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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-09-2010, 04:48 AM
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Default MSD Distributors - Here's Another Thing I Don't Like

All the rust that forms on the inside, regarless of whether you drive it in the rain or not. No, I never bothered to drill the cap. And no, I forgot to do it again this time. No, I don't put a light coating of dielectric grease on the tip of the rotor and on each electrode. No, I didn't even bother cleaning the rust off -- even though the MSD tech support says the rust over the magnetic pickup can shorten its life. Mostly, I just took a snapshot of it so I could post it here and complain.


Last edited by patrickt; 11-02-2016 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:00 AM
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Maybe you should just add a silica pack, or a small bag of dry rice. Let'er fly!
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:14 AM
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I just joined the MSD Forum so I can vent my frustrations towards their products,it's increasingly to common place within their manufacturing that we are getting all these problems!!They really need to tighten their QC and look at the quality in the raw Materials used....
They have a huge market share and a great product but it is ever so slowly losing favour in the market ,you've just got to look across the different online forums to see the regularity of the various problems.
I really hope they take the initiative and bounce across these boards and don't rely on us doing what I have just done and join their forum!!...but they're that big now they don't need to worry about it..
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:27 AM
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I agree with patrickt. When you buy one of these distributors, and I have one in several cars, you get a nice shiny billet product that leads you to believe you have a long-lasting unit. But what's happening under the cap can be an un-expected surprise that's headed to failure.

I'd pay a few more dollars for a product manufactured with better internals.

I looked at the photo again and thought of some un-complimentary comments!

David

Last edited by 601HP; 06-09-2010 at 05:33 AM..
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:43 AM
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Crap like that is why I'm using an old Mallory.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:44 AM
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Never was and probably will never be a big fan or user for that matter of MSD products of any kind.......Mallory all the way for me......
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:52 AM
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I've had my share of problems with my MSD distributor and I only have about 1,000+ miles on my car. I don't think Chevy's with MSD's ever have any problems. Why is that?
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:18 AM
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No problems with my MSD distributor so far. OK...now I've jinxed it for sure.

I changed the cap and rotor on my car at about 6K miles and it looked a little corroded, but not severe (I saved the cap and rotor as a back up). No rust on the pickup either...and I live by the ocean. Could be related to climates with higher humidity?
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Could be related to climates with higher humidity?
I think GTB hit the nail on the head.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:21 AM
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I've always used Mallory. You hear some things about Mallory, but I never had corrisonn issues like above. MSD had a lot of issues with coils. made in Mexico.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
All the rust that forms on the inside, regarless of whether you drive it in the rain or not. No, I never bothered to drill the cap. And no, I forgot to do it again this time. No, I don't put a light coating of dielectric grease on the tip of the rotor and on each electrode. No, I didn't even bother cleaning the rust off -- even though the MSD tech support says the rust over the magnetic pickup can shorten its life. Mostly, I just took a snapshot of it so I could post it here and complain.

That photo looks exactly like mine on the inside. Looked like that when living in the Bay Area and looks like that living on Bainbridge Island, WA. Last rotor change I tried to clean it up as best I could with WD-40 and some light sanding. What happened to aluminum or stainless internals instead of uncoated steel???
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:58 AM
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Let me guess, vented cap???

Seal the vent up, it's not needed. A little silicone grease on the bottom lip wouldn't hurt either. Someone over at Ford decided a long time ago that the distributor cap needed a vent for the ionized air or condensation (basically a fix for a non-existent problem), GM and Chrysler evidently felt it wasn't needed as I've only seen them on Fords and some aftermarket stuff. Putting the distributor on the front of the engine wasn't a very good idea either.

Cadmium plating on the iron parts buys you about a month of rust prevention (or one heat cycle, whichever comes first). Basically, it's just to keep the part from rusting till you buy it. Black oxide is the "eco-friendly" replacement for cadmium plating (which means there's a 50/50 chance the part's already rusted out of the package).
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:03 AM
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In the world of MSD rusting on the reluctor and magnetic pickup and magnet, what you see in my picture really ain't that bad. I'll eventually clean it up with a brush and swab some dielectric grease on it... maybe. Before it affects the functioning of the unit though it's got to get wayyy worse than that. Nevertheless, it still looks like crap. Supposedly MSD began coating the reluctor and pickups with some magic non-rusting goo in 2009. You can send your distributor back to them for a rebuild and they change out everything but the cap, rotor, and billet body with the new magic non-rusting parts. Cost ranges from $25 to a little over a hundred. I don't know whether the new non-rusting parts really hold up or not.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:14 AM
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Like this one, for instance:

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Old 06-09-2010, 12:00 PM
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I must be missing something here. There must be some huge benefit(s) derived from using MSD ignition. Otherwise, why would anyone put up with this?

Again, what benefit am I missing by using my reliable Ford DuraSpark? Would I get more precise spark plug firing at 9,000 rpms or something?

Jack
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:04 PM
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MSD is actually pretty reliable. And what's nice is that, for the most part, a 6AL box, distributor, and coil tend to be like a lightbulb -- it either works or it doesn't.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:20 PM
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Mallory is not immune to rusting or corrosion. In fact, my old Mallory was so screwed up in that regard I replaced it with an MSD.

My main gripe with MSD is the center electrode in the cap wearing down or breaking off. I hear there are some after market caps of superior quality to MSD. Next time I need a cap, I'll be looking for one.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
All the rust that forms on the inside, regarless of whether you drive it in the rain or not. No, I never bothered to drill the cap. And no, I forgot to do it again this time. No, I don't put a light coating of dielectric grease on the tip of the rotor and on each electrode. No, I didn't even bother cleaning the rust off -- even though the MSD tech support says the rust over the magnetic pickup can shorten its life. Mostly, I just took a snapshot of it so I could post it here and complain.

Yep, mine has looked axactly like that at one time, I took it all apart and cleaned everything I could get to with a wire brush and gave it a light coating of grease before re-assembly, PITA for a supposedly top-of-the-line product..........

Next time, I'll probably go with a good old junkyard Duraspark dist.

David
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:01 PM
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Good Lord! That second one looks like it's off a boat. (even the aluminum is ate up)

Still curious if this is more a problem with the cap being vented.

Either that or the coolant overflow was mistakenly plumbed to the distributor base... Seriously, that second one is not something you can pin on MSD. (Unless, of course, you live in the state of denial.)

People's F-up's shouldn't be used as evidence of a product defect.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:27 PM
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So Ronbo, what do you think the "f--k up" was that caused the rust/corrosion on this and so many other distributors (not just MSD) I've seen like this?
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