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Points vs MSD electronic ignition?


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When I bought my '73 Mach-1, the guy I had purchased it from sort of "mismatched" a lot of parts. It has a 10:1 4v- Cleveland, too big of a cam but I don't have the specs, 650 dbl pumper with no choke (he actually removed it) c6 with 3.50 gears (one legger), And 3" exhaust. As for the ignition, it still has dual points. I am pretty sure I will be going to a 750 Holley (vac 2nd) in the future but concerning the ignition, if I were to swap from points to an electronic ignition, will that actually make my car run better (smoother idle) ? I didn't think so but I have been told that. Thanks..

Mike

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Properly maintained points work fine, but a electronic ignition is generally more reliable; and a capacitive discharge ignition just brings in a lot more spark energy. The biggest difference I noted was that it was easier to get the car to idle.

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Properly maintained points work fine, but a electronic ignition is generally more reliable; and a capacitive discharge ignition just brings in a lot more spark energy. The biggest difference I noted was that it was easier to get the car to idle.

 

Oh ok.. so by changing the ignition I could possibly get a better idle? That's basically my issue..

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I have had both style ignition systems on the same engine and can tell you with absolute certainty it starts, runs and idles way better with the MSD system. It is also far easier to tune a good timing curve. The down side is the cost but would do it again in without question.

351w - Ford racing GT40X 178 cc aluminum heads - Ford racing(crane) 1.7 roller rockers - Comp Cams 280H magnum cam .544" / .544" lift - ARP hardware - hedman longtubes - magnaflow exhaust with X pipe - Duraspark - MSD digital 6al box - MSD TFI coil - optima red top battery - tuff stuff 140 amp alternator - weiand stealth intake  - edelbrock 1406 600 carb  - march pullies and brackets - Be cool fan controller - derale electric fan - FMX trans - motive 4.11 gears - traction lok - lakewood traction bars.                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have had both style ignition systems on the same engine and can tell you with absolute certainty it starts, runs and idles way better with the MSD system. It is also far easier to tune a good timing curve. The down side is the cost but would do it again in without question.

 

Perfect.. exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you..

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Hello cazsper,

 

According the Carburetor calculations, the 650 double pumper would be consider the right size for a 351 @ 6000 rpm's. Since he remove the choke mechanism, it would be prudent to replace carburetor.

 

1hb5tx.png

 

Source: https://www.summitracing.com/expertadviceandnews/calcsandtools/cfm-calculator

 

I agree with the electronic ignition along with the spark box.

 

Let us know what you do!

 

Thanks

 

mustang7173 :bravo:

Thanks,

mustang7173 🇺🇸

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway" -- John Wayne

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Just get a single point distributor or convert your twin point with a single point breaker plate and use a Pertronix 1 or 2 ignitor conversion with matching coil. Cheap, easy and will do everything you want with a street engine. Just make sure the distributor doesn't have a lot of play in the shaft, or just replace the bush. The only other thing is to get your timing curve sorted which is fairly easy and there's been plenty written on this subject over the years. I use the P2 and coil on my 4V and it loves it, best of all it has a retard function for easier starting. I'm not a fan at all of anything MSD as I've had way too many problems with their gear since being made OS and their support sucks, it is your faulty that their crappy products broke down from out of the box (more than once) or next to no work (heaps of times) I've not used their products in over 10 years, like many others.

Stay with the 750 carb for your 4V as it will thank you for it. I've seen too many calculators (not enough info to exactly work out what's needed) and people using their recommendations been very disappointed. One thing most people (including those that should know better) is the 4V Cleveland is unlike any other engine out there, but they try to treat it like it is. With a nicely tuned 750 VS and a Pertronix set up the engine will do everything you're looking for, nice idle quality (providing the cam is not too wild) and good top end power. Like anything, tuning it to suit your application is the key.

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If you don't want to get an msd because of the cost... you can pick up a ford duraspark ignition system pretty cheap. You can buy a rebuilt dizzy, ignition module for around $100. Easy to wire and stone cold reliable. I have a spare duraspark dizzy and igniton module and coil I keep in my trunk on long road trips.... just in case my MSD shits the bed.

Kevin
1971 Mach 1

408C Stroker - C4 w/3,000 stall - 8.8" Rear w/3.73's - Disc brakes all way around.

 

 

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I have recurved Durasparks and MSD boxes in both of my old Fords.The 521 has a 6al and the 302 has the Street Fire box.Its the first thing I always upgrade.When I first got my 72 it had a 460 with points.Converted to DS and MSD box,they start better,less maintenance,don't know about running better but everything seems crisper.Myself I don't care for msd dizzys.Waste of money imo.Look inside a DS and a MSD dizzy sometime.Cant go wrong upgrading to electronic no matter which direction you go.

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+1 on the 750 cfm carburetor. Those calculators are for the bow-tie boys. Cleveland's like way more carburetor.

 

 

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

--Albert Einstein

 

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The MSD does use the same magnetic pickup as the duraspark but the MSD is way better built than the duraspark, the latter feels flimsy in construction compared to the MSD. I like duraspark ignition and it is a definite step up from points but I like the MSD setup better:D

351w - Ford racing GT40X 178 cc aluminum heads - Ford racing(crane) 1.7 roller rockers - Comp Cams 280H magnum cam .544" / .544" lift - ARP hardware - hedman longtubes - magnaflow exhaust with X pipe - Duraspark - MSD digital 6al box - MSD TFI coil - optima red top battery - tuff stuff 140 amp alternator - weiand stealth intake  - edelbrock 1406 600 carb  - march pullies and brackets - Be cool fan controller - derale electric fan - FMX trans - motive 4.11 gears - traction lok - lakewood traction bars.                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4Vforever and turtle5353 have very good points. (no pun intended)

Why people want that ugly red distributor and huge red box in an engine bay that is blue and black beats me just on looks alone.

Recently, there has been many discussions on timing. Sure, not everyone agrees and that's all good, but going with a well remanufactured Motorcraft dizzy, with the correct slot plate (I have L10, 20* crank for my 71 351 4V ), + proper initial timing of 12-16 *, set up with a Pertronix II and coil, will give you everything you'll ever need. There is also the Pertronix drop in distributor with the Ignitor III with a Flamethrower III coil if you need a somewhat stock looking distributor. The DuraSpark would be my second best option, proven reliability.

As for carbs, I run a 670 Holley Street Avenger with 65 primary and 67 secondary jets. On my engine it needed more air at idle and my tuner drilled small holes in the primary plates to balance it out. It idles perfectly now and I get good power and economy. Some think a 750 is too big, but I would go to that and then jet it as needed if I had to buy another carb, but that's your choice.

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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I like my ugly red box and distributor, different strokes for different folks;)

351w - Ford racing GT40X 178 cc aluminum heads - Ford racing(crane) 1.7 roller rockers - Comp Cams 280H magnum cam .544" / .544" lift - ARP hardware - hedman longtubes - magnaflow exhaust with X pipe - Duraspark - MSD digital 6al box - MSD TFI coil - optima red top battery - tuff stuff 140 amp alternator - weiand stealth intake  - edelbrock 1406 600 carb  - march pullies and brackets - Be cool fan controller - derale electric fan - FMX trans - motive 4.11 gears - traction lok - lakewood traction bars.                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Also been running a duraspark distributor along with a msd box and a 750 dp on mine; the 4v likes the bigger carb for sure. I also picked up a skip white distributor to try out; seems like a decent piece for what it cost. I absolutely feel the electronic ignition is worthwhile; picked up a spare 6al box used for cheap too; good insurance after someone stole my Crane Cams box.

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Hello cazsper,

 

According the Carburetor calculations, the 650 double pumper would be consider the right size for a 351 @ 6000 rpm's. Since he remove the choke mechanism, it would be prudent to replace carburetor.

 

1hb5tx.png

 

Source: https://www.summitracing.com/expertadviceandnews/calcsandtools/cfm-calculator

 

I agree with the electronic ignition along with the spark box.

 

Let us know what you do!

 

Thanks

 

mustang7173 :bravo:

 

Will do. For an automatic, would it be better to go with vacuum secondaries? I have mechanical now..

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+1 on the 750 cfm carburetor. Those calculators are for the bow-tie boys. Cleveland's like way more carburetor.

 

I've done the math but I have heard the clevelands like a little more carb.

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The MSD does use the same magnetic pickup as the duraspark but the MSD is way better built than the duraspark, the latter feels flimsy in construction compared to the MSD. I like duraspark ignition and it is a definite step up from points but I like the MSD setup better:D

 

 

 

Thanks.. I just said MSD because I've always used it in the past. I've never used anything else..

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Right on.

351w - Ford racing GT40X 178 cc aluminum heads - Ford racing(crane) 1.7 roller rockers - Comp Cams 280H magnum cam .544" / .544" lift - ARP hardware - hedman longtubes - magnaflow exhaust with X pipe - Duraspark - MSD digital 6al box - MSD TFI coil - optima red top battery - tuff stuff 140 amp alternator - weiand stealth intake  - edelbrock 1406 600 carb  - march pullies and brackets - Be cool fan controller - derale electric fan - FMX trans - motive 4.11 gears - traction lok - lakewood traction bars.                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Generally, vacuum secondaries work best with automatic transmissions. However, it really depends on individual driving styles and knowing how they interact. I prefer mechanical secondaries with an automatic, but have vacuum secondaries for drivability for my wife.

 

 

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

--Albert Einstein

 

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No worries, I have a black, red and gunmetal theme going on under the hood on the beast. I bought this car as a true roller so we just built it from scratch our way:D

351w - Ford racing GT40X 178 cc aluminum heads - Ford racing(crane) 1.7 roller rockers - Comp Cams 280H magnum cam .544" / .544" lift - ARP hardware - hedman longtubes - magnaflow exhaust with X pipe - Duraspark - MSD digital 6al box - MSD TFI coil - optima red top battery - tuff stuff 140 amp alternator - weiand stealth intake  - edelbrock 1406 600 carb  - march pullies and brackets - Be cool fan controller - derale electric fan - FMX trans - motive 4.11 gears - traction lok - lakewood traction bars.                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you don't want to get an msd because of the cost... you can pick up a ford duraspark ignition system pretty cheap. You can buy a rebuilt dizzy, ignition module for around $100. Easy to wire and stone cold reliable. I have a spare duraspark dizzy and igniton module and coil I keep in my trunk on long road trips.... just in case my MSD shits the bed.

 

Good thought, I keep forgetting about these as we never got them over in Australia.

As for MSD, I've never seen a manufacturer palm off so many problems or treat people that know what they're doing like idiots as I have with MSD. One of their replies (which seemed generic as I seen it from others) was basically saying it was our fault for using their products and hooking it up into our cars. When 2 distributors and 3 boxes crapped out in a row and MSD failing to see a problem, then jam them as far as they can. Hopefully their quality has picked since then, but the old once bitten, twice shy scenarios works with me, plus after the way we were treated by them, no chance of going back even if they were free. Been using Crane and the Australian made IC&E stuff since without any real dramas, or if there was got great support and the only time with IC&E they admitted it was faulty and replaced the entire set up in case the problem created another elsewhere later on. I really don't care what anyone wants to use, as it's their car, but all I know is a good ignition system is what's needed for great everyday driving and for tunability, plus to make good power.

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No worries, I have a black, red and gunmetal theme going on under the hood on the beast. I bought this car as a true roller so we just built it from scratch our way:D

 

Sounds nice Mike. You have a theme and sticking to it makes sense.

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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I agree with Don C here that point!

 

mustang7173

 

Generally, vacuum secondaries work best with automatic transmissions. However, it really depends on individual driving styles and knowing how they interact. I prefer mechanical secondaries with an automatic, but have vacuum secondaries for drivability for my wife.

Thanks,

mustang7173 🇺🇸

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway" -- John Wayne

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If you don't want to get an msd because of the cost... you can pick up a ford duraspark ignition system pretty cheap. You can buy a rebuilt dizzy, ignition module for around $100. Easy to wire and stone cold reliable. I have a spare duraspark dizzy and igniton module and coil I keep in my trunk on long road trips.... just in case my MSD shits the bed.

 

Good thought, I keep forgetting about these as we never got them over in Australia.

As for MSD, I've never seen a manufacturer palm off so many problems or treat people that know what they're doing like idiots as I have with MSD. One of their replies (which seemed generic as I seen it from others) was basically saying it was our fault for using their products and hooking it up into our cars. When 2 distributors and 3 boxes crapped out in a row and MSD failing to see a problem, then jam them as far as they can. Hopefully their quality has picked since then, but the old once bitten, twice shy scenarios works with me, plus after the way we were treated by them, no chance of going back even if they were free. Been using Crane and the Australian made IC&E stuff since without any real dramas, or if there was got great support and the only time with IC&E they admitted it was faulty and replaced the entire set up in case the problem created another elsewhere later on. I really don't care what anyone wants to use, as it's their car, but all I know is a good ignition system is what's needed for great everyday driving and for tunability, plus to make good power.

 

I also had some trouble with MSD for a little while....couple years ago 2-3?? I had a couple modules in the dizzy burn up. Had 2 6al digital boxes go bad on me one after another. One was bad right out of the box. I was pissed and all they tell you was you hooked it up wrong! BULLSH*T! It was in the car for couple years then went bad, put in new one it was bad, put in another one and it seems to be ok. Not a fan of the digital boxes..... the old analog boxes seemed to be made WAY better and lasted forever! I do like having the rev limiter and how easy it is to adjust in the digital... no pills to plug in. I also like my small cap MSD billet dizzy without the vacuum advance. But I have heard horror stories about them creating too much ozone insde the cap and having crossfire issues! Also no place for the moisture to go and they corrode like crazy. Ask MSD about it and there fix is to DRILL a hole in your cap....WTF?? I have talked to some people that have never had issues and talked to some people who have had nothing but issues. I am right in the middle. Had several failures, but also had many years of trouble free running. But, you wont find too many people bitching about the duraspark set up other than its kinda ugly with that big old cap ! If anything in my MSD set goes bad again.... im switching to duraspark.

Kevin
1971 Mach 1

408C Stroker - C4 w/3,000 stall - 8.8" Rear w/3.73's - Disc brakes all way around.

 

 

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