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1970 Cj5 Dauntless W/ Prestolite: Pertronix Or Hei?

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by jbjeeps, Jul 6, 2022.

  1. Jul 6, 2022
    jbjeeps

    jbjeeps Member 2022 Sponsor

    The Idaho side...
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    As I mentioned last week I finally got the Prestolite broken free and I’ve been working with it, but after reading posts on Pertronix or HEI I’m thinking I’ll switch to one of them. From what I’ve read here it sounds like they both work well.

    I read that Pertronix doesn’t make one for the Prestolite distributor. So, I either find a Delco distributor or switch to HEI.

    This Jeep is currently completely stock. I'm thinking I'll do some major changes, but first I want to know I can get the engine running well. It’ll spend most of it’s time here in Idaho between 5 - 7500 ft cruising forest roads, but also make an occasional trip to Sand Hollow or Moab for some mild to moderate wheeling. I'm over 70, so nothing too extreme! :)

    Can anyone recommend a good source for a Delco? For an HEI? Thanks, Jack
     
  2. Jul 6, 2022
    Rubicloak

    Rubicloak Member 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Nevada
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    jbjeeps likes this.
  3. Jul 6, 2022
    jeepdaddy2000

    jeepdaddy2000 Member

    Eagle Point oregon
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    I went with the stock 231 HEI. At the time Petronix had a bad reputation for burning out if the key was left in the "run" position. On the plus side, if the Petronix unit goes out, you can reinstall the old points and get back on the trail.

    The HEI was a bit of a chore to install but has worked flawlessly since.
     
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  4. Jul 7, 2022
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    Not a 225 owner; however, I think the Delco distributors are very good. Even today, there is lots of aftermarket support for these distributors, and parts are available everywhere.

    There is nothing magic about the HEI in terms of spark intensity - it's all in the ignition coil. The module in the HEI is just a big transistor acting as a switch, and does nothing for spark intensity. You can achieve the same spark intensity with an external coil and either the Prestolite or Delco points distributor.

    Or, you can use the MSD or other capacitor discharge external modules and make a really hot spark with a factory-type coil. The MSD can be triggered from the points at low voltage, and the points will last a looong time once they are relieved of switching the coil at high voltage. The MSD unit has an excellent reliability record. Plus, if the spark module ever fails, you can disconnect it and run as points ignition till you figure out what went wrong.

    The HEI is a good choice, but you have other options if you want a "high energy" ignition system.
     
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  5. Jul 7, 2022
    Norcal69

    Norcal69 Out of the box thinker 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Northern California
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    There is nothing magic about the HEI in terms of spark intensity - it's all in the ignition coil. The module in the HEI is just a big transistor acting as a switch, and does nothing for spark intensity. You can achieve the same spark intensity with an external coil and either the Prestolite or Delco points distributor.

    :schooled: The above statement from Tim is correct.

    There are pros and cons to both the HEI and the Pertronix conversion.
    The biggest pro in the HEI column is parts availability and the biggest negative is the large size of the unit in a small space.
    The biggest pro for the Pertronix is ease of installation and the biggest negative is they are not available at every parts house.
    Both ignition systems can and will fail at some point. Many users have had great success with both ignition types.

    This Motor Trend magazine dyno test shows that a properly set up points ignition actually out preforms a stock type HEI.
    https://www.motortrend.com/how-to/ccrp-9812-ignition-performance-test/
     
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  6. Jul 7, 2022
    termin8ed

    termin8ed I didn't do it Staff Member

    Mason, MI
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    The msd box I have in mine works good. I haven't replaced the points in probably 10 years. I did try to install an hei distributor after I had the msd box in. It made no difference so I pulled it and sold it.
     
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  7. Jul 7, 2022
    oldtime

    oldtime oldtime

    St. Charles,...
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    I have a NOS HEI Delco 1110661 that I can sell.
    It’s fully complete including OEM Packard plug cables.
    I’ll post in the FS if anyone is interested.
     
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  8. Jul 7, 2022
    colojeepguy

    colojeepguy Colorado Springs

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    I ran a stock Delco points type distributor with a Pertronix in it for years. I switched to an HEI a couple of years ago and don't notice any difference. I'd go back to the Pertronix, but im going to use it in my Commando.
    As an aside, the best running 225 I ever drove was a 71 Renegade with a Prestolite distributor. An anomaly? I don't know. It's the only one I've seen in person.
     
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  9. Jul 7, 2022
    jeepdaddy2000

    jeepdaddy2000 Member

    Eagle Point oregon
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    The pro isn't any upgrade in spark, it's maintenance. With the exception of an occasional cap and rotor replacement, the HEI and the Petronix are both pretty much maintenance free. Electronic ignition also eliminates the need to reset the timing every time you do a tune up.
     
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  10. Jul 7, 2022
    jbjeeps

    jbjeeps Member 2022 Sponsor

    The Idaho side...
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    Thanks to all for the good responses. This is the kind of info I was looking for. At this point I'm leaning towards the Delco & Pertronix, but I can see that the HEI would be a good choice too.
     
  11. Jul 7, 2022
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    Sorry for picking nits - the MSD driven by points wears out when the fiber block that rubs on the distributor cam wears out. And only goes out of time to the degree that the dwell changes between tuneups from that wear. Not zero maintenance, but much less. Especially considering how many miles most owners drive their Jeeps annually.

    The HEI and Pertronix ignition modules have failed on rare occasion. Especially in a Jeep, I would carry a spare module for either.
     
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  12. Jul 7, 2022
    colojeepguy

    colojeepguy Colorado Springs

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    The only time a Pertronix fails is on a high mountain trail in Colorado...above timberline,..in the rain :whistle:
     
  13. Jul 8, 2022
    Bob

    Bob Member 2021 Sponsor

    Northern California
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    I ran the stock Delco distributor with points for years and never had an issue. I didn’t mind adjusting the dwell as the small window in the cap made it a breeze. But, I got a wild hair years ago and swapped it for 231 HEI I got out of the junkyard. It too hasn’t had any issues.
     
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  14. Jul 8, 2022
    Twin2

    Twin2 not him 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Virginia Beach, VA
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    points and condenser for a Prestolite is 40 bucks now , remember paying 15 for set
    lets just say I like the old school look
     
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  15. Jul 8, 2022
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor

    Florida Keys
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    My preference is the odd-fire HEI (‘75-‘77). I’ve run one for 20 years without ever touching it. Flawless, and the engine fires off much quicker on damp rainy days. A previous Pertronix took a bit of cranking in the same conditions.
    -Donny
     
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  16. Jul 9, 2022
    jbjeeps

    jbjeeps Member 2022 Sponsor

    The Idaho side...
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    You mean like this one? I've read some good reports on it in other posts.
    https://crtperformance.com/shop/ols...less-v6-hei-distributor/v/BCK-225-231-ODD-BLC
     
  17. Jul 9, 2022
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor

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    I can’t comment about the CRT brand. I used an original GM/Delco distributor, but that was many years ago. I’m guessing the CRT is a knock-off of the original.
    -Donny
     
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  18. Jul 9, 2022
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member

    Falcon, CO
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    Its easy enough to order a 'stock HEI' from Rock Auto

    77 Buick Regal with the 3.8 231V6

    That's the Full Distributor and link to find replacement parts for them.
     
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  19. Jul 14, 2022
    jbjeeps

    jbjeeps Member 2022 Sponsor

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    Thanks again to all who commented. I've decided to give the CRT HEI a try. I've read some positive comments about it in previous posts and I like that it's a complete kit with instructions. I'll update this thread after it's installed. Jack
     
  20. Aug 22, 2022
    jbjeeps

    jbjeeps Member 2022 Sponsor

    The Idaho side...
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    Update: the CRT HEI is in. I had a local shop do the installation and so far it's performing well. We also added an Autometer 2891 tach to the steering column.

    This is in our 1970 CJ5. We purchased it a couple years ago at a local farm sale. It's the first Dauntless engine we've owned. So far I'm really liking this engine. The Jeep is completely stock and for a farm Jeep it doesn't look too bad. But it is a work in progress. I'm sure I'll have more questions as we go.

    The 1948 CJ2A with a 225 in our sig is a recent purchase. It's Dauntless #2. It is nicely done, including the jasmine yellow paint job. My wife has claimed it as "hers". Jack
     
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