Question on converting over to HEI
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Question on converting over to HEI

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    Senior Member N2GLOCK's Avatar
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    Default Question on converting over to HEI

    The last time I had my boat out the MSD box crapped out and left my ass stranded. I've since removed the box and I'm planing on just converting over to HEI. My question is about wiring it up. I have an el camino, and if I recall correctly when I converted that over to HEI I had to run a signal wire down to the starter. That was several years ago and I don't recall 100% but I do recall having to do something with the starter. I checked the starter on my boat and it doesn't look like it has any extra terminals on the solenoid. I haven't purchased the HEI distributor yet so I have no instructions to look at. Can anyone tell me if I do have to run a signal wire to the starter when converting to HEI? Thanks

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    Some guy obnoxious001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N2GLOCK View Post
    The last time I had my boat out the MSD box crapped out and left my ass stranded. I've since removed the box and I'm planing on just converting over to HEI. My question is about wiring it up. I have an el camino, and if I recall correctly when I converted that over to HEI I had to run a signal wire down to the starter. That was several years ago and I don't recall 100% but I do recall having to do something with the starter. I checked the starter on my boat and it doesn't look like it has any extra terminals on the solenoid. I haven't purchased the HEI distributor yet so I have no instructions to look at. Can anyone tell me if I do have to run a signal wire to the starter when converting to HEI? Thanks
    HEI distributors are simple,, a switched hot lead,, and a tach lead if desired.

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    Hoodys and swim trunks Elkidminoltu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obnoxious001 View Post
    HEI distributors are simple,, a switched hot lead,, and a tach lead if desired.
    What he said. Run a 12V keyed on/off source (ign on ignition switch) 14ga wire to the "BAT" terminal of the distributor. Run a brown or yellow wire from the "TACH" terminal next to it up to your tachometer and you're done.

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    Senior Member Widetrack's Avatar
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    When you had the MSD it had one switched hot wire. Use it to the power the wire of the dizzy and the gray goes to the tach! The MSD also had one full time hot, discard it or the motor wont die when switch is turned off! And it is good to check the power wire that you run to the dizzy with a test light to make sure it stays hot while cranking!


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    Senior Member H20MOFO's Avatar
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    I am feeling like a baby seal so I will throw my .02 out so you guys can club me. My hei is one hot wire off the junction box/key. That works..... but it really isnt the right way. On most std starters there is a lug/terminal just for the starter that gets "full" power while cranking. My aftermarket starter does not have that terminal. To correct that it needs to be wired with a seloniod(sp) like a ford. Like I say it works....but weak spark while cranking a ice cold motor makes cold starts a bitch some times.
    Another Hot Boat refugee

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    gn7
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    Quote Originally Posted by H20MOFO View Post
    I am feeling like a baby seal so I will throw my .02 out so you guys can club me. My hei is one hot wire off the junction box/key. That works..... but it really isnt the right way. On most std starters there is a lug/terminal just for the starter that gets "full" power while cranking. My aftermarket starter does not have that terminal. To correct that it needs to be wired with a seloniod(sp) like a ford. Like I say it works....but weak spark while cranking a ice cold motor makes cold starts a bitch some times.
    With a points ignition this is true. HEI DO NOT use a "full voltage" for starting and a reduced voltage from a ballest resister for run, like a point dizzy. HEIs thrive on all the power you can give them up to about 18 volts. I know of no lug on a HEI for a "start" wire from the starter.



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    Default Someone say Oldsmobile ? ? ?

    yep ..... what they said .....
    It may be OLD ,it may be Slow ... but at least it's MOBILE !!!

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    Senior Member H20MOFO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gn7 View Post
    With a points ignition this is true. HEI DO NOT use a "full voltage" for starting and a reduced voltage from a ballest resister for run, like a point dizzy. HEIs thrive on all the power you can give them up to about 18 volts. I know of no lug on a HEI for a "start" wire from the starter.
    To bad I dont have my old suburban to go look under. I never said anything about reducing voltage...or needing reduced voltage. I am saying if the wire doesnt come off the starter....or a ford type a selanoid deal....the voltage WILL be reduced......its sharing its power with all the gauges ect....the starter lug "prioritizes" the voltage to the starter and dizzy....for start up only. After the motor is running it makes zero difference...but while cranking it does. Maybe I am wrong.....wouldn't be the first....but I dont think I am. This last spring I had a helluve time getting her to light. Stuck floats didnt help. After I fixed the float issue she didnt want to go still. Pulled a plug and looked at the spark...was weak....ran the hei straight off the batt. with a jumper wire and could see the difference....and yep she started. Doing the ford set up on my boat was on my todo list last year and didnt happen....yet. A stock chev starter has the lug for the ignition. My aftermarket doesnt.
    Another Hot Boat refugee

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    gn7
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    Quote Originally Posted by H20MOFO View Post
    To bad I dont have my old suburban to go look under. I never said anything about reducing voltage...or needing reduced voltage. I am saying if the wire doesnt come off the starter....or a ford type a selanoid deal....the voltage WILL be reduced......its sharing its power with all the gauges ect....the starter lug "prioritizes" the voltage to the starter and dizzy....for start up only. After the motor is running it makes zero difference...but while cranking it does. Maybe I am wrong.....wouldn't be the first....but I dont think I am. This last spring I had a helluve time getting her to light. Stuck floats didnt help. After I fixed the float issue she didnt want to go still. Pulled a plug and looked at the spark...was weak....ran the hei straight off the batt. with a jumper wire and could see the difference....and yep she started. Doing the ford set up on my boat was on my todo list last year and didnt happen....yet. A stock chev starter has the lug for the ignition. My aftermarket doesnt.
    I will say this. The HEI THRIVES on as much voltage as you can supply it ALL THE TIME. Running some whimping wire from some whimpy switch will definitely reduce the voltage to the HEI. You should make every attempt to reduce any voltage drop to the HEI, cranking or other wise. There should ZERO difference between feeding the HEI from the starter while cranking, and when its running. If there is, you need to rethink your wiring from the switch.

    ANYBODY thinking of running a HEI should consider the fact that the MSD uses a dedicated 10 gauge wire for its power source. Think about that. Now, think about how you want to wire your HEI. If you can't have a dedicated power wire like aMSD, then do you think you should be a useing a 14 ga wiore for you switch lead on a HEI?



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    Last edited by gn7; 02-17-2012 at 04:42 PM.

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    Senior Member N2GLOCK's Avatar
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    This weekend I'm going to my parents where my el camino is stored. I did an HEI conversion on that car. I'll crawl underneath it and check to see if there's a wire from the dizzy down to the starter. I have a feeling that I'm gonna find one...

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    Senior Member hellnback's Avatar
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    mine has the msd kit inside it .... uses a 12 gauge wire off the switch .... starts everytime.
    It may be OLD ,it may be Slow ... but at least it's MOBILE !!!

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    gn7
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    Quote Originally Posted by N2GLOCK View Post
    This weekend I'm going to my parents where my el camino is stored. I did an HEI conversion on that car. I'll crawl underneath it and check to see if there's a wire from the dizzy down to the starter. I have a feeling that I'm gonna find one...
    Don't come back telling us there is a wire on the starter. Tell us where it connects on the HEI.

    If it does have a wire from the starter to the HEI, then check to see if its a 7 pin module. Are you running a 7 pin module in your boat. Does anybody run a 7 pin module in their boat?'

    If it does have a wire from the starter to the HEI module, and its a 7 pin module, where are you going to connect that wire on your 4 pin module?



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    Last edited by gn7; 02-17-2012 at 05:46 PM.

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    Junior Member cncsparky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N2GLOCK View Post
    This weekend I'm going to my parents where my el camino is stored. I did an HEI conversion on that car. I'll crawl underneath it and check to see if there's a wire from the dizzy down to the starter. I have a feeling that I'm gonna find one...
    Why would that be relevant to your boat? Did your boat originally have a points distributor? As GN7 stated, there is no 'HEI' terminal on the starter solenoid. Your original points equipped El Camino had two start circuits, one +12V circuit that went through the solenoid and bypassed the ballast resistor while cranking, then once started the other circuit reduced running voltage to your points through the ballast resistor. No need for this circuit with an HEI, connect it directly to the 'ign' on the start switch.

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    Senior Member H20MOFO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cncsparky View Post
    Why would that be relevant to your boat? Did your boat originally have a points distributor? As GN7 stated, there is no 'HEI' terminal on the starter solenoid. Your original points equipped El Camino had two start circuits, one +12V circuit that went through the solenoid and bypassed the ballast resistor while cranking, then once started the other circuit reduced running voltage to your points through the ballast resistor. No need for this circuit with an HEI, connect it directly to the 'ign' on the start switch.

    -Tom.
    If he isnt using the a stock starter with the lug for the dizzy....the only other correct way to hook it up is with a solenoid. Sorry if that makes some of you un comffy
    Another Hot Boat refugee

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