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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some schoolin' on distributors since that will likely be my next project. I'm gathering lots of info, but a basic question has me stumped....

What is the difference between a regular electronic ignition and a HEI ignition?

For instance, Pertronix offers their standard line of electronic distributors (with ignitor I, II and III versions) but they also offer a HEI distributor.....

Thanks
Ace
 

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hei

WHAT MOST OF US CALL hei IS THE ORGINAL CHEVY DISTRUBITOR THAT IS SELF CONTAINED (ALL NEEDED PARTS INSIDE DITRUBITOR) JUST GIVE IT 12 VOLTS, nOT THRU RESISTOR WIRE..AND IT WILL WORK. SOME OTHER TYPES REQUIRE ADD-ON BOXES AND SUCH TO OPERATE.:anim_25:
 

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What is the difference between a regular electronic ignition and a HEI ignition?

Delco's registering of the trademark. AN HEI is a "delco electronic ignition" - (and aftermarket replications using the same specifications with a nice licensing fee to delco during the protected period of the mark). EDIT: the HEI has the coil self contained in the cap or sa modified cap to relocate the coil.

An electronic ignition is any one other than HEI that uses pointless triggering or a point type (Kettering Style) that has been fitted with an electronic trigger. In these there a few different trigger types. EDIT: the coil is NOT in the cap
 

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Look at skipwhite ebay website dist. $45 for electronic ignition the same size as points dist. Several of us have them. Some have had them running trouble free for years. It does use an external coil. He sells a good one for that too. $12.
 

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Like tjsdelivery said, The Skip White Top Street Performance HEI is a great running unit. About 45.00 plus shipping. Mine has given me no trouble and has been in my 283 since January 10 Model number is 6701R. I also use the flamethrower ignition coil (round type and fits in the stock location on the manifold) about 29.00 at a speed shop Jim
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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2,103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yep, I've been looking at the Skip White HEIs.....pretty much what led me to wonder if there were differences between HEI and electronic distributor.

Skip White suggests larger ignition to coil wire of 15 - 10 guage wire. I hadn't seen larger wire requirements on websites such as Pertronix. This led me to believe that "HEI" might be different somehow...higher electrical charge or something.

But it sounds like HEI is just a name coined by GM .....and not really different in operation (other than coil included in distributor unit itself....although Skip White unit is not, but they still call it an HEI !!!!)

I guess I'm over-analyzing this...time to "up" my medication!:D

Ace
 

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GM's High Energy Ignition when it was introduced produced more spark voltage than the common points controlled ignition at the time, the reason it had such a large cap was to make room for the coil mounted in the cap and to increase the distance between the plug wire posts to reduce spark jumping, it also simplified wiring. It also helped cars meet emissions due the higher output and stable timing over time ( no points wear to cause dwell and timing changes).

Regards, Robert
 

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Another big advantage to using the small distributor (besides firewall clrnc) is you can increase your air filter surface area with diameter instead of height (and even use more of the trick looking oval ones). With HEI and a stock location carb a 14" air cleaner is almost too big - and gives a GREAT place to inductive leak the spark voltage on 1 and 8 wires as they are so close to the air cleaner base (especially true with air gaps - sometimes they even rub no. 8 when advanced for performance) - with the small dist you can go to 16" air cleaner increasing surface area and reducing flow turbulation. The only real drawback is the coil wire - its a place to loose spark voltage to all cylinders.
 

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...although Skip White unit is not, but they still call it an HEI !!!!Ace
And how many folks still believe there are three GM rear styles (not speaking of carrier size just overall theory), open diff, limited slip and posi?

PosiTrac is the GM registered Trademark for their limited slip rear! And I have heard folks say they have a 9" Ford Posi - when in fact THEIR mark for the limited slip style is AccuTrac! It's all marketing.
 
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