High-energy Ignition (HEI) distributors have been a popular choice among car enthusiasts for decades. They’re known for their reliability and performance, especially in older cars. While they’re not as common as they used to be, they still have a place in many car enthusiast’s hearts. If you’re interested in learning more about HEI distributors, then you’ve come to the right place!
An HEI distributor is a device that distributes high-energy current from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. They were originally designed by General Motors in 1974 and were quickly adopted by other car manufacturers. The main advantage of HEI distributors was that they could provide more energy to the spark plugs than traditional distributors, resulting in improved engine performance.
A typical HEI distributor consists of a steel housing, an armature, a set of ignition modules, and an ignition coil. The armature is connected to the engine’s crankshaft and spins at a rate determined by the engine speed. As the armature spins, the ignition modules are triggered, creating high voltage pulses which are sent to the spark plug through the distributor cap. This high voltage is what produces the spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture in the engine’s cylinder.
One of the main benefits of using an HEI distributor is its increased performance. It can provide up to 40,000 volts of energy to the spark plugs, allowing for a more powerful and efficient combustion process. This results in improved engine performance, fuel economy, and overall reliability. In addition, an HEI distributor is also less prone to wear and tear, meaning it can last longer than traditional distributors.
Special Coil Needed for HEI Distributor
In order to use an HEI distributor, you must also have a specific type of ignition coil. These coils are designed to match the output voltage of the HEI distributor, allowing it to function properly. Without this special coil, the HEI distributor will not be able to work correctly, and your engine may suffer from reduced performance.
Wiring an HEI Distributor
Wiring an HEI distributor is relatively easy, but it is important to follow all of the instructions carefully. The first step is to remove the old distributor and install the new HEI distributor. Once the distributor is in place, the wiring is relatively straightforward. You’ll need to connect the positive and negative terminals of the ignition coil to the distributor cap, as well as connecting the spark plug wires to their respective spark plugs.
Once the wiring is complete, the key can be inserted into the ignition switch and turned to the “on” position. At this point, the engine should start immediately. If it does not, then you may need to adjust the timing of the ignition system and verify that all of the connections are secure.
Common Problems with HEI Distributors
Despite their increased performance and reliability, HEI distributors are not without their own set of problems. Common issues include fouling spark plugs, failed modules, corrosion or damage to the distributor cap, and lack of power to the spark plugs. It’s important to inspect your HEI distributor regularly and replace any worn or damaged components as soon as possible.
Modern Ignition Systems and HEI Distributor
Although HEI distributors are most commonly used in older cars, they can still be used with modern ignition systems. With the use of a modern coil and ECU, it’s possible to get the same performance and reliability from a modern HEI distributor as you would from an older one. Additionally, a modern HEI distributor can often be used with a multi-spark ignition system, allowing for even more performance gains.
Performance Upgrades for HEI Distributors
There are a few performance upgrades available for HEI distributors. The most popular is a performance ignition module, which can increase the spark energy and duration. This can result in improved engine performance and fuel economy. Other upgrades include performance ignition coils, performance caps and rotors, and high-performance spark plug wires. All of these components can help to improve the performance of your HEI distributor.
An HEI distributor is a great way to get more performance out of your engine. They offer increased spark energy and duration, improved reliability, and can be used with a variety of different ignition systems. If you’re looking for a way to get more out of your engine, then an HEI distributor may be just what you need.
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