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Skip White HEI distributors

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  • Skip White HEI distributors

    Anybody here ever used one of the Skip White HEI distributors for a 302? I was looking on eBay, and I can get a new HEI from them for less than a steel gear to go on my points distributor. I don't really care for the huge HEI cap, but the small cap versions they sell don't have the proper gear for the roller cam. From what I can dig up, they are probably machined in China and assembled here, and are supposedly the same distributor as the Mallory or Accel version, but sell way cheaper.
    I haven't made my mind up yet, but I was thinking brand new vs 50 years old, and more or less plug and play. Everything I read on them was good, a few didn't like them, but you could have that in anything aftermarket. Any real world experience here?
    ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
    -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
    -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
    " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

    "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

  • #2
    I have no experience with the ones for Fords, but I got one for a V6 Chevy Astro Van I recently purchased. Those distributors are the "internet darlings" for chebbies and certainly a step up from the crap that came OEM for the V6 engines. Built/constructed MO BETTA than the GM units!

    Just make sure you read through every word of their description INCLUDING the disclaimer near the bottom! The folks at Skip White know little to nothing about these distributors, so don't expect much in the way of product support, other than replacement of a defective unit!

    While just skimming the Ford distributors, I didn't see any mention of the gear, but if that detail is there, have at it. And as far as having the coil in the cap, ala GM style, I don't see that as a bad thing. Some of their ad copy is a little disjointed and confusing though! Just make sure it's what you need for your application and you should be a Cappy Hamper! And yeah, they sure are cheap!

    My $.02,
    Gene
    To quote my big brother: "Gettin' Old Ain't For Sissies"
    '68 coupe/5.0/T5
    '69 F250
    '56 Chebbie 3200 P/U
    '03 Miata (wife's ride)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ford84stepside View Post
      Anybody here ever used one of the Skip White HEI distributors for a 302? I was looking on eBay, and I can get a new HEI from them for less than a steel gear to go on my points distributor. I don't really care for the huge HEI cap, but the small cap versions they sell don't have the proper gear for the roller cam. From what I can dig up, they are probably machined in China and assembled here, and are supposedly the same distributor as the Mallory or Accel version, but sell way cheaper.
      I haven't made my mind up yet, but I was thinking brand new vs 50 years old, and more or less plug and play. Everything I read on them was good, a few didn't like them, but you could have that in anything aftermarket. Any real world experience here?
      get a duraspark distributor from an 85 mustang GT WITH THE 5 SPEED trans. that way you get the steel distributor gear since those engines had the roller cam.
      64 falcon
      66 mustang
      76 el camino

      a man's fate is a man's fate
      and life is but an illusion

      Comment


      • #4
        Personally, I would not used aGM based HEI ignition on a Ford for several reasons. First off , they are huge, ugly looking things, not so bad on a Chevy, with the distributor hiding behind the air cleaner, but having such a huge monstrosity being the first thing you see when you open the hood, not for me.
        2nd, they are not a particularly good design, as packaging all that stuff inside the distributor cap, means the module and other electronic components are subjected to the heat of the engine, with zero airflow to cool them. Ford and MoPar mounted their ignition modules on the inner fenders, away from direct engine heat, and where air flow and fan wash adds to the cooling effect.
        3rd, HEI reliability is nowhere near as food as the FORD Duraspark system. J worked at a Firestone Auto Center in the early 80s, and we were constantly replacing GM HEI modules, coils, and burnt thru distributor caps. Replacing a MoPar or Ford Duraspark ignition module was much, much less common, and by the time Ford had gone to the "blue" module, I can`t recall ever seeing one go bad. I had numerous late 70s, to mid 80s Fords with blue Durasparks, never had a bad distributor, coil, or module. I converted my old 74 F350s 390 to a Duraspark distributor & blue module and drove that truck all over the West coast for 20 years with absolutely zero issues.
        5th, did I mention how ugly they are?
        6th, if the GM design was better, why did MSD elect to use the Ford electronic ignition design when they came out with their billet distributors, over 20 years ago? Yes, they did use the GM design of mechanical advance (easy to access and replace springs and weights, but they went with Fords triggering system / pickup assembly.
        7th, I am dead set about putting GM parts on my Fords, especially when they are of an inferior design, even more so when China is involved!!!
        8th, because of its grotesquely large cap, good chance that you will need to use a smaller, less efficent air cleaner to clear the cap.
        Considerig how many Duraspark distributors made for engines like your 302, I simply can see justification to chose a HEI dist over a Duraspark.
        1978 Fairmont 428CJ 4 speed 9.972@132.54.mph[/ 1.29 60 foot.
        1985 Mustang NHRA Stock eliminator 302 4 speed M/S 12.31@106.99 mph, with 331 bracket engine: 10.29@128.71 1.37 50 foot
        1959 Ford Meteor 2 dr sedan 332 FE auto (finally under construction witha 428CJ and 4 speed.)
        1974 F350 ramp truck 390 4 speed (gone buy not forgotten)
        2010 Ranger PU 2.3L 5 speed
        1999 F350 dually, V10 5 speed

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree on the ugly GM HEI, I prefer the small cap version. I can get a new 85 Duraspark from RockAuto for about the same price as the Skip White HEI, and the GM module runs anywhere from $15 to $30, depending on brand. Then I have to also get a coil, but I might have the one that was on the truck, have to check on that. I don't really want to run the Duraspark box, I've had a lot of problems with the replacements you can get now. I saw a pic of a Duraspark distributor with the GM module mounted under the bottom on a plate, looked real neat, easy to get to, yet hidden from sight.
          Going to be after the holidays before I do anything anyway, still plenty of time to decide. I love the simplicity of a points system, but the higher voltage of a HEI would be a great asset.
          ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
          -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
          -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
          " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

          "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

          Comment


          • #6
            stepside, i have used the chrysler ignition module, specifically the orange performance module on a few conversions. it is dead reliable, and puts out a great spark. my old 66 falcon would light off in 30 degree weather with the choke wide open, on a one barrel autolite 1100 carb. check out this site www.gofastforless.com for a wiring how to. its pretty simple.
            64 falcon
            66 mustang
            76 el camino

            a man's fate is a man's fate
            and life is but an illusion

            Comment


            • #7
              When I worked at a GM dealership in the seventies it seemed like a quarter of my ROs were dealing with those pieces of crap, and I am amazed that they are being used as much as they are these days, maybe they have come out with some miraculous improvements that make them live, but I still would not take a free brand new one.

              The ones I worked on seemed to have two basic problems. The first is heat. Having an ignition module sandwiched between the hot engine and the hot coil meant the electronics would fry, and if you do decide to run one, be sure to carry a spare at all times. Daily usage, you will replace one every two years. Maybe that will not be a problem on a hobby car that only gets driven occasionally, and may explain why they are still in use today. The second problem I used to run into was that while these units put out tons of power which is great for firing the plugs, any weak spots or dirt will allow the juice to go where you don’t want it, like carbon tracking and often electricity would erode the centrifugal weights and pivot shafts they swing on, which on those distributors are near to the coil under the rotor. If you run one, be sure to keep it surgical clean and well lubed with dielectric grease and silicone spray. Be sure to check the module always has a good amount of grease between the module and base of the distributor, that is crucial for heat transfer and module life.
              '70 Mach 1 - '72 Sprint - '94 F-150 XL -'97 E-150 - '05 Sable LS
              My Mach's restoration progress
              My Sprint's restoration progress
              ”Mercy for the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.” ~ Adam Smith

              Comment


              • #8
                The module in the 350 I pulled out of the car looks to have never been touched, and it's a 75 model by the block numbers, unknown mileage.
                I'm thinking more now about going with the Duraspark rbohm mentioned and run it off the GM module. Just a few dollars more than the Skip White unit, but it has the smaller Ford cap and separate coil. I can either mount the module on the fender beside the coil, or under the distributor on a bracket. Either way it should get plenty of cooling air to increase it's lifespan.

                The last Duraspark I ran was on my 84 pickup, and the crappy replacement Modules wouldn't last but about a year, China made I guess, and I was buying supposedly brand name stuff, NAPA Echlin, Standard Ignition, etc. I parted out a Crown Vic, about a 80 model, and saved the module, it was a gennie Motorcraft, put it on the truck when the last one went out, and it was still going strong 4-5 years later. Just can't find them around here anymore, all the pick and pull yards don't have many vehicles that old.
                ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
                -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
                -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
                " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

                "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ford84stepside View Post
                  The module in the 350 I pulled out of the car looks to have never been touched, and it's a 75 model by the block numbers, unknown mileage.
                  I'm thinking more now about going with the Duraspark rbohm mentioned and run it off the GM module. Just a few dollars more than the Skip White unit, but it has the smaller Ford cap and separate coil. I can either mount the module on the fender beside the coil, or under the distributor on a bracket. Either way it should get plenty of cooling air to increase it's lifespan.

                  The last Duraspark I ran was on my 84 pickup, and the crappy replacement Modules wouldn't last but about a year, China made I guess, and I was buying supposedly brand name stuff, NAPA Echlin, Standard Ignition, etc. I parted out a Crown Vic, about a 80 model, and saved the module, it was a gennie Motorcraft, put it on the truck when the last one went out, and it was still going strong 4-5 years later. Just can't find them around here anymore, all the pick and pull yards don't have many vehicles that old.
                  what a lot of guys that run the gm ignition module do is mount them to a computer processor heat sink, some add a fan as well, and mount that combination on the inner fender. some guys will enclose it in a ford module case that has venting for airflow and water drainage.
                  64 falcon
                  66 mustang
                  76 el camino

                  a man's fate is a man's fate
                  and life is but an illusion

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's odd that I'm hearing about failures of the GM coils/modules. In 25 years of operating a sound system rental company, we had at least 8 or 9 GM vans & step vans and never had a failure in well over 4 million miles! Heck, we rarely even changed cap, rotor and wires! Of course, in Central New York (Syracuse, the "SALT CITY") the bodies crumbled away long before the engines gave out!

                    Just Sayin'
                    Gene
                    To quote my big brother: "Gettin' Old Ain't For Sissies"
                    '68 coupe/5.0/T5
                    '69 F250
                    '56 Chebbie 3200 P/U
                    '03 Miata (wife's ride)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rbohm View Post

                      what a lot of guys that run the gm ignition module do is mount them to a computer processor heat sink, some add a fan as well, and mount that combination on the inner fender. some guys will enclose it in a ford module case that has venting for airflow and water drainage.
                      I knew I saved that computer heat sink for something! Even got one with a cooling fan on it. May just put all of it in a simple aluminum box, painted black to blend in.
                      Wish Radio Shack was still in business, they had some cool little project boxes.....
                      ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
                      -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
                      -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
                      " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

                      "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ford84stepside View Post

                        I knew I saved that computer heat sink for something! Even got one with a cooling fan on it. May just put all of it in a simple aluminum box, painted black to blend in.
                        Wish Radio Shack was still in business, they had some cool little project boxes.....
                        check out their website;

                        https://www.radioshack.com/
                        64 falcon
                        66 mustang
                        76 el camino

                        a man's fate is a man's fate
                        and life is but an illusion

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sad what Radio Shack has become. I have bought many small items in the past there for custom projects, just walk in and it would be on the wall. There is still one store around here that I know of, I'm going to have to go check it out and see if there is anything I can use.
                          ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
                          -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
                          -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
                          " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

                          "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Found a steel gear on eBay for $29, probably go that route to start with.
                            ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
                            -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
                            -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
                            " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

                            "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

                            Comment

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