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Discussion Starter #1
I spent a pretty good portion of today swapping out my stock distributor for a brand-new Pertronix HEI Distributor. This is a relatively new product, although Pertronix has been making similar models for the Chevy crowd for a little longer. For those unfamiliar, this distributor has the coil built into the cap, making for a theoretically simple 1-wire installation. You also get to (again, theoretically) get rid of your stock coil, simplifying your engine compartment.

Well, not so fast, buckaroo. Unless you've got a very small (or fairly exotic) air filter, this is probably not going to be a product you're happy with. Take a look:

http://homepage.mac.com/jester/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2003-08-16%2021.47.42%20-0700/Image-BB3107C7D06D11D7.jpg

http://homepage.mac.com/jester/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2003-08-16%2021.47.42%20-0700/Image-BB3128EBD06D11D7.jpg

http://homepage.mac.com/jester/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2003-08-16%2021.47.42%20-0700/Image-BB313F86D06D11D7.jpg

That air cleaner you see resting on the distributor terminals is a pretty generic HiPo-knockoff 14" air cleaner. Nothing too fancy, nothing too unusual. I'm not particularly attached to this particular air cleaner, it came on the car as part of a cheap chrome dress-up kit installed by the PO, but I really don't want to be limited in what kind of air cleaner I can run because of a distributor that probably performs very well but does not fit our cars at all.

The sad thing is that I asked specifically about this when I bought it from a reputable Mustang parts dealer:

Me: Will this clear the air cleaner?
Them: What size air cleaner?
Me: 14" HiPo
Them: Yes. It will clear a 14".

Seemed like a pretty clear go-ahead to me. Oh well, like I said, they're reputable, and I don't think I'll have any problems returning it, even though I put a slight mark on it with the distributor clamp. It irks me to have spent the time swapping and then swapping back, though.

If anyone has successfully installed this on any ford engine, I'd like to hear about it. I would consider a carb spacer or an air cleaner spacer, but I don't think it would do any good unless there was quite a bit of height added, enough to make hood clearance an issue. The air cleaner does not even seat all the way on the carb before it makes contact with the distributor terminals.

Live and learn.
 

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Definately a bummer when you get excited about a new upgrade and it doesnt work out. The spacer may be an option for you, if you are really attached to the HEI unit. I went from a 2.2" (height) air cleaner to a 3.1" in my 67 289 without any hood clearance issues. Take some clay and make spikes on your air cleaner, close your hood, open it, then see how much extra height you have. You will probably be suprised.

good luck!
 

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Well, that's kind of the price you pay for many of the "upgrades". My MSD Billit distributor causes the same problem, as it's about the same size as the Pertronix HEI distributor, just without the coil built in. I run a 1/2" spacer, but with the Performer RPM intake, that's all I can run. This gives me about 1/2" between the wing nut and the hood.

Yes, I'm severely limited in what air cleaners I can run, but I wouldn't give up my MSD distributor because of it. You kind of have to do the same thing in asking yourself wether you like the distributor or air filter more.
 

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I have exactly the same set-up as you. It was originally made by Pro-Form. I had to put a spacer under the air cleaner. I also have a Victor Jr. intake, which is a bit taller......
 

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Looks very much like a DUI which stands for Davis Unified Ignition. Davis took a Chevy HEI and modified it to fit the Fords. I would think those would be cheaper to maintain as you could use generic over the counter parts on them. I have seen a few installed on Fords and they sorta turned my stomach seeing that bowtie contraption stuck into the front of a Ford engine IMO :eek:. John
 

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One possible solution may be a Ford Motorsports 13" air cleaner assembly. I just bought one from Summit, because I like the looks. It wasn't too expensive and came with a filter and nice looking wing nut to top it off. The 1/2 may give you enough room if you also use a carb spacer.

Glenn
 

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That distributor is all out of proportion to the size of a SBF. I prefer the "small housing" billet MSD (#8579)distributor as it's close to the size and appearance of the original 289 Hipo unit. Caps and rotors are available from local auto parts stores (NAPA for example), and it fits with straight Monte Carlo bars, any air cleaners, and HP intake manifolds (like Victors). Additionally, the caps have the male posts, so the Ford Motor Sports ignition wires (designed for 5.0s) fit perfectly. IMO, it just looks right.
 

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I think that is a standard GM cap . If so , I believe either Jacobs or MSD makes a dist cap with side exits for the plug wires . They re-route the internals of the cap with metal impregnated into the plastic so it's insulated and allows the plug wire towers to be laid over sideways . This would make it clear the air filter .... other than a spacer for the car thats about the only way it would work .
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Johnpro,

You kind of have to do the same thing in asking yourself wether you like the distributor or air filter more.
I'm not particularly attached to this air cleaner. It's cheap, it's chrome (which some of you know I am replacing across the board with polished aluminum) and it's beginning to rust. I am looking at a particular replacement air cleaner that also would interfere with this dizzy, however.

After sleeping on it, though, I may yet go with a carb spacer and see how much more clearance I can get. I also have to do the modeling clay trick, as suggested by docwisdom.

Or not. I've got 30 days to think about it. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I prefer the "small housing" billet MSD (#8579)distributor as it's close to the size and appearance of the original 289 Hipo unit.
Thanks for the tip, Bernie. I just pulled up that item from summit in another browser window to look at. Looks like a likely candidate.
 

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You're right about clearance issue with HEI type. I bought mine from Performance Distributors that sell D.U.I. dizzy. I have had it for four years now and no problems so far. I think they were the original HEI conversion makers for Ford engines, they have been making DUI for several years. Then came Profrom. Pertronix started only recently.

I keep the dizzy so that vacuum unit is facing forward and bat and rpm posts are facing solenoid, which I am using for 12V start and key on source.

The people from PD were very helpful and answered my questions.
1) They made it clear that 14" filter housing does not fit on SBF. Ford Motorsport 13" is fine.
2) They also said that MC bar may be an issue. It was and I welded more material to the bar sides and moved the bar forward.
3) Beside that also Weiand HiRise 2P180 intake has number 1 runner coming from the left side, there is a contact. I believe this is a problem with many Cobra style crossover intakes. The Edelbrock RPM Air Gap don't seem to have this problem, because the intake runner 1 starts from the right side.
4) However, the dizzy is so big that the heater hose that goes into intake manifold couldn't be used, luckily the Weiand has a coolant crossover at rear and I plugged the heater hose there. Unfortunately the RPM AirGap doesn't have rear crossover. I haven't yet looked at AirGap front hole location at detail.


But I need your fuel line fitting to carb. I have straight fitting and the fuel hose is battered by the air cleaner housing.
 

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Don't worry about chebbie stuff, do chevy guys worry about using 9" rear? Or the rodders with 350 on 32. Or better still, does Chevy IRL program worry about buying a Cosworth engine originally intended for Ford IRL program.

Although I wouldn't use 350+350 in my Mustang. You got to draw the line somewhere.
 
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