Ignition Switchover
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500, 472, 425, 368 Discussion, Ignition Switchover in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Just purchased an HEI for my 69 Caddy hearse with a 472 and regular points setup. Gonna install it soon ...
  1. #1
    Sasquatch's Avatar
    Sasquatch is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Ignition Switchover

    Just purchased an HEI for my 69 Caddy hearse with a 472 and regular points setup. Gonna install it soon and thought I would post hear and ask if anyone has ever done such a change over and the proper procedure to do so. Here's the description and picture of the dist. I bought. Don't see a single wire coming from it so where do I hook the lead to the dist.?CADDILAC - OEM - HEI - fits 472c.i. and 500 c.i. engines - 1 wire hookup - New Performance Distributor Cap + New Rotor, New Coil. - New Adjustable Vacum advance unit -- ignition module has been tested Good -- Very Good Cond. - *Complete* - used-


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    Angela Desmond is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    The part on the lower left of your picture usually has "BAT" printed on it over the stake on connector that it goes to. It might say "B+" also. That's what your primary wire from the coil goes to. The other connection should say"Tach".

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    Re: Ignition Switchover


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    barge master is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    Nice link from Dead Sled. It's worth a mention that the plug gap should be increased to .060.That extra power can jump farther,creating a larger spark,hence the benefit of HEI.

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    Bad69Cad is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    should the gap be increased in cases where the whole distributor is replaced with hei? or does the same go for conversions such as ignitor, mallory unilite etc...

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    DaveSmed's Avatar
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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    Depends on if you bypass the resistor wire when your at it. Even if you do, don't go quite as wide as .060 but you can increase it from stock (due to the higher coil voltage)

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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    the more power you can sent to the plug wider the gap can be. big hot spark will ignite the fuel better and more evenly. some times with the older points systems you could blow out the spark like a candle

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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    Wow funny to see this thread come back. It''s almost been a year since I posted. Still haven't installed my HEI dist. yet. The car has been running great and felt if it aint broke don't fix it. I do want to eventually install the HEI though. Had other things to do and can't seem to get to it. Never done one before but checking the links and talking with people seems like it shouldn't be that hard.

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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    definitely do replace the resistor wire with a 10-12ga wire when you get around to doing the swap.

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    lux hauler is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    Still sounds a little tricky with the timing issues and all. I guess I should just jump in there and try it. I've never done one before and I'm a little hesitant.

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    69CDV is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    Just a few questions as to how your install went...

    First off, how did you manage to remove the old distributor? I can see a 1/2" nut that looks to be holding down the distributor, but it's tucked down in there so far that I can't get a socket on it at a proper angle, and the A/C compressor is in the way so I can't get a wrench on it either...

    Secondly, which wire is resistive? The pink one going from the steering column to the firewall harness, or the clear braided-looking one that goes from the firewall up to the coil?

    Third... Plug wires. Can I still use the same 7mm wires I'm using with my points setup?

    Other information:
    I've got an Accel Billetproof Distributor and an Accel Super Coil (PN #140001) for my '69 Coupe deVille with the factory 472. Is this really considered HEI, even though the coil isn't on the cap?

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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    I have done this conversion on my '70 Fleetwood.

    It is pretty starightforward, really.

    Remove the old distributor, wires, coil and colil bracket. But before you yank out the old dist, referance the rotor so that you can install the new dist in the same place. You will notice that as you pull out the dist, the rotor will turn. Take this into account so that when you install the new dist, the rotor will turn back, and properly engage the oil pump drive and drop right into place. If you do not do it this way, the dist will drop in one tooth behind, making it all but impossible to time properly, and you will have to revert to the time consuming method of setting the engine to #1 cylinder .....

    It is not necessary to replace or by-pass the resistor wire. I have done many of these conversions, and have never done this. Add an extension to the wire that went to the + on the old coil with a female spade terminal. If you can score the original type connector, all the better. Install this to the Batt terminal on the distributor.

    You will need to replace the old wires with 8mm silicon wires. I have always spec'd out Delco wires from a 1977-79 deVille 425. They are a perfect fit.

    Also, you will notice a very tight clearance between the compressor/PS belts. That is OK unless they actually rub. The belts may touch the cap at times, but never enough to cause any worries. I have rub marks on the cap of mine, and it has been that way for almost 10 years!

    I installed Rapid Fire #3's on mine, gapped to 0.060", but you can also use AC/Delco R44XLS6's gapped at 0.060".

    Set base timing to 10 BTDC and hook the vacuum advance to manifold vacuum. This will give a noticeable improvment in response and power over hooking the advance to ported vacuum. But, the use of premium fuel is a must. The improvement in power, response and fuel economy will more than make up for the cost if you were getting by with regular before.

    Mike

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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    Sorry, I posted before I answered all your questions.

    Unless it is the coil in cap, it is not considered HEI. HEI is generally referred to the OEM electronic distributors that GM began using in 1974. The aftermarket systems are variations on the old set ups, but with an electronic triggering mechanism replacing the points. An example would be the Pertronix conversions.

    You will need to use a long extension and a flex socket to remove the distributor hold down nut. Be carefull not to drop the hold down and nut into the black hole in the front of the engine when you get it loose. This is where good manual dexterity becomes important!

    Mike

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    Re: Ignition Switchover

    Quote Originally Posted by guidematic

    It is not necessary to replace or by-pass the resistor wire. I have done many of these conversions, and have never done this.

    Mike
    The reason that the resistance wire can be left in place with an H.E.I. conversion is that the more modern setup with it's short coil primary ignition coil pulses will draw a whole lot less current than the coil and points. Less current draw = less Voltage drop across the resistor.

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