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Technical Firewall clearance issue

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by AlaskanMatt, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. AlaskanMatt
    Joined: May 22, 2015
    Posts: 66


    My OEM distributor for my 383 died. I am replacing it with an msd street fire distributor and box. The msd is bigger in diameter than the OEM. My intention is to massage the firewall back a bit to make clearance. Are there better ways than others to get that done? I figure I need between .25" and .50" more for everything to fit.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  2. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 912

    Pete Eastwood
    from california

  3. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,493

    rusty valley

    points worked really good for 75 years, i'll add this, when they get bad it gets your attention, so then you can drive home and fix it tomorrow. when your msd goes bad it needs attention out on the road somewhere, with no warning
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
    56don and Robert J. Palmer like this.
  4. AlaskanMatt
    Joined: May 22, 2015
    Posts: 66


    Oops, by OEM I meant for a sbc350. Sorry about that.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  5. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,450


    Why not replace it with the same kind, or repair yours? Or do you just want the MSD? Never seen a hammered firewall look nice.
    Hnstray and X38 like this.
  6. Your distributor choice is the problem, not the firewall.
  7. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,522

    from PNW

    A 3" long, 4" diameter, 1/4" wall piece of tube applied with the right amount of force in the right place will accomplish your desired massaging. Oh, and don't forget to thank the previous posters for all their help in the answer to your question.
    Hombre and Just Gary like this.
  8. Mmm, I see your point.
    Hnstray likes this.
  9. 4speed411
    Joined: Jun 8, 2013
    Posts: 272


    Mine required a bit more room, but easy enough to fabricate FB_IMG_1534678012336.jpg
    mgtstumpy, Hombre and Just Gary like this.
  10. The street fire distributor is an HEI style distributor. It’s too big. If you want an MSD then use a MSD ready to run distributor. It has the small points body and is all electronic. Don’t hack that firewall up for a big ugly HEI
  11. I had to go small body HEI with my SBC swap. With an external round coil. There wasn't even enough room to mount the bigger coil that came with it.
  12. If you only need 1/2" any good Tin Man with a helper inside can get that done for you without it looking like you just beat the Crap out of it. However as mentioned there may be a better choice unless your locked in on the unit you bought. I'd say come on over but I have no idea what that would mean for you. Personally I like Malory dual point housings with Pertronix inside them. About as small a housing you can get.
    partssaloon, X38 and olscrounger like this.
  13. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 3,900


    A picture of what it is in or better yet a picture of the area in question would be helpful.

  14. *BP/BFH :D
    *ball peen

    @Pist-n-Broke this will give you a chuckle about a "Tin Man" with a helper.

    When we replaced the 330 horse small block in The Pusher with the other small block we discovered that the tall rockers would not clear, or that you cannot always replace an SBC with an SBC.

    Well in order to relieve the firewall to clear the rocker covers it was pull the distributer and go after it with a ball peen or our second option was for one of us to hold a bar while the other went after it with a 4 pound hammer. So me being the wise old soul that I am held the bar while the @raven lay into it with the hammer. Uh you know where this is going right?

    He missed and the helper got the 4 pound hammer. I still got a weird lookin scare on the back of my hand. LOL
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
    olscrounger likes this.
  15. And there you have it. From one extreme to the other.
  16. Scroll up just for grins
  17. Beaner, note I said helper inside although I suppose an over zelous Hammer driver could knock a bar through said cover and still get ya. Dad always said, "Son if yer gonna keep doing Stupid things like that yur gonna have to get a lot Tougher". I shoulda listened better.
    Bandit Billy and Chavezk21 like this.
  18. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 6,517

    Bandit Billy

    MSD plug and play, I run 3 of them at the current time in my stuff. Oh, buy a black cap for it.
    Pist-n-Broke likes this.
  19. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,358

    dave lewis

    Well folks...
    Here is the slickest way I've ever seen to solve this problem.
    Way back in the day , Hurst used to sell a kit to install big blocks into tri 5 chevys..
    Included in the instructions was firewall clearance for the distributor..

    Find a 15 " crescent wrench..bolt a 2" trailer ball into the hole in the handle...
    Wail away on the firewall..( there was a paper template to mark the location )
    The flat on the top of the ball left a nice flat surface...
    By overlapping the blows you could work a very nice recess in...
    If you were not greedy, and worked your way around " gently " it didn't even tear up the paint !

    I know I'm old...but I can't be the only guy that remembers this...


    Sent from my SM-G973U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    TrailerTrashToo and Hombre like this.
  20. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,456


    Could have installed an engine with the distributor in front. To late for that I guess.
  21. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,143

    from Berry, AL

    That’s what I was thinking, put a small block FORD in it and the distributor is right out in front where you can get to it!
  22. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,209


    As I remember it (and I'm sorta' old too), the distributor clearance was't the biggest issue, it was the valve covers at the rear corners (although there was "some" tight problem with the windowed style distributor caps). Sometimes, the cap would hit the firewall as the engine torqued around a little, that resulted in breaking caps and rotors. Using a 55-56, 265 distributor took care of that problem easy enough. I say use a small body distributor, of any brand, and leave the firewall alone. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
  23. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,320

    el Scotto
    from Tracy, CA

    I’m pretty sure it’s traditional to turn a small project into a huge one... :D
  24. If you haven't tried it, take the cap off and the rotor off and see if it fits..that's the only way I got mine in and out..1/4" clearance with a ridge just above it ('49 shoebox)
  25. AlaskanMatt
    Joined: May 22, 2015
    Posts: 66


    I got it to fit. What I did was took a rounded wood file handle and slowly used a 4lb mallet to push the firewall in. It worked great didnt look too bad. It's not perfect but it doesn't look too bad. Thanks for the help.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  26. enjenjo
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,498

    from swanton oh

    With a Ford you need to access the distributor more often.
    mgtstumpy likes this.
  27. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,044


    I'm using this PP Powerfire in my 46 Olds. Nice and compact
    Powerfire 1.jpg 20190310_102644.jpg
  28. Chappy444
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 1,084

    1. Maryland HAMBers

    Not all cool Fords have a front distributer... just sayin' ;)
    Nailhead Jason and j3harleys like this.

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