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Lighting The Fire: MSD Ignition Upgrade

Posted in How To on July 1, 2013
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It never fails to amaze us how our project trucks somehow manage to break down at the most inopportune times. One moment everything's great as we're plugging along down the highway and the next moment we're on the side of the highway under the hood, trying to diagnose why it stalled and won't fire.

After trailering our 460ci V-8 Bronco back home, we figured out that our newly purchased auto parts store distributor had lost more than a few teeth after the gear developed severe knifing with only 50 miles of driving. Searching a few online forums told us that we were not the first to have problems with cheaper parts store replacement distributors in Fords.

Not ones to let parts failure stop us, we ordered up a new Pro-Billet Distributor for our 460ci V-8, as well as an MSD 6AL ignition box, a Blaster SS ignition coil, and 8.5mm Super Conductor spark plug wires. The cool thing about the Pro-Billet Distributor is that you can change timing advance curves by swapping the counter weight springs that are easily accessible once the distributor rotor is removed. The part that really has us grinning is that not only does the MSD 6AL box feature multiple capacitive discharge, it also has a built-in rev limiter.

While we couldn't wait to bolt on all our new ignition goodies, we made sure to first drop the oil pan to clean up any possible metal shavings from the broken distributor teeth. Installation was fairly easy. To be honest, we probably spent more time cutting out a mounting bracket for the 6AL box and building the 8.5mm Super Conductor spark cables than actually installing our new Pro-Billet Distributor, MSD 6AL ignition box, and Blaster SS ignition coil.

After installation, we noticed how easily our Bronco would start as well as how smooth it idled compared to our old stock ignition system. Once we cracked open the throttle, we realized how much better the MSD ignition system is. Wide-open throttle pulls are now faster and consistent. The best part is we no longer suffer from any ignition hiccups that result in unburned fuel—a good thing since gas isn't cheap with a big-block!

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