HEI under cap condenser



Dec 5, 2012
oak forest IL
Hi guys, I have radio delete in my 81 Cutlass. The car has HEI. Do I need the condenser under the distributor cap?


Comic Book Super Hero
Nov 15, 2014
Des Moines, Iowa
stick to one thread please. and... yes. its a part if the distributor, you need it.


Canadian Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2006
Kitchener, Ontario
I thought that's what a condenser was for, too? Either way, it's for AM, and who does that anymore?
apparantly it is, just read that many moons ago a capacitor was called a condenser.....:unsure:

and here is some more info I found

"The capacitor in the base of an HEI distributor is there to suppress radio interference. It is not a condensor like a points-type distributor has. (Well, it is a condensor, because condensor is a very old word for capacitor, but not used for the same purpose.) The symptom of an open one should be increased radio noise, especially on AM stations, not ignition failure. It is wired in parallel with the pink wire going to the HEI module and goes to ground. An open in the capacitor would not affect the circuit between the ignition coil and the module. A shorted capacitor, however, probably would cause failure of the ignition, because there would be a no-resistance path to ground for the current coming from the module.

GM typically has this radio interference suppression capacitor in the distributor (and it looks a lot like a points-style condensor), and another similar capacitor on the tach lead, also for interference suppression. Looking at the schematic, whether or not a failed capacitor would cause the engine not to run would depend on its mode of failure. I hope this helps."
Last edited:


Royal Smart Person
Jan 2, 2006
I've seen the replacement parts eliminate the capacitor/condenser for some sort of transistorized electronic stuff. Probably does exactly the same thing, but also, probably was cheaper to do.
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