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  • Ignition: Prestolite Distributor?

    My 62 GT has the Chrysler electronic ignition conversion which I understand works because the Prestolite distributor used on some Mopar engines is the same top portion as the Presto used on Studebaker's 62 to 64, although different at the bottom drive section. I wanted to replace the cap and rotor and assumed the cap 1555503 and rotor 1555502 would be the correct parts so I ordered them. I went to install them today and found the cap and rotor are not whats on the car!

    Question is now, what is on the car? I've attached some photos here. The picture of the rotors shows whats on the car at top and Presto rotor 1555502 on the bottom. The cap size is slightly different although they look very similar. The big difference is where the front clip attaches to the cap there is a notch below where the clip attaches to the cap on the one on the car whereas there is no notch on the Presto 1555503 cap.

    Can anyone identify what distributor I have on the car? Were there different versions of the Prestolite distributor or did someone put some sort of a hybrid unit on the car? It was all done before I owned it. Appreciate any advice, they are somewhat worn and need replacement, if I can figure out what to get!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20210425_123048.jpg Views:	0 Size:	164.0 KB ID:	1891638 Click image for larger version  Name:	20210425_123112.jpg Views:	0 Size:	48.0 KB ID:	1891639 Click image for larger version  Name:	20210425_123139.jpg Views:	0 Size:	60.5 KB ID:	1891640 Click image for larger version  Name:	20210425_123159.jpg Views:	0 Size:	73.0 KB ID:	1891641 Click image for larger version  Name:	20210425_123302.jpg Views:	0 Size:	98.5 KB ID:	1891642
    1) Top rotor on car - Bottom 1555502
    2) Cap 1555503 no notch
    3) Notch where clip attaches
    4-5) Any ideas what distributor this is?
    Last edited by Kato; 04-25-2021, 11:31 AM.

  • #2
    If the Dist. Clips to the MoPar Cap, and not the Stude. Cap, someone has installed a complete MoPar Dist. Top to a Stude. Lower Drive somehow or modified something besides the Electronic Parts.

    The Locator Notch and Clip locations on AMC and Studebaker Caps are not like the Mopar Caps.

    Since Dave Thibeault did most of these, just ask him: 978- Eight- Nine-7, 3, 1, Five-Eight.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      What is the number on the distributor body?
      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

      17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
      10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
      56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
      60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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      • #4
        I think I have one of those distributor conversions. It came with an engine a while back and nothing I tried fit. All I have is the prestolite V8 distributor with a mopar looking trigger system, no cap, no rotor. I tried Studebaker issued prestolite caps but ran out of options. If you find an answer it may work for me.

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        • #5
          Chrysler had different rotors, and caps. The Chrysler had a small keyway, and a corresponding "tooth" to locate the rotor. Also the cap had a carbon center button, and a spring loaded contact on the rotor. Studebaker had a flat spot on the rotor, and the cap had a spring loaded carbon contact to the rotor. (which did not have a leaf spring contact.)
          Last edited by bezhawk; 04-26-2021, 06:20 AM.
          Bez Auto Alchemy
          573-318-8948
          http://bezautoalchemy.com


          "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
            If the Dist. Clips to the MoPar Cap, and not the Stude. Cap, someone has installed a complete MoPar Dist. Top to a Stude. Lower Drive somehow or modified something besides the Electronic Parts.

            The Locator Notch and Clip locations on AMC and Studebaker Caps are not like the Mopar Caps.

            Since Dave Thibeault did most of these, just ask him: 978- Eight- Nine-7, 3, 1, Five-Eight.
            Thanks, yes I'll call Dave. I spoke to him once before about what was installed on the car. By the description he wasn't sure what I had but it is a Chrysler set up. Someone got creative!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
              What is the number on the distributor body?
              I'll see if I can find numbers!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Felix View Post
                I think I have one of those distributor conversions. It came with an engine a while back and nothing I tried fit. All I have is the prestolite V8 distributor with a mopar looking trigger system, no cap, no rotor. I tried Studebaker issued prestolite caps but ran out of options. If you find an answer it may work for me.
                If I figure it out I'll let you know. Otherwise it looks like I'm eventually going to have to spring for a new distributor!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bezhawk View Post
                  Chrysler had different rotors, and caps. The Chrysler had a small keyway, and a corresponding "toot" to locate the rotor. Also the cap had a carbon center button, and a spring loaded contact on the rotor. Studebaker had a flat spot on the rotor, and the cap had a spring loaded carbon contact to the rotor. (which did not have a leaf spring contact.)
                  This set up is exactly how you describe the Chrysler system, pretty sure that's what I have here. Hopefully Dave Thibeault will have an idea what it is. This is the issue when someone does a conversion and doesn't document it for future owners! It's still running OK but eventually I guess I'll have to look at getting a new distributor. Question is was anything altered during the engine rebuild to permit the use of a Chrysler distributor that would not allow going back to the Studebaker set up? Hopefully Dave can answer that too!

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                  • #10
                    When I do the conversion, I change the weights, and the mechanism that triggers the hall effect switch. In effect, the old cam that the points rub on is discarded, and replaced with the toothed wheel, (Chrysler),so the hall effect coil can pick it up. Every Chrysler conversion is done this way....Even Dave will tell you that. That then requires the Chrysler cap and rotor. The main body is drilled for the Chrysler advance plate that the sensor is mounted to. That also repositions the clips for the cap hold down. It doesn't matter as you retime everything after installation.
                    Bez Auto Alchemy
                    573-318-8948
                    http://bezautoalchemy.com


                    "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bezhawk View Post
                      When I do the conversion, I change the weights, and the mechanism that triggers the hall effect switch. In effect, the old cam that the points rub on is discarded, and replaced with the toothed wheel, (Chrysler),so the hall effect coil can pick it up. Every Chrysler conversion is done this way....Even Dave will tell you that. That then requires the Chrysler cap and rotor. The main body is drilled for the Chrysler advance plate that the sensor is mounted to. That also repositions the clips for the cap hold down. It doesn't matter as you retime everything after installation.
                      Would Dave have caps and rotors?

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                      • #12
                        Just order one for a big block Chrysler engine. 67 or so should be fine, they used the prestolite distributor.
                        Bez Auto Alchemy
                        573-318-8948
                        http://bezautoalchemy.com


                        "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bezhawk View Post
                          Just order one for a big block Chrysler engine. 67 or so should be fine, they used the prestolite distributor.
                          The rotor from same should fit as well?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bezhawk View Post
                            Just order one for a big block Chrysler engine. 67 or so should be fine, they used the prestolite distributor.
                            OK, thanks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As part of the EFI conversion, I have two Mopar converted Prestolites in the two GT Hawks. Both have Stude caps, and one has a Mopar rotor. Either rotor will fit, but I did not know any other than OEM Stude cap would fit. Both perform flawlessly.

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