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  #1  
Old 07-25-2020, 12:01 AM
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mwood65 mwood65 is offline
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New HEI

I want to order a new distributor for my 74' Cherokee 258.


What kind would the experts suggest?



Would the ones on Ebay be Ok or not?



If possible I would like to go cheap as possible but still want a decent one that works fine.


Are there brands to stay away from?


Are there things I need to be aware of with the drive gear? I remember something about certain gears need to be used for certain type cams or something but can't remember now what it was. It is just the stock cam in there...


What about this one?


https://www.jegs.com/i/Speedmaster/7....1067/10002/-1


The price is right if it will work...........unless someone has a good used one for sale...

Last edited by mwood65 : 07-25-2020 at 01:54 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-25-2020, 05:03 AM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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Why do you need/want a new distributor?
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Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
GTI without the badges: '95 VW Golf Sport 2000cc 2D
ECO Green: '15 FCA Jeep Cherokee KL Trailhawk
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  #3  
Old 07-25-2020, 08:14 AM
MysticRob MysticRob is offline
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I'd stay away from anything on ebay, chances are it's cheap chinese made crap.
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  #4  
Old 07-25-2020, 09:26 AM
wiley-moeracing wiley-moeracing is offline
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There is nothing wrong with the stock distributer, upgrade the ignition system with msd.
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  #5  
Old 07-25-2020, 05:01 PM
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mwood65 mwood65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
Why do you need/want a new distributor?






I was under the impression that a cleaner hotter spark would be an improvement over the points distributor.


Would it not be an upgrade to ho with an HEI unit over the points set-up?


Also I have had trouble with the ignition module that is on the Jeep and have changed it and am on the 3rd one now. First one was used and the other 2 since have been new units.
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  #6  
Old 07-25-2020, 05:01 PM
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mwood65 mwood65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticRob
I'd stay away from anything on ebay, chances are it's cheap chinese made crap.




What about the one from Jegs maybe?
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  #7  
Old 07-25-2020, 05:02 PM
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mwood65 mwood65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiley-moeracing
There is nothing wrong with the stock distributer, upgrade the ignition system with msd.




What is that? A replacement for the module and use the old distributor?
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  #8  
Old 07-25-2020, 07:18 PM
wiley-moeracing wiley-moeracing is offline
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MSD uses a couple of different set ups, 1 is a msd ignition box which will take the signal from the current distributor and provides a hotter, longer spark, the other is a replacement top quality distributor that can use your stock ignition box or upgrade to the msd ignition box. The ones you buy on ebay, amazon, summit or jegs are Chinese junk, but there are a couple of aftermarket companies that make a good quality hei set up but you will pay a premium price for it, well worth it though. I used the stock electronic distributor with the msd ignition box but had the ability to swap back to the stock set up in case the msd system malfunctioned.
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2020, 07:25 AM
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Heep-J4000 Heep-J4000 is offline
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A ignition distributor that is not worn out and go for the petronix ignition system.
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  #10  
Old 07-26-2020, 09:23 AM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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EDIT - oh oh oh it's a '74. Sorry, brain freeze. A '74 comes with the Prestolite BDI (breakerless inductive discharge) ignition. The Prestolite stuff is not reliable and a good candidate to be replaced. The Prestolite stuff operates in an electrically unique way and you either have to keep all of it or get rid of all of it - no half-way alternatives. For you, the HEI would be a reasonable upgrade. I'd still worry about aftermarket HEI distributors chopping up my cam gear.

I replaced the Prestolite ignition on my '75 CJ-6 with a parts store Duraspark distributor from a '78 Jeep V8. This distributor (but for a 258) will drop in and replace your Prestolite distributor. You would need to rewire and use the Duraspark module or its equivalent, and add a ballast resistor between the ignition switch and the coil. I'm currently running "stealth HEI" which uses a Duraspark distributor to trigger a GM HEI module. More complicated, but a little more certain than the HEI upgrade.


You could also go backwards in time and pick up a a Delco points distributor from a '73 or older 258. Then the options described below would be available too.


+++++++++++++++++++++
I wrote this assuming you have points ignition.

The only thing that's "hotter" about the HEI is the coil. You can replace your existing coil with an aftermarket coil and get the same benefit in spark intensity.

The HEI also contains a module that replaces the points with a transistor. The module does nothing to change spark intensity; it only changes the trigger from a switch (points) to a transistor. Same on-off-on-off action.

If you want to switch from points to a transistor module, you can install the Pertronix kit to make your distributor "electronic."

The rest of the HEI is mostly packaging.

The MSD module can be driven by your Delco points distributor, and is even more of an upgrade in terms of spark intensity. The Delco is a very good distributor, and when used to trigger the MSD module, the points will last a long long time.

There is some danger that an aftermarket HEI distributor will damage the distributor drive gear on your camshaft. Do your homework (search the net, read old posts) and learn about this issue before you buy and install an aftermarket HEI distributor.
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Tim Reese
Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
GTI without the badges: '95 VW Golf Sport 2000cc 2D
ECO Green: '15 FCA Jeep Cherokee KL Trailhawk

Last edited by tgreese : 07-26-2020 at 10:02 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-29-2020, 08:50 AM
rocklaurence rocklaurence is offline
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Ive had the Skip White/Ebay HEI in my trucks for 10 years now. I always install the original gear on the distributor and it eliminates that melting spark module. You can get a HEI with wires for approx $150.
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  #12  
Old 07-29-2020, 12:15 PM
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asphaltrockdweller asphaltrockdweller is offline
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I think most everyone is missing the 258 6Cyl. engine from the OP?
Most of us all have 360, or 401's.


To the OP, even though it's a 6cyl don't cheap out.
It costs a whole lot more to replace an engine where a stupid chinesium part gernades and contaminates the oil, scores the bearings, throws a rod, then it does to spend a couple more dollars on a proven part.


That being said.


Do you have a points distributor (74's usually did), or is it a Prestojunk system?
If it is a points style, then yes! a Petronix would be better if you do not know how to set up points.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2020, 06:37 PM
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fulsizjeep fulsizjeep is offline
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Coming from some experience with running HEI on two 401s.

One is a Mallory on a 77 Wag. It replaced a Mallory that crapped itself and started eating ignition modules. The first one was 3 years old. The second one is 7 years old. The vacuum canister sprung a leak last year and got replaced. Back when I bought the 2 Mallorys, they were around $225.

Let's talk about the other one in an 88 GW. It is one of those Chinese pieces of crap from Skip White. It's 6 years old and still works as designed. The Skip White was $56.

So which unit is really the piece of crap?
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Ran when parked.
http://jubileejeeps.org/quadratrac
88 GW, 401/727/208, 5" lift, D44s/4.10s/locked up, 35s with a few Evil Twin & TT's Fabworks mods
76 401 Wag, 77 401 Wag, 77 401 J20
http://eviltwinfab.com http://www.ttsfabworks.com
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2020, 08:40 AM
rocklaurence rocklaurence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulsizjeep
Coming from some experience with running HEI on two 401s.

One is a Mallory on a 77 Wag. It replaced a Mallory that crapped itself and started eating ignition modules. The first one was 3 years old. The second one is 7 years old. The vacuum canister sprung a leak last year and got replaced. Back when I bought the 2 Mallorys, they were around $225.

Let's talk about the other one in an 88 GW. It is one of those Chinese pieces of crap from Skip White. It's 6 years old and still works as designed. The Skip White was $56.

So which unit is really the piece of crap?

I know-RIGHT
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2020, 12:55 PM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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It's Prestolite now. It's a 258. Skip White does not list a distributor for the 258.

The distributor he linked above is ca $70. There's also a Jegs house-brand for about $90. Then you step up to the Proform or DUI, ca $250-300.

To the OP - I suggest you ask on the baby Jeep forums whether anyone has swapped their 258 distributor gear to an aftermarket HEI, and if there are any recommendations for a specific distributor. Many more of the CJs and YJs came with the 258 than FSJs, and you are more likely to find someone with personal experience there.

Or just place your bet and take your chances.
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Tim Reese
Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
GTI without the badges: '95 VW Golf Sport 2000cc 2D
ECO Green: '15 FCA Jeep Cherokee KL Trailhawk

Last edited by tgreese : 08-02-2020 at 01:22 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-02-2020, 05:38 PM
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PlasticBoob PlasticBoob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
EDIT - oh oh oh it's a '74. Sorry, brain freeze. A '74 comes with the Prestolite BDI (breakerless inductive discharge) ignition. The Prestolite stuff is not reliable and a good candidate to be replaced. The Prestolite stuff operates in an electrically unique way and you either have to keep all of it or get rid of all of it - no half-way alternatives. For you, the HEI would be a reasonable upgrade. I'd still worry about aftermarket HEI distributors chopping up my cam gear.


You could also go backwards in time and pick up a a Delco points distributor from a '73 or older 258. Then the options described below would be available too.


+++++++++++++++++++++
I wrote this assuming you have points ignition.



What? Where did you get that from? Page 3-43 of the 1974 TSM states that the 258 came with a points distributor only.
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  #17  
Old 08-03-2020, 08:51 AM
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fulsizjeep fulsizjeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
It's a 258. Skip White does not list a distributor for the 258.
Yep, they dropped AMC products about 2 years ago or more. This one is a bit cheaper.
https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Speed...ed,293996.html
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Flint
Ran when parked.
http://jubileejeeps.org/quadratrac
88 GW, 401/727/208, 5" lift, D44s/4.10s/locked up, 35s with a few Evil Twin & TT's Fabworks mods
76 401 Wag, 77 401 Wag, 77 401 J20
http://eviltwinfab.com http://www.ttsfabworks.com
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  #18  
Old 08-03-2020, 11:05 AM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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He says module replaced 3 times, so I concluded it's Prestolite. He also mentions points distributor earlier in this post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwood65
... I have had trouble with the ignition module that is on the Jeep and have changed it and am on the 3rd one now. First one was used and the other 2 since have been new units.
I can't reconcile these statements.
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Tim Reese
Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
GTI without the badges: '95 VW Golf Sport 2000cc 2D
ECO Green: '15 FCA Jeep Cherokee KL Trailhawk
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  #19  
Old 08-03-2020, 10:30 PM
FleetFox FleetFox is offline
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Lot of opinions here, so I'll try to stay out off the fray and offer only this. If you decide to do an HEI swap/ upgrade, many folks smarter than me suggest swapping the original dizzy gear onto the new Distributor/ This may be more true for the V8s.

Fleet Fox
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  #20  
Old 08-04-2020, 12:10 AM
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Beach_Dude Beach_Dude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwood65
What about the one from Jegs maybe?

Jegs only has the HEI, no billet distributors anymore.
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