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Technical Is there a reliable non-HEI SBC distributor?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rockable, May 25, 2019.

  1. Chiss
    Joined: May 12, 2017
    Posts: 222

    from S.C.

    1.5 OHM's for 6's and 8's, 3.0 OHM's for the 4's, will work like a Champ.
    jimgoetz likes this.
  2. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,932

    from Iowa

    I'm amazed how many people that complain about Pertronix don't realize there are 3 different models and EACH ONE takes a different coil. It's not one size fits all. Buy the coil that matches the unit and it's pretty bullet proof.

    Along those lines I'm surprised that after all this time people with a I don't know to keep the key of if it's not running. The original takes less voltage and the II and III take full voltage. II and III are protected from overheating if the key is left on. I've been using II in everything for the last few years and love them.
    dan griffin, Blues4U, belair and 3 others like this.
  3. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,908


    I took one of them off because I didn't want to get stranded and not be able to get parts.....anywhere.
  4. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,908


    I had an electrical problem a few weeks ago on a road trip to Nashville. The wire to the ignition switch had gotten pulled off the spade and it was cutting on and off. This could have caused my problem. I guess I'm willing to give it one more try since I've spent a bunch of time recurring this one. I will keep a spare module, however.

    BTW, I have the correct coil and do not have solid core wires. I also installed a separate ground wire to insure a good ground.
  5. LOL! Seems like "reinventing the wheel" is what we DO as hotrodders.

    My quick search indicates that Chrysler went to electronic ignition as standard in 1973, with the rest of Detroit following in 1975. So, electronic, in all it's versions , has been standard for "decades" . If I remember correctly, my 1971 Buick had a module instead of points.
    Both kinds work well if maintained. One needs less maintenance than the other.

    belair, Hnstray and XXL__ like this.
  6. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,294

    from texas

    GMC bubba suggested I use a resistor while using the Petroninx car has been running great for over three years. Problem was the coil was getting so hot you couldn't touch it. I'm thinking he recommends Bousch coils a lot also. Contact him for his info. He answers email.
    6-bangertim and belair like this.
  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,155

    Rusty O'Toole

    Reminds me of an interview with Smokey Yunick done in 1959. He discussed many of the tricks used in stock car racing (leaving out a few he had not been caught at). Blueprinting, altering cam timing, lift, rocker arms, pushrods, carburetors, etc etc were all fair game.

    The one thing he could not improve was the stock GM ignition. Don't think he didn't try. But trick coils, spark intensifiers, points, etc were no better than stock parts and often worse, especially when it came to reliability.

    About the only thing they did was add a second spring to the points for high RPM use, and recurve the distributor. The second spring was not totally necessary, but did guarantee no point bounce at speeds of 120MPH for 500 miles. If it increased wear on the rubbing block that was of no consequence on an engine that got rebuilt or at least tuned up after every race.
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
    jimgoetz, 31hotrodguy, belair and 2 others like this.
  8. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,371

    jimmy six

    My Pertronix ll has been perfect using their coil. I too had read they had coil problems. I chose to use the stock ballast resistor because of possible the problems had to do with the coil running hotter because of more voltage. Only difference according to them would be not as hot a spark.
  9. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,822


    Rock Auto lists both new and rebuilt Chevrolet points distributors. From about $75 for a rebuilt to about $275 new.
  10. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,667

    from Minnesota

    I’m amazed that for decades ordinary people drove small block chevies millions of miles doing nothing more than changing the points and condenser fall and spring.
    Those cars were driven in the winter as well, not just the car show season.
    A well maintained point system will get you there and back and easily repaired along the road even with a mildly built engine.
  11. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,049


    NAPA has an new electronic distributor with the small cap for $107 and a single point remanufactured unit for $67. Looks to me as if they're not too hard to find.
  12. Chiss
    Joined: May 12, 2017
    Posts: 222

    from S.C.

    It is Funny herein people compare 15000 volt ignitions to 40 - 60000 volt Ignitions. With Modern gas running Points is Ludicrous no matter how many Different ways you Explain it. I'm quiet a Few Decades old, had probably 100 vehicles, I've been Stranded Twice. If you Folks Break down that often that you have to carry Spare Parts in the Dash for Reliability, Maybe Checkers would be a better Hobby.
    alanp561, bob b., jimmy six and 4 others like this.
  13. 427 sleeper
    Joined: Mar 8, 2017
    Posts: 1,022

    427 sleeper

    SOOO very true!!! L.O.L!!!
    jimmy six likes this.
  14. deucendude
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 569

    from norcal

    Pertronix in my woodie with 406 chevy has been it for 26 years! I have other cars with them too. they have original distributors but I carry a points set as spares. Use a 67 12 volt VW coil and no resister is needed. It is built in.
    alanp561 likes this.
  15. RIGHT ON.

    jimmy six likes this.
  16. Yup. ludicrous. Also that flathead/nailhead/6 banger can't be reliable.....yank that out and stuff in an LS. Still running a generator? Yikes! Drum brakes? You're crazy! 6 volt? OMG!
    Better yet just park that old heap and drive a Prius...:rolleyes:
  17. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 901

    Joe H

    I recently rebuilt a '71 Pontiac 455 Ho distributor, top bushing seized to the shaft from setting. New bushings, points, condenser and really good cleaning. I spun it up on my distributor machine to set dwell and check the curve. At 4500 rpm the spark started dancing around and never quit. At 6000 rpm it was cutting out. I was at a swapmeet the next week and found a NOS set of Delco points and condensor. After installing them, the spark sat dead on to 6500 rpm without a single blip. The points I took out had a very weak spring compared to the Delco's, you could even hear the difference.

    So when I read about points distributors, I now understand why modern replacement points are no good and why they are being replaced. But at the same time, the same companies that make the crappy points are likely making the electronic replacements being installed.

    I have been running HEI since the early '80s and yet have had one fail, but then I only use GM modules.
  18. Yup, but getting harder to find originals in 40 y.o. cars. Yes, I've had off shore crappy ones fail. Anything I go out of town with (RVs, car haulers) has a spare module and coil in it somewhere.
  19. Chiss
    Joined: May 12, 2017
    Posts: 222

    from S.C.

    Keeping original as Possible will always be Respected by me First and Foremost, but making Excuses for it or saying it's better than more modern parts is Stretching it . I've had a Couple of experience's with Point set up's that simply would not pull a Greasy String out of a Cat's Ass with Ethanol Gas. In Order to keep a 58' running with available Parts were not and option, Pertronix kept it up and running till this Day.
  20. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,149

    Staff Member

    the delco single point factory distributor is by far the most reliable choice for any street driven small or big block chev. Anyone who can't be bothered with changing ignition points every 20,000 miles or so has no business calling themselves a car guy....

  21. Yeah, and a b/w tv still works.

  22. Yep. Some folks are gluttons for punishment.

    Chiss likes this.
  23. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,049


    ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Maybe so, but some folks like to know that they can fix what they've got if it breaks down on the side of the road. With the use of your wife or girlfriend's, or either, if you're all consenting adults, emery board and a matchbook cover, which conveniently measures at 15 thousandths, and your points are back in business. For your information, and not to be too far off topic, I like pre-65 kick start Harleys for the same reason. I can fix them;)
  24. I run a small-body HEI in my car, I don't have a ton of room at the firewall. An eBay special, so far so good with almost 10k miles on it. External coil, looks like a points distributor. But nothing wrong with a points distributor either. I'd run stock cars with them, just use Accel or Blue Streak points and condenser, good for 7k RPMs.
    alanp561 likes this.
  25. I ran a dual Point Dist from Chevy, in my Race Car for 6 years
    and the Only Thing I took out of my Race Car when I sold it
    was the Duel Point Tack Drive Dist { needle Bearing }
    which I put in my 50 Mercu.

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
    tractorguy, alanp561, egads and 2 others like this.
  26. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,843


    I don't know how many times the odometer on my Nomad had rolled over when I bought it in '91, but I've put over 300,000 miles on it since then, with that old-fashioned points distributor. I supposed the jury is still out on its reliability. I'll check back in when I reach 500,000 miles and let you know.
  27. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 4,442


    I agree.

    The distributer in Clarence (see avatar) is a 1966 Chevrolet Impala original. I know where it's been since it was new. It came in the '66 that my grandmother bought shortly after my grandfather died. The car got passed around my family for many years and in 1992 I took the 283 out of it and put it in Clarence after freshening it up. When I installed a crate 350 a couple of years ago the distributer from the 283 went in the new engine. It still runs great. This distributer has roughly 200K miles on it, maybe more, and still works like it did in 1966. Granted, I'm not racing this engine so I don't require the hotter spark and never spin it at high rpm.

    It has never stranded me.

    Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  28. phoneman
    Joined: Dec 5, 2010
    Posts: 64

    from Missouri

    There is a big write up in the Rodder's Journal that Holley is bringing Mallory Ignition back from the grave. Its nice to have choices.
    alanp561 likes this.
  29. Mike
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,478


    A few years ago, the Pertronix in my '57 Chevy Sedan Deliver went south on me in Phelan CA (Mojave Desert) on a Friday afternoon. I hit up the local Napa store and bought a complete stock SBC points distributor for under $50, they had it there for me the next morning.
    31hotrodguy likes this.
  30. fergusonic
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 220

    from Kokomo, In

    If you are running a pertronix and you have a spare set of points and condenser for "just in case" don't forget to also take the 2 orig rotor screws.
    Truck64, 6-bangertim and 31hotrodguy like this.

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