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Old 06-08-2011, 07:53 PM   #1
JerseyJim
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Default 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

I want to do the typical 57 carb/distributor swap on my 56 T-Bird. I intend to keep my original parts so that I can restore it back to original at some point. But right now, I simply want to improve drive-ability. I know what has to be swapped out. I have the intake. I have a restored Holley carb lined up as well.

Here are my questions:

1. What are the correct codes for a 312, single quad, automatic? I have seen several different FEJ-12727-?? around. Not sure what the differences are. But I want to make sure that I get the correct one.
2. What is a fair price for this distributor? I know this depends a lot on condition.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Expect to pay $350 and up for a '57 distributor. I've seen them for up to $500 for a pertronix rebuild.

Not familiar with the different codes, but if it's a single diaphragm Y-Block distributor with a tach drive, it is without a doubt a '57 Bird distributor.

I bought a Mallory Unilite with a tach drive for my '56, as it is the only new offering with a tach drive that I'm aware of. I'm replacing the W&H Du-Point that had been in the car since '57...

My 2 cents worth
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

I apologize if I am not answering your question, but.........Single diaphram tach drive distributors were available on 55 and 57 tbirds. The 55 diaphram is approx. 4.5 inches in diameter, while the 57 diaphram is a lot smaller. You will have to change the vacuum lines that ran into your 56 dual diaphram when you replace with a single diaphram? Not sure what you will accomplish with your distributor swap. Why can't you put a single advance on your 56 distributor instead of buying another tach drive dist. b
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

K1787..........if the bird distributor is like the car, the original dist. was what was called a loadmatic, so it had only vacuum advance, where the 57 & up had vacuum and mechanical advance. We use a 57 and later dist. and intake manifold. If you're looking for a regular dist. instead of a Tbird one, they are still available at NAPA stores.
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

I know that topics like this always bring out comments from the purists. I like to drive my cars. I try to keep the cars as close to original as possible. Just do the bare minimum needed to make the car nice and reliable to drive.

My primary concern and the reason for the change is the Holley 4000 Teapot carb. I have already been through one severe leaking incident that by rights should have incinerated the car. While the freshly rebuilt carb is probably safe right now, my experience with the first incident was that it went from being fine one day to leaking like a sieve the next. So it would give me a lot more confidence in he car to swap out that relic for the more modern and safer 4150.

I have a 63 Econoline Pickup that cosmetically was just about pristine when I bought it. But it was just about undriveable. It had a 4 speed on the column with worn shift linkage that would lock up between first and second. A 170 CID mechanical lifter engine not only was unbearably loud inside this tin box, but struggled to reach 50 when coupled with that trans and a 4.00 rear. The trans was a Dagenham. Not very good to start with. The net result was that I couldn't really rely on the truck enough to take it on trips and it certainly couldn't handle interstates.

A change to a 200 CID Mustang six with hydraulic lifters which looks identical, gave me 20% more HP. A 64 Econoline C4 trans (very hard to find) and a change to 3.00 Mustang ring and pinion in my stock rear... Gave me a truck that only an Econoline expert like Jay Long out in California could tell from the original. The real plus is reliability, the ability to keep up with traffic on the interstates, and the pleasure of taking trips to Carlisle or Hershey or wherever.

There are a couple distributors on eBay. I'm trying to figure out which one to try for and what I should be paying.

Thanks for the comments.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

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Jim

The hi cost associated with the 57 T Bird dizzys is the fact that they are a "tach drive" dizzy.

Can you live without the factory tachometer? A non tach dizzy would be the "bare minium" as you hinted at!

Pricing for the 57 non - tach dizzys are around $100.00.

As Todd mentions be prepared to fork out a minium of $350.00 for a tach drive dizzy- and even at that price it may need to be rebuilt.

I can give you all the numbers of what to look for if you tell me your preferences of tach or no tach drive.

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Old 06-09-2011, 11:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

The correct number for a '57 T-Bird 4 barrel manifold is ECZ 9425-B which utilizes the large Holly 4 barrel.
I sold a tack drive distr on ebay last year for $450. buy it now.... It did not receive many bids when I first listed it, it did not reach the reserve, when I relisted it as a Buy It Now it was gone in a couple of hours.
I have a non tach drive distr for a '57 312 that was on my car when I purchased the car..
The guy I bought the car from told me the tach did not work because the cable was broken... Ya, a few weeks after buying the car I found that the car did not have a tach drive distr. It took me ten years to find a good tach drive distr.
A couple of years after I purchased the car I sent for the original build sheet via T-Bird International... Reading through the build sheet I found that the car originally had a convertible top, but there was no top in the car. The man I had purchased the car from had dropped out of sight, so I could not ask him about the top.
I had received a whole stack of invoices, etc., with the car. Upon careful review of the invoices I found that the man I brought the car from had traded the conv top and tach drive distr to a T-Bird speciality shop for work they had done on the car.
Hmmmm? buyer be aware should be the rule of the day.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldmics View Post
Jim

The hi cost associated with the 57 T Bird dizzys is the fact that they are a "tach drive" dizzy.

Can you live without the factory tachometer? A non tach dizzy would be the "bare minium" as you hinted at!

Pricing for the 57 non - tach dizzys are around $100.00.

As Todd mentions be prepared to fork out a minium of $350.00 for a tach drive dizzy- and even at that price it may need to be rebuilt.

I can give you all the numbers of what to look for if you tell me your preferences of tach or no tach drive.

Oldmics

With the idea of keeping the car at least period correct, I'd like to keep the tach drive. The car is a 312 automatic with a single quad.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Would you consider a modern electric tach in the present hole? A "B" intake with an Edelbrock 500 CFM carb on a half inch spacer with a 57 passenger distributor redone by GMC Bubba from the HAMB will give you worry free ownership and you can save the Holley 4000 (AKA Towering Inferno) for the next owner. This with a toggle switched booster electric fuel pump for when the car sits for weeks will make it start right off, run good, have great throttle response, and scare the snot out of some late model cars at the stop light grand prix!
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Well,any dizzy you put in wont be correct so I would also consider the 1957, 292 tach drive unit also.

Part #s you are looking for are

B7S 12127 A / on the housing it would read FEJ 12127 A or FEJ 12127 A2
B7S 12127 D / on the housing it would read FEK 12127 B or FEK 12127 B2

Units stamped with the "2" were usually a replacement part sold over the Ford parts counter.

Part #s were the same for Mercury engines using a tach distributor setup.

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Old 06-09-2011, 01:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Distributor code for 57 T-Bird 312 ( and 57 Merc w/tach ) w/ sgl 4bc and no supercharger is FEK12127B. With supercharger FEJ12127D, with dual 4bc FEJ12127B. 292 eng is FEJ12127A
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Alcan had added the other distributor part numbers for the "special" engines.

They will also work but if you find either of those-please give me a shout and I"ll gladly take it off your hands since its not 100% correct

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Old 06-09-2011, 07:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Parklane...... You are correct, 57 tbird distributors are weighted and vacuum advanced. I have owned tbirds since the 70's so this story is old. Here is the point I was trying to make. I have had a number of 312's. I have had engines[56bird] with 57 heads, 57 carb, 57 Dist. I have had original 312's[56bird] with 56 heads, 56 tpot, 56 distributor. The only difference in the engines was the cost of 57 parts. The 57 312 did not out perform the 56. The tpot carb did not hesitate or leak. The 56 distributor had a dual point plate, which was the only mod. That is why I suggested, in my opinion, there wasn't a whole lot to be gained. I have enjoyed selling 57 bird parts to guys wanting the parts to make the changes.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:12 AM   #14
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldmics View Post
Well,any dizzy you put in wont be correct so I would also consider the 1957, 292 tach drive unit also.

Part #s you are looking for are

B7S 12127 A / on the housing it would read FEJ 12127 A or FEJ 12127 A2
B7S 12127 D / on the housing it would read FEK 12127 B or FEK 12127 B2

Units stamped with the "2" were usually a replacement part sold over the Ford parts counter.

Part #s were the same for Mercury engines using a tach distributor setup.

Oldmics
I appreciate the information. I also knew that I would get the editorialized comments from others who disagree with what I'm doing. That's to be expected. My own experience with the Holley 4000 and the fact that this design disappeared so quickly, reinforces my feeling that the change in hardware isn't all that bad an idea.

I have a friend who only buys survivors and always brags about how original the cars are. He's usually critical of my restored cars. Then he proceeds to replace the interior, install new sheet metal, chrome, etc. But as long as he hasn't completely repainted the car or brought it back to new condition, he convinces himself that it is still a survivor. Hey... Whatever makes you happy!

I have no hangups with improving cars. I believe in enjoying them. I bought this Bird as a driver and not a trailer queen. It has AC and an alternator. So its virginity has already been taken. But it's a beautiful car and turns heads everywhere. I love the look of a Y block and the appearance of the T-Bird dress up kit with the unique air cleaner. At cruise nights, the average person looking at the car won't know that the carb is incorrect. Heck... It still a lot more interesting than a new car with everything covered up under the hood by a big plastic cover.
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

You certaining have a lot of choices. Your comment about the Holley 4000 brings this to mind. Take the bonnet off your Fbird or other supercharged Fords and what do you think you will find? Pony Carbs will rebuild your 4000. It's all good, it's a Tbird.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:45 PM   #16
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Default Re: 57 T-Bird Distributor Codes

Quote:
Originally Posted by k1787 View Post
You certaining have a lot of choices. Your comment about the Holley 4000 brings this to mind. Take the bonnet off your Fbird or other supercharged Fords and what do you think you will find? Pony Carbs will rebuild your 4000. It's all good, it's a Tbird.
Pony Carbs did the rebuild on my 4000. Still had issues even after the rebuild. I have always used Pony for my Ford carbs. They work miracles with Autolite 1100's. But not so great on the 4000.
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