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Best distributor for Ford 5.0 + carb?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BuiltFerComfort, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620


    I have a 90-something roller Ford 5.0 out of a who-knows-what (T-bird maybe?). It came with half an injector setup on it; I took it off and put on a Holley dual-plane manifold. It runs fine for now with a Holley 600 and a cheapo Ebay distributor. But I don't trust the distributor, it was Chinese, $38 brand new. What distributor should I look for, for the long haul? I recently read that the 1985-only Mustang distributor had the correct bronze gear for the roller cam... does it still have points, or what else would I need to make it work?

    I need basic info on this too; my knowledge of this sort of thing kind of went missing in the transition era - I worked on cars a lot in the 70s and early 80s but then stopped for 20 years and know very little about what is needed to make this work. Does anyone have a soup-to-nuts recipe for the right distributor and related stuff to work with a carb for a 5.0?
  2. I have the same thing. I'm either going with the duraspark ford system or buying a points dizzy and changing it with a petronics. I believe the gear should be steel if you have a roller block
  3. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Funny thing about those cheap Chinese knock off distributors is that they actually aren't too bad. I bought one at Turkey Run a few years ago and ran it on a roller cam 350 sbc for 3 years and finally bought a cap and rotor to freshen it up, but that was all I had to do.

    In my Jeep pickup that I swapped a 5.0 engine into I used a Malloy Unilite and although some swear at them I ran it for 5 years with zippo problems. I also have one in my 27, and two other cars we have use them with no problems at all.

    Just my experience.

  4. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620


    What I'm worried about is the cam & distributor gears - (this is from memory and I may have it backwards) what I've read is that the cam gear is sintered bronze, and a steel distributor gear will chew up the cam gear in short order. Likewise a steel cam gear will chew up a softer bronze distributor gear quickly. So they have to match, and I'm not sure what I've got, and especially not sure what the quality of the Chinese gear. Thus my concern / research. Rock Auto will sell a 85 Mustang distributor at a good price, but I'm not sure what else would be needed.

  5. AnimalAin
    Joined: Jul 20, 2002
    Posts: 3,417


    I ran a bronze gear for a while on my coupe, but it was plagued with wear problems (the bronze gear, not the cam). Replaced it with a steel gear, and no problems since. Available from Summit, Jegs, etc. Not too expensive.
  6. BuiltFerComfort
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,620


    Thanks - that's just what I'm trying to avoid, steel/bronze mismatch. I'm assuming I have a bronze cam gear in my roller motor and was wanting a matching OEM -ish distributor with bronze gear. But also wondering if that is what I really want since I don't know what else I'd need to make it all work.
  7. 64gal
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 146


    The cam gear is the same material as the cam, the dist. gear is the softer material. For a ford roller cam use a dist from an 1985 5.0 mustang(roller cam and duraspark) you can use the duraspark box or an msd or crane etc. The 5.0 dist. and an msd box and a 5.0 coil is a pretty good system. One caution; I bought a reman dist from napa and I'm not happy with the quality, maybe I just got a bad one.
  8. Send a PM to JeffB2, he'll point you to a great HEI that will work with your roller motor.
  9. 2dr_sedan
    Joined: Mar 25, 2005
    Posts: 265


    You can actually go to Advanced Auto, or whatever is in your area. Get a reman Motorcraft dizzy for an '85 GT Mustang. I've done that twice, they're fairly cheap, never had any issues.
  10. You will have problems if you have a roller cam. The bronze gear is designed to wear whereas a steel gear will wear out the cam (gear).

    The best distributor out there is the MSD. You can usually find used ones for between $30.00 and $100.00. The only drawback is that you'll have to run a box, but you can hide that under the dash. They also make black and dark red caps to hide the look.
  11. willys_truck
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 778


    I am running a mallory Hei in my 91 5.0 roller motor. Does great.
  12. I bought a Mallory Unilite at the Goodguys show here in Charlotte. I asked the guy about the gear issues with a roller cam engine. He told me that this dizzy will work with my roller cam (steel gear). I've gotten the same info thru a small block Ford website as well., so that is what I am going to use.
  13. zibo
    Joined: Mar 17, 2002
    Posts: 2,346

    from dago ca

    I'm trying to figure this out too,
    but my problem isn't really the gear.

    A 90 lincoln 5.0 engine efi to carb conversion is what I have.
    The original 90 distributor side by side an 80's distributor is like 1/2" longer,
    so that means either the oil pump barely reaches or just won't spin,
    or is it ok?

    Any suggestions what distributor to use?


  14. MAD MIKE
    Joined: Aug 1, 2009
    Posts: 570

    from 94577

    The TFI shaft was a bit different if memory serves me right, but this has no effect or change with anything else on the engine. You can easily verify by comparing the gear location to the flange on both distributors. If its the same length there then all should be fine.

    As mentioned, use the '85 GT 4V/T5 Mustang distributor in a 85+ roller cam 5.0 when converting from EFI to 4V.
    A CFI/AOD distributor will be a TFI unit
  15. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    Here is another option. I have been running this on my 300 for years. Use a Duraspark II distributor, efi coil and a GM module. It's easy to wire up and works great. Make sure to mount the module on a heat sink with the heat transfer goop on it.
  16. I've had used Pentronix flamethrower distributors on my 327 in the Deuce pickup and the 5.0 in the '54 "Ranch Wagon",,so far so good. HRP
  17. Racedad
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 48

    from Sacramento

    wow...... my heads spinning.. oh thats right ,they have a new idea each year, so lets reinvent wheel, silly ford ... lol . I would like to say that the china $49 p.o.s. I used on my 71 non-roller 302 worked great... i used to trip out that it was so damn cheep but really dependable, kooky to say the least. In my 5 years at ol Summit racing i experienced craploads of unhappy calls on $300 dollar ignition boxes and $60 coils. the distributors seemed to be sound though, from u know hoo, those overpriced billet parts are still out of my price range, and Gents The Roller steel Cams DO require a steel Gear, the new Polymer is an option, only 90 dollars... what a bargain.HA!!! remember those Pete Jackson gear drives.... steel on steel... there ya go.....

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