Wayne Cook
June 1, 2000

Step By Step

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This underhood view shows Kevin’s MSD 6A box already in place on top of the driver-side wheelhouse, mounted on a flattened area that looks like it was designed for the ignition box.
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To begin the swap, the old distributor cap is moved out of the way to start the distributor removal. With the rotor exposed, mark its position with a piece of tape so the new distributor can be installed with the rotor in the correct position.
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Next, the vacuum advance line is disconnected from the old distributor. Because the new distributor won’t require this line, it was removed from the vacuum source at the carb and the port was capped off.
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After removing the distributor hold-down bolt and clamp with a distributor wrench, the old unit was pulled out of the engine.
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In this photo it’s easy to compare the coarse casting of the factory distributor (right) to the precision-machined billet aluminum housing of the new MSD unit (left). Notice the lack of the vacuum advance canister on the MSD distributor.
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Don’t forget to install the furnished O-ring seal on the new distributor or you’ll have a real mess underhood. We coated the new seal with oil to protect it during installation as it slides over the machined shoulders on the housing.
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The new drive gear must be lubricated before installation. A special lube from Comp Cams is furnished by MSD.
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Our oil-pump drive rod kept leaning toward the rear of the car instead of remaining on center, making the installation of the MSD distributor difficult. We were able to keep the oil-pump shaft on center with a dollop of wheel-bearing grease. Tip of the day: When performing a distributor swap, park the car on a level surface instead of at the top of a steep driveway. We learned the hard way.
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With the oil-pump drive rod on center, the new MSD distributor dropped right into place. We made sure our rotor landed pointing to our tape mark on the engine, so the new rotor was in the same position as the old one before it came out. Be careful not to end up one tooth off.
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The new MSD Blaster 2 voltage coil, with special windings for extra-high voltage output, fit perfectly into the existing coil bracket. It was snugged down against the cylinder head in a nearly vertical position.
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As this MSD-supplied diagram shows, our wiring chores were elementary. Because we didn’t have the extension cable (PN 8860), we fabricated one to reach from the box to the new distributor. All of our other wiring was already in place.
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The final step was to transfer the existing plug wires over to the new MSD distributor cap.
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Here’s the completed installation in Oeste’s ’62 Galaxie. When we turned the key, the engine fired right up, and all we did was adjust our timing. MSD includes detailed instructions on how to achieve the best timing and timing advance results.

Amazingly, the Ford FE big-block has been out of production for more than 25 years. But because the engines were installed in many of Ford's greatest performance cars, we still see plenty of FE power in our favorite classics like 428 Cobra Jet Mustangs, Fairlane GT 390s, and 427 Galaxies. The FE engine is still a popular performer, especially among a die-hard group of big-block enthusiasts, which is why cutting-edge companies continue to develop new FE performance products.

MSD Ignition's new Pro Billet Ford FE Distributor is the latest example of state-of-the-art technology for the venerable mill. With this solid billet aluminum unit, all of the ills that plague the old point-and-condenser distributor are eliminated. When the factory-style cast casing goes out the window, you can forget about slop between the distributor shaft and housing because the new billet distributor features a shaft riding on ball bearings. There's also a high-output, magnetic trigger that replaces the vintage points and condenser, along with an adjustable mechanical advance assembly that replaces the vacuum advance to provide custom-tailoring of the advance curve for specific engine characteristics.

The MSD distributor is used in conjunction with the MSD 6, 7, 8, or 10 series ignition boxes, a combination that gives FE-powered Fords a totally modern performance ignition system.

Our subject car is a beautiful '62 Galaxie 500 XL convertible owned by Kevin Oeste. The carefully restored car has a 390 engine with an MSD 6A ignition box already in place. Oeste is interested in this upgrade because it will enhance reliability as well as the performance of his vintage ragtop. Installation of the MSD distributor and Blaster 2 coil (PN 8202) is a snap, so follow us out to Oeste's garage and we'll show you what's involved to make your FE a better and more reliable big-block performer.