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General HEI distributor concerns:

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by c-10 simplex, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. c-10 simplex
    Joined: Aug 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,333

    c-10 simplex

    These complete distributors are available from GM:


    and # 88961867 which is the fancy, up-scale, billet, cnc model.

    1) Where are these made? Where are each and every component inside made?

    2) Do you have any direct (or indirect) experiences and/or comments regarding the above 2 models?

    Dependability, not performance is my main concern here.

    3) P.S. i noticed that gm is also offering a "licenced" model made by proform (i already don't like the sound of this.......) # 141-682. 681 and 683 are just different colored caps.

    a) Comment on this one as well.
    b) Pls Don't get it confused with the above 2 models.

    4) Can you suggest any other company's models that are as good or better than original gm?

    5) And yes, fishing one from a junkyard is another possibility..........

    i don't give a damn about performance right now; i'm only concerned about dependability, durability and longevity right now.
  2. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    I used to buy any HEI that was at local swap meets just to have on hand for parts. I have at least five under my bench and several others that I stripped for parts. I have a break down kit in the trunk with a spare cap, coil, rotor and module along with other small parts that could get me home.

    I'm not sure where GM makes their after market units but I would bet on Mexico since that's where most of their stuff comes from.

    I have bought complete units from Speedway and Jeg's for less than $100 that worked fine.
  3. I run used HEI's from the wrecker. I keep a complete (meaning cap and coil) spare wrecking yard sourced HEI in the trunk of every car I own. I have personally never had a failure on the road, but if (when?) I do, it will be a simple task to swap in the spare and keep on going. I just check to make sure the mech and vac advance function as intended and check for play between the shaft and the housing down by the drive gear.

    My reason is simple ... I want reliability and this works for me.
  4. mike in tucson
    Joined: Aug 11, 2005
    Posts: 500

    mike in tucson
    from Tucson

  5. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,199

    from pgh. pa.

    IMHO It is very hard to beat the reliability of factory stock parts. Even junkyard parts are better than some of the aftermarket parts. If the factory has a 5% failure rate on a part, that's a lot of vehicles. They cannot have that kind of bad press about reliability. Remember to keep it simple.

  6. wingman9
    Joined: Dec 30, 2009
    Posts: 804

    from left coast

    I personally prefer the small cap GM distributors. You can use a GM module to eliminate the points. You have to use an external coil. Same deal as HEI but not nearly as bulky or as ugly. GMC Bubba here on the hamb can fix you up.
    Bubba's Hot Rod Shop - Linder Technical Services
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  7. I'm at work at this time, a GM Performance Dealer. We have both distributors in stock.
    93440806 is labeled Made in Taiwan
    88961867 is labeled Made in USA

    We do not stock the licensed one, so I can't tell you country of origin.

    Country of origin could have been different in the past or could change in the future for a
    lot of different factors, this information is off current stock on hand.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  8. dutch rudder
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 146

    dutch rudder
    from houston

    IMO- with the HEI bastard i had in my Ford 351M, a MSD cap, rotor and coil with stock pickups worked flawlessly for me (i ran a MSD 6AL as well)
  9. Yep, HEI is new (1974) technology, not traditional hot rod stuff. Works great with the hood shut.
  10. 48FordFanatic
    Joined: Feb 26, 2011
    Posts: 1,335

    from Maine

    I bought a new one from GM ( $220 ) when I built my car. Quit on the way to work one day. Installed new module and it went a thousand or so more miles before it quit. This time it believe it was the pickup sensor. I said screw it and bought one ( made in China ) from Jegs or Summit for $89.00. Its been working fine for the past 10,000 miles.
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,385


    You need to be carefull here as almost all are made off shore.

    We have used the complete billett unit and had good luck with them. Parts seems to be very good and the advance curve is right on as well.
    In some cases the delco parts replacements are no longer available OR if available the parts will come from who knows.

    My suggestion (if you like the GM HEI) is to buy the ebay unit for $39.95 or less and drive it. Might buy two and use one for parts.

    Or buy one and send it to us for a custom set up and curve...:eek:
  12. ray-jay
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 200

    from Buford GA

    Some of the old OEM HEI dists had advance weights with small plastic bushings at the pivot and other ones had hardened weights with no bushings. The second version has a raised boss on the adv weight at the pivot whereas the first type have stamped sheetmetal totally flat adv weights.

    The plastic bushings wear out and the weights cut into the pivot shaft. The type without the bushings don't have this problem and are much preferred imo.

    On my last bracket car I converted a cast iron oem points dist to accept an HEI signal generator. I then ran an MSD Cap-Adapt and ran the ign coil and 2 HEI modules [ plus a Ford starter solenoid ] on a rubber mounted plate on the passenger footwell inside the car [ the forward part of the foot well so the coil wire run was short ]. My thinking was that if one of the HEI modules died it would only take a few seconds to swap the wires over.

    Funny story on the rubber mounted electronics plate. First time I went to start the engine in the car the starter wouldn't even click. The motor had already been run for more than an hour on the test stand !!! Hmmmmm. Oh yeah, that plate is going to have to be grounded for the solenoid to work :D

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