No announcement yet.

Any distributors that allow EFI ECU to control timing?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ignition: Any distributors that allow EFI ECU to control timing?

    Hello everyone -

    Over the next few years, I'm planning to make the swap from a carb to EFI, most likely using the Holley Sniper system, in my 61 Hawk. While not a deal breaker, one thing I'd love to add is the ability for the ECU to control timing. The easiest way to do this seems to be to use either the Holley Dual Sync or Hyperspark distributors, but there is no Studebaker specific model for these.

    Given that, the questions I have are

    1. Are there any compatible distributors from some of the more popular (i.e. more widely supported) engines of the era that can be made to work with the Studebaker 289? From all of my searching, I'm guessing the answer on this one is "no", but thought I'd verify. Looks like there are 40+ Hyperspark variants with any number of Chevy, Ford, Buick, AMC, Jeep, Pontiac, Olds, etc.

    2. Are there any known EFI solutions that can be made to work with the Studebaker distributors (in my case, a Pertronix) and also control timing?

    Very new to all of this and learning as I go, so fill free to correct any misunderstandings I may have or give any helpful info!

    Thanks everyone.

  • #2
    Personally, I'd probably just buy their crankshaft trigger assembly and machine an adapter. Cost looks to be about what a good dissy would cost and easier to mount than modifying to fit a stude.

    My feeling are, if I'm going to spend the money (and I have) for EFI I'm going to control timing.

    Hamilton also make a setup for Studebaker's based on the 90's GM TBI's that's more cost effective.

    Last edited by sweetolbob; 03-27-2021, 07:11 AM.


    • #3
      I believe the Hamilton setup includes a modified Chrylser distributor that is controlled by his ECU.
      Dan White
      64 R1 GT
      64 R2 GT
      58 C Cab
      57 Broadmoor (Marvin)


      • #4
        I’m not 100% positive, but I believe you can use a mid to later1980s GM distributor and PCM like the ones used in the Avanti II that will work in the Stude 289.
        1963 Studebaker GT Hawk R1 63V-33867
        1964 Studebaker Avanti R1 R-5364
        1970 Avanti II RQA-0385
        1981 Avanti II RQB-3304


        • #5
          Originally posted by 1inxs View Post
          I’m not 100% positive, but I believe you can use a mid to later1980s GM distributor and PCM like the ones used in the Avanti II that will work in the Stude 289.
          Not without a lot of professional fabrication. The SBC distributor turns opposite of the Studebaker.

          FWIW, I've modified a couple of Oldsmobile HEI distributors to work in the Studebaker V8, but it's not cost-effective; there's too much labor involved and since the shiny Chicom is half the cost, most CASOs just go with that.

          Agree, crank-trigger is the best solution to accurate, computer-controlled timing. Now, if one can just figure which knock sensor will work with a solid lifter Studebaker, we'd be good to go.

          jack vines


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dan White View Post
            I believe the Hamilton setup includes a modified Chrylser distributor that is controlled by his ECU.
            Yes it does and I believe Joe Hall (Forum Member) has at least one and possibly two running on Studebaker engines.



            • #7
              Any of the new Ebay distributors can be set up tp be Sniper controlled. You need to lock the advance weights (You tube shows how) and remove the vacuum advance, and there is a billet lock that screws in it's place that locks the advance plate. Then you need to buy the MSD phaseable rotor, and find a junk cap you can cut holes in to see the rotor phasing and follow Holley's directions on rotor phasing. Set the initial timing @ 10 degrees per the Holley directions. Any magnetic pickup distributor should work, as long as you can lock the advance. It's just the Delco (window type) clones are much easier to lock than others.
              Bez Auto Alchemy

              "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln


              • #8
                The Hamilton setup uses a Stude Prestolite distributor, with Mopar innards; the flyweights are removed, and the top and bottom shafts then locked (welded or bolted) together. But first the Stude top shaft is replaced with a Mopar top shaft, which fits as if it were made for the Stude Prestolite. (The Mopar is likely also Prestolite.) The Stude vac advance is removed, and a set screw is installed to lock the 2-piece baseplate together (which was originally designed to shift per vac advance input). The base plate is also re-clocked a few degrees in the distributor housing (I have forgotten why), and a couple of new holes are drilled and tapped to hold it in its new position. Finally, a 1970s-80s Mopar Magnetic Pickup Unit (MPU), reluctor and rotor button are installed on the Mopar top shaft. This is basically the same as the Mopar conversion someone developed in the 1970s for our Studes. The difference is: the flyweights & vac advance are removed, and spark timing is controlled by the computer, via the GM Ignition Control Module.

                It is also possible to convert a Stude (early style) Delco, but it will not accept the Mopar top shaft, so the Delco top shaft must be modified to fit the Mopar reluctor. Also, the tip of the Delco rotor is much broader than the Prestolite / Mopar, which makes the phasing margin for error much smaller (more potential for crossfire). So the Prestolite is a much better candidate for this conversion.

                I have Hamilton FI in two GT Hawks, one since 2012, and one since 2013, and driven about 70,000 miles collective total. Both have electronic spark control via converted Stude Prestolite distributors. I also have a converted Delco distributor (long story), but it is on the shelf.

                The importance of accurate phasing cannot be overly stressed and, as Bez, I use a spare distributor cap with 1/2" hole drilled in it to verify phasing and initial timing, which is set at TDC. When the motor starts and exceeds 400 RPM, the ECU takes control of spark timing from there. Works just like mid a kajillion 1980s to mid 1990s GM vehicles do. Very reliable, and ZERO vapor lock related issues, EVER.

                I will add, the spark advance curve is exactly as for Studebaker early Delco. I sent Bill Hamilton copies of the charts and specs in the 59-64 Studebaker Shop Manual, and he built the chip to mimic the OEM advance curve.
                Last edited by JoeHall; 03-28-2021, 10:33 AM.


                • #9
                  If you drive the pin out of a chev distributor drive gear, and replace it with a pontiac drive gear, the pontiac distributor turns opposite of the chev....FWIW.


                  • #10
                    The Pontiac V8 is an odd duck in that the right head is forward of the left one. But, Pontiac followed convention in labeling the left bank: 1,3,5,7, and the right bank 2,4,6,8 (front to back). So, the crank throws don't go 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (front to back). (This isn't relevant to anything in the topic; I just thought it is interesting.)


                    • #11
                      It is also interesting if you take a Pontiac intake gasket and lay it on a Stude gasket they are very very close. But as you note they are an odd one for the head stagger.
                      Dan White
                      64 R1 GT
                      64 R2 GT
                      58 C Cab
                      57 Broadmoor (Marvin)


                      • #12
                        Maxx Performance.
                        Stock looking 289 Stude electronic distributor with the black cap (all new).
                        Asian clone of the MSD distributor (MSD SBC guts).
                        Add an MSD adjustable phase rotor (8421)
                        Follow the phasing instructions*


                        *Phased rotor: The electronic pickup point on these HEI distributors has the timing point advanced 50 degrees.
                        This is to allow the timing to be computer-controlled (delayed) on EFI-equipped vehicles.
                        If your Stude is not EFI equipped, then the rotor position will be off, and must be brought back.
                        No big deal, but a mandatory step.

                        Or... What Brad said <g>
                        HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


                        Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

                        Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


                        • #13
                          That looks pretty nice DEEPNHOCK -

                          So, when the time came, I could just get that distributor, modify it to use 84211 (the adjustable phase rotor) and then use the sniper system....

                          I may end up going with Hamilton since that product has such great feedback on here, but good to know this one seemingly bridge the gap to the Sniper system I initially was interested in.


                          • #14
                            Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG-4562.jpg Views:	0 Size:	142.6 KB ID:	1896389
                            If you get the 60K coil with this HEI dont mount it to the firewall....
                            Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG-4563.jpg Views:	0 Size:	139.3 KB ID:	1896390
                            I made this bracket pretty easily..

                            Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG-4573.jpg Views:	0 Size:	121.9 KB ID:	1896391 Click image for larger version  Name:	64306018748--176B4CF5-3DF8-4AE2-A154-625F1F5F77EB.jpg Views:	0 Size:	142.8 KB ID:	1896392 Click image for larger version  Name:	64306034793--1E7F5F3D-7389-42D8-ABD4-FFEB1C3B333A.jpg Views:	0 Size:	121.1 KB ID:	1896393
                            Mounts in the same place as the original coil, and clears the R1 aircleaner..

                            Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG-4732.jpg Views:	0 Size:	150.3 KB ID:	1896394 Click image for larger version

Name:	64368436900--D8A40C0B-7B4D-4E29-82C3-489CB53273E1.jpg
Views:	285
Size:	114.2 KB
ID:	1896400
                            Looks like it should be there...
                            Last edited by SScopelli; 05-26-2021, 02:02 PM.