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HEI Distributor Conversion

Old 07-20-2013, 01:23 PM
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Default HEI Distributor Conversion

Not sure if this thread is in the right place but here goes, Im thinking of getting rid of the point/condencer distributor i have now and converting to an HEI. Wasnt much of a motor head as a kid but digging into the 4.3l (1985 Vintage) i found this site that shows a plug and play hei for my motor " I THINK". Took me weeks to figure out which motor i had. originally my boat came with a 3.8' v6 with four barrel rated at 185. Somewhere along the line it was repowered and someone dropped in the 4.3 but took the intake off the 3.8 with the 4 barrel and installed that. So when i first looked at the motor and seeing the intake i thought 3.8. What nailled it down is ALL 4.3 had two casting lugs on the front and mine has two, the 3.8 only has one , but i digress from the issue. Question Engine is running smooth at top end and at the very low end, troll. In the middle somewhere its acts like its got a skip. I just tuned it recently plugs,points,condenser,cap and wires but the skip is there. i plan to replace the rochester 4 bbl with a holly but wonder which i should do first carb or distributor. I did set the dwell with a tach and it looked good. Any thoughts.

Last edited by onearcher; 02-27-2014 at 03:19 PM.
Old 07-22-2013, 09:30 AM
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How steady is the timing at mid-range?
Is the tach needle nervous even when you don't notice the miss?
Any side play in the distributor shaft?
Any carbon tracks on the coil?
You said you set the points dwell with a tach.....but not a dwell meter as well at the proper rpm? Just using feeler gauges may not be very accurate except for getting into initial ballpark gap. And of course recheck dwell & timing after tightening points and dist. base, since they usually change a bit when tightening fasteners.?

As a non-expert I'm guessing there's a good chance it's a carb issue, but I'd use a manifold vac gauge test to potentially get a much better handle on the possible causes of your engine's miss.

If you do upgrade to an electronic dist., I recommend the Delco Voyager EST kit with matching all-electronic distributor ( including full electronic advance not mechanical as many retain) , coil and cables. I had them on my old Crusader carbed engines for a long time with zero distributor issues, and they have a great reputation in general.

Michiganmotorz is one place that sells them for your engine.
Old 07-22-2013, 03:46 PM
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WOW thanks thats a wealth of info. I cant believe how well it runs top end and bottom, just that midrange what i call missfire, or skip. I'm thinking i'll change the carb first as i will most likely have to machine an adaptor plate for the holly carb. The Rochester thats there now works but i always liked the HOLLY. I rechecked the dwell and made sure every screw was tight.

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