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OT: MSD ignition system adventure

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by wireguy, Apr 6, 2008.

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  1. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,715
    About a month ago, after more than 300,000 miles had rolled across the odometer, the igniter on my '86 Toyota truck died. The igniter is the little electronics package that does electronically what the points and condensor did back when. The replacement igniter was five hundred dollars and a lot of research whittled that down to 350. Whenever I ask a one hundred dollar question and get a five hundred dollar answer I start researching alternatives. My research led me to MSD Ignition Systems, and a complete high performance ignition system was less than two hundred out the door. I did some asking around and was assured these are highly regarded in NHRA drag racing and other high demand uses. I bought a 6-A unit and wired it up and the truck fired right up, but the idle speed was very high and the motor surged some. The fast idle seemed to me like a timing issue so I put my light on it and sure enough the ignition timing had moved from 0 to around 18 degrees of initial advance. I had to pull the distributor and turn the rotor to get it back to zero, it was that much. I pulled the plugs and opened the gap from .032 to.044 and cleaned them. The output on this system is so high you have to vent the cap but the Toyota cap is vented already. I pulled the cap, cleaned the contacts with my Dremel, washed it with hot soapy water and a 409 type grease cutter, blew it out and then set it in the hot sun for a while to bake out any residual moisture. I put it back together and took it for a ride and I couldn't believe what was happening. I have never felt that little motor pull like that since the day I bought it. The difference wasn't merely noticable, it was profound, like my 4 cylinder had suddenly become a 5 cylinder. This little 22R motor has a cylinder head with oversize intake valves on it and this ignition system seems to have really allowed it to do what it was designed for. I can now pull up hills in 4th gear that I used to have to gear down for, and accelerate up hills I used to struggle to maintain speed on. The unit is California smog legal and comes with a sticker that tells the smog tech what the decision number is and where they can verify it. The MSD stands for multiple spark discharge and the unit fires 6 times per power stroke up to 3000 RPM and then tapers off as the revs go higher. I love it when I make a decision and it works out this well.
     
  2. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,003
    Wireguy,

    MSD works well in some applications and it apparently worked out well for you. Better performance and at a lower cost. What more could you ask for? Some of the newer OEM ignition systems have a modulated spark of some sort, effectively lengthening the time that the spark event occurs. That can result in more complete combustion and lowered emissions as well as better performance and idle quality/smoothness. I first noticed this on the lowly Ford Escort back in the early nineties when they went to an electronic distributorless ignition system (EDIS). It would have a multiple spark feature at slower engine speeds for better idle and lowered emissions. It made a big difference in idle quality. Since then, I've seen it in many other vehicles.

    I'm glad to hear that it worked out for you!
     
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