MSD Ignition Systems
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This page is all about MSD ignition systems. These are the small red boxes that plug in between your distributor/ignition trigger and connect to the coil to give you a hotter, longer, better spark. That little red box figures out when to fire the spark plugs, and courtesy of some well-designed electronics, they put a lot more power into each spark. That means more complete combustion and a better running engine. You need one of these - the only question is which specific model and how are you going to hook it up.

The graphics on the right are from the installation manual for an MSD 6AL and are provided for technical information only. All credit for this very nicely laid out information goes to the fine folks over at Autotronic Controls Corporation, who build the MSD equipment. If this information isn't everything you need, or you have questions - contact Autotronic Controls Corporation for more information. I'm only trying to whet your appetite here and help those who already know most of what they need to know. Use this information at your own risk. These are high-powered ignition systems that put out a very high voltage through the spark plug wires - obey the warnings and use quality plug wires. The shock you can get from one of these things is non trivial and will teach you a thing or two about respecting the power of high voltage equipment - I know first-hand how bad it hurts, so believe me when I tell you to be careful! This is not your father's points ignition system! If you haven't already, go buy your own MSD box so you can get started installing it! :-)

If you need to figure out how to install an MSD ignition system, start by looking at the wiring diagrams to the right and work from there - as you can see you can easily install an MSD Ignition system on almost anything imaginable with very little effort.  Some hookups methods are better than others - the key to getting the most power and most reliability out of an MSD Ignition system is to get the most reliable and accurate triggering system. Points can work, but they generally suck for reliability and accuracy. A magnetic trigger is much better - later model HEI or factory "electronic" ignition systems already have this, or you can use an aftermarket conversion kit such as a Pertronix Ignitor or Mallory Unilite to replace your points and fit inside your stock distributor cap. My first install will be using the Pertronix Ignitor as a points-replacement, so check out the 1964 Valiant page for more details on how this goes.

Don't forget that many of the MSD boxes will take a special plug in "chip" to perform rev-limiting functionality. You can either purchase these chips from someplace like MSD, or build your own using the information found here.


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Comments? Kudos? Got some parts you'd like to buy/sell/barter/swap? Nasty comments about my web page so far? You can email Mike or Debbie.

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Page last updated 01/02/2009 01:51:39 PM