hei distributor

MrSony

MrSony

Comic Book Super Hero
Nov 15, 2014
4,905
2,978
113
Des Moines, Iowa
#11
Smog olds motors were as big a .080... But I'd start at .060 and see if it likes it.
 
MrSony

MrSony

Comic Book Super Hero
Nov 15, 2014
4,905
2,978
113
Des Moines, Iowa
#12
Smog olds motors were as big a .080... But I'd start at .060 and see if it likes it.
I also use AC Delco plugs... In my Buick anyway.
 
fleming442

fleming442

Geezer
Dec 26, 2013
6,162
7,059
113
#13
M

Michael Watts

Master Mechanic
Dec 12, 2017
266
110
28
#14
HEI are good distributors ,And there are upgrades such as MSD boxes and coils as and if you want to add more power,
 
B

bracketchev1221

Master Mechanic
Jan 18, 2018
401
362
43
#15
Run as small a gap as you can get away with. Large plug gaps are harder on ignition parts.
 
69hurstolds

69hurstolds

Royal Smart Person
Jan 2, 2006
1,929
2,648
113
#16
This was lifted from a Dave Ray over at Team Chevelle forum from 2017. I found this interesting, you may find it interesting too. I had an idea on why Olds went from the original R46SX (recommended 0.080" gap) in the VIN 9 to the R46SZ plug as a replacement (smaller gap out of the box). They apparently were the ones that wanted canyon sized gaps according to this. You decide. I'd recommend 0.040"-0.045" gap if'n it were me.

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There have been some here on the boards that simply refuse to accept FACTS on tat has evolved in HEI spark plug gaps, tech, other facets. There seems to be a small handful that simply don't get how it works, nor the changes GM made along the way to reduce problems created by wrong spark plug gaps.

FACT, The GM HEI was NOT developed as a performance ignition system, it was designed strictly to be able to properly fire off increasingly leaner fuel/iar mixtures in EMISSIONS engines. This required a few parameters to be adhered to.

The first criteria was to build an ignition system that would not degrade, nor change timing specifications over a minimum 50K miles, to insure emissions were not increased.

The second was to make a spark great enough to bridge a slightly larger spark plug gap than a point system made, so, as fuel molecules were reduced for leaner mixtures for emissons, there would be enough gap in the plug to "catch a fuelk molecule" to light off the burn in the combustion chamber.. This took creating "drivrs" in the HEI module to increase dwell charge time to the coil, store more energy, to make the larger gap function correctly over a point system.

Along the development of the HEI, some engineers decided that to fire off ever more leaner fuel molecules, the HEI needed increased spark plug gaps. So, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, and especially Oldsmobile simply opened up their pluggaps first to .065, then, to .080, with NO changes to any of the distributor components to accompany the increased gaps.

What this did was create, at the tme, largest warrantee failure replacement program GM had, from HEI modules and coils failing very quickly on newly sold vehicles. The first 3 had about a 40 percent failure rate, Olds had over 70 percent failures when the spark plug gaps were increased to fire off ever leaner fuel mixtures.

This led to some of us old guys that were at GM in the HEI development stages, to come back on,and get it figured out and fixed.

Failures were heat/load induced coil layer shorting to failure, and those issues causing HEI modules failing "for no apparent reason".

So, what did we do? Well, we simply reduced the spark plug gaps back down to the original .045 sizing, and, MAGIC, LIGHT OF LIGHTS, NIRVANA, THE WARRANTEE COIL/HEI MODULE FILURES/PROBLEMS AND FAILURES STOPPED, and failure rates went back to the levels pre-giant gap.

Opening up the spark plug gaps was done by a few brand name engineers, mostly at Olds, that dimply did not understand that the HEI will not tolerate giant spark plug gaps, it was an easy "fix" for a more sensitive fuel/air mixture developing situation, and their "fix" was totally WRONG..

Carburetor specifications were revised, emissions levels were maintained, and all was set good again.

Fact, We developed service bulletins, called FDM's (Factory Directed Modification) that REDUCED spark plug gaps on all those 4 division engines that were firwt set up to have the giant plug gaps, and, the dealers were instructed to pull all the plugs, regap if needed, ON NEW VEHICLE GET READY FOR SALE.

If yu still see a specification for an incorrect giant spark plug gap for an HEi for any of the HEI's, DROP THE GAP DOWN TO THE PROPER SPECIFICATION OF .045 MAXIMUM.

All this was done in the divisions that designed the HEI, here in America, NOT some place in the middle of the Gobi Desert, nor Antarctica, nor the moon, but, here in The United States, where it all started..

Those are the FACTS of it, if yOu have some sort of specification that insists on larger spark plug gaps in any HEI, it is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

This is an open forum, no problem there. If you disagree with these FACTS, I suggest you go investigate for yourself, as NONE of you worked with the team that fixed the problems, nor wrote the FDM's.....but, I DID.
 
olds307 and 403

olds307 and 403

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 14, 2008
4,380
2,160
113
Melville,Saskatchewan
#17
I actually had no issues with .080" gaps until they wore out. One day our 81 Delta 88 wouldn't start, worn out plugs, gaps probably at .100". Now I set my plugs at the generous side of a .045" plug gap. Why stress the crap out of the ignition system?
 
69hurstolds

69hurstolds

Royal Smart Person
Jan 2, 2006
1,929
2,648
113
#18
.080" isn't a guarantee you'll have failures, but there was a reason GM recanted that .080" gap. Wasn't for health reasons, I'm sure. I've been setting at .040" with absolutely no issues now for a long time.
 
airboatgreg

airboatgreg

Royal Smart Person
Oct 2, 2016
1,545
1,424
113
#19
Hard to beat an HEI.
Lots of voltage, easy, dependable.
Great story on a GM 4 pin module. Of of the guys working for me way back in the day was a Mopar fan. He was saving up for the gold Mopar electronic ignition system and had bought the distributor with the pick up. I had him pull it in the shop and we put the scope on the point ignition system and we had 22k volts output to the plugs. We put his electronic distributor in, wired a GM 4 pin HEI module in and put a used Toyota Supra coil on. We used a Cadillac HVAC fan motor module heat sink to mount the module to. Cranked it up and had over 50k volts to plugs. It cured a cold running issue and he said made a different car out of it.
It was pretty cool
 

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