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Help with installing an HEI Distributor in my Lark

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  • Ignition: Help with installing an HEI Distributor in my Lark

    Hey everyone!

    We might have a buyer for our lark, but we wanted to upgrade the distributor before sending her along. I'm soooo excited about the possibility of another woman owning my car, and we thought we'd go the extra mile for her. We bought a CRT Performance Small Cap HEI Distributor and an MSD Blaster SS Coil as recommended. Jim has them installed but something's not right. Can anyone out there offer some help or advice? Yesterday it was running super rough but he said the timing is right. We're stumped.

    Thank you in advance for any of your awesome knowledge and support you can offer! :-) You guys really are the best!

    Michelle
    '60 Lark Hardtop, Red Bluff, CA
    sigpic

  • #2
    Which Mechanical Advance Springs did Jim install? Most Kits include several sets for different usages.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
      Which Mechanical Advance Springs did Jim install? Most Kits include several sets for different usages.
      He installed it with the silver (medium) ones. It came with two sets, this one and a heavier set.
      '60 Lark Hardtop, Red Bluff, CA
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Not to worry - the advance springs should have nothing to do with the engine running rough.

        Michelle -
        What did you set the timing to ? Verify that the ignition timing is per the book or better 4 degrees "more" advanced.
        You MAY HAVE possibly installed the distributor one tooth off. It happens easily.
        Bring the crank shaft to number 1 "top dead center". Verify it's on the firing rotation point. Pull the #1 spark plug, have someone stick their finger in the plug hole. Go slowly, turn the ignition switch so the starter spins until the pressure blows your finger out of the hole. Align the timing make on the damper ring.
        Now, remove the distributor cap, and verify that the rotor is JUST past the #1 tab in the distributor cap.
        If it's way off, try again with installing the distributor.

        Put it in in the proper location. If it will not seat properly, slowly spin the engine until the distributor drops into place. Then set the timing per the bool +4 degrees of timing.

        Be aware, it is difficult to diagnose problems like this not standing at the front fender..!

        Mike

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike Van Veghten View Post
          Not to worry - the advance springs should have nothing to do with the engine running rough.

          Michelle -
          What did you set the timing to ? Verify that the ignition timing is per the book or better 4 degrees "more" advanced.
          You MAY HAVE possibly installed the distributor one tooth off. It happens easily.
          Bring the crank shaft to number 1 "top dead center". Verify it's on the firing rotation point. Pull the #1 spark plug, have someone stick their finger in the plug hole. Go slowly, turn the ignition switch so the starter spins until the pressure blows your finger out of the hole. Align the timing make on the damper ring.
          Now, remove the distributor cap, and verify that the rotor is JUST past the #1 tab in the distributor cap.
          If it's way off, try again with installing the distributor.

          Put it in in the proper location. If it will not seat properly, slowly spin the engine until the distributor drops into place. Then set the timing per the bool +4 degrees of timing.

          Be aware, it is difficult to diagnose problems like this not standing at the front fender..!

          Mike
          Awesome, thank you Mike! Yes, I know it's super hard to do this via the internet. Hee hee. :-) Do you know if the resistor block (I know, not the technical term) goes away with this setup? He wasn't sure and the instructions just said, "on some models" it's eliminated.
          '60 Lark Hardtop, Red Bluff, CA
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Michelle;
            Normally rough running of a engine is caused by the spark plugs not firing at the correct time or order. If nothing else has changed except the insulation of a new distributor; the first thing I would check is. are the spark plug wires in good condition and secured in the correct holes in the distributor cap.
            If I found nothing; I would then reinstall the original distributor and coil and bring the engine back to its original state.
            Ron

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            • #7
              remember too that the rotor goes in a counter-clockwise rotation. Make sure all wires are in the correct order as Ron stated.
              59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
              60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
              61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
              62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
              62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
              62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
              63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
              63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
              64 Zip Van
              66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
              66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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              • #8
                HEI should get full battery voltage. If you still have the ballast resistor that might well be your problem.

                Nathan
                _______________
                http://stude.vonadatech.com
                https://jeepster.vonadatech.com

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                • #9
                  Also, for HEI ignition spiral wound plug wires are recommended. I don't know if that is your issue though.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you so much for all the help, everyone! We ended up putting the old one back in and taking it to our favorite mechanic in town to do it for us. :-) Phew!
                    You guys are the best!!!! Many thanks from Jim and I!! :-)
                    '60 Lark Hardtop, Red Bluff, CA
                    sigpic

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