trouble shooting & rebuilding HEI ignitions



trouble shooting & rebuilding HEI ignitions

Postby grumpyvette » January 27th, 2010, 9:54 am

if your ignition is working correctly your getting a hot blue spark, thats got a noticeable audible snap to it if you test an ignition wire by removing it from a plug temporarily and holding it about a 1/3" from a ground like the block,a quick check of your shop manual for the correct advance and procedures for setting the timing and your timing light will be very useful in setting the ignition timing.
if you don,t have that snappy blue spark,, but only a dull yellow or red spark, chances are decent that the coil or the battery voltage or possibly a ground strap are defective, so check those possibilities , and don,t forget youll need both a timing light and a v.o.m. meter to check out your ignition.

on-ehow wrote:Testing the GM HEI Distributor

A no-spark condition is checked by checking the distributor for power at the connector on the side of the cap. If there is power, disconnect the electrical connector and remove the cap. Check the rotor and the cap for excessive wear. Check the coil tower for excessive wear. Remove the top plastic cap on the distributor cap. Use an ohmmeter and check the coil positive terminal to the metal case of the coil. The reading should be infinity. Check the coil tower and the negative terminal. The reading should be 900 ohms. Check the positive terminal to the negative terminal. The reading should be around 700 ohms. If any of these tests show drastically different readings, the coil is bad. If the coil is good, the cap and rotor are not cracked or worn significantly and there is no spark at any wire, replace the ignition module.

http://easyautodiagnostics.com/gm_icm_d ... dule_1.php
Instructions

1

Verify voltage at the distributor. On the side of the distributor is a plug-in receptacle that will have a heavy-gauge, red wire attached to it. The large gauge is necessary to produce the high voltage demands of the spark plugs. Probe this wire with a properly grounded test light while the ignition key is turned on. The light should brightly glow. If there is no voltage, the ignition switch or related wiring is defective.
2

Detach a spark plug wire from a spark plug and replace the plug with a spark plug tester. The spark plug tester (available at most auto parts stores) will have an alligator clip attachment. Clip this to engine metal--not plastic--and have an assistant crank the engine. Carefully observe the tester and see if there is a spark that flashes in cycle with the engine as it cranks over. If there is no spark and there is 12 volts going to the distributor, test for engine or distributor failure.
3

Remove the distributor cap and inspect the rotor assembly while an assistant cranks the engine. If the rotor does not move, there is internal mechanical failure of the engine or distributor. If the rotor moves, there is electronic circuit failure in the distributor that will need to be repaired.






below youll find some helpful links

http://www.megamanual.com/ms2/GM_7pinHEI.htm

http://rmcavoy.freeshell.org/HEI.html

http://www.performancedistributors.com/faqs.htm

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=3110&p=8302#p8302

The ignition control module in the distributor is another item that normally fails when hot, that needs to be replaced is you suspect its defective
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http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki ... istributor

http://static.summitracing.com/global/i ... m30247.pdf

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/msd-8 ... structions

http://prestoliteweb.com/Portals/0/down ... e_0006.pdf

http://www.chevelles.com/techref/ftecref5.html

http://www.kendrick-auto.com/ignition.htm

http://www.pontiacstreetperformance.com ... curve.html

http://www.73-87.com/7387garage/drivetrain/hei.htm

http://www.circletrack.com/howto/1842_i ... index.html

http://www.chevelles.com/techref/ftecref5.html

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/sett ... index.html

http://www.chevyhiperformance.com/howto ... index.html

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=251&p=6437&hilit=+shiming#p6437

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4809570_tr ... butor.html

be sure you inspect the distributor gear for excessive wear
especially if you changed from a flat tappet to a roller cam.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CCA-12200/

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CCA-12140/

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=251

videos
http://streetmuscleaction.com/engines/hei/

http://www.73-87.com/7387garage/drivetrain/hei.htm

http://www.enginefactory.com/high_perfo ... ibutor.htm

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/MRG-6011/?rtype=10

http://cranecams.com/pdf/90001700c.pdf

http://www.customclassictrucks.com/howt ... index.html

http://corp.advanceautoparts.com/englis ... 1001he.asp

http://reviews.ebay.com/HEI-Ignitions-A ... 0002053885

http://www.ehow.com/how_5453767_rebuild ... butor.html

http://www.circletrack.com/techarticles ... index.html

http://www.davessmallbodyheis.com/

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=270

http://temp.corvetteforum.net/c3/joevet ... urve.shtml

http://arrc.epnet.com/autoapp/9110/9110 ... System.htm

http://www.rodandcustommagazine.com/tec ... index.html

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/sett ... index.html

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=2412&p=6369&hilit=+alternator#p6369

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1169&hilit=+alternator

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=840&p=1696&hilit=taylor#p1696
" IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
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Re: trouble shooting & rebuilding HEI ignitions

Postby grumpyvette » March 2nd, 2010, 3:57 pm

AS a general starting point for tuning your SBC or BBC engine your HEI MSD,or similar distributor timing should be at about 8-12 btdc at idle, and all in by about 3100rpm at about 36 degrees total advance, naturally youll want to make some adjustments in the timing or fuel/air ratio as needed, and reading plugs and verifying your TDC, and timing tab and use of timing tape on the damper , use of a vacuum gauge and timing light are a good place to start.
you can normally change the total advance and rate of advance by changes in the distributors weights, springs, etc.

Image
viewtopic.php?f=70&t=202

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=875

http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/84camar ... tm#hd1-1-4

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=1809&p=7228&hilit=timing+curve#p7228

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=383&p=2301&hilit=+vacuum+gauge#p2301

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=1135&p=2289&hilit=+distributor+curve#p2289


Troubleshooting the GM HEI Distributor
By Don Bowman, eHow Contributor

updated April 05, 2011
Troubleshooting the GM HEI Distributor thumbnail The GM HEI distributor affects the power in your vehicle's engine.

GM HEI Distributor Basics

The GM HEI distributor uses a hall effect for the triggering and sensing the No.1 cylinder location and the rpm of the engine. It uses an ignition module within the distributor to regulate the timing curve as well. It will automatically advance the timing on acceleration a specific amount and retard the spark when decelerating and starting.

It uses a standard rotor, under which is located a centrifugal set of weights and springs that act as the final mechanical advance. The GM HEI distributor's springs can be replaced with three different weights of springs that, in effect, allow the advance at lower rpm. The ignition coil is housed in the distributor cap, which makes the GM HEI distributor a very efficient, self-contained unit. It can be used with many ignition-enhancing-after-market capacitor discharge units such as MSD or Jacobs (multiple spark distribution).

This system creates a multitude of sparks rather than one spark, and it lasts over many degrees of stroke. Some of the early units also had a vacuum advance that mechanically retarded the spark for start and deceleration and increased the spark approximately 10 degrees on start-up. The combination of the vacuum and the mechanical weights did all of the controlling of the spark in the early units. The module in these units primarily acted as a switch.
Testing the GM HEI Distributor

A no-spark condition is checked by checking the distributor for power at the connector on the side of the cap. If there is power, disconnect the electrical connector and remove the cap. Check the rotor and the cap for excessive wear. Check the coil tower for excessive wear. Remove the top plastic cap on the distributor cap. Use an ohmmeter and check the coil positive terminal to the metal case of the coil. The reading should be infinity. Check the coil tower and the negative terminal. The reading should be 900 ohms. Check the positive terminal to the negative terminal. The reading should be around 700 ohms. If any of these tests show drastically different readings, the coil is bad. If the coil is good, the cap and rotor are not cracked or worn significantly and there is no spark at any wire, replace the ignition module.
Engine Runs But Has no Power

Hook up an advance timing light by hooking the carbon connection over the No. 1 cylinder wire and hook the positive and negative clips to the battery. If there is a vacuum advance, pull the hose off the vacuum source and plug the leak. Start the engine, pull the trigger and shine the light on the right side of the harmonic balancer. Turn the knob on the timing light until the straight 0-degree line on the harmonic balancer is lined up with the 0-degree mark on the timing chain cover. Read the degrees of advance by the mark on the timing light advance knob. For instance, if it is 8 degrees before top dead center, check the label under the hood for the timing specifications. Adjust the distributor, if necessary, by loosening the hold-down nut on the distributor base and turning the distributor and rechecking until it meets specifications. Turn the distributor counter-clockwise to advance and the clockwise to retard the spark.

Once set, reconnect the vacuum hose and see how much the distributor advances. If the advance rises about 10 degrees, the vacuum advance mechanism is operational; if not, replace it. Raise the rpm to 2,500 and recheck the timing. It should be around 32 degrees plus or minus one degree. If the timing does not rise, the centrifugal advance mechanism isn't working. If it rises but is less than 32 degrees, adjust the distributor to achieve this number.


DOC posted this bit of info
"First be sure the 12 volts doesn't drop out when cranking..If it does you may need a secondary Ignition wire or a better source of power for the HEI.

The Module can be tested for free, at any Auto Zone, store and if it is bad...youll need it replaced, so be sure YOU HAVE the new one checked.before you leave the store because once you leave the store..It's your problem.. DO NOT forget the heat sink grease compound..or you will be replacing the module again real soon!

On the coil, Remove and invert the cap, Measure between the tach and BATT terminals , using a DVOM, Set to OHMS scale, RX1 and calibrated to 000. It should read less than an ohm, but more than 000, If not it's bad.
lightly used distributor cap
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floating carbon button that contacts rotor top spring
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rotor shows carbon arcing, which can be caused by placing the spring loaded button above the insulated washer rather than under it with only the spring poking thru (see assembly diagram)
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Next measure the secondary, set your DVOM scale to RX10k or higher..put the probes between the BATT and the carbon pickup for the COIL..it should read between 6000 and 30,000 OHMS..Outside of that range toss the coil and get a new one.
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Check the Carbon pickup and spring follower, it may not be reaching the rotor pickup..or be worn or snapped past runout.

If that won't bring it to life, check the Magnetic pickup, by measuring the resistance across it. (you'll have to lookup the spec's for that year HEI..GM made a year divider on the pickups, and from a certain year Down were one resistance and a different resistance for that year and up..) If it is bad, you'll have to pull the distributor, and disassemble it to replace it."
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this APPEARS TO BE A SMALL CAP DIAM HEI replacement

but its simple enough to tell with a caliper or even a ruler

small cap distributors measure approximately 4" in diam.
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LARGE cap distributors measure approximately 5.25" in diam.
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http://www.ehow.com/how_6153213_install-hei-distributor-cap.html

http://www.pertronix.com/support/manuals/pdf/hei.pdf

http://www.pontiacstreetperformance.com/psp/HEIconversion.html

http://apps.msdignition.com/pdf_catalog/2008_catalog_65-68.pdf

http://www.setyourtiming.com/pdf/8365_frm28975.pdf

http://www.rustynutscarclub.com/HEI.htm

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http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CRN-1 ... |Year|1985


Both the large & small cap ccc distributors can be swapped, the wiring is the same color. Thay make a conversion harness or you can make one, go to a junkyard & get the est harness from each type, then splice in the middle. but remember the small cap totally dependent on the computer for ignition advance curve in A FEW APPLICATIONS
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you can buy harness connectors
http://www.eficonnection.com/eficonnect ... eType.aspx

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=3439&p=14806#p14806

http://www.davessmallbodyheis.com/


btw this is a rather cool custom touch, (VIDEO LINK BELOW ) you can swap to an HEI cap with wire routing that doesn,t look like crap

http://www.accel-ignition.com/Products/ ... edCap.aspx
" IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
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replacing HEI distributor advance weights & springs

Postby grumpyvette » June 12th, 2011, 4:52 pm

http://www.pontiacstreetperformance.com ... curve.html

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there are weight and spring kits available from Accel also

the answer to how much coil voltage is required depends on the compression ratio, plug gap, rpm levels fuel/air ratio and the coils design, more volts won,t hurt but they won,t generally improve much either, its maintaining a precise and predictable timing of the ignition arc across the plug gap thats important 40K-45k volts is fine in most application, where most ignitions fail is that as rpms increase the delivered voltage drops but 40K-45k volt capacity in a coil and a plug gap in the .045 thousands range is certainly able to function correctly on most muscle cars with less than 11:1 compression ratio , and typical 12.7-14.7:1 f/a ratios running with out power adders , once you start adding things like nitrous, superchargers and alcohol or nitro it will require more amps and volts,
keep in mind as rpms increase the time required for a coil to recharge to full capacity remains constant but the time between sparks drops rapidly

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read these
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_ ... e_ignition

http://www.tonyfoale.com/Articles/Ignition/Ignition.htm

http://www.sentex.net/~mwandel/cannon/sparky.html

heres some info for the MSD advance curve kit
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Helpful part numbers for HEI distributors:


GM part numbers

01894379 ZZ4 distributor mainshaft assy.

12167658 Connector used to connect TACH and B+ to distributor .

10456413 Melonized distributor gear (supplied on distributor 93440806)

1950569 Distributor shaft/bushing plastic grease seal

1837617 Distributor shaft washers (pack of five)

Delco D1906 4-pin module



NAPA part numbers

DP109 HEI weight pins for distributors that use plastic bushings on weights

DP112 HEI weight plastic bushings

DP114 HEI weight "stamped 106"

DP115 HEI weight "stamped 139"

DP126 HEI weight "stamped 105"

MP100 (GP Sorensen EL315) HEI yellow color code (Chevy, Caddy except Seville, Olds Toronado) V-8 pickup coil

MP101 (GP Sorensen EL310) HEI Blue (or black) color code (Olds except Toro, Buick, Caddy Seville) V-8 pickup coil

MP102 (GP Sorensen EL359) HEI clear color code (Pontiac) V-8 pickup coil

(My source for the GP Sorensen pickup coils sells them for about $16 instead of NAPA's $40. The GP-S ones I bought are even made in the USA!)

RR230 HEI Capacitor and Harness from module to side of cap 6 ½”

RR231 HEI Capacitor and Harness from module to side of cap 10 ¾

RR233 HEI module to cap Harness 3 ½

RR234 HEI Capacitor and Harness from module to side of cap 8 ¾

TPL45 Heat sink compound for HEI modules—10 small tubes

RR201 Coil frame ground—wire style

RR204 Coil frame ground—Stamped steel strap

RR202 Plug wire retainer ring—8 cyl.


GM part numbers
01894379 ZZ4 distributor mainshaft assy.
12167658 Connector used to connect TACH and B+ to distributor .
10456413 Melonized distributor gear (supplied on distributor 93440806)
1950569 Distributor shaft/bushing plastic grease seal
1837617 Distributor shaft washers (pack of five)
Delco D1906 4-pin module


NAPA part numbers
DP109 HEI weight pins for distributors that use plastic bushings on weights
DP112 HEI weight plastic bushings
DP114 HEI weight "stamped 106"
DP115 HEI weight "stamped 139"
DP126 HEI weight "stamped 105"
MP100 (GP Sorensen EL315) HEI yellow color code (Chevy, Caddy except Seville, Olds
Toronado) V-8 pickup coil
MP101 (GP Sorensen EL310) HEI Blue (or black) color code (Olds except Toro, Buick,
Caddy Seville) V-8 pickup coil
MP102 (GP Sorensen EL359) HEI clear color code (Pontiac) V-8 pickup coil
(My source for the GP Sorensen pickup coils sells them for about $16 instead of
NAPA's $40. The GP-S ones I bought are even made in the USA!)


RR230 HEI Capacitor and Harness from module to side of cap 6 ½”
RR231 HEI Capacitor and Harness from module to side of cap 10 ¾
RR233 HEI module to cap Harness 3 ½
RR234 HEI Capacitor and Harness from module to side of cap 8 ¾
TPL45 Heat sink compound for HEI modules—10 small tubes
RR201 Coil frame ground—wire style
RR204 Coil frame ground—Stamped steel strap
RR202 Plug wire retainer ring—8 cyl.
" IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
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Re: trouble shooting & rebuilding HEI ignitions

Postby grumpyvette » March 26th, 2012, 6:56 pm

" IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
grumpyvette

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Re: trouble shooting & rebuilding HEI ignitions

Postby grumpyvette » July 18th, 2013, 1:07 pm

navygunner08 wrote:I am getting ready to install Pertronix's Second Strike CD ignition box. I am guessing that I should reduce the overall spark timing. What do you guys say?


multi spark ignition works in a very similar manor to the standard HEI,its not the multi strike capability but the higher voltage , and better timing control thats usually the bigger benefit
you might want to read these links
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/ignition-system.htm

http://www.chevyhiperformance.com/techa ... ns_basics/

http://www.autos.com/aftermarket-parts/ ... ion-system

except the lower rpm range allows time for the coil to build and discharge a second or even three successive ignition sparks per compression stroke to insure the compressed charge of fuel air mix will ignite, this tends to increase low rpm efficiency, as occasionally that 2nd or third ignition electrical arc does help ignite a reluctant to burn cylinder, but in the vast majority of cases the first strike is still the one igniting the cylinder so no change in timing is required
" IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
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