New Distributor and Wires to fix Advance Curve

Hi all…
So, those of you who were following along while my son and I played around (and learned a lot) with the carburetor, know that we were having trouble getting the advance curve right.

After struggling with the old distributor, I took the advice of my friend who swears by MSD distributors and picked this up off of Amazon.

(note… I got it for $316)

The amount of adjustments you can make to it, I think, will really help us dial Esmerelda in the way we want it.

Anyone else have experience or advice?

What are you going to use for an ignition box?

This is what we currently have in there.

That’s the starter… “solenoid”?

Did I get that right?

And then we have this next to the distributor… that’s the “ignition coil”?

Yes picture above is the starter selonoid and the jegs links is the ignition coil.
What canted meant was if you will pair up this distributor with an MSD ignition box? Like an MSD 6AL for example.

This is a really good made in the USA box

MSD makes their own box. It’s usually best to use that. Some of their distributors are stand-alone. Others aren’t.

They even make a TBI fuel injection system!!

Those MSD distributors are nice. First thing to do is make sure it has lubricant on the inside. They typically come dry. You will need some sort of ignition box to use it. A 6AL is a nice unit that allows you to remove the RPM chip for those times when you drop the car off at a muffler shop or alignment shop. Prevents the sort of thing you see in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.

The bad thing about the MSD distributors is they come set so that they have a crazy amount of advance. You have lots of work to get it dialed in.

Thanks all!
Is the MSD ignition box a MUST? Or just recommended for performance?
Does it replace either one of the parts (solenoid or coil) that I already have?

No that distributor needs a ignition box to run.

Your new distributor is not “ready-to-run”, so you will need an ignition box. The ignition box does not replace the starter selenoid nor the coil.
The ignition box (basic version) ampliefies the spark to your sparkplugs.
MSD = Multiple Spark Discharge.
More advanced ignition boxes can control timing for boost (retard), nitrous, …

Another cheaper option is get a recurved factory distributor from this guy
Get a motorcraft box
Then you have a factory type ignition where you can get tune up parts at any local autoparts store.

Okay. But this is my daily driver. I’m not racing her and I’m definitely not adding Nitrous.
Are you saying that the distributor will not work without the ignition box?
Or that if I want to RACE her, I’ll need the ignition box?

That is correct. No ignition box and you will not be driving the car at all.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Thank you all!
This really saved us a TON of heartache this weekend.

I called MSD and they confirmed what you all were saying (just hearing it from the horses mouth helped) and they asked me what material the gears in the engine were.

I didn’t know… so I called Blue Print (the maker of the engine) and they told me I had Melanized Steel Gears.
I thanked them, and then asked “By the way, what distributor did you guys use when you Dyno tested my engine?”

He said “Our distributors”.

To which I said “YOU HAVE DISTRIBUTORS???”

Needless to say, I bought the one that they said works great for the engine…

I’m returning the $500 in MSD stuff and we’re going to drop this $69 distributor in this weekend (assuming the overnight shipping gets here on time) and see how she does.

Wish I would have asked that question 2 years ago when we put the 302 in…

As you have already found out you do need a ignition box to run that msd distributor. They make stand alone units too that will work without the box or can be controlled with a module on one of their TBI setups.

the previous owner of my car installed a msb probillet and 6AL ignition box so I have that exact setup. Its nice stuff but as royce said the distributor requires setup to get it right. The ignition boxes improve the spark output greatly over stock stuff so they can be a good upgrade for you. I honesty have not messed with mine yet so cant tell you how much of a pain its going to be setting advance or not. It seems to run well but have not driven it much yet and have no idea on where the timing or advance is at. This is on my list after the car is road worthy.

Okay. So we got the new distributor in from the engine manufacturer and it’s the exact one they use in the engine for dyno testing.
We took out the old one and went to put this one in and it keeps stopping at about an 8th of an inch from going in.

Now, with the OLD one, we would just “BUMP” the engine over and the distributor would sit down over the oil pump shaft.
But this one won’t do it.

We’ve tried several times.
The size of the hole where the shaft will go in is the right size (we checked) but we noticed during a comparison between the old and new (OLD IS ON TOP) that the length is a bit longer.

Now, the INSIDE of it is DEEPER than the old one. So it SHOULDN’T make a difference.

But we can NOT get it to go in.

Any thoughts or advice?

You need to measure from the mounting surface on the distributors down to the bottom of the gear. It sounds like the gear is not in the right place. My recollection is that the bottom of the distributor center shaft is several inches up from the retainer ring on the pump drive shaft.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but there was nothing wrong with the old distributor. All you needed to do was to possibly change the springs in it, or flip the internal mount to the narrower window to limit total advance. I do think you can make this work and it will be a good learning experience by the time you are done, and there is value in that. Also, have you got the wires that match that cap?

Please provide me the part number of the MSD distributor you have. Some are plug and play and others are not. Many can be ran just through the stock coil without the box. The new MSD 6AL has dials to adjust the rev limit for your car. The old “chips” are a thing form the past, but I still run and old 6AL with a chip in it.

The MSD distributor is very easy to adjust the centrifugal advance. They came with springs a bushings to adjust when it comes in and how much. a very easy bench job and I can provide you some recommendation for base timing and such. And talk you through the adjustment. It is a Chevy style dizzy, but easy to work with.

Please provide the MSD distributor part number and I will help you.


Did not see the second page. That is a HUGE difference in gear location. I would show that pic to Blueprint. I agree with Bill that the stock dizzy can work just fine. The MSD 8479 you had would have worked great but you would need the correct MSD 6AL as it is the new “plug and play” style. Do you have a factory tach? If so you will need a MSD Tach adaptor.