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Thread: The MSD Thread.

  1. #1



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    The MSD Thread.

    Post all of your MSD Q & A in here.
    It's about time we start one of these.
    My problem I had to keep advancing the distributer to make it run. To a total of 40 deg just to start. Any lower it would die.
    If you need to keep advancing your MSD system to make it run then the coil is bad..
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  2. #2


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    MSD Coil

    lucky me, I'll go first.
    Here's the coil I "was" running. Over time I've "once" experienced the shock of a MSD 6A. I 've seen my coil jump arc the two wire plug from the MSD box. But today after tuning with new Iridium plugs, which come pre gapped for this engine (non adjustable gap) @.060. After about a hour drive time I heard an arc strike, firing once or twice then it got worse and worse. By the time I got home it developed a miss. It's jumping out the coil below the coil wire boot, going the through the plastic insulator arcing to the metal frame around the coil itself "and ground mounted as per MSD".
    I've been reading about complaints on this and it is common. I've read about "grounds", I have grounds coming out my bum.
    They say once it starts the coil is toast. Just like the MSD magnetic trigger I replaced, not used very much at all
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    I've read,
    It could be, the center button on the dist cap, the carbon button touches the rotor from the coil.
    It could be a bad plug wire.
    It could be to large of a gap says MSD. Ha, MSD says to gap a extra.010 to .020 larger for stock or mild built engines.
    It could be a residual charge, it could be that MSD is garbage for the Chevy V6.
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    A buddy has a blaster 2 coil I can have, a new cap, rotor, plug wires on order.
    Out of re-found respect for coils, i'll trust it the canister type coils, the shock feels about the same.
    This coil should work fine for me, correct. I've read up and they say it will on a 6A, but what is the difference in these two coils if any?

  3. #3


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    No Idea I run the MSD 6A Digital and a Blaster 2 coil with cheap aftermarket plug wires as my Taylors are on back order for another 6-8 weeks. I had an old 6a on the truck and never had a problem with it. I gave my 6a to a friend for his built 4.2L chevy S-10 and he never had a problem with it either. granted he was running the HEI cap and coil but it ran great for 10 years.

  4. #4


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    Yeah, you hear more stories of the 6a box that gets passed on to friend to friend.
    I think the type of coil I was using and the idea of having it grounded is pooh, obviously give the a coil a choice to chose a path of less resistance is not a good idea.
    Example; a Tee on a water faucet with 2 same diameter sized hoses, one 5 ft. long and one 50ft. long. Which hose will get less water at the end?

    Three arc slits, it was also firing at the base of the corner. This coil has a 1/8 stud in it and the plug wire clip would go over the stud so you cant get deep into the insulator. Piss poor design unlike the canister coil
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    The ol school canister type is oil cooled and it "does not need a ground" other then the black wire (-) and orange (+) from the box.
    Makes total sense doesn't it? NOT!

  5. #5


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    I've been reading the MSD complaint, I mean Tech threads. Good short read about MSD ignitions and I feel his pain.


    This is me again.

    I may have a little egg on my face. I've just discovered that I've had the magnetic coil wires reversed polarity (probably the entire time I've had the system on). I follow instructions very well and can not understand how I possibly could have done that.

    However, I remember that when I went from stock to MSD, I really had to change timing (probably retard it 20+ degrees--in fact, it caused my carb to backfire and the Motorcraft 2bbl uses the 2 stage power valve and it blew it out first thing--$27 bucks). Finally, since I hadn't enough movement space for my distributor, I remember changing my wires around one hole each.



    So...

    I started the other day going through hundreds of these messages on this board to get some clue as to my problems, ONE in particular happening just as yours is. There are times that the system just shut down,,,got no spark,,,wouldn't run or start,,,stranded me in traffic.

    Well, I've found several issues of problems that could occur. And, as I've found the issues on this board, I began changing them. AND my lean running problem has suddenly stopped (though there have been many other times it stopped, then just as abruptly began again).

    First, I wanted to check my wires to be absolutely sure they'd run on MSD. I thought they were solid core wires. But they are the Bosch Ultra Premium Mag Core wires, and these are wound core.

    Second, in checking the wires, which were new as of last December. I discovered that my coil to dist wire was not of the same set. Some reason, I had put the old wire back on.

    Third, I checked the resistance of the old coil wire. It was 1500 ohm for an 8 inch wire which would make it run at around 2000 ohm per foot. That's way too much for the MSD. I DID FIND THE BOSCH COIL WIRE, AND NOW THE MOTOR'S RUNNING BETTER.

    Fourth, I checked the polarity of the magnetic coil. I had them reversed. Green to orange. Violet to violet. They should have been green to violet, violet to orange. (This of course threw my MSD timing out 20 degrees retarded.) I can't believe I'd done two dumb mistakes as this.

    Fifth, I checked the ohm reading of the magnetic dist. coil and new ones at the parts store. Mine and the new ones read 200 ohms. So, I'm within that needed by MSD.

    Sixth, I put new connectors on my MSD to coil, magnetic pick up, and wiring.



    But, I still don't think I'm out of the ditch yet, even though my horsepower has greatly improved. And, changing the polarity of the pick up coil and correctly setting the timing to it has INCREASED my idle rpms by 200, which is something really POSITIVE.

    I filled my tanks with gas and am going to check my mileage after around 200 miles (city driving). Then, I'll do the things below, probably one at a time to try to isolate the issue.



    Now the following may be critical to MSD systems. After reading other Tech responses and printing out .pdf trouble shooting pages and installation pages, I'm finding out that --

    the MSD system is EXTREMELY, I MEAN EXTREMELY SENSITIVE to stray voltage, especially from damaged wires, wire caps, connections, and etc. And, a bad or problem magnetic pickup on the distributor is very critical to poor performance. (You may need to understand, I went from a new motor getting 12 to 14 mpg to a motor getting 7.5 to 10 mpg.)

    So,

    I'm checking the resistance of all the remaining wires. (My #1 wire, which I could get to was 400 ohms on 2' length which is about 200 ohms/foot. My coil wire I just put on was 200 ohms for its 8 inches.)

    I found by reading these messages that if any of the plug wire reading are off from each other by a medium to large degree, the motor WILL run poorly.

    I found also that if the magnetic pickup up coil resistance is off, the motor will run poorly. AND this is a critical piece-- If the pickup coil is damaged or susceptible to changing if heated up, the motor COULD immediately cut out or run bad or back fire.

    I found that if wires close to the same firing order and next to each other on the motor CAN jump fire by the very presence of electricity across them. This could also be VERY CRITICAL. I've read at leat a half dozen messages where the owners had misfiring on certain cylinders, did compression checks, checked wires and ohms and plug changes, finally pulling heads, cams, everything to check tolerances. I've got a feeling that they had wires next to each other in the firing order and next to each other on the motor.

    Apparently, the best way to correct this problem is isolate the wires and get them several inches apart from the distributor to the plugs. The interesting thing I read on these messages, each person would swear to a damaged MSD system.




    So as to your problem, I'd check the signal going to the MSD from your pickup coil. You probably are not getting anything, so the capacitive discharge system will not work.

    Use the trouble shooting guide on MSD .pdf, where you jump the green/violet wires and pull the coil wire off and lay it 1/2" next to the + connection on the coil. Turn your keyswitch on. If you hear a "pop," then it probably IS the magnetic coil pick up that's bad. If you don't, then its probably the coil.

    I found I had the same problem, run or not run, strand me in the street. If I jump started it, it would always start. If I just did the "pull the coil wire from the coil and turn the key on" trick, if it popped, I'd run out with the switch still on, put the coil wire back, and it'd start. (just take care, one day I got 45,000 volts throught he hand).

    But no amount of cranking would get it to start, unless I jump started it, or let it sit for 10 minutes. But, then it would start. It might run terrible for the remainder of the day, or just fine.

    But when it does die, it smells of a extremely lean motor--like I ran out of gas.

    Most critical are also the MSD wire connections, the distributor pickup (signal), and the need to avoid stray voltage that will arbitrarily send a signal that will discharge the coil into a wrong plug or at the wrong time.

    I think MSD would do well to warn users and self installers of these issues.

    To solve the poor running and occasional misfiring, I'm going to separate my wires from the distributor. I may buy the RF noise suppressor that MSD sells which will reduce the possibility of mis discharging.



    I believe that the arbitrary problems with your system may be a break down in the distributor pickup coil, or a stray voltage charge from a wire or poor ground.

    I'm determined to make my system work.

    A hot rod is usually void of all the other electrical connections found on a motor. The motor is often exposed so isolating plug wires is easy as well as other wires.

    My problem may be from the fact that my coil is only 5 inches away from my distributor cap and many of my plug wires are around and on top of each other.

    Other problems I've read is the RAPID break down of wires and distributor caps and rotors and magnetic pickup coils and plugs in systems because of the high heat and voltages.

    This is especially accelerated if the system is working incorrectly.



    So, the way I understand it is that by the time you get one issue solved, something similiar comes on (that is really another problem like wires going bad) and you think you never solved the first issue you were working on or believed was the problem.

    This is why MSD is nearly impossible to work out the bugs. It's like you have to change everything out all at once, rather than do a, then b, then c, then d. Because by the time you get to c or d, a may have gone bad.

    At least this is what I've read in the messages, reading hundreds of them the last few days.

    A stock system isn't nearly as critical with the wires running at 500 ohms per foot and the plugs running hotter and able to run so much longer. Of course the coil discharge is 15,000 volts compared to the 45,000 volts on the MSD coil. And stock systems don't run on capacitive discharge where a voltage field built up from two wires next to each other causes the voltage to jump and plug to misfire.



    Once you get it running, separate wires, coat the plug wire caps with electrical goo. Move your coil away from any plug wires (say 6" to 1 foot). Keep any magnetic pick up wires away from the coil, or any plug wires. Voltage could be induced much like an inductive timing light causing a misfire.........and.......so.......on.

    I think that is the reason so many people complain that the misfire ALWAYS occurs in the same cylinder, but the wire, plug, everything they seem to put in new. And it STILL misfires. Some of the messages I've read is they even go so far as checking cam clearances, removing cams, and removing heads thinking a bad valve or bad cam. And every message I read says the mechanical parts were correct===so it must be the MSD.

    I believe MSD ought to come up with a leaking voltage pickup device where you could run it along the lengths of wires on a running motor and see where some voltage field exists around the wire(s) or there is some field around the coil causing the MSD to misfire, or the distributor, or dist. cap.

    Most every message I've read were from people with newly rebuilt motors. I see the frustrations of them reading the advertisements on MSD and in other locations and thinking how good this system would make their vehicle run, the improved hp, the better mpg....

    They spend all this money and it runs like crap.

    Surely someone reading this message is having success with their MSD.

    I have not read one message that said, "I had this problem...and this is what I did... and it is gone." Or one message that says, "It took me 2 hours to install and I'm getting 5mpg and 20hp more with my MSD."

    I've got 200 + total man hours, and hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and it runs like crap.



    However, I have done the things above (changed the wrong coil wire out and reversed the wrong polarity of the magnetic pickup coil) and my van is running the best it has in 1 1/2 years. There is still a distinct miss. But, I'm pulling all 8 plugs in a few days, checking them, checking ohm readings of all the wires, rerouting and separating plug and MSD wires, and while my plugs are out doing a dry & wet compression check of all cylinders, to make sure I'm not having valve or ring problems. (about 10,000 miles ago I readjusted all my valves and the truck did run better afterwards). But, I don't want to do all that until I am near 100% certain that my electrical problems are solved.

    I'm going to send this message as well to a Tech. They really need to UPFRONT tell their customers how critical these electrical problems are to this system.

    Al Harrison

  6. #6


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    I give! my friends blaster 2 coil with the lights off you just barley see it arcing from both the ground and positive to the tower. Bought a new blaster, I thought I got it but after minutes I could hear snapping! Same issue.
    (Note; I've read on these coils also, and the American hot rod company known as MSD, their coils such as the blaster 2 are now made in china a long with some cap and rotors. out of the box faulty, like the new Oakland Bay Bridge)
    I've read of guys who have had their blaster coils for twenty years and guys that have gone thru several coils with same symptoms, they all went back to stock coils and it ceased. (must be that Change Obama is talking about)

    I have GOOD grounds, new cap, rotor, super conductor wires.
    Obviously a resistance problem or just too much freakin voltage, do I use a bone stock coil to stop this.
    Honestly, I am about to walk away from the F-n garage for another year or TWO or three?
    Last edited by Rickdees; 09-03-2013 at 10:54 PM.

  7. #7



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    Not to compare my 4 cyl with your 8 cylinder, but I use a pertronix flame thrower canister coil and I have had it for many years. I installed the 3.0 ohm flame thrower 40000v without an outer ballast on the coil. I know if I used the 1.5 Ohm I would have had to use a ballast on top of the coil. My spark jumps a 1/2 in gap with a snappy loud arc and is a nice blue with an occasional bright yellow, but this is when I test right off a coil wire lead to a ground.

    http://www.pertronix.com/prod/ig/fla...0000_volt.aspx

    •Legal in all 50 states and Canada. (C.A.R.B. E.O. #D-57-10)
    They also have a 60,000v coil, probably would knock you on your ass if it ever bit you.

  8. #8



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    I have been running an original MSD blaster coil for 25+ years with no issues, in fact Geronimo is still running that coil right now.
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  9. #9



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    Pennyman are you a dinosaur? buy a new truck will you...Hey, we can go together and both update our (I can't get rid of my truck) issues. What else on that truck is over 25 years old. Case I decide to get a kitty together to buy something new for it on Xmas

    (Thinking if MSD was even around at that time) lol it was it was, I'm just kidding.

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  10. #10


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    Brad, that's some funny $h!t there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickdees View Post
    But today after tuning with new Iridium plugs
    I need to put a name here, there AC Iridium spark plugs. I put my old plugs back in the arcing stopped, My 6A does NOT like these plugs at all! They say their plugs are low resistance, I call BS!

    Side note: A friend talk to MSD, "all their products are tested on NGK plugs"

  11. #11



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    NGK has my vote!

  12. #12



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    So you think everything is old on Geronimo? tires are 1-2 years old front to back - have new sound system to install, new head with upgraded cam, new Doug Thorley header, Hurst pistol grip maybe to replace Zaxxon joystick shifter knob, dual Weber sidedraft carbs with manifold, airride suspension with fbss controller and belt driven compressor. Now if I only had the time to do it all...
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  13. #13



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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    So you think everything is old on Geronimo? tires are 1-2 years old front to back - have new sound system to install, new head with upgraded cam, new Doug Thorley header, Hurst pistol grip maybe to replace Zaxxon joystick shifter knob, dual Weber sidedraft carbs with manifold, airride suspension with fbss controller and belt driven compressor. Now if I only had the time to do it all...
    You have a duel carb intake? what is the brand name on that, or is that a custom made intake? I been looking for a duel intake, but most likely it would have to be a custom creation.


    Oh ya...I was hoping for a bigger list of new stuff on that truck you have.

  14. #14


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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    Hurst pistol grip maybe to replace Zaxxon joystick shifter knob,.
    ooooh, there's a speed upgrade!

  15. #15



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    Here it is...One I was interested in finding

  16. #16



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    the manifold is a weber made dual dcoe setup - not made for years. Every once in a while a single dcoe manifold turns up from austrailia, but its pricey. I also will get new wheels and tires after the airbags. Besides, how many other D-50s do you see here or anywhere else that has a LeVan Flex-thru rear window? I only know of one other truck in the tri-state area with one, and its a 1st gen s10 with a hottops removable roof to boot!
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  17. #17

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    I'm using 6al msd ,blaster 2 coil ,9mm spiral core leads works like a dream,had a lot of ignition noise coming through stereo system so I put the msd noise filter on and that fix that issue... Here's pic of me redline manifold ,needs 2 x 45 mm weber decoe's which I can't afford lol and another pic of twin carb setup with adapter plate to fit the 2.6 motor
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  18. #18

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    That's pic is of a right hand drive car ,must be from down under

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradMph View Post
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    Here it is...One I was interested in finding
    Try that again that's a right hand drive in this pic BradMph

  20. #20

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    yeah we all know aus and NZ get all the good stuff, lucky devils.

    On the isuzu i ran a used msd 6al with a blaster ss coil and 2 step rev module. I always ran NGK plugs and wires and never had any issue. I did run an accel coil wire though after being shocked by the 6al box 3 times through an older coil wire. not fun stuff at all.

  21. #21

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    It might be cheaper to use motorcycle carbs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHNAZqTAiLY

  22. #22



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    That is an interesting concept, but the execution is a bit shakey for me...
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  23. #23

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    why is that

  24. #24

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    Yea good one Rahtid, I think there is a YouTube video with that engine running ,said it had more power an better petrol consumption.
    I think if one was going to go to a multi carb setup you would want to set ya distributor up to be mechanical advance (vacuum advance would not work anyway) brings me to say why has'nt MSD made a dizzy for our 4cylinders,they made one for a 4cylinder pinto

  25. #25

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    Ok here's that video on YouTube I couldn't figure out how to put up a link here it is ... Triton 4G54 Engine with 40mm Motorbike carbs....Word search that ,can figure out that distributor configuration lol

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