leon bee

53 V8 Modern Distributors?

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Like these ones on ebay. I'm wondering what's the catch? Could I pull out the ancient crusty original, (of which I don't think the advance ever worked right), stick this in and go?

 

It's not that I don't care about originality, I'm actually a resto kinda guy. But right now I'm kinda overwhelmed getting my long neglected 53 on the road. These things look GOOD! I know probably made by slave labor in Asia somewhere, what ain't these days?:

 

http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/WegAAOSwEK9UD30i/s-l500.jpg

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No, I do not believe the HEI set up will work with a 53 264 nailhead.   I do not think it clears the firewall. 

 

What is wrong with the original points system?

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)

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No, I do not believe the HEI set up will work with a 53 264 nailhead.   I do not think it clears the firewall. 

 

What is wrong with the original points system?

I agree, whats wrong with points? I like them because they warn you as they start to degrade. When an hei ignition module gives trouble, your dead in the water. You can crank til kingdom come, and nada.... zilch.

Some folks carry an extra module in the glove box. But if it came with points, i usually leave them alone.

Keeps it original as well

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Thanks, guys. I'm not in much danger of actually buying one of these, just thrilled to see this stuff out there. I've rebuilt Buick and Studebaker engines and transmissions, etc., including two Dynaflow rebuilds. But this was all pre-internet, and man how times have changed. Back in those days sometimes your long distance phone bill was more than the parts when you finally found them.

 

Glad to know about the need for an alternator...........I wonder what that's all about.

 

I got nothing against points. But here is some advice learned from my motorcycle activities: if you are gonna always use old time ignition on these babies, then be damn sure to lay in a good supply of points, rotors, caps, condensers, etc. Because one day soon they are all going to come from Asia or India, some of it counterfeit, and we will discover that all the good stuff has been hoarded.

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  leon bee, I think some of these guys still use an outhouse! :D   I have  an electronic distributor in my straight eight! Of course, it also has 12V. And throttle body fuel injection. About 10 thousand miles. Pretty reliable, don't ya think? 

 

  Ben

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leon bee, I think some of these guys still use an outhouse! :D I have an electronic distributor in my straight eight! Of course, it also has 12V. And throttle body fuel injection. About 10 thousand miles. Pretty reliable, don't ya think?

Ben

Hmph! We tore the outhouse down in 1995 I think. Ha ha ha. It's all personal preference really. Edited by wndsofchng06 (see edit history)

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Well, you can't do all your shopping online. And catalogs still have their place.

06-DSC_1956_thumb.jpg Car parts in the winter and those Sunday supplement with swimin suits in the summer.

Bernie

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Well, you can't do all your shopping online. And catalogs still have their place.

06-DSC_1956_thumb.jpg Car parts in the winter and those Sunday supplement with swimin suits in the summer.

Bernie

ha Bernie! I meant personal preference on the distributor choice.... Not sure many of us prefer the outhouse... Black widow spiders, stench in the summer... Nah

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Glad to know about the need for an alternator...........I wonder what that's all about.

Cleaner more stable voltage source.  Modern electronics are not compatible with all the sparking going on in the generator, mechanical regulator and even non resistor plugs and wires which are desirable in stock will cause problems. 

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Convert your stock distributor to Pertronix  electronic and get rid of your points.  I have used them for 25 years in all of my Buicks with no problems.

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Mine has this after market one wire electronic distributor. Started it today for the first time, fires up perfectly. I believe the unit is too big to get the stock throttle linkage back on though....

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Well, you can't do all your shopping online. And catalogs still have their place.

06-DSC_1956_thumb.jpg Car parts in the winter and those Sunday supplement with swimin suits in the summer.

Bernie

You can use the catalog instead of the corn cobs as occasional treat during clean up...

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"Points" do have their strong points, especially when you talk about the minimum required voltage in the battery to fire the spark plugs.  With the point system, if a spark can occur, however weak, it might fire the spark plug(s) and start the engine.  With an electronic system, if that minimum voltage is not there, although the starter can spin the motor fast enough to otherwise start, that's all it will do until an additional electrical supply is attached to boost the available voltage.

 

On the other hand, the cam in the distributor is a "wear point" in the distributor.  I highly suspect that if you use a dial indicator to attempt to set the points, just how much variation there can be between the highest and lowest "lobes" on the cam will become very obvious.  I found that out myself and was astounded just how much variation there was between "lobes".  That point gap variation translates into "point dwell" for that particular cylinder which can also relate to ignition timing for each respective spark plug (why you set the basic timing AFTER you set the point dwell!).  The wear on the lobes can also be seen, too, but you don't know just how much it is just by looking at it.  I'm not sure how the rebuilders address this situation in their products, though . . . if they clean and "rebuild" the lobes or what.  And, of course, not knowing if the lobe you might use to check the point gap is representative or not, a median height lobe, a higher lobe, a lower height lobe.  Point gap AND dwell have their specification ranges and they must coincide for maximum point life.  NOT to forget the use of "point grease" to put on the rubbing block of the point set!!

 

To me, "efficient operation" can be one compelling reason to convert to something like the Pertronix "drop-in" conversion unit.  Plus, not much invasion of originality and underhood cosmetics.  I believe they also have kits for 6V systems, too.  In the post-HEI era, GM had some hall-effect distributors which had smaller distributor caps which might better fit in "tight" locations.  So there can be other distributor-change options, possibly.  But I suspect the Pertronix conversion can be the least invasive way to go.

 

In this particular case, it might be interesting to see why the advance system is allegedly not working.  Especially if you can do the work yourself rather than paying a shop to do it.  Failed vacuum advance units, stuck advance weights, or broken centrifugal advance springs can be easy to fix/repair.

 

The conversion/upgrade which Ben did is a neat way to do things AND is OEM-based in nature.  The later self-learning EFI systems do have their own requirements of a "clean" ignition system in order for them to work.  This means that only particular distributors will work for them (with a "clean" signal to the EFI system control module).  I don't recall the much-earlier Holley TBI systems having this requirement, though, but that was 20+ years ago.

 

Point systems worked GREAT when that was all we had.  There were no concerns about lobe wear as we all knew to put grease (supplied with the point set back then!!) on the point rubbing block as a matter of course.  Electronic ignition conversion kits were out there, but there were many types and which one worked best for a particular vehicle did vary . . . but then things were different in the '60s and so.  Even if the points could be gapped correctly, the dwell reading was the final check before the timing was set/adjusted.  It all worked and can still work now . . . just a few other alternatives, good alternatives, now than then.  Emissions control regulations and lack of maintenance issues seemed to drive the move to electronic ignition systems, back then.  Not having to lean over fenders for point changes and such was a BIG plus to me.

 

NTX5467

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You can use the catalog instead of the corn cobs as occasional treat during clean up...

 

Corn cobs were the famous alternative, but they were single-use in nature AND when corn was in season.  Seems like the "Monkey Ward's" catalog was a favorite down here.  Sometimes, those slick pages didn't work too well.

 

NTX5467

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My Grandfather tried to cheap out by nailing some of those slick page magazines up. They weren't worth a shhhhhhhhh......darn.

 

Comparing today's points to an electronic conversion isn't really fair. The only quality points I have found are Echlin, usually through a NAPA store. I put a set of whatever the Advance AP ones are in my '60 after 9 years, just for general principles. They were cheap and poorly made. The wire came out of the condenser a week later and I came home on a flatbed. I bought the Echlin points and retrieved the 9 year old condenser. The Echlins were in the $30 range. The cheaper ones weren't worth their box.

 

I have points in all the "points" original cars. They work fine. I think if I was going to convert I would install a crank position sensor and go distributorless. But I would need a reason. A few years ago I had a V12 Jaguar and I could almost be talked into the conversion on that. In the end it is a matter of quality parts and attentive, although infrequent, maintenance.

Bernie

 

 

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one day soon they are all going to come from Asia or India, some of it counterfeit, and we will discover that all the good stuff has been hoarded.

 

I changed a mag on Cessna 206 a few weeks ago.  The timing had drifted beyond spec, and this airplane was a 2015 and only had 400 hours on it.  Sadly, this is somewhat common for these magnetos.

 

If I can't get decent aircraft parts, which are American made and manufactured under the scrutiny of the FAA, it doesn't give me much hope for what's in the pipe for antique automobiles...

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Convert your stock distributor to Pertronix  electronic and get rid of your points.  I have used them for 25 years in all of my Buicks with no problems.

 

 

I have a Pertronix in a box in my cabinet.  When the times comes were points are not available I will switch over.  I have not had issues with points in a 73 455 I had owned years ago. The points in the 54 are working just fine.  So, I will keep on using the points. :)    

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