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Technical Info needed on Chevy 235 HEI distributor gear

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by jonnyzepp, May 27, 2020.

  1. jonnyzepp
    Joined: Sep 8, 2006
    Posts: 126


    I put a rebuilt 235 in my 1948 Fleetline Aerosedan. It's running great but my buddy and I want to install an HEI ignition. The 235 motor is a 1954 with a standard transmission. From research on the internet, the distributor gear looks like it's steel, not cast iron. I attached a picture of it below. So I've read conflicting information about the gear. Langdon's site says that I definitely need a steel gear on the distributor. Another posting I saw on a Chevy site said you can use a cast iron gear with both steel and cast camshafts but you can only use the steel gear with a steel camshaft. From what it said, all the Chevy replacement distributors had the cast iron gear after 1954. I'm not sure what to believe.

    Also, is it better to get the mini HEI distributor with the external coil or the large-cap version? I don't care that it looks period correct.

    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  2. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,953

    gas pumper

    I did this a couple of times using the big cap Hei. I reused the gear from the old distributors. I also used a later Chevy Distributor and machined the body to take off the mounting hold down flange and install a shaft collar to set the distributor depth. I think also the oil pump drive tang needs to be made a little longer to fit deeper into the pump drive. This works on the Chevy and also the GMC sixes.
  3. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 915


    motortwo.jpg Use the Mini HEI from Langdon, if he's still doing them. I did with my 54, 235. It looks better and has never given me any trouble. In fact, it was one of the best upgrades I ever did with my 52. I used a Ford coil that looked more appropriate under the hood. There is no need for the big cap distributor. You also get a bigger gaped plug and a better spark.
  4. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,194

    jimmy six

    I just install one of Toms complete kit small HEI's on a 302 GMC. Since the hood is closed I use the old style HEI coil he recommended. It works great. I had a few extra gaskets that I needed under the flange so it didn't bottom out, an ez check when installing. He asks whether you have a cast or steel cam. I bought his plugs and wires too. At a $1 a plug and $20 for the precut wires it's a great deal. He also recommended intake vacuum over venturii.

  5. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,312



    I bought one (obviously used once I installed it) that was done by Buffalo Enterprise? It uses the 230/250 distributor and machined on the end and this little doo dad that engages the oil pump. I was told "never used", well, the distributor shaft had a wobble in it.

    Anyways, wouldn't feel right selling it, but would send it your way for shipping if you want to give it a try. You'd need to source a new shaft and do some machine work on it...that'd be the easy part compared to me, I'd have to find where I put the box at;)
  6. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,234


  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,551


    Modifying and swapping a later distributor (230/250) into an early six is pretty common with either the point style or the Hei is pretty common.
    Another option is this one

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