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ELECTRONIC IGNITION


MARK
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I have finished a frame on restoration on my 64R2. I am now interested in information about swtiching over to an electronic ignition system such as MDS(I think that is the correct initials)

So, who has switched over and is using which system? How happy are you since the conversion?

Thanks guys; ladies too.

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It's MSD, which as far as I'm aware does not have a system you can put on a Studebaker engine. It's possible to covert one I imagine, but there are other alternatives that are already available. You can use your stock distributor and add a Pertronix points eliminator kit...less than $100 and works quite well from what I understand. Many have used that system. Dave Thibeault (who advertises in Avanti Magazine) can provide a Mallory distributor for your car which also is an excellent way to go, but more expensive. There are also conversions to the GM window distributor out there, which is also easily converted to electronic as point eliminator kits are available from Pertronix, Mallory, Accel, Crane and likely a few others.

MSD makes a capacitive discharge add-on for cars, which is quite good, but to be honest, for a street car is not really necessary, but certainly doesn't hurt in any way. It probably works best with a points distributor as an electronic ignition really doesn't need it. For a car used on the strip, it's a different story. The same goes for other brand CD ignitions...a lot of advertising hype but little to show for it for a street car outside of lightening your wallet and you get a really nice decal to put on your car telling everyone what equipment your car has. I will say that a good CD ignition may provide better starting, but little more than that.

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I wasn't aware that Dave Thibeault was selling a Mallory Electonic distributor, but it is possible. I thought he was selling a Mopar electronic distributor which used the original Studebaker distributor shaft.

Another person to contact would be Jon Myers at Myers Studebaker as they sell an electonic distributor as well.

Here's cut n paste from their website ....

Electronic Distributor Conversion- V8

Jon uses the Chrysler set up for the electronic conversion. It includes the rebuilt electronic unit, New cap, New rotor, Amplifier box, loom and complete instructions for installation. You will need to provide the year and model of your vehicle, and if it is an R-Series engine. conversion runs $250.00 plus shipping. If you do not send in your unit there is a $75.00 core charge until the re-buildable unit is received in the shop. Allow 4-6 weeks.

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Simplest and least expensive would be a Pertronix unit. Next I would rcommend the Dave T Mallory distributor but it MUST be re-curved to R2 Specs. MSD is more for show than function on an engine that redlines at 5,000 RPM.

ErnieR

I have finished a frame on restoration on my 64R2. I am now interested in information about swtiching over to an electronic ignition system such as MDS(I think that is the correct initials)

So, who has switched over and is using which system? How happy are you since the conversion?

Thanks guys; ladies too.

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It's MSD, which as far as I'm aware does not have a system you can put on a Studebaker engine. It's possible to covert one I imagine, but there are other alternatives that are already available. You can use your stock distributor and add a Pertronix points eliminator kit...less than $100 and works quite well from what I understand. Many have used that system. Dave Thibeault (who advertises in Avanti Magazine) can provide a Mallory distributor for your car which also is an excellent way to go, but more expensive. There are also conversions to the GM window distributor out there, which is also easily converted to electronic as point eliminator kits are available from Pertronix, Mallory, Accel, Crane and likely a few others.

MSD makes a capacitive discharge add-on for cars, which is quite good, but to be honest, for a street car is not really necessary, but certainly doesn't hurt in any way. It probably works best with a points distributor as an electronic ignition really doesn't need it. For a car used on the strip, it's a different story. The same goes for other brand CD ignitions...a lot of advertising hype but little to show for it for a street car outside of lightening your wallet and you get a really nice decal to put on your car telling everyone what equipment your car has. I will say that a good CD ignition may provide better starting, but little more than that.

Thank you for so much information. I really appreciate the time taken to respond and advise. This forum has helped me in so many ways, what a great source of information.

Mark

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  • 6 years later...

Replaced points with petronix1, burnt out. Replaced with petronix2, and flame thrower coil, would run but ran erradicly. It may be me, but am now back to origional set-up, points and condenser. After all this agrivagitation my 63 Avanti purs like a kitten. For the number of miles I put on her points are fine. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

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Mallory sold out earlier this year, and is no longer making the Studebaker distributors for Dave Thibeault.

Dave does have a Mallory Unilite conversion for a Prestolite distributor, that he is now selling.

I never was impressed with the Unilite setup, from way back. the grease and oil in the engine compartment can coat the lens of the optics in the pickup assembly, rendering them useless.

You can dunk the Chrysler hall effect pickup in oil, and it would not be effected.

I like to use the Big Block Chrysler distributor guts with the hall effect pickup, triggering a MSD capacitive box. You get the benefits of stable dwell, and timing, and multiple firing of the plugs below 3000 rpm. (Above 3000 rpm you still get 1 big spark to the plugs). You can then run a much better "E" core coil that saturates much faster than stock, and can deliver 60,000 volts to the plugs.

Some may say "If it ain't broke don't fix it", but these are the same people that say Studebaker was the "high point" of automotive technology. Believe it or not technology HAS improved in 60 years

Edited by brad
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RQB3263....Ive been running 2 (dual v-12 distributors) Crane Fireball Ign. systems on another creation of mine (Seagrave/Pierce Arrow V-12 ) for 4 years .....also "optical trigger"...same as Unilite.....never a minutes trouble ...havent opened them in 4 years...Crane makes them as a conversion kit that can be installed in most any dist.....If I can put it on a 1941 Seagrave 12 cyl...then a Stude should be doable ...Call Crane in Daytona....The kits were less than $100.00 each six yrs ago...(i needed 2 kits and picked them up in Daytona)...RQB3263 ....BILL

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RQB3263...The Crane Syst will eliminate all moving parts except rotor in dist...No need for MSD box (Multi Spark Discharge)....wont improve crane syst and might burn it out ......Mine works great X2....good luck....BILL

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