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Pontiac of the Month

gscherer78ta's 1978 Trans Am

2019 February
of the Month

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Interested in converting my '64 GTO point-ignition to an HEI ignition. Would like to get input into changing out the whole distributor vs. changing out the internals of the distributor. I have heard a lot about Petronix conversions. What have you guys done and would recommend?

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Let me ask a clarification question. Are you talking about HEI (as in the coil-in-cap style distributors from the mid-70s onward) or are you interesting in breaker-less/point-less distributors were you don't ever worry about installing points and a condenser ever again but appears to be stock distributor?

I run the latter in Lucy. I have a stock Pontiac distributor that runs a Petronix II pointless solid-state conversion kit.  I run a stock vacuum advance. It's an easy installation but it is easier to install with the distributor out of the engine but it can be done with the distributor still in the engine too. I also run a light spring and weight package to get the mechanical advance out as soon as possible. A spring kit runs around $7-9, a Petronix  solid state conversion kit runs around $65-100 from Summit Racing.

An HEI distributor will require you replacing the stock distributor with an HEI one. A cheap Summit Racing brand HEI distributor will run around $167 (or more for a brand name) - plus shipping.

Also with an HEI distributor you have to re-gap your plugs from .035 to .040.

I will say that I am happy with my Pertronix. Mind you, I don't go racing in it but I still do quite a bit of lead foot / spirited driving on the highway and it doesn't disappoint.

I am sure my other FP colleagues will weigh in with their opinions.

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3 hours ago, Frosty said:

Let me ask a clarification question. Are you talking about HEI (as in the coil-in-cap style distributors from the mid-70s onward) or are you interesting in breaker-less/point-less distributors were you don't ever worry about installing points and a condenser ever again but appears to be stock distributor?

I run the latter in Lucy. I have a stock Pontiac distributor that runs a Petronix II pointless solid-state conversion kit.  I run a stock vacuum advance. It's an easy installation but it is easier to install with the distributor out of the engine but it can be done with the distributor still in the engine too. I also run a light spring and weight package to get the mechanical advance out as soon as possible. A spring kit runs around $7-9, a Petronix  solid state conversion kit runs around $65-100 from Summit Racing.

An HEI distributor will require you replacing the stock distributor with an HEI one. A cheap Summit Racing brand HEI distributor will run around $167 (or more for a brand name) - plus shipping.

Also with an HEI distributor you have to re-gap your plugs from .035 to .040.

I will say that I am happy with my Pertronix. Mind you, I don't go racing in it but I still do quite a bit of lead foot / spirited driving on the highway and it doesn't disappoint.

I am sure my other FP colleagues will weigh in with their opinions.

I should have said that I am favoring the Petronix pointless set up like you have. Cheaper and people seem to like it a lot. I'm not a racer either, so no need to get too fancy.

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In that case, as you can see from my write up above, I'm all for it.

I'm sure others will pipe up with their opinions as well.

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Have to agree with Frosty on this one...Petronix set up with the light springs for the advance is a good reliable way to go...Especially on a street engine, looks original from the outside too...Have used it many times with good results...

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