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Old 03-14-2020, 09:49 PM   #1
ookpik
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Default 49-53 distributor

Has anybody used an electronic distributor , such a the units found on e-bay? I need to replace the one in my 255 or rebuild what I have. I am running a Holley 4 barrel. Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Old 03-14-2020, 10:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

I am assuming that the Holley you are referring to is the 390 cfm unit currently available, and not one of the early "Teapots". If so, you should change the distributor, because the Holley does not have the proper vacuum signal for the stock "Load-a-Matic". I'll quit now, because I am a "Points Guy" and don't believe in electronic distributors on these engines.
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Old 03-14-2020, 10:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

I'd suggest buying a converted Chevy points distributor from charlie ny here on the forum or from Mike at Third Gen also here. The Chev unit works very well indeed.



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Old 03-15-2020, 09:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

I had a Pertronix electronic conversion in the 8ba in my '39 p/u. No issues but I decided to try a Buba Chevy point distributor conversion with centrifugal advance, no vacuum. I've had no issues with it either. My thought is that either choice will be an improvement over a stock 8ba distributor. I don't know anything about the units that Charlieny does but if they are anything like the carb (and I'm sure they are) he redid for me then they are top notch.
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:09 AM   #5
19Fordy
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Give Pertronix a call to verify fit and then install one of their kits.
https://pertronix.com/electronic-ign...%20engine#auto and
https://pertronix.com/pertronix-1283...l#.Xm5EL3JKjcs


Also, buy the Pertronix matching coil.

Last edited by 19Fordy; 03-15-2020 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

By all means convert to a Chev style. If you are using a [later] Holly or a "period correct" 50s GM style 4bbl your load-o-matic isn't getting the correct signal anyway.
You can read the numerous threads here about the lack of quality parts available and tuning issues associated with the load-o-matic.
I prefer the Chrysler pickup coil/reluctor driving a GM HEI module and the GM "E" coil. Very little amperage, a variable dwell and 7mm plug wires, all designed in their day for low RPM motors.
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Here's another discussion about using the 390 Holley with the Load-A-Matic.
https://fordbarn.com/forum/showthrea...3108&showall=1
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Converted both a Load-A-Matic and a Mallory dual point (no vacuum advance) to electronic using Chrysler pickups and Mallory boxes. Had Bubba set the Mallory up.. Can't tell a bit of difference. My 8BA is a daily driver with a Holley 390. If trying to shave off 10ths of a second racing it may be different.
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Give Pertronix a call to verify fit and then install one of their kits.
https://pertronix.com/electronic-ign...%20engine#auto and
https://pertronix.com/pertronix-1283...l#.Xm5EL3JKjcs


Also, buy the Pertronix matching coil.
I don't think this is a good idea.The unit listed fits a "Load-a-Matic" and therefore does not address the vacuum signal incompatibility with the Holley. Some people have "gotten by" with dual carbs by connecting the vacuum to one carb, but the Holley does not even have a source for the proper vacuum. And, you have done nothing to address the parts availability and all around obsolescence of these units.

You didn't ask, but my choice would be a Mallory "flattop", either an original flathead unit, or one from an SBC, converted by one of the guys on here.

Even a later model flathead Mallory would be OK if you make sure it has the correct flathead advance curve.

Please note : My choice is based mainly on appearance, as all units mentioned, when set up properly, function well.
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Old 03-15-2020, 11:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

THANKS tubman. You are correct. I recently converted my 1949-53 Ford 8BA Mallory dual point, mechanical advance distributor to electronic using Pertronix kit ML 181 and coil # 4001. Very easy to install. Engine is 239 Ford 8BA with a Holley 390, List # 8007. It has #51 jets that came with the Holley. Fuel pressure gauge reads 3-4 psi. Runs fine. I had previously converted the Mallory Dual point dist. to a Unilite but, finally got tired of replacing Mallory Unilite 605 Modules at $100 a pop. I know others have had great luck with the Unilites so each situation seems unique. Hope this helps others.

It seems that the old dual point distributors are really dependable when using high quality parts.

Here's a really revealing thread about this topic.
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showt...9941&showall=1
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Last edited by 19Fordy; 03-15-2020 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 03-15-2020, 12:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubman View Post
.

You didn't ask, but my choice would be a Mallory "flattop", either an original flathead unit, or one from an SBC, converted by one of the guys on here.

Even a later model flathead Mallory would be OK if you make sure it has the correct flathead advance curve.

I second Tubman's advice. I'm using a dual point flattop in conjunction with the 390 Holley and am very happy with the combination. Starting, performance and MPG are all good.
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Old 03-15-2020, 03:41 PM   #12
19Fordy
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Is this what folks are referring to when they say Mallory
"Flat Top Distributor"? Are those caps and points still available?
Will other caps fit?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-Mal...gAAOSwYAddu4iG

Last edited by 19Fordy; 03-15-2020 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 03-15-2020, 04:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

I'm running a MSD on my merc flathead, bought from Speedway motors, it has the vacuum advance I wanted and was drop in, ready to run. I'm using a offerhauser four barrel intake with a WCFB small base carb, Schneider cam (can't remember the grind) and it all works very well together
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Old 03-15-2020, 06:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Is this what folks are referring to when they say Mallory
"Flat Top Distributor"? Are those caps and points still available?
Will other caps fit?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-Mal...gAAOSwYAddu4iG
Yep (except for the wires). The caps and points are available from time to time on eBay. The secret is buying a complete distributor for some common engine ("B" block Mopar, SBC, or SBF). The whole thing is cheaper than the parts.

Shit, I just gave away my secret. The points come up from time to time at about $25 a set. (I do have a few other secrets).

(BTW, the price on that one is ridiculous.)
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:01 AM   #15
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubman View Post
Yep (except for the wires). The caps and points are available from time to time on eBay. The secret is buying a complete distributor for some common engine ("B" block Mopar, SBC, or SBF). The whole thing is cheaper than the parts.

Shit, I just gave away my secret. The points come up from time to time at about $25 a set. (I do have a few other secrets).

(BTW, the price on that one is ridiculous.)

NAPA has the points , later ford v8 units fit and work well
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:19 AM   #16
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

That distributor linked to on Epray is a vacuum brake version....if stuck they are a challenge...you have to take a cup style freeze plug out then free the steel piston corroded to the aluminum...in know how many bad manored words it took last time...
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:06 AM   #17
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Most of these distributors work well, but as far ad ignition control is concerned , their not the best choice. You have to pay for aesthetics in more ways than $$$$$$
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:45 AM   #18
tubman
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Just for the record, I have had both a converted SBC distributor with vacuum and mechanical advance, and a mechanical only Mallory on the Merc engine in my '51 Ford coupe. I prefer the Mallory and am currently running it.

While fuel economy is of secondary importance to me, a 160 mile road trip at freeway speeds (70-75 mph) yielded 19 mpg on a car with 3.55 rear end gears and no overdrive.
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Old 03-16-2020, 03:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Yes they do work, however the Chevy distributors, I'm referring to, are tunable . and you have to take advantage of that. Just bolting it on the engine doesn't prove anything. Many people make different modifications to their engines and applications. With this distributor you can have both power and economy . Why do you think they put a power valve in carburetors?? Same reason for the vac advance.
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Old 03-16-2020, 06:47 PM   #20
tubman
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Default Re: 49-53 distributor

Ron, with all respect, I have been doing this for a long time.
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