Points versus HEI

Discussion in 'Electrical Systems' started by Jamie Harrsion, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Jamie Harrsion

    Jamie Harrsion New Member

    Jul 21, 2017
    I have installed a high energy distributer on my 1972 z28 but it is too high for my original air cleaner. I have the original distributer and just had it serviced and rebuilt. Should I change back to points? Will power be affected? I hear all kinds of debate about the difference but I want to hear it from the Nasty Z members. Thanks
    berg2695 likes this.
  2. CorkyE

    CorkyE Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Ringgold, GA
    GM went to HEI around 1973, and for a very good reason. For your issue, there are two ready solutions; an electronic points conversion like Pertronics for you current distributor, or an air cleaner that will work with the larger HEI distributor. Either is an easy fix. Good luck.
  3. 70lt1z28

    70lt1z28 Veteran Member Gold Member

    Oct 3, 1999
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
    The "very good reason" was they were leaning the mixtures out for emissions and they needed a big spark to light off the lean mixture. Not saying it isn't better, just that that's the reason. The points eliminators are more consistent, but I have also heard of folks getting stranded when they go belly up. Points don't fail that way. Some folks buy two eliminators and keep one set in the glove box. Heat is the enemy of electronics. I'm personally on the fence about which way to go.
  4. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    Apr 14, 1999
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    My personal opinion is that the engine will make the same power with either system. HEI (with factory parts) requires far less maintenance than points. Much of the aftermarket HEI offerings lack reliability like the GM stuff. Points require new spark plugs every 10K miles or so. HEI is harder on plug wires than points because of the higher voltages.
    There are pros and cons either way. If you drive the car lots of miles, I recommend a factory HEI system for reliability. If you don't put on a lot of miles, the old points systems are good and solidly reliable.
  5. 70lt1z28

    70lt1z28 Veteran Member Gold Member

    Oct 3, 1999
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
    Well stated.
    Besides, what else can you do besides adjusting points to make you get that 60's feel back?

    I still have that point file my dad left me in the tool box. Have you tried to buy a dwell meter lately local?
    PalmbchZ28 likes this.
  6. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

    May 6, 2012
    Federal Way, Washington
    Another option is to use an MSD Electronic distributor and box .If you want to go electronic. Its basically its an early points type distributor .With a Ford electronic trigger inside. That way you keep the appearance of an points distributor ,but have and electronic distributor.
  7. CorkyE

    CorkyE Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Ringgold, GA
    Evilbay is where I got my last dwell meter, a lot of good used ones floating around out there. As for points and 60ft times, I don't recall anyone running point type ignition at our local drag strip. And I still have my old points file from years back. I just did a tune up on a friends 70 Eldorado, talk about a land yacht...
  8. tom3

    tom3 Veteran Member

    Aug 1, 1999
    I wouldn't run points on a lawnmower. Used to have constant higher rpm misfires under power with those things. HEI was a miracle in my book. Find a different air cleaner, and look into an advance kit for the dist.
  9. Burd

    Burd Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Oct 6, 2011
    I found my buddy a correct points dist for his 70, my mechanic set it up perfect, runs better than when the hei was in.
  10. FlaJunkie

    FlaJunkie Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Rockledge, Florida
    Ahem. One of my favorite topics!

    I ran a stock distributor in 1972. Damn thing would not go over 4500 RPM with Delco points without missing. Went to a NAPA one day in Monterey complaining about it. The guy behind the counter recommended an Echlin CS-89 contact set. It was for a chevy V8-boat application. Talk about a difference! I could bottom the tach! Freedom Express never got beat on the street in Monterey or Denver that year. (Dumb kid, yes I was!)

    So I am very seriously looking at putting the stock distributor and points back in it, for as often as I drive it. I loved the way it turned. And I don't mind adjusting the points!

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