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Ford electronic ignition

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by monterey55, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. monterey55
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 30


    I am installing a 302 in my 55 Mercury and was wondering if some of you Ford guys could help me out. I want to run electronic ignition and want something that is dependable, easy to hook up and cheap. Any suggestions? I thought about the HEI that is made like a GM distributor but it is so big ang bulky. What would be the best factory unit?
  2. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,545


    I've always hated dealing with stock Ford electrionic ignitions as there are so man variables involved. The aftermarket Hei units are indeed a bit big and ugly especially when they are right out in front but they are also plug and play with only one wire to the ignition switch needed to make them work.

    If I wanted to run the Ford electronic ignition I would get the whole setup out of the doner car that the engine came from, Wiring harness and all. Then you will know exactly what you have and the exact parts that you may need for replacement.
  3. I beleive that Ford Duraspark is a decent unit and you keep it all FORD. I have a simple wiring diagram if needed. My expertise is strictly race oriented, but have some friends with mild builds running the Duraspark unit with minimal issues. Good easy way to go, and besides that GM HEI is butt ugly. BDM
  4. If you want it to look good, that rules out HEI or DuraSpark - their too damn big. Get either a stock dist and do a PerTronix II conversion or get one of their Plug n Play distributors. Either way simple 2 wire hook up with good reliability.

    And yes I work for PerTronix :D

    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,384


    electronic-easy-dependable and cheap ?
    Your only option is using a factory ford dura spark unit from a donor car. The wiring diagram is easy, the systems worked very well and parts should easy to find.................:eek: let me know if i can help......
  6. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,953

    gas pumper

    +3 on Dura spark. I like the big cap ones. You can add the big cap to a standard dist, It's up to you. VERY dependable and the dist can drive an MSD box, if you want.
  7. chevy454
    Joined: Dec 8, 2006
    Posts: 52

    from Ozarks

    I've never been into a FoMoCo dizzy, but you should be able to take out the points assembly, stick an MSD reluctor on the shaft over the points cam, bolt down an MSD pickup, set the air gap, and simply plug it into the MSD box of your choice. I've done that with some GM stuff, and it's pretty simple yet effective, and all fits under the small stock cap...
  8. monterey55
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 30


    Thanks for all the info. Has anyone used the cheap HEI units from Ebay?
  9. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    Ford distributors must not suck too bad because MSD uses Ford pick-up coils. A lot of Ford guys use stock Ford distributors in performance applications with no problem. BUT.......... Using any late model distributor requires some modification. Emissions era distributors may have strange advance curves. Distributors for EGR equipped engines will have WAY to much total advance.

    On race engines that are always either idling, or running in their powerband at or near wide open throttle, there may be no problem from an advance curve that isn't ideal. On a street car, and in situations where the engine has to make power over its entire operating range, the advance curve and vacuum advance should be optimized for your particular set-up. While that is so even of an aftermarket MSD, Accell, Mallory, etc., it's even more important when using a distributor from an emissions controlled engine on a non-emissions engine.
  10. monterey55
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 30


    Could i get some feedback on this Ebay item number 160513997485? I dont know exactly what it is. He says it is electronic and the only thing it takes to make it work is a coil. I havnt seen one like it. Maybe it has the Pertronix in it.
  11. I see a red and black wire leads coming from the bottom, most likely PERTRONIX. FWIW, as already stated consider the Duraspark, keep another known GOOD junkyard module with you and your all set for many happy miles. BDM
  12. I am happy with a duraspark and an early style cap on it. I looks like an early distributor with one extra wire coming out. If I remember right, I went to the parts store and told them I wanted a distributor and ignition box for like 1978 Fairmont or something.
  13. StayFrosty
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 24

    from Wisconsin

    +1 for the Duraspark setup. I've always had good luck with them on my AMC and Ford applications. I also prefer the big cap. You can get an adapter for a couple of bucks to run the bigger cap on a smaller distributor. If you don't like the size of the big caps the smaller ones work OK too.
  14. Looks to me like the wires are molded together and we don't do that so I don't think is PerTronix. In fact almost looks like three wire colors, maybe Mallory unilite conversion
  15. I'm with you Spyder, anything you need for that Duraspark while broke down on the side of the road is at any autoparts store, in stock right now. BDM
  16. I run the Duraspark dissy but use a HEI module mounted under the dash. Works great and you'd never know its HEI.
  17. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,553


    You can use the duraspark ignition and use the points style cap and wires as I have it that way on the 351 thats in my 55 sunliner,if you remove the large cap and adapter the distributor is the same size as the points. Just use the points cap and rotor and you are there and no big ugly looking cap any more.
  18. Humboldt Cat
    Joined: Feb 20, 2003
    Posts: 2,231

    Humboldt Cat
    from Eureka, CA

    Being a Ford guy, it's interesting to learn about the Duraspark conversion on old Fords. Off personal experience, I'm with Hot Rod Don on recommending the Petronix unit, plus it'll retain the older stock Ford look.

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