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Old 07-01-2018, 10:32 AM
KnoxvilleWag's Avatar
KnoxvilleWag KnoxvilleWag is offline
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Need advice: HEI distributor?

I've recently installed a rebuilt 1984 360 (.030 over, Edelbrock intake, 4BBL carb, cam & lifters kit [#2132]) in my 89 Wag. The timing has been a little rough, so I'm replacing the stock distributor (that feels a tad bit loose). What would you (mechanics only please) suggest? I've been told to ditch the original and the coil and go with a HEI. Seems there are a gazillion choices.

BJ's (who I've learned to trust) has a DUI unit for $300.
http://www.bjsoffroad.com/DUI-HEI-Di...de_p_1852.html

Jegs has one for a more reasonable $135. https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/4002...873+4294829679

Of course there are several on Ebay and such that are like $59 with free shipping and "lifetime warrantee."
https://www.ebay.com/itm/AMC-JEEP-CJ...YAAOSwVFlT8jte

There are many more options. Help! I'm not a pro, just a shade tree weekend warrior. I'm also not wealthy. Just want the best bang for the buck that will be reliable long-term. Please offer me some wisdom from your collective experience and genius! Thanks guys.
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1989 Grand Wagoneer, Rebuilt AMC 360 (300hp, 400 ft.lbs.), Repainted in close-to-original Burgundy (Land Rover "Anniversary Claret" 2006), replaced faux wood decal and rubber trim with 70s style wood stripe and chrome trim.
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  #2  
Old 07-01-2018, 11:38 AM
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Mikel Mikel is offline
 
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Whatever you buy, make sure you reuse your old distributor gear.
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  #3  
Old 07-01-2018, 12:09 PM
77Deepj20 77Deepj20 is offline
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People knock them all the time, but I've been running cheap eBay special hei dizzys on a couple vehicles without issue. I ran one on my old amc360 breifly, no problems with it other than the fact I could not swap the dizzy gears between the stock one and the new one. The motor tossed a rod before I ever had problems with the gears eating each other.
Ive had the one on my Chrysler 360 now a couple years and it's been flawless.
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  #4  
Old 07-01-2018, 12:53 PM
joe joe is offline
 
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"Ignition upgrades" is a well worn topic here. I would do a search and read up before you slap down the plastic.
All ign components wear eventually. Also all elec. ignitions are very similar performance wise and that includes the stock Duraspark. The Davis HEI had a pretty good rep for function and reliability but expensive. Most of the after market HEI's for AMC V8's today are made in China and whether or not you get a good one is a crap shoot. I personally would not gamble on a $59 ebay Chinese unit. I'd rather gamble on a Summit or Jegs etc Chinese unit. Assuming your dist isn't worn out, modifying the stock Duraspark unit with a Ford TFI conversion is also a viable mod if you use quality parts.
The stock Duraspark is actually a pretty decent elec ignition. Sure the ing module is a weak link and the goofy slip-on horseshoe coil connector is a joke but you can work around those. Do your research and don't believe everything you see/hear on the internet (including this).
As mikel mentioned: regardless of what unit you go with use your original dist gear on the new dizzy.
Best of luck.
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  #5  
Old 07-01-2018, 10:33 PM
440sixpack 440sixpack is offline
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The sad truth is nearly everything for these obsolete vehicles that is made is made in China.

I put a Summit brand HEI on my J10 and I've never had a better starting and running AMC . I'm sure it comes from the land of rice and fish heads but I have to say it works perfect.


When it pukes, and it will, I'll probably buy another one.
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  #6  
Old 07-02-2018, 02:31 AM
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FSJunkie FSJunkie is offline
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I like watching the secondary ignition scope pattern on the new HEI units and seeing how cylinder number one fires at 5*, then the other cylinders fire at 3*, 10*, 5*, 7*, 0*….. It's fun to watch all the cylinders run like they are seperate individual engines that are all running on seperate individual distributors even though they are actually running on one crappy distributor.
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  #7  
Old 07-02-2018, 06:06 AM
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KnoxvilleWag KnoxvilleWag is offline
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Y’all are scaring me a little— I don’t really like the crap shoot when I’ve put all this money in this engine. This is my daily driver. The BJ’s unit is made in the USA. Does that really make it worth the $300 they’re asking?
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1989 Grand Wagoneer, Rebuilt AMC 360 (300hp, 400 ft.lbs.), Repainted in close-to-original Burgundy (Land Rover "Anniversary Claret" 2006), replaced faux wood decal and rubber trim with 70s style wood stripe and chrome trim.
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  #8  
Old 07-02-2018, 07:25 AM
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babywag babywag is offline
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http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=184008
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'88 GW (aka Babywag) and '90 GW (aka JUNKbucket) both fuel injected
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2018, 08:20 AM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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The Duraspark ignition that's already in your Jeep is no different from the GM HEI. They both operate from the same physical principle (variable reluctance), and the only "hotness" of the HEI comes from the coil. Use a hot col with the Duraspark and you've got the same thing as the HEI, with no danger of mismatched gears. I see no reason to change from the Duraspark - the only difference is the HEI has all the parts under the cap, and the Duraspark does not.

Look up "TFI upgrade" for the Duraspark. This will gve you a hotter coil (same as the HEI), a big cap (same as the HEI), and better wires (same as the HEI).

If you want a "hotter" setup, run the Duraspark distributor with the MSD capacitor discharge module. This will give you a hotter, longer spark than any HEI distributor can provide.
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Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2018, 09:35 AM
440sixpack 440sixpack is offline
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The PROFORM BJ's sells is probably the best, but I could find nowhere the distributor or components are American made. if it's just Chinese junk put together in the US it's no better than the half price ones. I've been told this was the case and tha's why I went with Summit.


If someone can confirm the PROFORM is American components I'm going to buy one. one way or another I'm staying with HEI.
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  #11  
Old 07-02-2018, 09:46 AM
Ristow Ristow is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnoxvilleWag
Y’all are scaring me a little— I don’t really like the crap shoot when I’ve put all this money in this engine. This is my daily driver. The BJ’s unit is made in the USA. Does that really make it worth the $300 they’re asking?






no it isn't. davis doesn't even claim it is. only BJ's does for some reason. i had a DUI,it was in a wagoneer i bought 10 years ago and was a few years old then. all cheap crap. and it pinged so bad due to the crappy ignition curve it broke a piston. you're paying 250% for nothing.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankrod
Ristows right.................again,




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
... like the little 'you know what's' that you are.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
I LOVE how Ristow has stolen my comment about him ... "Quoted" it ... and made himself famous for being an ***hole to people. Hahahahahahahahahha!


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  #12  
Old 07-02-2018, 09:50 AM
Ristow Ristow is offline
 
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heres the D.U.I product page BJ's Offroad copied the description for the distributor.



http://performancedistributors.com/p...-distributors/


apparently BJ's added the "made in the USA" to help move a few distributiors? sad.



so in regards to this.


Quote:
BJ's (who I've learned to trust) has a DUI unit for $300.



you may want to change your policy to "trust but verify"
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankrod
Ristows right.................again,




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
... like the little 'you know what's' that you are.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
I LOVE how Ristow has stolen my comment about him ... "Quoted" it ... and made himself famous for being an ***hole to people. Hahahahahahahahahha!


→ Where the kids hang out...

fsjbuilder.org come for the mindless chat,stay for the hand drawn emoticons.

It's like you're unraveling a big cable-knit sweater that someone keeps knitting...and knitting...and knitting...and knitting...

Last edited by Ristow : 07-02-2018 at 09:56 AM.
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  #13  
Old 07-02-2018, 12:05 PM
Ristow Ristow is offline
 
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oh...most importantly,i would NOT scrap the stock distributor. fet a big cap for it-mainly for the wire studs,vs stock sockets. dial in the timing curve and it's a great ignition. and you already have it. AND it won't choke on its own gears.


i had a good thread on tuning the MC distributor but with all the photobuckets pics held hostage its kinda useless now.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankrod
Ristows right.................again,




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
... like the little 'you know what's' that you are.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
I LOVE how Ristow has stolen my comment about him ... "Quoted" it ... and made himself famous for being an ***hole to people. Hahahahahahahahahha!


→ Where the kids hang out...

fsjbuilder.org come for the mindless chat,stay for the hand drawn emoticons.

It's like you're unraveling a big cable-knit sweater that someone keeps knitting...and knitting...and knitting...and knitting...
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  #14  
Old 07-02-2018, 12:40 PM
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Crankyolman Crankyolman is offline
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After reading through this thread and gong to both BJ's site and Performance distributors I decided to ask them. They responded within minutes with this



Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfomance Distributors
Some parts are sourced from foreign, but most are here in the USA and our distributors are assembled here in the USA in Memphis, TN

Performance Distributors (DUI)
2699 Barris Drive
Memphis, TN 38132
901-396-5782
www.performancedistributors.com







For the record I have been running an MSD knockoff HEI I got from Amazon. It has worked flawlessly for 2.5 years now.
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  #15  
Old 07-02-2018, 01:11 PM
KnoxvilleWag's Avatar
KnoxvilleWag KnoxvilleWag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ristow
you may want to change your policy to "trust but verify"

Indeed. Wasn’t there a BJ’s rep who used to post and comment here frequently?

My original is pretty rattly and worn. It’s got some 260k+ miles on it. I’m even concerned about using the gear on it. Crazy, every car I’ve replaced the distributor on was a pop-the-old-off-and-bolt-the-new-on exercise in simplicity. Even the old Fiat Spider my daughter has!

Ok, I think I’m going to go with the Summit, keep the original, and use the original gear (assuming it fits). Any further thoughts?

Thanks for the valuable help, y’all.
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1989 Grand Wagoneer, Rebuilt AMC 360 (300hp, 400 ft.lbs.), Repainted in close-to-original Burgundy (Land Rover "Anniversary Claret" 2006), replaced faux wood decal and rubber trim with 70s style wood stripe and chrome trim.
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  #16  
Old 07-02-2018, 01:17 PM
Ristow Ristow is offline
 
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i bought 2 skip white HEI off ebay for,as i recall,79.99 each. i put an oem gear on the clear cap one,and it ran fine for as long as i ran that engine. the red cap unit had the roll pin drilled in a different location so an oem gear would not fit. that unit was a pos. i could tell by looking at them both they were from different suppliers,if not the same manufacturer.


as stated above,these are all chinese junk. no matter how "some body else" tries to justify their asinine price with their assurances of being assembled here or tested on their "machine"....


its a crap shoot.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankrod
Ristows right.................again,




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
... like the little 'you know what's' that you are.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasts79Chief
I LOVE how Ristow has stolen my comment about him ... "Quoted" it ... and made himself famous for being an ***hole to people. Hahahahahahahahahha!


→ Where the kids hang out...

fsjbuilder.org come for the mindless chat,stay for the hand drawn emoticons.

It's like you're unraveling a big cable-knit sweater that someone keeps knitting...and knitting...and knitting...and knitting...
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  #17  
Old 07-02-2018, 04:32 PM
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babywag babywag is offline
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Just get a good Duraspark reman, or used.
They last forever, you can replace the bushing in housing if it's a little loose.
Way too many stories of crap HEI's gone wrong...you couldn't pay me to run one.
I'd try an MSD 8519 clone before any HEI.

Your engine, $$$, and time though, if you want to roll the dice feel free.
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'88 GW (aka Babywag) and '90 GW (aka JUNKbucket) both fuel injected
1994 Caprice wagon
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  #18  
Old 07-02-2018, 05:53 PM
440sixpack 440sixpack is offline
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It's just personal preference. Put an MSD gear, OEM Delco 4 wire D1906 module and coil on the HEI and for all intensive purposes you have the same fine ignition GM ran for years.


With the Durashart you can do whatever you want and you still have a trouble prone ho hum ignition.

To each their own.
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  #19  
Old 07-02-2018, 09:36 PM
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babywag babywag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 440sixpack
It's just personal preference. Put an MSD gear, OEM Delco 4 wire D1906 module and coil on the HEI and for all intensive purposes you have the same fine ignition GM ran for years.


With the HEI you can do whatever you want and you still have a trouble prone ho hum ignition.

To each their own.

lol fixed that for ya
AC Delco quality is a crap shoot today, it’s all offshore now.
It isn’t the same stuff anymore.
I have yet to see anyone on here brag about an HEI lasting 100k, 200k, or be problem free.
Both mine had oem duracrap distributor & module, both well over 100k...show me anybody on here that’ll say same about a GM HEI.
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'88 GW (aka Babywag) and '90 GW (aka JUNKbucket) both fuel injected
1994 Caprice wagon
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  #20  
Old 07-03-2018, 12:19 AM
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letank letank is offline
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The problem with the HEI is that the coil is very difficult to waterproof, lookat one of my links about engine in my signature.
as said I think the Duraspark is a good unit and as usual try to find out what is wrong with your unit and fix it.
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