Shortening a MSD Distributor

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Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 29th 2014, 11:52 am

Ok, have clearance issues and don't want to go with a crank trigger. Where does it say I can't just cut my MSD down 1-1/2"?
Nothing comes up with google, good or bad. Have it torn down, looks pretty simple. (Have the lathe and required machines)
Anybody have any thoughts on this?
Thanks, Ray
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  dfree383 on June 29th 2014, 11:55 am

What part number are you running?

Can you use a factory small cap duraspark unit? And just add a msd connector to it?
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 29th 2014, 11:59 am

8577
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  Lem Evans on June 29th 2014, 12:57 pm

8578 is as short as it gets.......351w unit....would have to change gear to 460 style.

Charlie has done some 'bastard' deals using a duraspark with a crab cap.

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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 29th 2014, 2:17 pm

I almost have it done, I will post results. Dave, yes I can go the dura spark route, but I just think this is almost as easy, with no added expense but time (as long as it works)
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  rmcomprandy on June 29th 2014, 2:36 pm

Use a totally rebuilt FORD DURASPARK distributor for a 351M/400 Ford engine. It is the shortest one made for the 335/385 series engines.

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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 29th 2014, 3:52 pm

David, Lem and Randy. Is there any reason to NOT just cut the MSD down? I know the dura spark route, but I was just wondering why nobody does it. Looks really good, and still keeps the "performance" dist. Once I figure out picture loading I will post pics of the process.
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  dfree383 on June 29th 2014, 4:45 pm

I know the duraspark will work...... And it won't be expensive, bronze gear, connector, parts store dist and good cap..... Under 175ish dollars.

Cutting it..... We'll it seems bad to take a chance at destroying something that will probably pay for the alternative duraspark that we know will work.

I have durasparks in several performance engines they work great. Msd stuff was modeled of them. In fact I have an original msd / Motorsport distributor that is a duraspark in one engine.
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  cool40 on June 29th 2014, 5:31 pm

I don't see a problem with cutting off an msd distributor.not much lost if it dont work out! Lol
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  rmcomprandy on June 29th 2014, 11:30 pm

bronco911 wrote:David, Lem and Randy. Is there any reason to NOT just cut the MSD down? I know the dura spark route, but I was just wondering why nobody does it. Looks really good, and still keeps the "performance" dist. Once I figure out picture loading I will post pics of the process.

What shaft do you intend to use...?
Can you EDM the hex in the bottom of the shaft or do you intend to section and reweld that...? Perfectly straight.
There is not enough metal in an MSD housing upright to machine the diameter of the flange so, that housing will need to be cut and rewelded, also.

Have at it, if you want a project which is doomed to fail somewhere along the line.

If you want an MSD so bad, it would be a lot easier to get one for a WINDSOR and change the gear.

You do know that the MSD magnetic impulse generator IS a Ford Duraspark unit, right...?

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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 30th 2014, 1:09 am

rmcomprandy wrote:
bronco911 wrote:David, Lem and Randy. Is there any reason to NOT just cut the MSD down? I know the dura spark route, but I was just wondering why nobody does it. Looks really good, and still keeps the "performance" dist. Once I figure out picture loading I will post pics of the process.

What shaft do you intend to use...?
Can you EDM the hex in the bottom of the shaft or do you intend to section and reweld that...?  Perfectly straight.
There is not enough metal in an MSD housing upright to machine the diameter of the flange so, that housing will need to be cut and rewelded, also.

Have at it, if you want a project which is doomed to fail somewhere along the line.

If you want an MSD so bad, it would be a lot easier to get one for a WINDSOR and change the gear.

You do know that the MSD magnetic impulse generator IS a Ford Duraspark unit, right...?

Used the same shaft, cut the top off with a carbide hole bit and then cut 1-3/4 off that end, slipped it back on the cut shaft and rewelded on the top, same as original. The housing only has a 3/4 bushing machined in at the top of the straight housing, so you have over 4" of solid straight billet that can be shortened, which I did. Sectioned it and made it into a slip fitting, with a relief for the exterior weld where they meet. Welded it and put her back into the lathe and turned the weld, looks like brand new, never touched.
Works perfect, looks great. Took 3 hours, not a penny spent, and was able to finish my project on a Sunday
The Windsor MSD only gains you 5/8" which was not enough. Had to have 1-3/4
Yes, I know the MSD mig is based off a dura spark, as stated previously.
So, my take from this is the answer is nobody has tried it till now, because they are worried about an oops costing to much money and most don't mind spending hundreds on all the pretty fittings and billet brackets and then throwing an antique looking distributor on that high dollar motor. Gotcha
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  Dave C. on June 30th 2014, 2:05 am

Good job. Go to bed.

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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  res0rli9 on June 30th 2014, 3:03 am

Good deal, now lets see some pic's . Cool 

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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  IDT-572 on June 30th 2014, 9:45 am

Wink Cool  My kinda guy............. Good job, now lets see some pics ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  rmcomprandy on June 30th 2014, 1:29 pm

Good Job but, I am curious.
IF you already knew then why the hell did you ask...?  scratch 

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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 30th 2014, 2:04 pm

rmcomprandy wrote:Good Job but, I am curious.
IF you already knew then why the hell did you ask...?  scratch 

The original question was prior to dissecting the MSD, and it was wondering if I was missing something technical that prohibited it from being done.
That's all I was asking, not for what everyone knows will work, but what was I missing that nobody had done it. Figured the great minds around this place would know
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  IDT-572 on June 30th 2014, 2:07 pm

rmcomprandy wrote:Good Job but, I am curious.
IF you already knew then why the hell did you ask...?  scratch 


 Razz 
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  richter69 on June 30th 2014, 4:50 pm

Just to irritate you......
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 30th 2014, 7:30 pm

richter69 wrote:Just to irritate you......

Yes, getting the vibe I may have touched a nerve  Embarassed 
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  dfree383 on June 30th 2014, 7:39 pm

bronco911 wrote:
richter69 wrote:Just to irritate you......

Yes, getting the vibe I may have touched a nerve  Embarassed 

 lol! 
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  Paul Kane on June 30th 2014, 8:55 pm

bronco911 wrote: The housing only has a 3/4 bushing machined in at the top of the straight housing, so you have over 4" of solid straight billet that can be shortened, which I did. Sectioned it and made it into a slip fitting, with a relief for the exterior weld where they meet. Welded it and put her back into the lathe and turned the weld, looks like brand new, never touched.

So, my take from this is the answer is nobody has tried it till now...
Custom work such as you are doing is the norm out here in the birth of drag racing.  Smile  The guys I work with have been making their own custom/modified distributor bases for decades. Also, the base used specifically for our Offset Mag Drives is just 3 inches in length and sticks out atop the block by only 1.6 inches.

The reason the 385 Series housing supports the distributor drive shaft with only the single bushing at the top is because the lower end of the drive shaft is supported by the receiver-bore in the block's distributor thrust boss.
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  jasonf on June 30th 2014, 9:38 pm

I don't what is with all the flack. You need something custom so you made it. The car world is full of engineers, machinists and welders that make stuff all the time. No big deal IMO.

I just want to know where are the pictures??
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 30th 2014, 9:42 pm

jasonf wrote:I don't what is with all the flack. You need something custom so you made it. The car world is full of engineers, machinists and welders that make stuff all the time. No big deal IMO.

I just want to know where are the pictures??

Hey now, don't forget us lowly carpenters!!!  Shocked 

I have a ton of pics, but for some reason my Ipad air does not like to share. If anyone can tell me the trick they will be visible ASAP
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  IDT-572 on June 30th 2014, 9:44 pm

Up load them to photo bucket and copy paste into your post.
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Re: Shortening a MSD Distributor

Post  bronco911 on June 30th 2014, 10:17 pm

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