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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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ignition system recs

I tried doing a search for ignition systems, but didn't come up with much.
any recs on an ignition system for a 289 SBF with a FiTech 600HP EFI?
I was looking at MSD but some recent threads are pretty negative about it.
Just interested in hearing others' opinions.


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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 05:17 PM
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Whatever you end up using make absolutely certain that the distributor gear is compatible with the camshaft material. You can waste an engine in short order if they aren't. What kind of cam is it (i.e. flat or roller)?

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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 05:39 PM
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,,,, and lube the dist gear. It gets oil pretty quick, but why start it up dry.

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKleiner View Post
Whatever you end up using make absolutely certain that the distributor gear is compatible with the camshaft material. You can waste an engine in short order if they aren't. What kind of cam is it (i.e. flat or roller)?

Jeff
hydraulic cam

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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egchewy View Post
hydraulic cam
But is it a hydraulic roller or hydraulic flat tappet? Rollers are steel and will eat a cast distributor gear; flat cams are often, but not always, cast iron and won't play nice with a steel distributor gear. Composite gears that are claimed to be compatible with both often times aren't. Two things are super critical on a freshly built small block Ford; proper break in of a flat tappet cam and distributor gear selection---get it wrong and you will likely find yourself with an engine full of metal after the gears destroy one another.

Good luck,
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egchewy View Post
hydraulic cam
But is it a hydraulic roller or hydraulic flat tappet? Rollers are steel and will eat a cast distributor gear; flat cams are often, but not always, cast iron and won't play nice with a steel distributor gear. Composite gears that are claimed to be compatible with both often times aren't. Two things are super critical on a freshly built small block Ford; proper break in of a flat tappet cam and distributor gear selection---get it wrong and you will likely find yourself with an engine full of metal after the gears destroy one another.

Good luck,
Jeff
Sorry, flat tappet hydraulic cam. So you're recommending a cast iron distributor gear to go with the flat tappet cam, correct? Thanks for the advice.

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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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so no other recs out there other than the distributor gear composition?
anyone have issues with the MSD box itself? seems like most of the complaints are about their coils.

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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 04:22 PM
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I would check w/ the cam manufacturer on what gear to use. I can't recommend my ignition system because Mallory no longer sells my distributor. But I can make a general comment. My distributor has a magnetic pickup which operates the coil. No box of any kind. 44k miles and it has never caused a problem and still runs great.

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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 05:28 PM
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Allstar performance makes one that works with the FItech. You will need a phasable rotor available from msd and lock out the mechanical advance.

https://allstarperformance.com/hp-fo...-302-all81246/

It uses all the same internals as MSD. It's probably made in China just like all the rest, but at least it doesn't say MSD on it. LOL.

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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by egchewy View Post
anyone have issues with the MSD box itself?
Thread after thread of MSD box failures on this forum.

Before anyone chimes in about their 15 year old MSD box that works perfectly......Yes, that was before their quality went away.

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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 01:34 PM
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Yes, certainly determine the proper distributor gear as mentioned above, but as far as ignition, it might help to know what kind of "look" you are aiming for with the engine (period small-block, or lots of billet bling, etc.) and your driving intentions. A street driver doesn't need a fancy "spark box" with a bunch of bells and whistles. For a nice driver I recommend a "ready to run" type distributor with matching coil. No external box, limits the wiring and keeps things clean. MSD, Mallory, and others offer them, but also check out the Pertronix distributor. They have a nice "cast" unit that looks like a vintage Ford distributor but has the electronic module under the cap with rev limiter built in.

HTH...
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 05:00 PM
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I assumed he was wanting to control timing with the FItec which limits your distributor choice. If not controlling timing then the choice is endless.

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Yes, certainly determine the proper distributor gear as mentioned above, but as far as ignition, it might help to know what kind of "look" you are aiming for with the engine (period small-block, or lots of billet bling, etc.) and your driving intentions. A street driver doesn't need a fancy "spark box" with a bunch of bells and whistles. For a nice driver I recommend a "ready to run" type distributor with matching coil. No external box, limits the wiring and keeps things clean. MSD, Mallory, and others offer them, but also check out the Pertronix distributor. They have a nice "cast" unit that looks like a vintage Ford distributor but has the electronic module under the cap with rev limiter built in.

HTH...
Mark

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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 05:12 PM
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Something to be aware of. If FItech is controlling timing it has a limit of around 20 degrees of advance. You can program more advance but it can't do it. So you must have enough initial advance to be able to reach the total. IE: To get 38 degrees total advance you would need to set initial at 18. I discovered this on the dyno chasing a low HP problem. Finally put a timing light on it and saw the timing stopped advancing. Subsequently I read some discussion of that issue.

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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 07:59 PM
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I'm not sure if it is compatible.

But I agree with MastangMan, Pertronix is a nice system. It gives you all the features without a box. Multi-spark through the whole range, which a lot of boxes don't, and a rev limiter which every Cobra should have.

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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 09:02 PM
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I run the Fitech 600 with the MSD dist. I let the FiTech control timing and have had no issues. Just be sure the MSD model can be locked out.
Buck

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post #16 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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distributor/FiTech combo

ok...finally ready to purchase a distributor.
been doing lots of research and there seems to be lots of things to consider.
running a 289 with cast flat tappet cam, fitech 600hp efi.
hearing some good things about pertronix and was wondering if the linked distributor would be a good compatible choice for the set up

https://www.jegs.com/i/Pertronix/751...830+4294829436

any input appreciated.

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post #17 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 04:58 PM
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I have your set-up.

Been using a CRANE HI-6 Box and coil for 14 years, no problems. I like the fact you can set rev limit with a small screwdriver.

Was running a Unilite distributor, just switched to a MSD dizzy.

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post #18 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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I have your set-up.

Been using a CRANE HI-6 Box and coil for 14 years, no problems. I like the fact you can set rev limit with a small screwdriver.

Was running a Unilite distributor, just switched to a MSD dizzy.
trying to run a set up with out a box.

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post #19 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 01:43 AM
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I run a Mallory 4255111 ready to run 2 wire distributor with Mallory coil and required ballast resistor with my Fitech. I had issues using MSD and MSD wires inducing "spark noise".
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post #20 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I run a Mallory 4255111 ready to run 2 wire distributor with Mallory coil and required ballast resistor with my Fitech. I had issues using MSD and MSD wires inducing "spark noise".
This has a steel gear. Should I not be looking for a cast iron gear to be compatible with my cam?

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post #21 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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timing control

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobl View Post
I assumed he was wanting to control timing with the FItec which limits your distributor choice. If not controlling timing then the choice is endless.
pros/cons of letting FiTech control timing vs ready to run dizzy?

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post #22 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 04:38 PM
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I'm running the FiTech 600 hp system and letting it control the timing. I am not using any ignition box and haven't had any problems so far (knock on wood). I'm using a locked out MSD distributor with initial timing set at 14 degrees, with the all in at 34. Once you get it up and running, that's when the fine tuning starts. There are many forums out there like this one that will help with tuning as well as those that won't.

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post #23 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 04:53 PM
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I have your set-up.

Been using a CRANE HI-6 Box and coil for 14 years, no problems. I like the fact you can set rev limit with a small screwdriver.

Was running a Unilite distributor, just switched to a MSD dizzy.
I did my engine through Fordstrokers. He is a fan of the Crane box. Not a fan of MSD. He said if you opened both and had a look, that would make your decision.

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post #24 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 05:41 PM
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pros/cons of letting FiTech control timing vs ready to run dizzy?
Pros: you have more control of the timing curve and it has idle stabilization which strives to maintain the desired idle rpm by constantly changing the timing. This happens much quicker than the IAC alone can respond.

Cons: Cost if you already have a distributor. Not much if buying a distributor anyway. Complexity to get it phased correctly and programmed in software.

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post #25 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2019, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. Decided on a billet style 2 wire dizzy from jegs with hardened steel gear. I was assured this is compatible with my hydraulic flat tappet cam. Planning on letting fitech control timing advance. Does anyone know if the complete kit has a starter relay or do I need to buy one?

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post #26 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2019, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
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Ok. Decided on a billet style 2 wire dizzy from jegs with hardened steel gear. I was assured this is compatible with my hydraulic flat tappet cam. Planning on letting fitech control timing advance. Does anyone know if the complete kit has a starter relay or do I need to buy one?
Look at the type of starter you have, does it have a relay or not?
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post #27 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 01:19 PM
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I think you need to re check the advise on the dist gear.

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post #28 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I think you need to re check the advise on the dist gear.
I was told that hardened steel would be compatible with iron cam.
is this not correct?

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post #29 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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compatible gear and cam materials

here's what I found from summit's website suggesting that hardened steel is OK w/ iron cam.
https://help.summitracing.com/app/an...hould-i-buy%3F

here's another site saying the same.
https://www.onedirt.com/tech/engine/...compatibility/

i've also seen other websites saying that hardened steel is not compatible with hydraulic flat tappet cam (iron)
https://www.enginebuildermag.com/200...tributor-gear/

thoughts?

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post #30 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 05:01 PM
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I was told that hardened steel would be compatible with iron cam.
is this not correct?
NO, steel gears on a steel cam, iron gear on an iron cam. Ask Summit for a written warranty that they'll pay for any and all damage to your engine, and see what happens.
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