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Technical USED MSD

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by topher5150, Apr 26, 2021.

  1. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,389

    topher5150
    Member

    I was wondering if you guys and gals had any luck with buying used MSD 6AL? Is it a crap shoot or am I better off saving up and spending the extra for a new one
     
  2. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,302

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    You pays you money & you takes you chances ..
     
  3. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,025

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    The new ones are digital and don't seem to be as good as the older units... I have one of the vintage units and will use that or I might try the new Vertex Z-6 unit..
     
  4. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,731

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    That a battery and a coil and test it.
     

  5. 54chevkiwi
    Joined: Jun 28, 2020
    Posts: 198

    54chevkiwi

    How can someone tell its a vintage unit...?
    Serious question,
    is it the style of it visually..? Serial numbers etc..? Theres one in an advanced auto near me thats been there since day dot and theyre offerring it 20% off.....
     
  6. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,349

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    Sure, it can be a "crap shoot"...but you can also do what I did.

    I bought an early box with an early casting design for cheap. Not knowing if it worked or not, I just sent it to...MSD with a note to give it a complete check up.
    They called me and said that it worked fine. BUT for an additional "X" dollars, they could install a more modern board and circuitry in it to bring it up to todays specifications with better wiring.
    I said, sure please do.

    All done and back to me with an early casting and modern internals for what I thought was a very fair cost..

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
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  7. MCjim
    Joined: Jun 4, 2006
    Posts: 215

    MCjim
    Member
    from soCal

    Had the same experience with one of their distributors... I have always had good customer service at MSD, this was a few years ago, hopefully they are still doing this.
     
  8. big john d
    Joined: Nov 24, 2011
    Posts: 219

    big john d
    Member
    from ma

    i bought two for short money of course my son took the new looking one and left me the one that did not work i sent it to msd and they repaired it and returned for no charge of course this was a while ago but it is still working great
     
  9. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,724

    RmK57
    Member

    I bought a Crane Hi- Fire for $5 at a swap meet a few years back. Guess what? it didn't work. At 5 bucks I knew it was going to be a gamble. Having said that I had to send my 6 month old MSD 6-AL2 back for warranty repair, so even the new ones can have issues.
     
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  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,674

    squirrel
    Member

    Not sure how you can tell how vintage, but the recent ones have a plug in harness...the older ones have the wires firmly attached to the box, you can't disconnect them. This change happened relatively recently, perhaps 5-10 years ago?

    They also say DIGITAL right on top
     
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  11. Beware of counterfeits....
    Counterfeit Automotive Products (hotrod.com)
     
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  12. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,764

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    I've bought a couple used 6AL boxes and for the savings (if you get them cheap) well worth it. I got my first 6AL and a MSD distributor for $125, and seller told me it "worked great when pulled." Of course that's a standard line, and turns out I was lied to. But I called MSD and asked about repairs, and was told a minimum of $23, and maximum of $85. to fix it. Sent it in to them, and two weeks later it was back and I was charged the minimum $23 fee.
    I'd not hesitate IF the purchase price is cheap enough.
     
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  13. Tickety Boo
    Joined: Feb 2, 2015
    Posts: 1,331

    Tickety Boo
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    M.S.D. has treated me more than fair in the past, bought a MSD distributer at a swap meet and after a phone call sent it to them to inspect, came back and works still great 10 years later ;)
     
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  14. 54chevkiwi
    Joined: Jun 28, 2020
    Posts: 198

    54chevkiwi

    Haha duh, clearly the digital word is a dead giveaway, stupid me haha. Ok so the one with the un pluggable- as in un-unpluggable... non unpluggabubble (ugh i give up) harness..
    Thanks
     
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  15. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,349

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    By checking the pictures in old...catalogs.
    Over the years, MSD used several different castings for their "red box". The logo location and the cooling ribs took on different looks through the years.
    As I recall, my "early" box is the second design that they used.

    Again, finding early pictures, and looking at what they...used...to look like..!

    Mike

    P.s. - For those that depend on or race with the various MSD boxes, they have test boxes that you can buy to test your ignition box for verification of its condition.
     
  16. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,116

    oldiron 440
    Member

    I've got a friend who sells MSD and says the old stuff is better than the new. MSD now is manufactured in China like everything else. He says that he never had problems with new MSD until the move in manufacturing, now it a regular thing.
     
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  17. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,413

    southcross2631
    Member

    My Comet has a used MSD 6al in it . Traded some parts for some parts and hooked it up and it is still in the car. I hold my breath everytime I hit the starter button.
     
  18. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,025

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    The new ones say Digital on them...

    I had one of the older MSD6AL units, I bought it in 2004. I used the stock Pontiac single points distributor to trigger it. The engine was a stock Pontiac 389 with closed chambered heads. I closed the intake heat off by hammering two 1-1/4" freeze plugs into the heads..

    This was one of the best ignitions I ever had. I didn't realize how good of an ignition it was until I started tuning it and adding more initial timing. I used to stop advancing when I would get pinging either full or partial throttle.. I removed the vacuum advance and added more initial timing and wow did this Pontiac engine wake up.. I changed the mechanical to start adding at 1000 and be all in by 2400.
    It was like I installed a completely different engine, even the exhaust note was different, more throaty, more deep, with a very slight crackle that sounded so nice!! I was using Pontiac long branch exhaust manifolds with Dynomax Super Turbo mufflers 17749..
    On this engine, the MSD6AL did make a difference but only after I tuned it and removed move parts..
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
  19. I'd be wary of used. I had an older 6AL that I ran for years and in multiple cars. Eventually it developed this issue where it would get heatsoaked and stop working until it cooled down. Then it would fire right off like nothing happened. What I'm saying is electronics can be finicky and even if you test them they can appear fine. You won't find out until they leave you stranded.
    That said, the Summit Racing CDI box is supposed to be identical to a 6AL inside for a lot less scratch. I've been running one in my 55 for a few years now. It's been subjected to plenty of heat and vibrations and hasn't missed a beat yet.
     
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  20. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,389

    topher5150
    Member

    I went to a swap meet today and someone had older one for sale, but I couldn't bring my self to spend $150 on one that had all the ends cut off

    Sent from my moto z4 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  21. 34Phil
    Joined: Sep 12, 2016
    Posts: 289

    34Phil

    [QUOTE="topher5150I couldn't bring my self to spend $150 on one that had all the ends cut off[/QUOTE] Chinese copies don't have terminal ends on wires
     
  22. 54chevkiwi
    Joined: Jun 28, 2020
    Posts: 198

    54chevkiwi

    It seems like ....

    msd has cornered the market on these.. its the first brand anyone thinks of with ignition..
    Also the brand with the most issues..
    I think sending manufacturing offshore is a way to still be able to offer them at a price, and fixing the duds cheaply is the risk theyre willing to take...

    for rock solid reliability it seems like daytona sensors (ex mallory engineers) and ice (out of australia) are a couple small enough to still care about the product, but its double the munga.. thats pretty cheap to me compared to the tow truck fees, shipping, repair cost, vehicle downtime etc with msd stranding you....
     
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