. I do know for a fact the '78 to '84 distributors are all the same.
The parts you asked about are, Cap base, cap, and rotor, all from a '79 Ford F-150 Pickup with a V-8 anything. All V-8 engines in '79 used the same distributor top end.
You will need plug wires, and small block Ford just won't get it.
Try the plug wires from a '79 Ford F-350 with a 460 CID V-8. They fit our 360 just about right.

tlendt, you wrote,
*In what way does a duraspark outperform HEI? Module failures? Duraspark is an inferior system anyway you slice it. Output, reliability, and ease of repair when necessary are all in GM's favor, and many Fomoco line techs will tell you this.*

You are wrong.
I'm going to try to stay polite here.... and educate you...

The Ford DuraSpark has less trigger error firings because they don't put a huge magnetic field around it. No coil, on top of the pickup coil, no magnetic field.

The Motorcraft has NO problem with firing to ground inside the distributor because they:
1. Put the rotor up high enough it doesn't fire to the shaft,
And that means it doesn't try to weld the centrifugal advance weights to their pins,
(doesn't make red dust)
2. Vent the cap and housing to keep the presents of ionized air called ozone down.
High concentrations of ozone in the cap encourage cross firings.
3. Uses a cap sprayed with a coating to inhibit cross firings, and uses a 'webed' cap design that does the same thing.
4. Motorcraft high voltage ignition coils don't output as much sheer voltage as a GM HEI, but they do produce a more usable and desirable discharge, and don't leak voltage everywhere.
5. Motorcraft high voltage ignition coils and distributor caps use a longer high voltage tower so a longer, better sealing spark plug wire and distributor cap boots can be used.
6. Motorcraft ignitions are more modular, and easier to work on. IE, you don't need to gut the cap to check the ignition coil. Pickup coil can be tested out side of the distributor, with out any tear down of the distributor.
7. Failures are usually do to overheating of the module, or corroded wiring harnesses.


-All GM HEI distributors eat them selves alive with ground firings to the distributor shafts and advance weights. Way to high of firing voltages, accumulated ozone from inadequate vents, and an inadequate rotor thickness and rotor too close to a ground source are major factors.
-All GM HEI caps, that have high voltage coils in the caps, induce random firings in the pick-up coils and inductance firing in the internal wiring harness. Every single one of those random firings is detrimental to your engine.
This problem is just made worse if you get talked into an expensive 'MEGA SUPER LASER BLASTER URANIUM CORE COIL' or what ever silly-assed thing the 'Salesman' at Auto-Jerks talk you into.
(Remember, a Salesman's job is to sell, no matter if he knows what he's talking about or not, and no matter if you need it or not...)
-All GM HEI distributors CAN NOT be weather sealed because of the wiring arrangement in the caps an general cap design.
-All GM HEI ignition coils leak high voltage into everything. There is no way to seal the discharge port on a GM HEI, no matter what you do.
-All aftermarket GM HEI 'SUPER COILS' that I have tested, except for one, actually discharge OUTSIDE OF THE CAP! That's from the coil cover to the distributor base. That's how hard it is to seal the output of a GM HEI type coil.
-The worst thing you can do is let someone talk you into one of those $400 to $500 GM HEI aftermarket distributors. It's $20 for the drive gear, and $20 to the machine shop to turn the housing sleave, and they are the worst offenders when it comes to using those 'MEGA COILS'....

I can go on, but I don't see any point in it.
NO Ford Motor Company (FoMoCo, I noticed you didn't get that correct either) representatives is going to say that GM is superior, even if it were the cure to cancer.
Company employees don't degrade their products, while promoting the competition.

If you really want the numbers to Fords SVO group, or a copy of John Vermerish's assessments of ignitions, I will send them to you if you like.
Smokey Yunick, John Vermerish, George Lunati, Vic Edelbrock and MSD all agree, and they don't agree with you.
I have done bench testing, and racing experience that confirms what they all say.

If you have any factual data supporting your position, I'd be glad to hear it....
I'm always willing to learn.

(Did I do any better CJ Dave?)

When a fool and a wise man argue, Onlookers can't tell the difference...
 

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/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif I just keep my moonguys/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif busy adding sheets to my printer while I download all these never-before-heard-and-not-available-anywhere ignition truisms for my Jeep technical manual./wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif
Actually,TeamRush, this was an especially learner-friendly post. We all gleaned a lot of VERY rare knowledge from it, and I'm sure everyone was a lot more relaxed while they read it. I have experienced a few of those GM HEI ignition anomalies in my GMC 350. I sure know about the rotors arcing to the shaft....ALWAYS carried a spare./wwwthreads_images/icons/frown.gif

CJDave
I never believe any statistics unless my moonguys /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif made 'em up themselves.
 

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That is a major problem for GM style HEI's. I have a 55 gallon drum of nothing but shot HEI advance heads and shafts. That wild card coil makes a pretty good welder. If it had any duration or amperage, it would destroy the shaft and advance head in nothing flat.

BTW, long spark duration, and reasonable amperage is more important than massive voltage when it comes to getting the fire lit. That's why I don't recommend the 'MEGA COILS' they just pump up the KV rating, and pay no attention to spark duration or amperage.

If GM's HEI were the hot ticket for racing, wouldn't NASCAR and NHRA be using them?
Wouldn't every manufacturer have made some version of one?

They are cheap, plentiful, and everybody makes something for them, and almost any beginner can wire one, that's why they get used so much.
I'm not knocking them for a stock engine, or as an upgrade for a former points ignition.
If I had $500 to spend on parts, it sure in the hell wouldn't be on a HEI I can get at the parts store for $50.
Ignitions are one of the simplest things on an engine, and one of the most misunderstood.
A good ignition man is even more rare than a good Holley carb tuner, and both are as simple as pie once someone explains them.
If I'm racing, I use a crank trigger, and preset advance, no mechanical or vacuum advance. If it's something we just have to have advance adjustment for, we install an electrical advance adjustment.
If I'm doing a street engine, it's always a stock application distributor. Stock distributors will live in situations up to 5,000 sustained RPM.
I don't see any reason to buy a $350 billet distributor housing for something that is best served by the distributor it rolled in with.
Everybody second guesses the factory engineers, and they aren't dummies. They have testing facilities we can only see in wet dreams!

I think the guy has been listening to the wrong people. I get a lot of that. You even said you were going to use a HEI before we started talking.
You asked a lot of very perceptive questions in our e-mails, and I got the distinct impression you thought I was full of it in the beginning...
(I wouldn't trust me either...)

Tex gave me some good advice today, and was really friendly about it also.. He's trying to help with my abrasive nature too.

Thanks all, Aaron.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
WOW! After all this, I guess I'll just keep my ol' points system after all. After all this, I'm certain I learned something, but what I"m not sure. Seriously, thanks for the imput guys. This board is great place to find all types of info.

 

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Whoa there! I'm pretty sure that Team Rush didn't say to keep your old points dist., get a newer one from the years he suggested. Team Rush: That was the first time I have ever heard (seen) anyone expound on advantages of Dura-Spark over HEI (I don't post much, but I'm reading and learning all of time), that was good information. (And well presented)

 

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By no means are 30 year old designs state of the art, but they are better than 100 year old designs,.... breaker points.
In '75 when the DuraSpark ignition modules first came out, they were a pretty poor excuse for an ignition. The circuitry was just not up to par, but neither was GM's version of an HEI.
They were about neck and neck back then. Motorcraft has improved the reliability and in some cases redesigned the ignition system components entirely.

The GM HEI is virtually unchanged from it's original design from 1966.

The Motorcraft distributors are as good as any on the stock auto parts market, it was just the modules, and those have long since been upgraded.
Electronics of all kinds have come a long way in the past 25 years. Remember what a computer looked like in '75? (three rooms and an out building to do the same job as my electronic rolodex now...)
The late model Dura Spark boxes are as dependable as any ignition out there, and more dependable than a lot of the aftermarket ignitions. (no names, but you hear people complain about them here pretty often)
I remember the first of the GM HEI modules operating so hot you couldn't touch them.
I remember the first of the GM HEI's having points!
I remember for several years GM HEI modules frying them selves on a regular basis. Everyone I knew carried an extra one with an extra rotor.
GM finally started putting a transistor heat transferring paste under the modules, and that seems to have worked, along with new electronics technology to keep the heat down in the first place.
That's what made them what you use today, a 1966 design that ran virtually unchanged from 1976 to present. (74 & 75 don't count, they had points)
BTW, I see Ford, AMC and Jeep products every day that are from the 70's and early 80's that have the ORIGINAL DuraSpark module on them. You just don't find that with GM HEI's. And the Dura Spark has the bad reputation??
Think about it...

Going to eat, Later folks, Aaron.

When a fool and a wise man argue, Onlookers can't tell the difference...
 

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when i put my amc v-8 into my 84 cj, i had to put some kind of ignition in it.. i had a mallory dual-points type distrib on the 258 i tore out, so i had to make something all new...well.. i cheated...just like teamrush sez...get a late 70's waggoneer ignition...it wasn't bad to wire up..and the engine fired right up...i did fry a control module, but they are guaranteed forever..i keep a spare...i think it took me about 2 hours to make the wiring harness and wire it up... but i teach avionics...
~~Elusive~~

 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
whoa is this the same CJDave who believed the HEI was the best thing since sliced bread and said the MSD wasn't as good of an option as the HEI not a month back?/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif
-Mark
not intending to be rude just showing your change of heart

80 CJ-7 Laredo 304v8 TF999 3.73's BFG M/T's
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, wasn't this whole string a kick in the pants! Here I was thinking the whole world was bowing to the 'GM -HEI' bandwagon and now this. Are there any up-grades that could be done to the DuraSpark ignition on a bone stock '80 258 c.i. that are honest improvements?

Grant
60 CJ5
80 CJ5
 

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Don't get me wrong, ANY electronic ignition is better than points, (except for maybe the prestolite) and I DO RECOMMEND THE GM HEI OVER POINTS.
GM HEI's are plentiful, and a really cheap upgrade for the 258 I-6 guys. The upgrade couldn't be much simpler! If I had a 258 I-6 that had points, it would have a HEI.
If you already have the Motorcraft distributor, I can tell you how to get killer upgrades for it for under $200. (NASCAR worthy upgrades!)
If you are interested, just say the word. I have a 6 page upgrade article with pictures and part numbers for the V-8 upgrades, and I can't even get Off Road.com to email me back.
It's ready for publish.
If someone has a lot of web space, I'd be interested in maybe putting it up there....
Later, Aaron.

Grant,
Stock '80 with a 258 CID Inline 6 banger....
Grab on to something now...... I don't know.
I'm at home now, and I don't have the interchange book handy.
I'm going to the shop tomorrow afternoon to drink beer with the gang, and fake at working at something to get away from the 'little woman' for a while, I'll look then.
I suspect that everything that works with a V-8 will work with a I-6,
IE: Two piece, wider cap, HEI plug wires for that cap, mustang springs, ect.

I have a box of parts from a 81 and it includes a distributor, I'll look.
Check back tomorrow night, or email me.

When a fool and a wise man argue, Onlookers can't tell the difference...
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The HEI is a very easy swap on the 258s. I did mine in 2 hours for ~ $65. (Dist and new wires)
Do it. You will not regret it.
Teamrush, you were mainly talking about V8s regarding duraspark, right?
Gibby


 

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Nope. I think the original poster was talking about a V-8 if I remember correctly, but my memory is about as long as my pud these days...

If you have an electronic pickup Motorcraft distributor in anything, it's much easier to do something with it, than switching to the GM HEI.

Most of the 258 I-6 guys that do the GM HEI upgrade are going from points to HEI.

If you already have the Motorcraft electronic ignition, $4 worth of springs, $25 dollars of cap base, cap, and rotor, and $20 worth of plug wires will make it seem like a new engine.

It's the springs, faster advance curve in the GM HEI over the Motorcraft distributor.
$4 dollars worth of springs fixes that, and I hear of people spending $500 on a GM HEI to get a $4 upgrade. (Mr. Gasket P/N 925D)
Motorcraft distributors DO require pulling and full disassembly of the distributor to change weights. GM HEI, you just pull the cap and rotor. It's a pain, but worth it...

They count on you not knowing the difference
It's just a matter of education really. I know, now you know... Tell a friend...

When a fool and a wise man argue, Onlookers can't tell the difference...
 

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/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif Yep, It IS MArky. I was misled.... I thought that the GM HEI was superior to anything on earth because it was off-the-shelf, potent, and reliable. The dura Spark/Ford adaption is even MORE off the shelf, and can be coupled with a MSD if desired, for longer spark duration. If the crap comes down, you STILL can run the existing Dura Spark module and the superior Ford top end. There IS one little thing that I almost hesitate to mention Marky because I don't want to curb the sales of the GM HEI conversion, and that is the weight factor. I was secretly worried that the heavy-top-end GM HEI grafted onto a thin stalk Motorcraft might snap off if I dropped the left front in a deep hole rather smartly. The distributor has a lot of lay-down angle to it and IS very heavy way out on the top end. Sure, I'm a paranoid engineer and we do worry more about such things, but it was still a genuine reliability concern./wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif

CJDave
I never believe any statistics unless my moonguys /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif made 'em up themselves.
 
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