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Thread: MSD Pro billet distributor, problems

  1. #1


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    MSD Pro billet distributor, problems

    No fire all the sudden and no doubt I found the problem, well one more.
    MSD knows about the problem, they're adding a coating over the triggers now. It's caused by Ionized air they say, understandable since they do carry a substantial arc. They recommend drilling two 3/8" holes at rotor height in 180* opposition so the rotor will act like a fan. I say seal it and purge it with CO2 or Argon, but how? The distributor, cap and rotor looks like shit with about 500 miles on it, I never start it and shut it off unless it's "completely" warmed up.
    After cleaning I did get good numbers and the magnetic trigger will fire the MSD off on the counter but while turning over it fails, no spark. They say clear coat the trigger fingers and pickup to protect them, but people are also are painting them. I ordered a new pick up.

    Oh and I believe I have a power drain/short. I've never noticed when grounding the battery (while off) it arcs just a tad/barely. I have No clock, even if all fuses are removed it still arcs, my new wiring has no tie ins with the stock harness other than the 2 relays which I unplugged and flipped off the breaker on the new wiring loom, is this normal and you Got any suggestions?
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  2. #2



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    Look in the small bag that came with the 6A. There is a diode in there. You need to add it into the alternator lamp wire. One problem with the MSD is the vent hole is in the bottom of the distributer is to small so air can not get in and out readily. So the ozone builds up. Make the hole larger.
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  3. #3


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    Camoit, You are so dam awesome! How come you know the cause and MSD doesn't?
    Now where is that freakin bag, I dread the thought. My garage isn't nothing like LSRMike's garage, His garage is as clean as his engine, (I'm serious).
    "if" I can't find it? would you happen to know the part#?
    I'm sure the location is on the MSD wiring diagram, I'll look.
    Thank you again!!

  4. #4



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    Look in the wiring manual. It's only a diode like 1 watt. You can get them from Rat Shack $0.12 Solder it in and cover with heat shrink The GM alternator can back feed.

    I'm sorry to say when it comes to the MSD on the 4.3L V6 Chevy I have been going through a serous learning curve. I also found out that reluctor can be off by up to 4 degrees between cylinders. There is a company out there that does fix all the MSD screw ups. I'll get the name for you. There back east some where. But we are stuck with MSD or Mallory. Crane does not do the V6 there the trick set up.

    OH one more thing. You need to move the pick up wires away from all other wires.... They will pick up EMF interference and cause cross firing. If that does not work then you can try shielded wire with a ground drain. Then you need to use the correct timing light. NAPA auto has them for about 60 bucks. It is compatible with the multi spark.
    Next what color springs and stop bushing are you using? If the engine is stock you don't want more then 32 deg of total advance at 3000 RPM. Use the lightest spring for the advance curve if you have changed the cam.
    Last edited by camoit; 07-03-2013 at 11:42 PM.
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  5. #5



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    MSD quality has hit the skids in the last 2-3 years - the import crowd no longer use them - too many outright failures.
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  6. #6


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    Why the silicone?

    MSD suggests the silicone to be re applied, obviously it doesn't protect the steel used. (They also use stainless screws and steel nuts)
    QUESTION: Why not use a light coat of dielectric grease but not between the magnet and steel or ends of reluctor and pickup, would it not do the even better job of protecting the circuit from moisture and air or will it ground it out?
    I didn't do it, I'm just asking. lol I've read up on it.
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  7. #7



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    They may use the silicone rtv as an anti - vibration cushion and to position the pickup rather than just to insulate it from ground. Never had to put in the pickup like that so I am not positive on this
    Pennyman1
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  8. #8



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    The silicone is a glue that keeps things from moving after you set the gap. I'm clear coating the spar MSD I have just in case I go back to it. After the short time of running it has already started to corrode. By adding the holes in the rotor it helps to break up the air. I want to switch over to Crane Cams But they don't make anything for the V6
    Where do you have # 1 pointing? What direction is the rotor pointing on TDC # 1 ? I have yet to find the correct place. Some show front, some to the rear, some to the right side.
    Last edited by camoit; 07-08-2013 at 03:11 PM.
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  9. #9


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    My #1 in the top pic is #5 the bottom pic #6. If I'm not mistaken on chevy you can turn the oil pump if you have a screw driver that is as long as the distributor. It's been so long, but I swear you can turn the oil pump. I'll be dropping my back in here shortly, it should be pointing @ #1.
    I think what MSD did on these PRO "BILLET is crap, they blued the top, they could have blued at the least the reluctor.
    Clear coat is still paint, just no pigment.
    I read they are now adding a coating to the new distributors. As far the silicone if you look at the reluctor in the pic the rust is under the silicone, I applied very little effort to get it off.
    One thing I do know is, MSD has a production line making magnetic triggers and reluctors for us suckers.
    Just like manufactures of fishing lures, they're not out to catch the fish, just the fisherman.
    How many knock'em dead lures do you have and how big is/was your tackle box?
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  10. #10


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    I have fire by triggering with a wire @ the plug for the trigger, fire from the trigger to distributor, I've had the distributor setting on the engine with the cap on with wires and plugs, all plugs firing off.
    Keep in mind that I never changed any wires that Bill used to get the truck up and running.
    Coming out of our trucks wiring diagram, @ the starter he used 2-BY (black wire with yellow stripe) is correct. I traced that wire to the console which the book says (case of auto trans). @ the starter in the manual 2-BR is running the heavy red wire on the MSD box which would have gone to the resistor on the coil, that's good.
    In the manual, I'm on 3-BW which is connected to the smaller red wire (ignition hot with key on) is also correct.
    But, when the engine cranks over 3-BW the voltage drops to about 2 volts, I get a couple a sparks of the coil as the starter kicks in and then when I let off the key. The Problemo!
    I'm sure the rusty spars and magnetic trigger in the dist would have bitten sooner or later.
    The million dollar question is, what is causing it, other than human error called Rick.
    Looking at the bright side, at least it's not caught on fire yet.

  11. #11


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    wow you're having problems..... Heavy Red +to bat, Heavy Black - to bat, thin red Ignition + , Green and Purple to Dis,Small orange to + on coil, Small Black to - on coil, Fire that sucker. you need to find a ignition wire that's 12V on the Start and run. The problem looks like you're not getting Voltage needed on the start.DO NOT USE a voltage resister on the 12V ignition, if you do have one hook it up before the resister.
    Last edited by Fordubishi; 07-08-2013 at 11:49 PM.

  12. #12



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    Yep thats where mine points. The marine left hand drive #1 is where 6 is but it turns the same direction.
    See my last post in my build thread to see if it covers some of your problem. I just fixed mine. I kept needing to advance the distributer to keep it running. Finally ran at 40 degrees of initial timing advance. But if you reed it you may be able to avoid my pit fall.
    One more thing change your advance springs to the lightest ones that came in the package and check for total advance of 32 degrees at about 3000 RPM If more or less change the stop to a different color.
    Last edited by camoit; 07-09-2013 at 02:14 AM.
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  13. #13



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    Don't put a mojo on it by talking about fire, lol.
    Now you need to break the curse by swinging a dead cat around truck 3 times.

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    Smile

    wouldn't swinging a dead dog be more appropriate, since this problem is dogging you...
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  15. #15


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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordubishi View Post
    wow you're having problems..... Heavy Red +to bat, Heavy Black - to bat, thin red Ignition + , Green and Purple to Dis,Small orange to + on coil, Small Black to - on coil, Fire that sucker. you need to find a ignition wire that's 12V on the Start and run. The problem looks like you're not getting Voltage needed on the start.DO NOT USE a voltage resister on the 12V ignition, if you do have one hook it up before the resister.
    No I'm not running a resistor, I was only using the wiring diagram for the wire only. See that's the thing it's been running for a long time and running great. On the wire diagram the 3-BW is the original hot coil wire and I would think it shouldn't be dropping voltage while cranking over.
    He's got the MSD heavy red is on the battery cable @ the starter.(like I said it worked fine)
    One thing that sticks out in my head is something about the air conditioning wire and I have no idea why?
    I'll figure this dam thing out, it's only a matter of time.

  16. #16



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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    wouldn't swinging a dead dog be more appropriate, since this problem is dogging you...
    lol Pennyman your probably right. He'll figure it out and it will probably be a simple thing like these issues usually end up being. Why we keep messing with our trucks is the ultimate dogging. I think 90% of the reason is the thought that we will not let some object get the best of us. Well if the truck had boobs, we might let it.

    I had a similar problem and the wiring that came with the manual somehow switched Red and black wire that went to the starter with a Blk and white wire. Recian woke me up on that fopaw and I got my 12v back to coil after I corrected it.

  17. #17


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    lol BradMph, tonight I was a Beaches, car show, drag races @ Delta Park Dragway. I was just telling a guy at the show I'll be dammed if I'll let this truck overcome me! He restored a beautiful 69 barracuda he's owned since 77. We went back and forth on just when I thought I was done something went wrong. We laughed at each other stories, I said I'm so glad it's just no me! BUT!!!
    A while back I had replaced the ignition switch but found it was the heavy white wire came off the positive side of the battery, no power. So after, I assumed the new ignition switch was a good thing, the old one is 27 years old. Wrong!Ignition switch.
    It's all good for now, but I'm not done.

  18. #18


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    Quote Originally Posted by camoit View Post
    OH one more thing.
    Next what color springs and stop bushing are you using? If the engine is stock you don't want more then 32 deg of total advance at 3000 RPM. Use the lightest spring for the advance curve if you have changed the cam.
    Basically My cam is just a light RV, Been reading on the vortec marine engine forums the v6 should be running about @24*
    " the Mercury "kerkinhauf ignitions have two different ignition modules"
    "the one for the V6 fully advances 14* @ 2500 rpms"
    "the one for the V8 fully advances 19* @ 2500 rpms"
    (depending on jet or out drive of the fully advanced rpm)
    My MSD distributor #8598 came with the blue bushing (17* according to their chart) installed with heavy springs for full advance @ 3200 rpm for the vortec v6 including the crappy reluctor (which by way is rusty again).
    But right now I'm running a light silver with a light blue spring which fully advance is at 2500 rpm.
    I'm now Timed at 8* @ 750 rpm and at 2500 24*
    The carburetor, I Adjusted the valve spring for the power mode, did have a 8 hg spring, ran great out of the hole WOT but when it shifted by itself it would bog out.
    pulled the 8hg out and dropped to a 3 hg ran better no bog with secondaries, just had to wait for them to open up.
    pulled the 3 hg springs and installed 4 hg springs with hardly any bog, I'm still going to tweek the timing to find the sweet spot.
    I did purchase and nice digital timing light with advance built in, amazing tool.
    32 degrees is way to high according to the vortec forum
    http://forums.iboats.com/mercruiser-...ng-446204.html
    Last edited by Rickdees; 02-22-2014 at 08:01 PM.

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