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View Full Version : Will an automotive HEI distributor work



miike
04-30-2013, 12:08 AM
Not sure if I can get the mechanical advance I need.

It has a vacuum port but my carb doesn't.

miike
04-30-2013, 12:20 AM
If not which dist should I buy? Stand alone MSD?

f_inscreenname
04-30-2013, 12:45 AM
"Will an automotive HEI distributor work"

Only if you run an open motor (no motor box).

JayZ
04-30-2013, 07:41 AM
http://www.performancedistributors.com/marinedui.htm

If you can provide all the engine specs these guys will build the dizzy with a custom advance curve to match and it will be a proper marinized product.

MOP
04-30-2013, 08:59 AM
I have a near new Mercruiser distributor and a used IV pack came off a 385hp 454, I grabbed it a couple of years back as spares when a buddy switched to after market which did not make a bit of difference. If you are interested $325 shipped. It is the same setup I run my pack is 26 years old and still perfect.

Phil

miike
04-30-2013, 12:55 PM
I like the HEI because it has the coil right on top. I don't have anywhere to mount my coil now if I go with a MSD 83606 or similar, or use my old dizzy.

I just don't know if there is enough mechanical advance to set 36* at 3800 and then not have the idle crappy.

Another option would be to drill a hole in one of the pipe plugs on the manifold and run vacuum to the dizzy. But wouldn't I lose vacuum at WOT if I set timing at 3800 and thats not going to be near WOT in neutral?

JayZ
04-30-2013, 01:12 PM
I like the HEI because it has the coil right on top. I don't have anywhere to mount my coil now if I go with a MSD 83606 or similar, or use my old dizzy.

I just don't know if there is enough mechanical advance to set 36* at 3800 and then not have the idle crappy.

Another option would be to drill a hole in one of the pipe plugs on the manifold and run vacuum to the dizzy. But wouldn't I lose vacuum at WOT if I set timing at 3800 and thats not going to be near WOT in neutral?

Weren't you using the original spitfire ignition on your old motor?

If yes then you REALLY need to rethink what you are trying to accomplish here.

Seems you said you have a lumpy cam in this motor. ...best think about how low you can set idle and how if it is going to shift out of gear because that brings on a whole set of problems you also will have to deal with regarding ignition.

If I were in your shoes I would consider the Holley Efi Kit and get some help programming it to do everything you need including shift interrupt and managing detonation with your 9.5:1 big cammed motor.

miike
04-30-2013, 02:46 PM
I think what I am looking at is getting an MSD ready to run. I will do the shift interrupt to the negative side of the coil. And I am hoping to idle around 800.

I also have an MSD 6AL box but isn't my old distributor points? I'll have to check but I'm being told it is.

I can get a new ready to run for 300 which is what it would cost me to get a basic MSD and run the 6AL.

That motor didn't idle so well. Not sure if that was a carb issue though.

Yes I have a big cam. Yes I have Spitfire on old motor. I am happy to reuse whatever I can as long as it runs well. If I recall correctly, I had new cap rotor coil and wires on the old motor.

JayZ
04-30-2013, 03:04 PM
I think what I am looking at is getting an MSD ready to run. I will do the shift interrupt to the negative side of the coil. And I am hoping to idle around 800.

I also have an MSD 6AL box but isn't my old distributor points? I'll have to check but I'm being told it is.

I can get a new ready to run for 300 which is what it would cost me to get a basic MSD and run the 6AL.

That motor didn't idle so well. Not sure if that was a carb issue though.

Yes I have a big cam. Yes I have Spitfire on old motor. I am happy to reuse whatever I can as long as it runs well. If I recall correctly, I had new cap rotor coil and wires on the old motor.

....The spitfire ignitions used an ignition box that managed timing, had a knock sensor etc. built into it (although all it did was put the engine in SLOW mode when it picked up something) so you can't just use the old distributor without using the entire system.

I'm fairly sure all the old distributor did was trigger each plug to fire. ...so you can't use your old distributor without using the ignition box but the ignition box won't work with your warmed over 502 because the advance curve etc. most likely won't be right.

If you are going down the MSD path do an ebay search for their shift interruptor that is now NLA. and see if you can use it to pulse the ignition rather than dead short all 8.

For a bit more than the what you are paying for the MSD you can follow the link I posted above and have a Marine HEI distributor with custom advance curve to match your setup. -not sure it is any better but it is another option.

miike
04-30-2013, 07:57 PM
Why do people think the auto HEI is unsafe for marine? The cap seems sit on tightly enough. Where is the issue?

Sidney073
05-01-2013, 06:14 AM
Marineized items are modified to prevent sparks from igniting fuel (or other) fumes in the engine compartment. Any automotive iginition will "work" in a marine environment, but if you run into either the Marine Patrol or Game Warden and they find non-marine parts (Distributor, Alternator, Starter, Battery, Carb, etc.) then they COULD cite you. I've never had a Game Warden, fresh water authority, ask to check anything except safety, registration, and cooler contents.
I personally ran an automotive HEI, Carb, Battery, and Starter on a 455 Olds Jet Boat with no problems, you just have to remember to vent the engine bay prior to starting the engine or any time the boat is at no wake speed or less.

MOP
05-01-2013, 07:00 AM
Coast Guard will fine you if found during an inspection, also insurance companies can can give you grief it is just plain against the law.

miike
05-01-2013, 11:37 AM
Well I've been stopped numerous times in numerous boats and never had Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Sheriff, or local police check ANY part of the boat for non-compliance.

What I am asking is if there is a genuine spark risk from the dist because if there is I will get the MSD 8366. I think I need that anyways to get enough advance.

Thanks.

JayZ
05-01-2013, 06:33 PM
Well I've been stopped numerous times in numerous boats and never had Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Sheriff, or local police check ANY part of the boat for non-compliance.

What I am asking is if there is a genuine spark risk from the dist because if there is I will get the MSD 8366. I think I need that anyways to get enough advance.

Thanks.


Well, I've never been stopped either except at the Cay Sal Bank just north of Cuba but they weren't looking for non CG approved distributors...That said, I don't think I'd try to outsmart anyone on this but my guess is that as long as it has the mesh flame arrestor screen on any vent then your are safe in that regard.

There is sometimes more to it though like corrosion protection etc.
You keep mentioning your advance and ignition timing. ...the link I posted is worth a look if that is truly important to you.

miike
05-01-2013, 11:28 PM
I'd rather do the MSD 8366 than have something custom made. The MSD is user programmable and I can get it for basically the same price. I do like how that unit has a coil right on top because as you know, I have will have to mount the coil on the transom.

If something goes wrong I'd rather deal with MSD than a smaller company.

For some reason on Offshore Only there are a lot of MSD haters. Anyone know why?

JayZ
05-02-2013, 12:24 PM
I'd rather do the MSD 8366 than have something custom made. The MSD is user programmable and I can get it for basically the same price. I do like how that unit has a coil right on top because as you know, I have will have to mount the coil on the transom.

If something goes wrong I'd rather deal with MSD than a smaller company.

For some reason on Offshore Only there are a lot of MSD haters. Anyone know why?

...Just for the record, I wouldn't say the DUI Marine HEI is a custom made distributor. It is a production distributor that they will custom build the advance curve for you based on the specs of your engine. This is a good thing (in my opinion). You can change it too if need be by just changing the springs and weights. MSD is done the same way except it is all on you to set the advance curve.

I'm not sure if you know this but the MSD unit your are going to purchase is NOT A MARINE DISTRIBUTOR so you MAY have corrosion issues becuause they will have used carbon steel in place of stainless on certain components and it probably isn't properly vented. If something does go wrong I wouldn't expect much service from them if you are using it in an environment it wasn't designed for...

I've used MSD 6AL box and blaster coil with a BOSCH distributor (custom cut weights for the proper advance curve on that one too) for years in an old car and really haven't had any problems. I had an MSD distributor in an old ski boat (marine) and it didn't seem to have any problems but I have heard of corrosion problems with MSD under the cap.

Make your own decision to save a few dollars if need be but I don't think it is worth it ...at least it wouldn't be if you ever need to file an insurance claim. I just went through the same decision tree and opted for the DUI marine HEI distributor. Customer service has been great.

I can't tell you why there are MSD haters on OSO but do a search for DUI distributors on that forum and you won't find anything but positive comments.

Not sure if any of that helps or not...