Register now to get rid of these ads!

Hei....or points

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by convict, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. convict
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 44

    from laredo,tx

    So whats better? More reliable? Better lookin?
  2. Greaser Bob
    Joined: Mar 5, 2006
    Posts: 1,325

    Greaser Bob

    I can't stand the looks of HEI, but in most cases it's better. You can still make an electronic ign. look like points and no-one would be the wiser.
  3. creepjohnny
    Joined: Dec 1, 2007
    Posts: 877

    from Sunland,CA

    No pints, pertronix ignitor 2 or 3. Works great and hides under stock dizzy cap.
  4. 270dodge
    Joined: Feb 11, 2012
    Posts: 742

    from Ohio

    Well now, better is HEI from a mechanical standpoint but to the eyes possibly points. It depends on the eye of the beholder. What do you want? Period perfect or hot rodding? The best, back in the day, was the WH Ducoil, sadly not available now. Hot rodding is to change factory things to the way you want'em.

  5. Flatheadguy
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 2,037


    Carry a spare set of points, condenser, rotor and cap. Now you can fix it on the side of the road IF your regular maintenance is neglected.
    With HEI? Carry a spare distributor, rotor and cap....or carry a cell phone.
    I expect to be attacked for this "old school" reasoning. (smiling)
  6. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    Pertronix. Works badass on my truck and looks stock!
  7. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792


    I've had both and prefer HEI. Points are old school and can be just as reliable as HEI. In the end, it's personal preference.
  8. lht
    Joined: Jan 18, 2013
    Posts: 243


    no contest hei
  9. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    ...or module. I've had a few leave me stranded :mad:, then I got me an MSD box on my O/T Olds.
  10. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,550

    from Nicasio Ca

    Just posted this in another thread. HEI in points distributor.

  11. other than needing more maintenance, points are just fine and can be very reliable

    we fought...and won...WWII with points

    Charles Lindbergh flew solo over the Atlantic in 1927 with points
  12. chubbie
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,314


    well then, it wouldn't be an HEI would it? it would be an electronic conversion!
  13. Are we talking HEI like in the big assed GM distributer or just an electronic distributer.

    I like a points distributer but an electronic is also a good option. I have a vintage Mallory that no one knows is a unilite, I also have another Bubbas petronix unit that is another Vintage mallory. So if we are talking just an Electronic unit and not a GM type of HEI then looks is probably not a big part of the equation.

    Electronic distributers really don't lay down that often, but if you were worried you could carry a spare control mode just as easily as a spare set of points and condensor. The spare parts for an electronic are going to be a little more pricey than a spare set of points.

    I really don't have a preferance, I run what I have as a rule. if I go loking for a distributer and have the money to do so then I would probably go electronic but if I go looking and my budget is limited I buy what I find that fits the budget.
  14. hoop98
    Joined: Jan 23, 2013
    Posts: 1,362

    from Texas

    I was a driveability tech when we made the transition from points to HEI or electronic in general. So I have a couple of thoughts.

    Electronics had a surprisingly large number of failures early on, most module heat related.

    The Pertronix is a well proven system which requires very little maintenance.

    We started seeing a lot of advance issues that we never had with the points distributors, reason being, they weren't getting looked at twice a year. You still need to lube the advance and check it out even if you have no points maintenance.

    When the points close up you could get out and fix it, when the HEI module packed it up you wait for it to cool off, (or poor part of a beer on it).

    If you go electronic, don't ignore that distributor, take the cap off, look around, if it's a gm put a drop of machine oil on the weight pivots.


  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,173


    Just for appearance sakes a points style distributor. For all around performance and electronic distributor.

    I learned years ago to carry a spare HEI module in the glove box and the screw drivers to change it. But I probably fixed or replace points on the side of the road just as often if not more in the past 50 years. My daily did gain 2 mpg and starts a hell of a lot easier after I switched to HEI and that is the big advantage of running one. Looks and being able to use your girl's emery board to spiff up the points and go again are the main draw for points.
  16. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus


    I detest the GM HEI cap


    I have a buddy convert my early 2 piece cap Mallory's to Chrysler electronic ign.

    I was going to have my 58 Studebaker (Delco) dist. converted but it starts just as fast as any of my converted Mallory's so I just leave it be. We used to do tune ups every 10K miles. At that rate I'll be dead and buried when it needs a new tune up.:D
  17. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    There is a reason no car made today runs points. That being said, it comes down to personal preference. I have used points for tons of years and even lots of dual point distributors, but for reliability I like Unilite electronic distributors. That being said, I am going to run a stock point type distributor in the 394 Olds in my rpu because I bought all new parts to rebuild it and will see how that goes before I do something else, like a Pertronix conversion.

  18. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,060

    from California

    HEI... is that a GM term or did other manufacturers use it ?
  19. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    HEI stands for GMs "high energy ignition". Like many terms it has lost it's original meaning and many people use it as a generic term for electronic ignition but I'm sure it is a copy righted term. The main reason they went to HEI was the advent of electronic fuel injection.
  20. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    Fundamentaly, I agree with your line of reasoning. I've used points, with and without MSD's for decades, and find no reason to change. And the only time I'd run a hyd. cam is in a truck. But then, you and I dont need to ask this question. I'd suggest the electronic, and a cel phone.
  21. hoop98
    Joined: Jan 23, 2013
    Posts: 1,362

    from Texas

    I would say that HEI was meant to help ignite the leaner mixtures we went to in 74 and later. We could run a wider gap and had longer spark duration, up from 1.2 to about 1.5 ms. This extended the lean misfire limit. I think all 75's had them, we got them in 74 at Buick on some engines.

    That was well before our 82 TBI 4 Cylinders and the 84 SFI 3.8.

  22. Uh, NO! GM came out with the HEI in 1974 - LONG before their first electronic fuel injection systems. the first Chevrolet EFI was in 1983, the dreaded Cross Fire Injection. They had played with some EFI stuff on Cadillac's in 1976, but it was a crude and poorly designed system that did not use an HEI.
  23. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    It was done for emission-control purposes. Once the industry started to lean out the fuel/air ratios to reduce HC emissions, they needed a hotter spark to light off the now lean mixtures to satisfy the tree-huggers.
  24. models916
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 380


    Keep the gap at 35-45 and the coil will last forever. Early GM HEI spec used a wide gap that killed the coils.
  25. walleyfisher
    Joined: Dec 5, 2012
    Posts: 3

    from usa

    Just to keep simple, On a standard point style ignition, maximum voltage to the spark plugs is at idle and drops with more RPM while a HEI system maintains the same voltage from idle to red line. thats why electronic trumps points for performance
  26. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,273


    Also electronic maintains a consistent spark as there is no rubbing block wear or arcing of the points over time
  27. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,417


  28. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,038


    I was a GM nut until it became Government Motors. HEI, to me, was a godsend. I heard about it when I took a series of classes at the GM Training Center in Memphis back in the Sixities. They said it was in the works and would astound the world. It came and it did. I have changed out every small block I've owned to HEI. And, as far as how the Distributor Cap looks, it spaces out the terminals for a reason. The same as the older one were put in the order they were. Kind of like walking into a museum and saying you don't like certain painters, or certain periods of painting. Like everything that comes from a well reasoned theory, it looks like it does not to please some old fogey who prob'ly still thinks cars should have the steering wheels on the right so's he can step out on the curb, like in the ole days. Progress brings change. Change means that objects change the way they look. The toaster your wife uses doesn't look the one Tom Edison's mom used to make him toast. Get on the trolley to life. Use modern stuff and not complain. T models had ignitions that took up the whole dash. How far back do you want to go? I say if you want something that works get electronic ignitions. If you want counterfeit, stick it inside something that 'looks' like grampa's but use the best you can get. Points, it has been pointed out have wear blocks that wear out. The metal degrades from the arc which heats up the metal. Just like plating it wants to move with the flow of the current. At a subatomic level points can't help but die because they are sacrificial when you look it at from that point of view. Electronic ignition, on the other hand, uses the tendancy of a small current to be swayed by its proximity to a magnet . Magnetism has no transference at the subatomic level, only an impulse. Using this as a trigger makes wear a non-issue. Which is most logical to use? Still, as my Mother used to say 'You be the Judge'.
  29. lawman
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,665


    HEI has alway's worked better for me !!!!
  30. DLoE65
    Joined: Feb 28, 2012
    Posts: 7

    from Orange, CA

    I agree.. HEI

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.