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Delco vs Prestolite dizzies

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  • Ignition: Delco vs Prestolite dizzies

    Prestolites wear out quickly. Weights, shaft bushings, cams. Delcos seem to last much better. Having not torn either apart, why are Delcos so much more sturdy than Prestolites?
    Ron Dame
    '63 Champ

  • #2
    The wear area on an original Prestolite is the centrifugal weights. The original weights are laminated steel, and the very much improved replacement weights are sintered steel with a bronze Bushing in the wear area. I have rebuilt many Prestolites using the new weights and they are then very good distributors.

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    • #3
      It seems that shaft bushings last maybe 25-35000 miles. Perhaps people did not oil them , but I've always found them sloppy in the shaft.
      Ron Dame
      '63 Champ

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ron Dame View Post
        It seems that shaft bushings last maybe 25-35000 miles. Perhaps people did not oil them , but I've always found them sloppy in the shaft.
        Once Studebakers became cheap used cars, they usually got little-to-no maintenance. The complexity of the lubrication chart alone is probably one reason Stude went out of business. I remember well when mid-60s Fords bragged about having no grease fittings or lube points. And yes, even those who ran a Stude through a commercial lube and oil shop probably didn't get half the points hit with the proper lubricant.

        jack vines
        PackardV8

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        • #5
          I will take Delco over Presto any day of the week, but did have a Delco lock up on me once. The shaft bushings wear out way to quickly in the Prestos, even with oil can lubrication in the spigot.

          I recently had to buy another electronically converted distributor for the fuel injection kit on the 63GT, because the shaft bushings in the Presto I used for the first conversion wore out in about 15,000 miles. Granted, it was not new, but never had that happen with a Delco. I sent a Delco for the second conversion.

          The Delco that locked up was a fluke. One of the flyweights came off. When it locked up it sheared the roll pin down below.

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          • #6
            I use Prestolite distributors in both my 62 Hawk and 63 Avanti. I rebuilt both distributors years ago replacing the shaft bushings and the centrifugal advance weights with the upgraded bronze bushings in the pivot pin holes. I like the dual point Prestolite distributors because of the ball bearing breaker plate which in my opinion makes the vacuum advance work a bunch smoother. The early Delco distributors used in the 55 to 61 V8 engines are good distributors. The window distributors as far as I'm concerned are inferior to both the early Delco distributor and the Prestolite distributor due to the excessive shaft end play which causes the timing to wander especially at higher engine speeds. I have a couple of them under the bench that I won't use until they are disassembled and the excessive end play corrected. Bud

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            • #7
              The best thing about Window Delco distributors, in my opinion, is that you can sell them to someone that is convinced that they need one. I currently own three 1961 Lark V-8s, and in every one of them I have removed the window Delco and installed a refreshed Prestolite.

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              • #8
                This on is in a 58,000 Avanti, clearly cared for until the owner died and it was pulled outside and parked.

                tle-to-no maintenance. The complexity of the lubrication chart alone is probably one reason Stude went out of business. I remember well when mid-60s Fords bragged about having no grease fittings or lube points. And yes, even those who ran a Stude through a commercial lube and oil shop probably didn't get half the points hit with the proper lubricant.

                jack vines[/QUOTE]
                Ron Dame
                '63 Champ

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                • #9
                  I wonder how many people remove the distributor rotor to see if it has a felt wick that needs to be oiled?

                  I worked at the GM dealership during the window distributor years, and I agree about them wearing out and getting excess play. I kept a can of grease and toothbrush on my work bench so I could easily grease the weights on every tune up I did. I'd squirt a bit of oil on the pivot points, then run the toothbrush full of grease over the weights.

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                  • #10
                    The only advantage to the window distributor in my opinion is the parts such as caps, rotors and points are still available at your local auto parts store. If the early Delco and Prestolite distributors are maintained properly such as putting a drop of oil on the felt wick and a couple of drops of oil in the oil cup once in a while, they are far superior to the window distributors as far as performance. I say this because I own a distributor machine and can watch the distributors in action. Bud

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                    • #11
                      To bad someone hasn't come up with a retro fitted MSD distributor. They seem to be really well built and you can use one of their high output boxes on them. My brother saw a guy pull a coil wire off one of these set ups and it almost fried his behind on the spot.

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                      • #12
                        As far as high output, one of the worst shocks I ever got was when I was 12 and standing on damp ground by our well pit. My hand accidentally touched the terminal on one of the spark plugs on my 1950 Studebaker Champion field car. It locked my hand on for several seconds before I could jerk it loose. That was a wake up call. LOL

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                        • #13
                          The Delco window distributor allows dwell angle fine tuning with the engine running. Very easy. As mentioned in post #10, parts are readily available. Those are two important advantages when considering which distributor you might want to install in your vehicle.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TWChamp View Post
                            As far as high output, one of the worst shocks I ever got was when I was 12 and standing on damp ground by our well pit. My hand accidentally touched the terminal on one of the spark plugs on my 1950 Studebaker Champion field car. It locked my hand on for several seconds before I could jerk it loose. That was a wake up call. LOL
                            My first Stude was a '62 GT Hawk project, about 1975. It ran and drove, but was ugly and had it's issues. One time after a drive the accelerator return spring broke and it was revving to high heaven. I turned the key off, and it kept running. Panicking, the only think I could think of was to pull the coil wire off. I snagged it, expecting it to pop off of the coil, but it popped off of the dizzy cap instead! I couldn't let go of it, and it was a worn engine that took it's time to slowly spin down and stop. My Dad just stood there and laughed.
                            Ron Dame
                            '63 Champ

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                            • #15
                              I have owned my Avanti since 1966, and it still has the original dizzy...only thing I changed were the weights.....going to the MoPar style with bronze bushings, I also put a few drops of oil under the rotor once per year, as I do inthe cup on the side of the dizzy, and oh yes, a tiny amount of lube on the cam.
                              Originally posted by Bud View Post
                              The only advantage to the window distributor in my opinion is the parts such as caps, rotors and points are still available at your local auto parts store. If the early Delco and Prestolite distributors are maintained properly such as putting a drop of oil on the felt wick and a couple of drops of oil in the oil cup once in a while, they are far superior to the window distributors as far as performance. I say this because I own a distributor machine and can watch the distributors in action. Bud

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