Duraspark distributor conversion FI/non-FI for under $30

Discussion in 'Injection Tech' started by Bill USN-1, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This conversion is very simple to perform. I started this when I had my first "Gold Box" go bad. I wanted a system a little more avail in the local parts store. I have made several changes over the years to the original conversion and for the non-FI crowd, there is even an easier system to use with this distr conversion.

    Before you run to the junkyard, read this post to decide on ignition parts!!!
    CLICK

    The first thing you need for this conversion is the right IH distr.
    I have only done this on the Holley distributors. They can be points or GB, and can be 4 or 8 cyl.

    For FI conversion only
    For non-FI conversion
    For both- normal

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then you will need a couple parts from a donor Ford Duraspark dist.
    There are 3 things you need.
    1. The base plate. Used from a junkyard. Normally $5.

    [​IMG]

    2. The reluctor. (I buy new)
    Part Number: EL205
    For Your Vehicle
    Vehicle: 1979 FORD F-150 PICKUP
    Engine: V8 5.8 Liter 2BBL
    351M Eng.; 351W Eng.
    Our Price: $3.97

    3. The magnetic pick up. (I buy new)
    Part Number: EL307
    For Your Vehicle
    Vehicle: 1979 FORD F-150 PICKUP
    Engine: V8 5.8 Liter 2BBL
    Pick-up: 351M/W
    Our Price: $19.48

    Or Part Number...Wells parts were a little cheaper and are supposed to be pretty good quality.

    [​IMG]

    Since I have not found a part number for the Base plate, I go to the local junk yard. While I am there I try to pick up a couple just in case some other binder nut wants to do the conversion also.

    This is what the Ford Duraspark distr looks like.
    [​IMG]

    To get to this, you just pop the clips off the cap and set it aside,
    [​IMG]
    then pull the rotor off the center.
    [​IMG]
    Now to get to the base plate you have to remove the reluctor. and vacuum advance. Just remove the 2 screws on the advance and the small clip that holds the arm on the base plate(if it has one).
    [​IMG]
    Just use a couple of large screwdrivers and carefully pry up on the center from the bottom. Do not pry on the the fins!!!
    [​IMG]
    Now just remove the 2 phillips screws and lift the plate out.
    [​IMG]
    This is what it looks like.
    [​IMG]

    Now to replace the pick up module.
    Just remove the small snapring in the center and lift it off.
    [​IMG]
    (Up to this point is what I do while at the junk yard. That way I only pay for the part I need.!!!)

    Back at home..........


    Grab either your points distr or your Gold box distr and remove the 2 screws holding the vacuum advance on and the clip on the arm. Once off, then remove the 2 screws holding the plate in the distr.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's what the bare holley plates look like.

    [​IMG]

    Note the mounting holes are slots.
    Now set the old plate on top of the Duraspark(DS) plate and line up one of the slots with a mounting hole in the DS plate.
    The other one won't line up.

    What I do is just grab my cut off wheel and make a new slot in the DS plate to match the Holley mounting slots.
    You can also just mark it and use a drill.

    NOTE the difference in the size of the center holes in the plate!!!

    [​IMG]

    Here's how it looks in the distr. (you won't be able to do this yet) But note how close the shaft runs inside the new DS plate!!

    [​IMG]


    Next you need to remove the advance shaft off the main shaft.
    Look in the top of the shaft and remove the piece of felt.

    [​IMG]

    Now you will find a little 3 prong clip down inside. Sometimes these come out very easy, sometimes you put money in the cuss word jar!!!
    I try to use a couple of dental tools or scribes or jewelers screw drivers to carfully remove them. Don't force it and try not to break it.

    [​IMG]

    Once it is out, the shaft will slide right off the top. See those little green bushings....pull those off and set them somewhere safe.

    [​IMG]

    For the Gold box (GB) shaft, you need to remove the original reluctor wheel.
    I just set the shaft in a vice loose so the fins of the reluctor are setting on the top of the vice. Then I use a small block of wood and knock the shaft down through the reluctor.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now comes the fun part!!!!!
    You need to make the shaft small enough to fit thru the smaller hole in the DS plate. And it has to rotate with out hitting.

    For the GB shaft this is real quick and easy! Just smooth out the rough casting that was below the reluctor. There should already be a machined lip where the old reluctor was.

    [​IMG]

    For the points shaft this will take a few minutes.

    A couple very important things to know.
    1. Grind the lobes of the shaft down to about .050" or less diameter larger than the rest of the shaft.
    2. You need a small lip for the new reluctor to set on.
    3. Keep a small cup or coffee can of water next to the grinder to keep the shaft cool! (you will need it)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    OK...anybody have any fingers left? :eek:

    For Computer controlled timing

    You will need to disable the mechanical advance.
    This is simple by just removing the springs and weights that are on the main shaft.
    Then I slip the adv shaft back on and place each leg between the spring retainers and and the weight mounts. I use a pair of pliars to bend the spring retainers tight against the shaft. Since there is no wear on parts, these will hold the shaft in place. But if you want extra security there are two other options.
    1. Place a small spot weld on each leg of the shaft.
    2. Place a small spot weld right in the very top of the shaft where the clip goes. Either will make the shaft mount permanent.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For ignition only- install the advance shaft back into the distr just like it came out. Don't forget the green bushings.

    Now place the DS base plate into the distr and install the mounting screws.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now slip the new pick up on and put the snap ring back on.

    [​IMG]

    Install the vacuum advance and connect the arm to the magnetic pick up.

    For EFI I still put the vacuum adv back on to position the adv plate and hold it in place. That's all it does.
    You do not hook the vacuum line back up!!!

    You could put the advance arem on then drill a hole and stick a screw thru to hold the plate in position. Then remove the advance and seal up the hole!!!


    Now you need to make a slot for the wire harness. You may be able to just extend the slot from the GB wires.
    After I measure where the slot needs to be so it will let the wires lay flat around the inside of the distr without rubbing anything, I cut a vertical slot just big enough for the grommet to fit in. The ground tab should almost be flat on the plate and the top of the grommet flush with the top of the distr.
    You could use a hack saw for this also.
    For the points distr, I just use a small dab of silicone to fill in the original hole the wire went thru.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once in place, you need to drill a small hole for the grounding tab inside the distr. You can put the screw in either hole in the tab.

    [​IMG]

    Now the last thing you need to do is set the reluctor/rotor.
    I normally set the reluctor upside down so the longer part of the fins is down. It seems to cover the whole length of the pick up better. (opposite of the pics!)
    I like to use an old distr cap to help set the position.
    I just drill a hole between the spark plug wire terminal and the coil wire terminal. About 1/2" diameter.

    [​IMG]

    Now set the rotor so it is pointing just CW of the center of the terminal.
    (The picture is slightly exagerated.)

    Then pull the cap and line the reluctor up centered on the pick up.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now as before , you have 2 choices on how to lock down the reluctor.

    1. What I used to do, before I installed the reluctor, was drill the reluctor between the fins and tap it for a set screw. About a 4-40 screw. Make sure it is short enough to not stick out and cause a false signal to the pick up.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    OR...What I do now!!

    2. Just place a couple drops of locktite at the shaft and reluctor, then use a center punch and stake the reluctor and shaft where they meet. I only do 2 stakes on opposite sides of the shaft.
    There is no wearing parts so I have never had one come loose either way.

    Now your done.

    OH....Did you put the clip back in the top of the shaft????????
    Did you spin it to make sure it spins free and doesn't rub?

    But wait...
    what about the 4 cyl guys????

    Here's all you need to do different!!!
    Take the 8 cyl reluctor and remove every other fin!!! :)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    I will keep adding to this till I get it all done!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2006
  2. Alan B

    Alan B Farmall Cub

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    When you

    "Now set the rotor so it is pointing just CW of the center of the terminal.
    (The picture is slightly exagerated.)"


    How critical is the exact position of the rotor/reluctor at this point? Its seems a bit difficult to determine an exact position. By slightly exagerated, do you mean to clarify the CW rotation/direction? Should the actual setting be slightly less clockwise?

    Thanks!
     
  3. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    What I try to do is set the trailing edge of the rotor contact lined up with the leading edge of the cap contact as the rotor is passing the cap contact.
    That's why I said the pic was slightly exagerated to show the relative position.
    In the pic the rotor is a little too far past the cap contact going clockwise.

    Make sense?

    With the rotor in this position, you then center the reluctor on the magnetic pick up and lock it down!



    Note: When setting the timing for the first time you must ensure the wiring is correct on the ignition module. The 2 wires from the pickup in the distr must be connected to the proper terminal, P and N on the module. To verify they are correct:
    A. Set engine to TDC compression stroke. For IH use #8 for V8s and #1 for 4 cyls. For all other makes use the correct plug.
    B. Remove the cap and verify the rotor phasing is correct IAW the distr conversion thread. Rotor should be just past center of the cap terminal in the direction of rotation(clockwise for IH) and the reluctor should be lined up.
    C. Connect timing light and disconnect the timing bypass connector.
    D. Crank engine to check timing. If the wires are connected properly then the timing will be within 5* of 0*. Just set timing to 0 and your good. If the timing is 20-30* away then swap the P and N wires and check again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  4. Alan B

    Alan B Farmall Cub

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    Thanks Bill, for both this answer & this entire "how to." I have completed the DS conversion.

    It made a lot more sense when I used your trailing edge/leading edge comment when looking across the coil wire hole into the contact rather than looking down from above.

    Now that I have the DS conversion done I am ready to start on the GM EFI install.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Good to hear some feed back.
    Let me know if there was anything else I need to expand on.
    I try to make my write ups as user friendly as I can!!


    Here are a couple examples from guys here on how they mounted the EST for the FI conversion.
    When mounting on a flat sheet there are alignment buttons on the bottom of the EST. You need to remove these with a razor or drill coresponding holes in the plate. Always use some thermal compound between them.
    Like what you use to mount fans on top of PC processors.
    You have to conduct heat away form the EST and provide good grounds through the mounting screws.

    Dave Clifton
    [​IMG]

    Chuck AKA Binderman
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
  6. Alan B

    Alan B Farmall Cub

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    Any suggestions on where to get a new distributor mounting gasket?
     
  7. jeff campbell

    jeff campbell Lives in an IH Dealership

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    you could really just make 1.i've used a small bead of orange silicone in a bind once,an it lasted for over 2 years,till i took the dizzy out again.just let it set up like,overnite.?i think the original 1 is like .030 ".jeff. :eek: :D or just some real good gasket material will work.
     
  8. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have one of those o-ring assortments so that's what I use now.
    You can just take the dizzy to any parts store and ask for one that fits.
     
  9. Chrispucci

    Chrispucci High Wheeler

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    Pricing Update...

    Just rounded up the parts I needed for going Duraspark and almost had a heart attack at the parts store when I asked for my parts.

    The Ford ignition pickup - EL307 - was $26.98

    They didn't have the reluctor.

    The GM control module - EL102 - was $22.39

    And that was after shopping around the other store wanted $40+ for each item!!

    OUCH! Maybe it's time to change the title to ..... under $40 :D

    The junkyard only hit me for $10 for the base plate...

    Prices based on Portland, OR area at Carquest -- Napa wanted the $40+....
     
  10. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you pick up some of the pieces from the JY it gets even cheaper.
    Did you grab one of the GM epoxy coils?

    Did you grab the reluctor and pick up with the base plate?

    Have you priced one of the HEI distributors lately? ;)



    If I was going to replace my stock ignition system this is what I would use today....

    Convert to the duraspark pickup. Baseplate and reluctor from JY. Pick up new.
    Run the GM 4 pin ignition module. Factory GM used from JY.
    GM epoxy core coil used from JY.

    All parts are cheap and reliable.
    And I could still do it for under $30!!
    BTW- this is the distr conversion thread....the ignition module cost are in the other thread!! :D

    Then the optional items...

    Recurve distr to bring the advance in sooner.
    Look for the 7° vacuum adv.
    Check out this thread. For vacuum advance info.
    BBC aftermarket plug wires.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  11. Chrispucci

    Chrispucci High Wheeler

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    I didn't grad the coil -- as I still am not sure what is what - I have so little non-IH knowledge it is crazy...

    I did grad 2 reluctors, both looked fine. And 2 pick ups - but neither one 'looked' good to me. I searched the JY over and didn't find anything that wasn't worn out looking.

    And for the ignition - for the life of me I could not find the basic 4 plug GM module everything was either missing the whole dist. or had some funky 5 prong module.
     
  12. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The pick ups are cheap so I don't even waste time with a used one.

    The 4 pins are less then $20 at most discout chains.
     
  13. terryd

    terryd Binder Driver

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    Chris, I can turn down your advance shaft on the lathe, to fit the reluctor. It's a little nicer than the grinding method.

    It'll only cost ya a couple of beers!!
     
  14. Chrispucci

    Chrispucci High Wheeler

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    I took the plunge and it all worked -- started up with the first turn of the key. Timing was way off but that was easily corrected.

    Thanks Bill for the great write up. I had it on my laptop in the garage for the whole process.

    Here is a bad picture of my GM module on a large aluminum heat sink mounted near the stock coil location.

    The biggest hang up came with the stock screws on the base plate - they had too large a head to fit under the duraspark pickup - I had to get some flater pan head screws to hold down the base plate - other than that it went just like the write up!
     

    Attached Files:

  15. lorentw

    lorentw Farmall Cub

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    Hey I was wondering. Could you just take the original GB base plate and drill the right holes to mount the DS pick up? that would save the trip to the JY if you just bought the new parts. Has anybody tried that yet?
     
  16. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yep,
    BTDT

    It can be done, just watch your rotor phasing and the height of the reluctor to pick up. and you have to manually set the air gap unless you try to cut the DS pick up mount down and just screw it to the base plate.

    IIRC I drilled the rivets out and used screws.

    Notice I don't do it anymore!! ;)
     
  17. lorentw

    lorentw Farmall Cub

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    OK it does sound easier to start with the DS. I have gathered most of the items for the complete swap injection and spark control. I'll let you know how it works out. Thanks, Loren
     
  18. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  19. hrspowr

    hrspowr Farmall Cub

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    Looks great, and just in time for my conversion.

    What did you use for the connector from the distributer to the 2 small tabs on top of the module?


    Dan
     
  20. Bill USN-1

    Bill USN-1 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The original GM connector from the small cap HEI distr.
     

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