Took my car to a mechanic last week to re-jet and fine tune my car to work well at our altitude. I got a call from him yesterday saying that the car wouldn't start. I ended up spending the morning at his shop tearing out the entire dash to get to the culprit. My MSD 6AL crapped out on me with only 300 miles on the car. Short of buying a new distributor and having it re-geared, I guess I'm stuck with buying another one and hoping I have better luck.
I thought by now people would stop purchasing MSD ignition boxes with all of their issues.
Found this during a search. Don't know how true it is.
MSD Ignition 6A (6201) and 6AL (6425) New style digital boxes have a problem. Any of these with a stamped date on the base plate earlier than April 2011 have a problem and will not work. MSD tech dept knows about this, but it seems that no one else at MSD or any of the dealers or distributors know.
I had read several posts about others having issues with their MSD ignition systems but I rolled the dice and lost. My MSD ignition is a MSD 6AL Part No. 6420 which doesn't seem to fall into the category mentioned above. I have since read that many MSD boxes tend to fail if they are not properly grounded. I guess I will try grounding it directly to the battery instead of the chasis and try my luck again. The symptom that I saw was that it didn't have any spark. I ran the MSD diagnostic test and it failed. There was no power making it to the coil.
The link below containts the tests I ran to determine that the Ignition box was bad.
Just a note the MSD 6AL part# 6420 has been discontinued, the replacement is part# 6425.
All you can do is give it a try.
You have one of newly design digital 6AL boxes that came out in 2011.
If you google search and look on the their tech site you can see some of the issues.
We haven't had too many failures with the 6AL, but have heard of a few. We have had failures on the ready to run distributors and that is alarming. Seems some of their products are now manufactured in China. That sucks, as they have in the past had an excellent reputation. Hard to believe Chinese labor is that much cheaper than ElPaso Texas! The problem is where you are purachasing your product and their caring.When you buy online, in my opinion, you are basically screwed. If you buy locally from a good dealer, you are likely to get better warranty service.
It sucks that the local Auto parts store now has a turnover rate faster than the McDonalds, weather that is from poor wages or a lack of enthusiasm, I don't know. I do know that the importance of customer service is greatly ignored, especially in the younger generation. No their money, not their problem. Mail order? Sure, it's cheap, but the world has become so de-personalized, it's discouraging. We have pretty good luck with the managers around here, so it takes the sting out of having to prove everything and purchase again, return for warranty, postage paid, blah blah.
I had the same conversation with a C-5 owner just yesterday about parts quality. I don't care if the knock sensor is $15.00 cheaper over there, who's paying the labor to replace the free lifetime part? Buy the better parts, but in this case, is the premium worth it anymore? I feel for you.
Sorry about your ignition box. I specifically avoided MSD recently when looking for an ignition box. Also avoided Mallory for similar reasons. Decided to give Crane Cams a try after hearing good reviews here on the forum.
Your mileage may vary. Cheers,
FFR6966 - MK3.1, IRS, AFR 205 headed 408w, depleted bank account, pissed off wife, friends think I'm a hermit, dreaming of driving the Cobr@ someday. My Build Site PS Footbox Mod .pdf.dwg Tire Stencils .pdf.dwg
Outsourcing the manufacture to China has directly led to problems for MSD. It's part of the American "haute" rod culture to buy aftermarket stuff, and in the case of ignition parts, a lot of it isn't justified by dyno tests. We just buy it because it looks cool. So now we have the perfect combination of issues, cheap junk parts highly sought after by a market who has no clue.
Installing it under the dash where you can't service it is it's own reward. I understand there's a reluctance to have any wiring out in the open, check NASCAR or the racers, they do the opposite - serviceability is the #1 priority in location. The contrast between hiding stuff or having it right out there is largely aesthetics - Kustom Kar show off, or functional race car. I see a lot of guys mistakenly choosing the first, it's their option.
"It sucks that the local Auto parts store now has a turnover rate faster than the McDonalds, weather that is from poor wages or a lack of enthusiasm, I don't know."
Auto parts chains have all gone retail, and abandoned their commercial/industrial roots. You don't get many knowledgeable guys behind the counter, they aren't hired anymore. Mostly you get college students from the local Vo-Tech classes, or clerks from retail stores. Corporate no longer cares about helping the walk in customer as much as selling them a packet of grease for their brakes, or adding onto the ticket to improve the Cash Ticket Average. It's not about providing a career in automotive parts, it's about the up and out ladder of retailing. ALL the older guys see this very clearly, and the younger guys coming in suddenly discover it's not what they thought - you get more brownie points coddling customer ineptitude than correcting poor mechanics or diagnosis. It Makes More Sales to just go along and sell someone an EGR than inform them to test further.
It's not going to get better, Corporate level execs are being traded with all the other Corporations, our last trainer already had a 20 year career in medical technology. How he got into car parts was simply a career move, and all the management finesse techniques in handling subordinates came right along with him, i.e. covering up a lack of automotive knowledge, PMA, and bullying if it wasn't going his way.
Let's understand - if car guys were people oriented, we'd be Welcome Wagon hosts. No, not so much, people are frequently the source of problems in our life. We like CARS, we know are what they are, we can manipulate them as we wish, and we can get the results we want from them on demand. Retail runs very counter to that.
So, the auto parts trade isn't going to get any better. The knowledgeable ones move out, the old school guys will die off, and all that will be left are retail sales people with a bare knowledge pushing challenge sale products and hitting on you to get another dollar. It's not what any of us thought would happen, but exactly what will happen to any industry if you let corporations run things, not owners.
Here's the reality - a counterman treats his customers the same way he thinks his supervisor is treating him. That's a basic fact in human behavior, goes so deep it's the basis of a lot of abuse treatment. If your supervisor and the chain above treats the working man as a cash cow with no regard for his goals and lifestyle, that's exactly how he will treat his customers, whether retail or in the workplace.
You want to see things improve, get the manipulative and uncaring Corporate Staff out of micromanaging stores. I work at a parts store, I've seen major changes in less than five years. Me, I'm stuck with no future until I retire. At least the younger guys can move on and get out from under it.
You want professional level knowledge and understanding, you go to the internet, which can provide you with it if you look around a lot. No different than the word of mouth system pre Internet. You assess someone's credibility, listen to what he's experienced, and make your own decision.
I think that for 95% of us the standard Ford ignition is just fine. I had an MSD box the I destroyed myself by running a screw into it. I threw it away and have the MSD distributor with the standard Ford module and a standard coil. It works great. The car has a KenneBelle blower, so it is not exactly standard, but I have never had any problems.
Shep Qualified old guy. Dad of Willspeed. 89 Donor.Mk. III IRS, 302,equal length headers, 65 mm throttle body 77 mm MAF,Kenne Bell Supercharger,Levy bump steer kit & Koni Shocks.Finish line nudge bars, Cobra Earl Trunk, FFMetal batbox and footbox,APE hardtop, Vintage A/C, Lucas windscreen washer. Detailed, painted, graduated. Driving, adding stuff.
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