HEI shaft question
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500, 472, 425, 368 Discussion, HEI shaft question in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; First off please excuse my ignorance on the topic, I'm new to classic cars. However I'm looking to upgrade my ...
  1. #1
    69Deville is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    HEI shaft question

    First off please excuse my ignorance on the topic, I'm new to classic cars. However I'm looking to upgrade my point distributor to an HEI. I'm looking to get this one:



    I realize there is going to be some minor modifications in terms of wires and such as I've read the many posts on that here. However I'm uncertain about that piece fitting. Do all distributors have the same shaft diameter and groove specs, as in there being a universal standard for distributor shafts and grooves? Will this HEI fit?

    Edit: Should have been more specific, thats a summit racing HEI and I have a '69 Deville with a 472.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    drmenard is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    That aftermarket distrubtor will work fine.. But it is expensive.. a used distrubtor from a 75-76 500 or 77-80 425-368 motor will fit and work just fine.
    two things. one... a new 12V wire will be needed .. the old wire has a resistor in it...Two the inner most V belt can rub the new bigger distrubtor cap..some guys let it rub.. some leave that belt off.. but the best thing to do is change all the pulleys to a 425 set-up... If you could find a 77-79 425 in the junk yard... swap the power steering pump.. the A/C compressor pulley..the crank and waterpump pulleys...doing this will let you get rid of your air pump.. but if your in CA. 425's there , some, have air pumps.. thats if you heed to keep it on...

  4. #3
    69Deville is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Quote Originally Posted by drmenard View Post
    That aftermarket distrubtor will work fine.. But it is expensive.. a used distrubtor from a 75-76 500 or 77-80 425-368 motor will fit and work just fine.
    two things. one... a new 12V wire will be needed .. the old wire has a resistor in it...Two the inner most V belt can rub the new bigger distrubtor cap..some guys let it rub.. some leave that belt off.. but the best thing to do is change all the pulleys to a 425 set-up... If you could find a 77-79 425 in the junk yard... swap the power steering pump.. the A/C compressor pulley..the crank and waterpump pulleys...doing this will let you get rid of your air pump.. but if your in CA. 425's there , some, have air pumps.. thats if you heed to keep it on...

    Thanks drmenard for the reply. I'll keep an eye out for the used models. However, for the above, since distributors aren't universal how can I make sure this particular distributor will fit in the oil pump grooves and have the right height.

  5. #4
    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    They all look the same to me on the outside in a photo but you have to make sure it is listed for a Cadillac 472/500. I just checked Summit and they don't list any distributors for a Cadillac V8! In that case I'm guessing that you are looking at a Chevy or other distributor and it will not work. I just did a little more searching for my own curiosity and it looks like there are no new aftermarket distributors for these engines. I guess we are limited to rebuilding junkyard distributors or or trying to get lucky on ebay. It should look like this one:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/DISTR...Q5fAccessories

  6. #5
    BRUCE ROE is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Neither of the pictures here look anything like my 472/500 Cad HEI distributor. I think that one on Eba*y is for an Olds. Bruce Roe CLC # 14630

  7. #6
    69Deville is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Yea after doing a bunch of research I came to the same conclusion with the exception of an accel drop-in, however it doesn't come with a coil. I ended up ordering a reman HEI and HEI cap from Marty @ MTS, he was really helpful.

  8. #7
    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Good choice. Buying it from a place that knows what you need. Did you get a new wire routed to the distributor?? Usually there is a spade on the fuse block for switched power from the ignition switch, which will give you the full 12 volt source. With a meter or light you can find the right one to use when turning on the ignition and start position.

  9. #8
    69Deville is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Quote Originally Posted by steelybill View Post
    Good choice. Buying it from a place that knows what you need. Did you get a new wire routed to the distributor?? Usually there is a spade on the fuse block for switched power from the ignition switch, which will give you the full 12 volt source. With a meter or light you can find the right one to use when turning on the ignition and start position.
    Well right now the wiring is a mess on my car. Previous owner did a number on it:



    Some of the wires lead to nothing, others I have no idea. So I'll have to organize them first, but I'll use the ignition wire. Good call on that, thanks!

    Edit: Image size.

  10. #9
    deVille33 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    What you may be able to find is an Accel Blueprinted HEI. These are basically a Cadillac core that has been rebushed and set up with new selected performance parts. Then set on a machine and fine tuned for better performance ( better than stock ).

  11. #10
    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Yes, good choice going with MTS. I don't see any abnormal wiring in the pic. They weren't all that neat in those days anyway and I believe the wiring was just wrapped with electrical tape that gets brittle over time and just falls off. That looks to be a nice unmolested engine bay in that fine car. I sure miss my '70 and always said it was by best car......but my '92 is trying very hard to take that title.

  12. #11
    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    When you get it running OK, take it into a coin car wash and clean the engine compartment, with a plastic bag over the distributor. You will be likely working on it again etc, so having a clean area will will make things easier to sort out.
    I clean my engines at least once a year, since they use salt on the roads here.

  13. #12
    69Deville is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Quote Originally Posted by steelybill View Post
    When you get it running OK, take it into a coin car wash and clean the engine compartment, with a plastic bag over the distributor. You will be likely working on it again etc, so having a clean area will will make things easier to sort out.
    I clean my engines at least once a year, since they use salt on the roads here.
    I've actually heard of a really great cleaning technique.
    1) Bag up the distributor.
    2) Spray simple green everywhere in the bay.
    3) Turn the car on let it run for 10 min in order to get the bay warm and steamy.
    4) Wait till engine bay cools and rinse off the bay.

  14. #13
    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    I started using Grease Lightning on my engines and I am amazed how good it works. The stuff is water soluble so I don't understand how it works but it beats those aerosol cans by a mile. I buy gallon jugs of it and put it in squirt bottles. I've got one used squirt bottle that makes it come out nice and foamy. I am going to save a mint by not buying anymore aerosol engine cleaner.

  15. #14
    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: HEI shaft question

    Yeah, I used to use the aerosol stuff too, but unless there is a thick build up grease and dirt, the car wash detergent works great. I usually soak the engine bay with the soap, close the hood, wash the car, and then rinse the engine off, giving the soap a chance to soak in a bit. The other detergents like Simple Green, etc, work good when cleaning it at home with a garden hose.
    I really hate working on grungy cars and parts, so if a repair coming up, a trip to the car wash helps.

    69DeVille.......let us know how you make out with the HEI conversion....

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