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Projects HEI in a 351 W need rotor location

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 1955 F-100 guy, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. 1955 F-100 guy
    Joined: Jul 15, 2010
    Posts: 386

    1955 F-100 guy
    from NE Pa

    HEI distributor in a 351 W engine-- rotor pointer location for # 1 plug -- firing order 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8-- counter clock-wise
  2. onetrickpony
    Joined: Sep 21, 2010
    Posts: 443

    from Texas

    Anywhere you want it. Just start from where the rotor is.

    But, really. HEI in a Ford? Those things are bad enough buried in the back of a Chevy but right up front? With the Duraspark, at least you have the option of running a small cap to at least pretend to be period correct.
    Crazy Steve likes this.
  3. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,178

    sloppy jalopies

    remove plug #1 hold your thumb over the hole... bump the engine over little at a time, when it blows your thumb off that is the compression stroke, back the engine over a little to TDC of that distributer loab... put the plug into the wire boot, hold [ground] against the block, turn the dist. slowly, you will see the spark...that should line up the engine and distributer...
    ... but... i would run a "pertronics" because with any problem you can put yours points and condenser back in to get home...
  4. Futura63
    Joined: Dec 3, 2011
    Posts: 146

    from N/W ohio

    In the 1 0clock position as you look at it from the front
    BigChief and 48fordnut like this.

  5. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,591


    Typically the rotor location in a newer stock Ford V-8 would be at the 1 o'clock position for #1 cylinder.
    The vacuum diaphragm should point straight at you or slightly to the left with about 8-10 degrees of advance.
    BigChief and 48fordnut like this.
  6. The basic rule of thumb on about any motor is that the rotor should point at the number one plug when one is firing. Number one on a 351 W should be pass side front plug and the distributer turns counter clockwise.
    figure8 likes this.
  7. I think I may have to disagree with that one Beaner
    firing_order.jpg firingorder.gif Cad_firing_order_390_62-back.jpg PONTIAC_FIRING_ORDER.jpg 5.8L_firing_order.gif
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  8. 31Vicky with a hemi likes this.
  9. It doesn't matter where it points because it will run but you do have to point it someplace and at #1 makes the most sense.

    This girl s a ford which means firing order really different so it's best to get the book out anyway
  10. 56shoebox
    Joined: Sep 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,106


    " remove plug #1 hold your thumb over the hole... bump the engine over little at a time, when it blows your thumb off " go to the hospital. :p
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,510


    Another diagram,

    One thing that has always burned my biscuits is following behind some clown who just stabbed the distributor and matched #1 wire up to where ever the rotor pointed on top compression of #1 cylinder without clocking the rotor to the right spot on the firing order. It isn't that hard to do it right.
    Sloppy Jaloppy gave the right instructions or close to them in post 3.
    I used to have a contest every year in my autoshop classes when we were doing the tune up and ignition phase where they started with the distributor and cap laying on top of the engine and had to pull #1 plug, crank the engine and bring it up on #1, drop the distributor in, lock it down in time. put the cap and wires back on and plug back in and fire it up. Most teams of two got to where they cold do it in under a minute. The engine was a Ford 289 in a training engine/test stand. It isn't rocket science to do it right.
    On the Hei, I have no issue with that as usually they work much better than most distributors, they are real easy to trouble shoot and if you do need a part the parts can be found at any parts house.
    studebaker46 likes this.
  12. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,997


    Ran a Gm style HEI in my 5.0 powered Morris Minor. Trouble free. what's the problem with HEI ? It's not a Ford distributor ? Neither was my heads aftermarket aluminum, aftermarket intake, aftermarket carb. Aftermarket cam. If it's not a restoration, so what . DSCF0938.JPG
    rjones35 likes this.
  13. Have you seen one?
    Butt ugly and OT as 20" wheels
    BigChief likes this.
  14. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,239

    from NKy

    Never put a turd in the punch bowl . A GM dist . in a Ford engine , dura spark is just as good and its a Ford !
    BigChief likes this.
  15. vilanar
    Joined: Feb 9, 2009
    Posts: 58

    from Finland

    There was one(by previous owner) in my F1 with SBF . I was wondering why this thing don´t perform ???
    Put the dizzy in SUN machine and NO mechanical advance !
    Reason : That ugly thing is all chevy inside and in chevy it rotates clockwise and Ford rotates counterclockwise. So only thing that was advancing was vacuum when in cruise.
    It´s in trashcan now !
  16. They look better and don't fry the coil. The ones from the early '80s had a tendency to cook the control mod though. :D

    I think when people are talking HEI for a Ford (or any other motor for that matter) they are talking about the ones built specifically for that motor not a modified GM HEI. Generally speaking that is.

    Aside from the looks the GM HEI is a smogger motor distributer. It is work to make one actually "perform". By my way of thinking you are way better off with an old points distributer than a GM HEI, and just need to learn to tune one up.
    31Vicky with a hemi likes this.
  17. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,997


    I suppose all of the thousands of small block Chevy swaps should be reversed and flatheads or Y blocks put in. Must keep a Ford a Ford.
    You guys are funny , I used my car as a daily driver for 2 years. At car shows nobody ever said anything bad about it having an HEI type distributor. In fact several people asked how it worked and where they could get one. Even at the turkey rod run in Daytona.
    I once ran a G/Gas Pontiac with a small block Chevy , a Ford top loader , and a Chrysler Dana 60. You use what works. Oh , by the way my 5.0 powered Morris Minor with that terrible performing HEI ran high 11's on 89 octane pump gas and got 20 mpg on the highway with a 4.11 gear and an AOD trans.
    Checking the timing with a light, the advance worked just fine. Got mine from Summit.
    Ran an HEI for years in a limited late model dirt track car with a locked advance aftermarket module and coil turned it 7200 every lap.
    RustyDogg likes this.
  18. 1955 F-100 guy
    Joined: Jul 15, 2010
    Posts: 386

    1955 F-100 guy
    from NE Pa

    For those that do not know they make HEI for a Ford engine, it gives it a real nice clean look no ugly looking coil setting there and are very, very dependable and easy to replace parts, much nicer then any original set-up look--Thanks for all your help
  19. Schwanke Engines
    Joined: Jun 12, 2014
    Posts: 784

    Schwanke Engines

    Just get a nice HEI, they work great. If your question is where #1 is ford is Goofy and. Calls the right front cylinder #1. Mark crank at 0 then do the thumb trick verify that's where it's at and go. If your worried about the large cap there are mini cap hei's.

    Sent from my XT1585 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,631


    I run an HEI in my Ford. Hot rodding is about running the best. It's the best.

    Being brand-loyal is the antithesis of hot rodding. Unless you are getting sponsorship money, you have no business being brand loyal.
  21. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,972


    Spinning the distributor the wrong way the mechanical unit would still work but it would retard not advance.
  22. Thanks, I needed a morning laugh!
  23. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,974


    There is a fix for that, I hope you didn't literally throw that distributor away. The Chevy distributor rotation is CW and the advance will be CCW so what is needed is to switch the distributor cam for one from a Buick, Pontiac or Olds HEI distributor, all of which spin CCW.
    Looking at the photos you see the number 534 which for this dist. cam tells us that the total advance available is 34° and it is for clockwise advance rotation having come from a 455 Pontiac. The second photo shows the advance slot which will be a different length on a cam stamped 522 for example which might be used to your advantage depending on the desired total advance. You could limit total advance with a shorter slot thereby allowing more initial advance. DSCN3154.JPG DSCN3156.JPG
  24. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,631


    Well, if you have another solution to running a GM 7-pin module that controls an EFI system, in an early, small-bore Falcon block, with a early 1/4" oil pump drive, without having to spend all the money for it, and then leave it un-warranty-able because of the 4-5 hours of careful lathe work, then let me know.
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,384


    Thats NOT the way it works!!! Especially in a chevy V8 application. Spinning against rotation wont advance OR retard . Retard is a positive stop and the weights cant go that direction. Hold a chevy dist ( example) by the gear and turn the rotor in the advance position , then try to turn the rotor to retard.
    HOWEVER on a FE 390 Ford the weights will swing out and try ( not very well) to retard the timing. BUT the real problem is the rotor phase (firing at the correct position with the dist cap) is off approx 20 plus degrees which would cause major problems.
    See what ya did ! I Just had one on the tester and flipped it backwards against rotation. So spinning them against rotation in most cases will not work....
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017

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