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Old 12-10-2019, 11:37 AM   #1
BamaNomad

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Default ** HRM article on updating our old hot rod engines!

Interesting article in the online Hot Rod Magazine recently, on converting a 'gen 1' small block to 'coil near plug' ignition.

https://www.hotrod.com/articles/how-...B6D88A239880ED

If anyone here has done this, it would be interesting to me for you to do a detailed writeup, in particular the $cost, and any performance/efficiency improvements to your engine from doing this... Of course, HRM didn't address either of these topics; they also installed an FITech FI carb replacement. With those changes the 'cast iron weight' vs aluminum LS weight would/should? be the only difference to having an LS conversion?
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:01 PM   #2
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The cost will be several hundred $$, quite a bit more than a billet distributor and MSD type box.

You would have to buy the coils, wire harness, a crank trigger wheel, and a cam trigger wheel, and some kind of electronic box to drive it all.

The advantage of coil near plug ignition is that it uses short plug wires that don't cross each other - so they don't leak spark to each other or to the block or firewall. It also has a lot of spark energy.

But you only need a good enough ignition system to cleanly fire the plug, so it won't outperform a distributor system when the distributor system is fresh and correctly installed. However it should run longer without maintenance.

It's far from the only advantage of an LS engine over a traditional V8. The LS engine has superior heads, lighter weight, a factory roller cam, a better OEM valve train, and of course factory fuel injection that's more sophisticated than either SBC OEM stuff or aftermarket stuff. And they don't leak.
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:32 PM   #3
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Cant answer any of your first questions, but the LS platform is touted to be about bullet proof. Besides the lighter weight, and if bullet proof is true, then there's another plus. Those motor's do seem to have better longevity than the first gen SB's though.

As far as that system goes, it's expensive, looks ugly as heck, and probably gives zero extra power to the butt-dyno over what a guy changed from. Extra gas mileage?...dunno, but it would have to be minimal if any. Can't see a single reason to explore that route myself.

For the techy guys that are drooling over it here's a link to the kit. https://www.holley.com/products/igni...et/parts/60151
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:27 PM   #4
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Cool

interesting read, thanks.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:20 PM   #5
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Seriously, though.....why bother going through all of that on a Gen 1 SBC? If you want those improvements, just go with an LS and don't look back! These days, you don't have to live with the ugly factory appearance of an LS, you CAN make them look cool, and you can even make them look somewhat old school, too.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:35 PM   #6
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This is about 10 years to late. EFI connection sold all parts for Gen I and Gen II motors to run coil packs and LS pcm’s. Not cheap nor worth it. Good thing is you could run DBW and with 58x trigger wheel could run a 6L or 8L.


But GM did use coil packs on a LU3 and sbc based 4.3L and used it on one 7.4L bbc for 1 year. So could use gm parts and get coil packs.

Not really worth the trouble.

If I want efi in an SBC for cheap I would use a vortec 350 disbuter its 4x crank trigger and intake for individual injectors and 411 pcm. Get LS tuning and sequential fuel injection.
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:26 PM   #7
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"Christmas discount price" of $1080, usual price over $1300.

The only way this is a justifiable product is if you have boost or nitrous, and at that maybe a lot of it. There the extra spark energy will help due to high cylinder pressure, and the fully programmable timing map and capability of individual cylinder timing will be a big advantage over a distributor and box. It will help you recover from burning pistons the second time around.

This is a serious mod that goes with other serious mods. Not justified at all for a street cruiser.

If you're on a budget and want CNP ignition, buy a $500 used 5.3 LS engine.
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_L View Post
The only way this is a justifiable product is if you have boost or nitrous, and at that maybe a lot of it. There the extra spark energy will help due to high cylinder pressure,
At 186,000 miles per second, and enough push to it to travel for long distances given enough voltage, how much pressure would it take to hold a spark from jumping across less than 1/16 inch on a spark plug?

I ran 20lbs of boost in a couple of blown BBC boat motors I had, and this was with a mag! Didn't have any misses that I remember.

If anything is over-rated, it's these fancy ignition systems that everyone keeps falling for. A simple and well maintained ignition will run most anything, even if it's points or like stated a mag.
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:05 PM   #9
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I have had numerous LS based engines that were over a thousand horsepower and some that were over 1400 rear wheel horsepower. They are not the end-all be-all that everybody thinks they are nowadays where you throw a $50 eBay turbo on it and get a thousand horsepower. They're just as expensive to build as a big block platform and when you are leaning on them like that they are not near as reliable. When you are looking to make big Power skip the LS platform and go to a big block Chevy or a 481x platform. The LS is just another flavor of the week.
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:36 PM   #10
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Lots of opinions, and probably all are accurate...

I suspect HRM is just trying to help MSD sell ignition products...

So based on you guys opinions, there's no good advantage here even for those of us who have new/good/rebuilt gen I engines who want to use them? I have considered putting on a FITech or other carb-replacement FI system on such engines. I haven't done it yet, but I might in the not too distant future.
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