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Old 02-02-2020, 08:05 PM   #1
Tom Bellfoy
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Default crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

I have a 37 V-8 21 stud flathead with the crab distributor. Are there any conversions available on the market instead of using the crab ?
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Pretty sure a 1937 engine has a helmet distributor. So more questions than answers.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

I must be new at the V-8 stuff. yes it is a helmet distributor. sorry , my mistake
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

TB,
A crab distributor can be adapted, same great performance as the helmet
but fewer parts and some say easier to service.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Click on the URL below, and go to that thread......then look for a post I made there that has a picture of an adaptor that's available for mounting a 2 bolt crab style distributor on a 3 bolt timing gear cover like the one on your '37 engine.....

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=276209
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Old 02-03-2020, 12:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

anyone still make those versions? with the vac advance?


http://dickspadaro.com/ignition_adapters.htm


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Old 02-03-2020, 01:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

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anyone still make those versions? with the vac advance?


http://dickspadaro.com/ignition_adapters.htm


.
Speedway has those 3 to 2 adaptors as well as the two bolt spacer that has already been posted on one of these recent threads.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Just clean up, repair or rebuild your helmet distributer. Its the best one of all and very reliable if done correctly. No need to improve on it with something else. Lots of info on here to do that job. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

I have put together several 37-41 "helmet" distributors that easily go to 5k on the Sun machine. If your engine is stock the valves will float long before it ever gets to that RPM.
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Old 02-04-2020, 10:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Tom Bellfoy, if you are still following this thread, tell us about your car. What condition is it in, and how do you plan to use it?

Curious about your wanting to change the distributor. Are you having problems? Or did someone advise you to change it?

Without knowing more about your car, it's too soon to be making recommendations. Maybe the guy who owned it before you installed an excellent helmet distributor.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

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just clean up, repair or rebuild your helmet distributer. Its the best one of all and very reliable if done correctly. No need to improve on it with something else. Lots of info on here to do that job. Regards, kevin.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Yes I'm still following this thread. I purchased this 37 V-8 motor at my late friends estate sale a couple of years back along with a good Model A chassis. The motor was laying on the ground with condition unknown, It was missing the timing cover and distributor which I picked up in piece meal at Hershey later that year. It turned out to be a recent rebuild as I put it through some paces on a running engine stand.

The motor along with a 39 transmission was installed in the A chassis which I converted to hydraulic brakes. Then a year later I came across a 31 Vicky leatherback basket case which was sitting uncovered in the bush for 52 years, That has been my project car for the last two years, boxed the frame, all wood has been replaced, the whole bottom of car was patched up, two months work on just the cowl, header and visor. Its now almost ready for fine touching with body fill. Vega steering box, Speedway steering column, wheel. I'm still looking for a few interior trim pieces. Had to replace the leaking water pumps. The engine was last run a year ago, 40 lbs. oil pressure, 17 pounds vacuum, no smoke. Ran good, just wasnt sure if the earlier helmet distributor, but now I hear they work good so I will leave it that way
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Tom sounds like an interesting project.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

This car will look like a Vicky fom 25 feet away except for the dual exhaust. I'm not into this project for speed, just a little bit of nostalgia to bring back my youth. I am in the process of installing front and rear modified middle and rear vinyl seats from a 2003 Ford Explorer. The rest of the interior material will be whatever I can find at the fabric store as this car is so far beyond being a true Model A now its no use spending the money I dont have trying to make it look original. Real true to life Model A restorers would cringe at its sight, I just wish there would be a Model A resto-mod group in my area. I'm bringing this car back to life from discarded pieces. there must be merit in that.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:00 AM   #15
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Good for you! It may not be directly comparable, but I restored my '51 to strict stock 35 years ago, and drove it that way until 5 years ago. Then I decided "What the heck", and made the changes I had always wanted (suspension, engine and appearance) and find I enjoy the car much more now than I did before. Plus it is now able to get out of it's own way and run easily at highway speeds.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:41 PM   #16
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bellfoy View Post
This car will look like a Vicky fom 25 feet away except for the dual exhaust. I'm not into this project for speed, just a little bit of nostalgia to bring back my youth. I am in the process of installing front and rear modified middle and rear vinyl seats from a 2003 Ford Explorer. The rest of the interior material will be whatever I can find at the fabric store as this car is so far beyond being a true Model A now its no use spending the money I dont have trying to make it look original. Real true to life Model A restorers would cringe at its sight, I just wish there would be a Model A resto-mod group in my area. I'm bringing this car back to life from discarded pieces. there must be merit in that.
It does sound like a neat project, especially since you are building it from exist/discarded parts and pieces rather than taking a nice all original car and stripping it down to build a street rod. The title of your original post did not really explain to me the intent of your project. The 37-41 helmet distributor, especially the 41 with the 11A parts, is a fine/reliable piece if built/set up correctly. The 37- early 38, 221 ci engine is in my opinion the best of the 21 stud series of FH Ford engines.
Please keep us posted on the progress of your project with details and pics.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:24 PM   #17
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

I would hands down prefer a Early Helmet distributor with 11A guts over a 21A crab distributor any day of the week.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Yes the helmet type distributers are an engineering marvel and if repaired correctly then there is none better. Keep it simple and it will work forever. Trouble is too many people mess with the ignition system, as in coils, resistors, condensers etc and get it wrong and blame the distributer for being a poor design (which it is not) and then want to go electronic which is only more problems in many cases. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:36 AM   #19
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Quite possibly the change of Ford's distributor design was the result of the outbreak of WW2. Aluminum was critcal to war production ... with Germany outproducing the US in the beginning.

The crab contains considerably less aluminum than the helmet and uses the same ignition technology.

No aluminum, no victory.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: crab distributor - only choice on early 21 stud ?

Some great info shared, and great we made the crab too (Nazis suck balls). Most likely you had a helmut to start with originally. Know your condition your condition is in. Nice project.

Last edited by Tinker; 02-15-2020 at 12:37 AM.
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